favorite ancient world resourceElementary and up

The Story of Perpetua – In AD 202, the Roman emperor has forbidden new conversions to Christianity on pain of death. Yet, in ancient Carthage, as all over the empire, men and women still come to Christ. Among the new believers is a young mother named Perpetua. Roman soldiers arrest her along with four others, including her pregnant slave Felicity. They are thrown into a hot, dark, and stinking prison. Will they offer a pinch of incense to the emperor as a god, and go free? (You Tube)

Drive Thru History – Emphasizing the positive role that Christianity played in the development of Western civilization, this fast-and-furious series hosted by Dave Stotts takes viewers on a journey through the sites and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Asia Minor. (Netflix INSTANT)

Drive Thru History: Turkish Delight – Four wheels turn to four legs when host Dave Stotts trades car for camel to explore Turkey’s ancient ruins of Laodicea and Colossae and searches for what historical clues they’ll yield. Using the journey to illustrate life in the early Christian church, Stotts also takes viewers to Smyrna and Sardis and explores the showdown between Paul and the Ephesian idol makers. (Netflix DVD)

David Macaulay – Pyramid (has some nudity in the animation. Some bare breasts of women servants and a dancer) How did ancient Egyptians build the Great Pyramid at Giza, joining two million blocks of heavy stone with amazing precision? Who were the leaders who built these enormous structures, and what did these tombs signify? Host David Macaulay explores the history, mythology, and religions of Egypt’s people, combining live footage and animation. Take a rare look at the mummy of Ramses II and buried treasure in the sacred Valley of the Kings.(You Tube) 

David Macaulay – Roman City – The glories of Ancient Rome are explored in ROMAN CITY, based on David Macaulay’s acclaimed book. This animated and live-action video recounts life in Verbonia, a fictional city in Gaul. A well-planned town with all modern conveniences, it is threatened by conflict between conquerors and conquered. Macaulay also visits Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ostia, Nimes, Orange, and Rome, to view actual Roman architecture and engineering greatness. (You Tube)

Middle School and up

Mystery of the Sphinx – Charlton Heston hosts this intriguing documentary that explores the possibility that Egypt’s Great Sphinx, one of the world’s most recognized monolith statues, is thousands of years older than originally believed. (Netflix INSTANT)

National Geographic: Egypt: Secrets of the Pharaohs – Who built the pyramids? What were the secrets of mummification and burial? For centuries, Egypt’s pharaohs kept these secrets to themselves. Travel to a land of mystery and marvel as archaeologists investigate how the pyramids were actually built, follow scientists as they re-create the ancient ritual of mummification, and be there as cameras reveal the ancient underground vault that houses the mysterious ship of the Pharaoh Khufu. (Netflix INSTANT)

National Geographic: Herod’s Lost Tomb – Featuring Israeli archeologist Ehud Netzer, this documentary examines his many-year search for the tomb of Herod the Great, who was made famous in the Gospel of Matthew for his massacre of the male infants of Bethlehem. With visits to renowned Herodian-designed sites, including Caesarea, Masada and the Second Temple of Jerusalem, the film provides an in-depth architectural tour of the infamous King’s awe-inspiring edifices. (Netflix INSTANT)

National Geographic: Into the Great Pyramid – Past and present collide in this powerful documentary featuring the findings of the National Geographic Expedition team and their robots as they explore these Egyptian wonders. You’ll see an ancient sarcophagus unsealed, an exploration of nooks and crannies of a pyramid conducted by a camera-equipped robot, and much more.(Netflix INSTANT)

Greeks: Crucible of Civilization – Tackling a subject no less daunting than the beginning of Western civilization, this PBS-produced TV documentary examines ancient Greece from 500 B.C. through the destruction of the empire. (Netflix DVD)

The Traditions of Greek Culture – Discover ancient Hellenic traditions, many of which live on in contemporary times, in these four half-hour programs filmed in locations across Greece. Exploring religion, myth, architecture, art and customs, the series illuminates the practices and beliefs that lie at the foundation of Western Civilization. Episodes include “Art in Ancient Greece,” “Mining in Ancient Greece,” “Bacchus, the God of Wine” and “Fire Walking in Greece.” (Netflix DVD)

Jim Henson’s the Storyteller: Greek Myths – Muppet-master Jim Henson’s 1987 HBO series presents stories of yore to young audiences. In this episode, The Storyteller (Michael Gambon) narrates four Greek tales, each acted out by people and muppety creatures. (Netflix DVD)

War File: History of Warfare: The Greek – From 499 BC to 448 BC, the Persian Empire — led initially by King Darius I — set its sights on Greece in a series of intense battles that lasted half a century, starting with the Battle of Marathon during the first invasion. Top history experts thoroughly review the conflicts, which also include the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Salamis. In a special appearance, actor Brian Blessed, an astute student of the wars, provides commentary.(Netflix DVD)

The Roman Empire in the First Century – This PBS-produced documentary sweeps through history as the Roman Empire reigns in the 1st century. But for the Romans, being in control meant dealing with a spate of social problems: coups, power struggles and crimes. Out of the ashes of disorder, however, rose a Phoenix-like empire even stronger than its original version — thanks to the work of thinkers, fighters, noblemen and peasants.(Netflix DVD)

I, Caesar: Rise and Fall of Roman Empire – The first in a six-part series focusing on men who reigned over the Roman Empire, this superb program explores the life and rule of Julius Caesar, examining the battles, vast reforms and conspiracies of his reign. After gaining control of the Empire, Caesar was declared the dictator of Rome. But his policies and political intrigue within the Senate eventually led to Caesar’s assassination by a group led by his former friend and ally, Brutus.(Netflix DVD)

5000 Years of Wonders: Ancient Rome – Using computer animation, location footage and great photography, this absorbing video takes viewers back to the glory days of Rome to explore some remarkable ancient structures as experts provide insight on the building of these engineering marvels. Stops include the Circus Maximus arena, the Baths of Caracalla, the Pantheon, the Colosseum (aka the Flavian Amphitheater) and other magnificent landmarks of antiquity.(Netflix DVD)