In Search of Myths and Heroes Collection

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History Documentary hosted by Michael Wood, published by PBS in 2005 - English narration

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Image: In-Search-of-Myths-and-Heroes-Collection-Cover.jpg

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Historian and author Michael Wood brings his unique mix of history, travel and adventure back to PBS in his series, "In Search of Myths & Heroes." In this series, Wood embarks on a set of "on the ground" adventures in search of the world's most famous myths: The Biblical story of Queen of Sheba, Celtic tale of King Arthur and Indian Shangri-La myth. "In Search of Myths & Heroes" sets Wood off in pursuit of these enduring myths and their roots in historical fact. Wood retraces the steps of these stories and their mythic heroes, crossing the deserts of Yemen and trekking the Himalayas. As with Wood's past PBS series -- including "Conquistadors" and "In The Footsteps of Alexander the Great" -- the voyage of exploration and the battle to get to the story's source is half the fun and half the excitement. Beyond the travel, history and adventure, these journeys have a deeper purpose: to uncover the truth about some of history's greatest stories; stories with enduring appeal, romantic legends that are told and re-told around the world. In Wood's unique style, this is also a series about how myths take on a life and meaning of their own, inspiring, influencing (and sometimes even changing) people and cultures centuries later and geographically distant from their origins. These gripping adventures take the viewer to some of the most extraordinary places on earth, exploring stories that have captivated the world for thousands of years. Each journey opens up universal themes as Michael goes in search not only of the historical past and literal truth, but also of the mythic past and archetypal stories that reflect and have sustained human existence since the beginning of time. Maya Vision International Production for the BBC and WETA Washington D.C. , PBS

[edit] The Queen of Sheba

Michael Wood begins his quest with an exotic and mysterious woman of power — the Queen of Sheba. Immortalized in the Hebrew Bible, the Muslim Koran and in many Christian traditions, the tale of the Queen's journey to Jerusalem to meet (and sleep with) King Solomon has been told and retold for nearly 3,000 years. Wood's journey starts on Easter night in Jerusalem and takes him round the Red Sea to Egypt, Eritrea and Ethiopia, and the lost world of Axum, the little-known first civilization of Black Africa. In the Yemen, he explores the stunning monuments of Marib, the earliest civilization of Arabia.
But Wood is also looking for a living story, and on the journey he discovers the legend of the Queen of Sheba alive in Arabia and Ethiopia, where she is still viewed as the mother of the nation, whose son brought the mythical Lost Ark of the Covenant back to Axum — where it still resides today! "Hollywood made Sheba the lover of Solomon and they made her white," says Wood. "In Africa she's black — and a woman of power. In Arabia she's half woman, half demon. But the tale of her transformations — from exotic and mysterious alien to eternal female, from fantasy mother and lover, to cloven footed demon — is a parable of so many women of power throughout history!"

[edit] Arthur: The Once and Future King

In this episode of the series, Wood explores the greatest British myth: the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. King Arthur, a 5th-century Celtic monarch who battled invading Anglo-Saxons, first appears in a history of Britain written in 830. The story was expanded in the 12th-century by Geoffrey of Monmouth, who most modern historians regard as primarily a writer of fiction. The Tudors popularized Arthur further, as did the Victorians.
Traveling round the Celtic world from Cornwall to Wales, Brittany, Ireland and Scotland, Wood uncovers the extraordinary story of how a shadowy Welsh freedom fighter — a Dark Age Che Guevara — became a medieval superman, and finally the model of a Christian hero.
On the way we discover the real stories behind the Round Table, Excalibur, and the Holy Grail itself, the unattainable, mystical cup of Christ which has inspired poets novelists and film makers from the Middle Ages right down to Indiana Jones, Monty Python and The Da Vinci Code. Finally, in an intriguing piece of historical detective work Michael offers us a tantalizing glimpse of a historical Arthur — but in the unlikeliest of places.

[edit] Shangri-La

The darker the age, the more desperate we are for illumination. This is certainly true of the tale of Shangri-La, which differs from other myths in that it's a largely modern story. In 1933, British novelist James Hilton published Lost Horizon, which became an instant hit with the public. It follows the fortunes of a group of Western travellers whose aeroplane crashes in the remote, unexplored part of the Himalayas that we now know as Tibet. The group find themselves in an earthly paradise, where materialism, modern cynicism - and the threat of war - are unknown. But, the story of a lost kingdom behind the Himalayas free from war and suffering is descended from a much older Indian myth. When Europeans first caught wind of the tale back in the 16th Century, they set about trying to discover it.
Wood's search for Shangri-La takes him on a thrilling trek through India, Nepal and Tibet. To find the truth behind the legend, Michael follows their track on foot through the Maoist controlled lands of Western Nepal and then on into Tibet. On the way he visits Mount Kailash — the sacred center of the world for all Hindus and Buddhists. Eventually, after hundreds of miles on dirt roads, he reaches the fantastic ruins of the lost city of Tsaparang, which he suggests is the real inspiration behind the myth. "One of the oldest myths of humanity, the paradise myth continues to haunt us today, especially in our time of rapid globalization," Wood concludes. "Whether such a paradise actually existed or not, it represents one of our most basic human desires."

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[edit] Technical Specs

Video Codec: x264 CABAC High@L5.1
Video Bitrate: 3 567 kb/s
Video Resolution: 1912x1072
Display Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frames Per Second: 29.970
Audio Codec: AC3
Audio Bitrate: 384 kb/s CBR 48000 Hz
Audio Streams: 6
Audio Languages: english
RunTime Per Part: 55 min
Number Of Parts: 3
Part Size: 1.53 GB
Source: HDTV 1080i MPEG2 (Thanks to TrollHD)
Encoded by: DocFreak08

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