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Documentary Review of Battles BC
The battle of Marathon was one of the most important military victories for the ancient Greek world. If the Athenian soldiers had lost that battle to the Persians, imagine how different the western world would have looked today. It is possible Athens would have ceased to exist at the hands of the Persian army. One thing is for sure, you would not have democracy as it exists today and you would not see the ancient architectural marvels that stand in Athens today.
The battle of Marathon episode in the historical documentary Battles BC does a very good job at looking at this important victory of the Athenian army over the Persians. It begins by discussing Athens in the historical context of the time. The reasons why the Persians decided to march their way towards Athens with the goal of conquering and destroying the city state.
As to the actual battle, this episode looks at why Marathon was chosen as Athens’ last stand. This was due to the fact that the Persian army far out-numbered that of Athens’ army. Consequently, Marathon was the logical choice to even the odds and ensure their chances of victory. This episode also looks at the military leaders of both sides and the tactics used by both armies in this battle. Why and how Athens was able to triumph over the Persian army.
If you ever have visited Marathon and the areas surrounding Marathon and just outside of Athens, then you will be able to better relate to this episode and appreciate why the Athenians were victorous over a much larger military force.
Another episode that I enjoyed watching was that on Julius Caesar and his military campaign through Gaul and the eventual siege of Alesia. This is probably the best episode of all of them on Battles BC. There are several other episodes of important ancient battles that are interesting and worth watching too including the Battle at Kadesh between Egypt and the Hittites and the battles involving that of the Israelite tribes.
I also like the sound effects, so if you have surround sound, you will enjoy this aspect of the series. As for the graphics associated with the actual battles, I feel that they are a little over-done and over-exaggerated. This series seems to have adapted the popular movie 300’s visual effects of very muscular soldiers in battle. Also the blood spatter I find is not really necessary. We can visualize that if we want to. Although some viewers may prefer this approach to documentary film making, others may not. So if you do not, once you overcome the use of such visual effects, the battle re-creations are actually well done.
In summary, Battles BC is a good series covering a variety of different and critical battles in ancient history. The documentary tries to look at history from a different perspective. It looks at the military technology of the time, battle tactics and new information that has been discovered by historians and archeologists to try to explain why one army was able to succeed while the other failed.