30 episodes

Neil MacGregor explores the role and expression of shared beliefs in communities around the world. Produced in partnership with the British Museum.

Living With The Gods BBC

    • History

Neil MacGregor explores the role and expression of shared beliefs in communities around the world. Produced in partnership with the British Museum.

    Living with Each Other

    Living with Each Other

    Neil MacGregor concludes his series on how shared beliefs have shaped societies.

    He began with the Lion Man, an object created 40 000 years ago, and now reflects on the present, on the future and on hope.

    Producer Paul Kobrak

    The series is produced in partnership with the British Museum, with the assistance of Dr Christopher Harding, University of Edinburgh.
    Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

    • 14 min
    The Search for a State

    The Search for a State

    Neil MacGregor continues his series on shared beliefs with a look at the attempts of some faiths to establish a state of their own.

    An over-printed coin from 2nd century Jerusalem tells of the failed attempt of Shimon bar Kokhba to lay claim to a state for the Jews, free from Roman rule - while a white cotton flag, framed in pale blue, flew over Sudan after it had been taken by Mahdist forces and before the Islamic state collapsed in the mid 1890s.

    Producer Paul Kobrak

    Produced in partnership with the British Museum
    Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

    • 14 min
    Turning the Screw

    Turning the Screw

    Neil MacGregor continues his series on shared beliefs with a focus on those faiths seen as a threat to the state.

    A plain board, to be found on a 17th-century Japanese roadside, offers generous rewards to anyone who informs on Christians. At almost exactly the same time a print from France depicts the officially sanctioned destruction of a Huguenot Church just a few miles east of Paris.

    Producer Paul Kobrak

    Produced in partnership with the British Museum
    Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

    • 14 min
    Living with No Gods

    Living with No Gods

    Neil MacGregor focuses on societies which aimed to live without religious beliefs.

    Neil examines a revolutionary clock, from around 1795, created in the wake of the French Revolution, and designed to mark a new way of living: in an age of reason, there would no longer be royalism or religion in France.

    A poster from the Soviet Union celebrates the apparent triumph of scientific progress: the cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin floats in space, looks out and proclaims 'There is no God!'. It seems that the heavens are empty of divine beings, but full, instead, of starry promise.

    Producer Paul Kobrak

    Produced in partnership with the British Museum
    Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

    • 14 min
    Ruling with the Gods

    Ruling with the Gods

    Neil MacGregor continues his series on shared beliefs with a focus on earthly rulers and the gods.

    Queens and kings may be priests of the gods, or their representatives. They may be incarnations - or even gods themselves. Or the relationship may be so close that to divide spiritual from temporal power at all would simply make no sense.

    Neil examines these ideas, with the help of objects including a bronze staff belonging to the Oba of Benin, and a bronze vessel from China, whose inscription suggests that its dynastic leaders enjoyed a mandate from heaven.

    Producer Paul Kobrak

    The series is produced in partnership with the British Museum, with the assistance of Dr Christopher Harding, University of Edinburgh.
    Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

    • 14 min
    Gods Living Together

    Gods Living Together

    Neil MacGregor continues his series about the expression of shared beliefs with a focus on how faiths co-exist in India.

    Producer Paul Kobrak

    Produced in partnership with the British Museum
    Photograph (c) The Trustees of the British Museum.

    • 14 min

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