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Global influences

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Ancient Greece and Rome loom large in the understanding of the roots of Western Civilisation, but the Professor of Ancient History Josephine Quinn wants to challenge that simple narrative. In How The World Made The West – A 4,000 Year History she shows how western values were developed by long-standing links between a much larger group of cultures, from the Gobi Desert to the Atlantic Ocean and beyond.

The British Museum’s major new exhibition Legion looks at life in the Roman army (on until 23rd June). This elite war machine was employed to protect and control around a quarter of the Earth’s population for over half a millennium. Recruits came from all walks of life, and from across the Empire. The archaeologist Carolina Rangel de Lima reveals the impact this extraordinary diversity of cultures and beliefs had on the imperial Roman army.

The writer Christopher Harding takes a closer look at the many ways in which Asia has influenced Europe and North America. In his book, The Light of Asia, he explores how Japan, China and India have often been sources of genuine fascination and artistic and intellectual inspiration, as well as confusion and misunderstanding.

Producer: Katy Hickman

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