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Egypt's Golden Empire

Watch Mondays, October 28, November 4 & 18, 2013 at 10pm on WMHT TV.

This three-part special tells the story of the Egyptian empire from its beginning in 1560 BC to its collapse in 1080 BC. Interviews with scholars and dramatic re-creations bring the story to life.

Monday, October 28, 2013 at 10pm | Pharaohs of the Sun
By 1400 BC, the Egyptian empire stretches from Northern Syria to the Sudan in Africa. Led by Amenhotep III, it is a golden age of wealth, power and prosperity. Remarkable diplomacy is used to keep the empire’s rivals at bay, while the provinces of Egypt revel in their protection. Art, technology and new ideas flourish, and Egyptian rulers are seen as gods. After the death of Amenhotep III, his son Akhenaten initiates drastic changes. Consumed by a monotheist belief, he orders a new capital built in the desert, marries the beauty Nefertiti and embarks on a campaign of religious repression. When he dies, the new capital is abandoned. The death of his son-in-law, the boy-king Tutankhamen, marks the end of the Ahmose dynasty.

Monday, November 4, 2013 at 10pm | Warrior Pharaohs
By 1570 BC, Egypt lies divided among foreign rulers. But Ahmose, one of the last Egyptian princes, rises to defeat the Hyksos and the Nubians. The New Kingdom is born, uniting Egypt once again. After Ahmose dies, Hatshepsut becomes the first female pharaoh. Striving for legitimacy, she embarks on an ambitious building program and opens new trade routes. Her son and successor, Thutmosis III, campaigns extensively in the Near East and brings much of the ancient world under Egyptian rule. The concept of “empire” is born. 

Monday, November 18, 2013 at 10pm | The Last Great Pharaoh
A new dynasty emerges. Threatened from abroad, Ramses II leads an army north to fight the Hittites at Kadesh. The battle becomes his crowning achievement and the basis for a new period of stability and wealth. Resources flood into Egypt. A new capital is built, artisans revel in an explosive period of building and The House of Life becomes the intellectual center for the empire. However, foreign powers once again threaten, and some provinces question their allegiance. After the long reign of Ramses II, the great tombs are systematically looted and civil war ensues. Though Egypt is once again divided, the period known as the New Kingdom has left a rich legacy that will reverberate through the ages. 

The monumental building that was supposed to last forever was destroyed after 53 years.

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