Episode 2: The South
Filmed on location in: Southern Greece
The story of western civilisation begins in Greece and it was in the south of Greece where the first chapter of that story was written. From the great peninsula of the Peloponnese to Attica and the Ionian islands of the south west, this is a land of ancient warriors, tumultuous battles and diverse cultures that’s seen the rise and fall of Empires. Here, the glories of the past are mirrored in the wonders of the present.
Looking down like the gods of old, we soar above the citadels and ancient temples of the Peloponnese where the city states of ancient Greece came together, putting aside their differences at the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia – home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and a sporting event unsurpassed to this day – the first Olympic Games.
At Thermopylae, a statue of the legendary Spartan king Leonidas commemorates the greatest last stand in human history – an unwinnable battle against the seemingly insurmountable forces of Xerxes that would spur Greece to rise up against a tyrant and claim its destiny.
Wheeling above the heart of Athens, we marvel at the glory of the Acropolis – the ancient citadel where the extraordinary architecture of the Parthenon still baffles engineers to this day. At the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier, we observe the elaborate ceremonial march of the elite Evzones regiment and witness thousands of runners in the city’s annual marathon as they pass the sculpture of the Athenian soldier Pheidippides, whose non-stop run bringing news of the victory at Marathon gave the modern event its name.
Enhancing the physical splendours are human stories including that of the fearless artist who scales buildings to express politics through art; former swimmers of the Greek national team who channel the spirits of mythical water nymphs in a synchronised rooftop display and the wilderness guides forsaking the beaten track for a remote river gorge as they walk in the footsteps of a god.
As a paraglider rides the thermals of Mount Parnassus like Icarus himself, we share his view of the ancient temple of Apollo at Delphi, where luminaries of the ancient world came to receive divine prophesies from a mystic oracle.
We circle the modern-day marvel of the world’s longest span as it illuminates the waters of the Gulf of Corinth, follow ships along the watercourse of a canal carved out over the course of 2000 years that turned a peninsula into an island and look down on a marina filed with superyachts that inspired a legendary rock band to compose the greatest concept album of all time.
A land where legends were forged, and Western civilisation was born – this is Southern Greece.