The Ascent of Man - The Grain in the Stone

Having explained the nature of our ancestors' transition from nomadic tribes to settled communities through the invention of agriculture in the previous episode of the documentary series The Ascent of Man, Jacob Brunowski now sets out to understand how the splitting of a stone begins the history that will lead to the building of a wall, a house, a cathedral, a city...

This essay is an exploration of the history of architecture, an inspiring celebration of man the builder, architect, sculptor, and the conditions through which humanity constantly seeks to improve itself.

In the process, Brunowski visits the cliff-dwelling ruins of the Pueblan people in the American South-West; the Inca city of Machu Picchu and its system of irrigation high up on the mountains of the Andes; and shows the architectural evolution from horizontal beams in Greek Temples to circular and oval arches as developed by the Romans and the Moors, and finally perfected by the Europeans of the Medieval Era.

Check out how Pizarro managed to conquer the Incas overnight.

Explore the intellectual, architectural and artistic legacy left to us When the Moors Ruled Europe.
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