In Search of Myths and Heroes
Michael Wood embarks on a quest to uncover the roots of four great legends from Greek, Celtic, Biblical and Indian myths. Each journey opens up universal themes as Wood goes in search not only of the historical past and literal truth, but also of the mythic past and archetypal stories that reflect and have sustained human existence since the beginning of time.
In Search of Myths and Heroes Previous Broadcasts
Jason & The Golden Fleece (Episode #104)
KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 23, 2012 -- 12:00 AM
The Greeks have given the world its greatest body of myths, including the myth of Jason, an epic tale of the hero's quest and the ancestor of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Jason is presented with a "mission impossible": to sail into the unknown to find the Golden Fleece. He is saved by the priestess Medea and her magical arts, but her love comes at a high price. A fairy tale? Or was there a real voyage? Wood heads from Greece to the wild mountains of the Caucasus to find the truth behind the Jason legend.
Shangri-La/Jason & The Golden Fleece (Episode #103)
KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 16, 2012 -- 12:00 AM
The third of Michael Wood's historical journeys takes viewers on a thrilling trek through India, Nepal and Tibet in search of Shangri-La. The tale of the magical valley hidden behind the Himalayas was popularized in the 1930s movie Lost Horizon, but the myth of a secret earthly paradise is much older. To find the truth behind the legend, Wood travels on foot through some of the world's most sacred mountains before finally reaching the fantastic ruins of a lost city, which he believes is the real inspiration behind the myth.
Arthur: The Once & Future King (Episode #102)
KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 9, 2012 -- 12:00 AM
In the second segment, Wood explores the greatest British myth: the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Traveling around the Celtic world from Cornwall to Wales, Brittany, Ireland and Scotland, Wood uncovers the extraordinary story of how a shadowy Welsh freedom fighter - a Dark Age Che Guevara - became a medieval superman and, finally, the model of a Christian hero. On the way, viewers discover the real stories behind the Round Table, Excalibur and the Holy Grail itself: the unattainable, mystical cup of Christ, which has inspired poets, novelists and filmmakers from the Middle Ages right down to Indiana Jones, Monty Python and The Da Vinci Code. In an intriguing piece of historical detective work, Wood offers a tantalizing glimpse of a historical Arthur - but in the unlikeliest of places.
The Queen of Sheba (Episode #101)
KQED Plus: Mon, Jan 2, 2012 -- 12:00 AM
In his first journey, Michael Wood looks for the Queen of Sheba, one of the world's most fascinating heroines. She's been portrayed as goddess, demon, femme fatale - but did she really exist? The myth of Sheba takes Wood on a quest for clues around the Red Sea, from Egypt to Eritrea and Ethiopia and on to the earliest civilization of Arabia in Yemen to reveal the surprising truth behind the legend.