From his silver throne in the glittering palace of Versailles, Louis XIV watched over his kingdom, resplendent in majesty. Everything about being a king was designed, considered, exalted. He taught the world what kings should look like, sound like, how they should walk and eat. He made himself the centre of the French universe, and epitomised the very idea of absolute monarchy. Within a hundred years of his death, everything he had painstakingly imbued into France had been ripped apart by revolution. Join us on a journey into the history of France in this episode of Blind History…

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In central Iran, at the foot of a low hill overlooking a seemingly endless plain, stand a few broken columns reaching impossibly high for ruins. Atop one or two are the stern, proud faces of bulls and eagles, battered by the sands of 2300 years of history. In the great appadana that once stood there, Darius, King of kings, used to sit and preside over a parade of nations that had come to honour him. The most diverse, multicultural empire of the ancient world: Persia.

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In a time of men - of the enlightenment and of extraordinary change, a young German princess found herself at the reins of the great Russian Empire. She was never anyone’s wife or lover - she made the rules. Catherine the Great was precisely that... great.

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Perhaps no other American family was ever so photographed, written about, talked about, admired, hated and controversial. Were they brilliant, heroic, extraordinary people or arrogant, competitive, self-absorbed children of a wilful, overambitious patriarch? Most people think they know the Kennedys. We’ll tell you what you don’t know.

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Perhaps no other single human has had such a lasting and powerful effect on the idea of civilisation. For his long reign, Augustus mostly wanted to be called ‘First Citizen’, but in effect he was one of the most powerful men to ever walk the Earth. He instituted a period of peace called the Pax Romana, something that was unknown in the brutal ancient world. He made laws, elevated culture, commissioned public works and vanquished all his enemies. By the time he died, he had brought about the creation of the greatest empire known to man.

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Anyone who has ever heard of King Henry VIII knows he had many wives. Some even know their names. Their individual stories are complex, beautiful, sad, poignant and remarkable. In an age where women are finally being given their due, these six Queens deserve to be known for more than just the man they married...

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There are some names that send a shudder through the air. Some names that have changed whole countries. Names that hang like a dark cloud over history. Idi Amin is such a name. The whole of East Africa - even the world - is still flabbergasted that as recently as 40 years ago, this evil man was able to murder thousands and get away with it. Did he deserve such fear and ignominy? Find out in this episode of Blind History...

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Socrates, Aristotle and Plato are the fathers of Western (if not world) philosophy. Despite us knowing so little about their lives, they have an enduring influence on every aspect of our thinking and understanding. The university, the academy, the school... these things all come from the three great philosophers - men who actually lived, and knew each other. It's time we got to know them.

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We end season two of Blind History in Ancient Rome... the place that gave us Hadrian, Augustus, Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. But this time we investigate the bad emperors - the ones who murdered, ruined, destroyed and perverted the greatest empire of antiquity. Caligula, Nero, Commodus and Elagabalus were some the most depraved men to exercise absolute power - and their lives were brutal and merciless.

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Who is the most powerful Kim in the world? No, it isn’t Kim Kardashian - it’s a small Korean man with a bad haircut. He also has his finger on the button of a dangerous nuclear arsenal and the command of the third largest standing army on earth. Kim Jong-Un is the latest in a succession of Kims who rule North Korea - and their private lives are wilder than their public personas. Find out about them in this episode of Blind History.

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