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The River Runs West

Bettany is the producer and expert for a landmark 15 part series made in association with Medem, The Centre for the Alliance of Civilisations, Turkey.

The story of the birth, emergence and flourishing of civilisation in the Middle East and its influence on the west. Until very recent times Europe has existed on the Western margins of the real engine room of civilisation. For crucial phases in world history the political, economic and cultural centre of the world was the Middle East. From the belief in one god to the foundations of science, from the first commercial markets to notions of justice, civil rights and artistic expression, the ideas that dominate the world today were shaped in this extraordinary region at the crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa. The River Runs West is not the story of any one culture or people, but the story of civilisation itself, our shared inheritance, viewed through the narratives of the region at its heart. From the ancient world to the 21st Century, this is a journey of discovery, full of fascinating new detail and fresh points of view that challenge western perceptions of the Middle East. Over the centuries the shape of the Middle East has been constantly shifting, the only place in the world to have been a key part of the empires of Romans and Mongolians and extend its influence as far as Spain and Indonesia. This constant flux has repeatedly changed the world – allowing ideas to travel between East and West, and generating its own distinct cultures, technology and philosophies.

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