Central Europe's ancient civilizations have long been dominated by empires: The Roman Empire; the Habsburg Empire, based in Austria; and more recently, the Soviet Communists. But the decline of communism in the late twentieth century has unleashed old resentments, rivalries, and ambitions that have caused yet more war in this troubled region.
The lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea contain some of the oldest cultures on Earth. Italy and the other countries of Europe and North Africa have played a central role in various expanding empires, and also in shrinking fortunes. This presentation explores the broad sweep of history in one of the cradles of civilization.