Another nice BBC documentary, this time on the Dark Ages. Waldemar Januszczak shows that this period wasn’t just a gloomy and backward one. Because there are so few written sources from this period, the main focus lies on art, and how society is reflected therein.
Episode 1: The Clash of the Gods
The emergence of Christianity into the Roman Empire in the third and fourth century is shown in this first episode. Januszczak shows how the early Christians used signs and symbols for the use of their religion. Also the changing image of Christ himself is investigated. Early Christians thought of Christ like a slightly feminine Roman Noble whereas later Christians adopted the image of the suffering Christ on the cross. Very interesting episode that challenges our perception of Christian images.
Episode 2: What the Barbarians Did for Us
Who invented the trousers? Well, not the Romans. The Goths, riding their horses, wanted to keep warm while riding their horses and came up with this brilliant piece of clothing. This episode examines the true meaning of the barbarians, long seen as the destroyers of Rome without any cultural achievements. This images has been adjusted recently: our image of the barbarian was a piece of Roman propaganda that survived for many ages.
Episode 3: The Wonder of Islam
During the Middle Ages, the Islam religion emerged, and aggressively expanded into Europe. After the conquest, in the countries under Islam religion, artistic and scientific achievements stunned the world.
The Men of the North
The Vikings are known for their plundering raids on the European mainland. But they weren’t backward barbarians; they were creative craftsmen and skillful seafarers. This episode shows their and their victims art: from the Frankish crown of Charles Martel to the Angosaxon treasures of Suttan Hoo.