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The Dark Ages: An Age of Light

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Editorial Reviews

“First-rate” —The Guardian (U.K.)
“Enlightening and entertaining” —The Sunday Times (U.K.)

The extraordinary art of an overlooked era

The early Middle Ages have been dismissed as a step backwards for civilization—a barbaric time in which warfare and conquest eclipsed learning and progress. But were the “Dark Ages” really so bleak? Art historian Waldemar Januszczak (Every Picture Tells a Story) says no, then takes us on an artistic journey back to this much-maligned epoch to reveal the evidence. He travels from Britain to North Africa and from Byzantium to Spain, finding beauty and refinement where one might have expected only brutality and destruction.

With Januszczak as a gregarious guide, witness the mysteries of early Christian art, Islam’s masterly mosques, intricate Anglo-Saxon metalwork, and the painstakingly illuminated Lindisfarne Gospels. Along the way, discover that the people who rose from the ashes of the Roman Empire did not lack for wisdom or beauty—they created their own age of light.

Writer and filmmaker Waldemar Januszczak has been the art critic for the Sunday Times (U.K.) since 1992. He has twice been honored as Critic of the Year by the Press Association of the United Kingdom and Ireland.


Special Features

BONUS FEATURES
• 12-page booklet with a timeline of the Dark Ages; articles on Christendom, Islam’s Golden Age, and the Byzantine Empire; and a glossary of barbarians
• Biography of Waldemar Januszczak

SDH subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Waldemar Januszczak
  • Directors: Waldemar Januszczak
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Athena
  • DVD Release Date: October 15, 2013
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00DW5ILXI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,764 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on September 12, 2013
Format: DVD
Dark Ages consists of 4th to 11th century. This BBC documentary is an educational look at an era that brought about wonders of art, architecture, artifacts, and aesthetics. But history has previously given it such dark connotations. This is an excellent film of visuals of the artistic treasures from all over the world of the Dark Age era. The Dark Ages were not as dark as the name suggests. Did the Barbarians get a bum rap? Narrator Waldemar Januszczak says "Yes." This British art historian is informative while entertaining. I first enjoyed his humorous presentation style in Every Picture Tells a Story . That is also recommended highly for art enthusiasts.

SDH SUBTITLES for all 4 hour-long episodes.
1 THE CLASH OF THE GODS--Persecuted Christians looked for new ways to visualize their God. Symbols evolved, placed on the tombs and artifacts surviving to today's modern times. They decorated elaborate worship spaces as well.

2 WHAT THE BARBARIANS DID FOR US--Barbarians caused Rome to fall. They took to Christianity and thus produced some of the greatest earthly architecture and artistic achievements of the Dark Ages. Huns--Vandals--Goths of the 4th century; misunderstood groups.

3 THE WONDER OF ISLAM--The Arabians birthed the Islam faith and it spread to the Christian regions. Islam art forms traveled with the movement and left a footprint behind. Its architecture was a wonder; a graphic eye-delight.

4 THE MEN OF THE NORTH--Viking raids on Ireland and Britain was a method to steal the monk's art treasures. However, the raiders were as accomplished in creating their own jewelry, calligraphy, Gospels, and bling.

A worthy addition for any artistic library: home, public, university, or gallery.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By NewAgeMama TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 27, 2013
Format: DVD
I have always been drawn to the Dark Ages. Despite its reputation as being a time of war and bloodshed, there was also a lot of beauty and especially a rise in spiritual awareness. This documentary touched on the magic of the Dark Ages in various parts of the world, bringing you proof of the beauty of the era through many different forms of art from paintings to the construction of the Islam's mosques.

The four episodes include:

THE CLASH OF THE GODS

WHAT THE BARBARIANS DID FOR US

THE WONDER OF ISLAM

THE MEN OF THE NORTH

The visuals in this series are so stunning, its easy to get lost in the past. You'll get a taste of Gothic architecture, Christian symbolism, Islam treasures, and Viking jewelry. This series truly shows that Dark Age weren't nearly as dark as their name implies and even shows us that no matter how different we are, the beauty of human creativity is a constant that weaves all us together throughout all the ages.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Fraser on January 9, 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ten of us watched this program in a church study group. We all loved it! Waldemar J. is very entertaining and the visual content is wonderful. I bought it for my family for Christmas.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Farr on April 15, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Waldemar Januszczak's videos. His extensive knowledge and no-nonsense witty delivery makes history and art very accessible for the everyday non-scholar who is interested such topics. He packs his programs with a lot of interesting history and facts while keeping it very watchable and utterly interesting and entertaining. The Dark Ages: An Age of Light got me very interested in a period of history I knew little about. After watching this program I was interested to find out more and have been doing a lot more reading on the topics and period of history that Mr. Januszszak covers in this program. For me this is worth every penny.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wilfried F. on August 1, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Excellent documentary. Mr Januszczak covers this interesting time very well in his unique ways of narrating. This series helps a lot with getting rid of a misconception regarding the dullness of this period in history.
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My only complaint is that Januszczak forgets that there is more to civilization than just great art. I don't care how sophisticated the Huns or the Vikings were in terms of their art. The centuries following the fall of the Roman Empire in the West were very dark in terms of the way people lived and what they knew.
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If you are into art you'll probably really like this. I was more interested in watching a documentary about the dark ages not knowing this was only about the art (I didn't notice the fine print on the cover) but I still enjoyed watching it. I'm not an artsy-fartsy person so I probably will not get much replay value out of this documentary.
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Wonderful tempo and presentation. Great presenter. Presented a much more objective viewpoint than I've had the privilege of learning before. He's great about giving credit to where credit is due in the various civilizations. Honest!
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