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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked it a lot
Well,I'll have to give this production a big thumbs up.
I enjoyed it immensely.

If you are an avid student of history-which many here are-I doubt you'll learn much that's new to you.
But,if for no other reason,the thing is worth owning for the visuals,which are magnificent.
And yes,this type of production will seem familiar to anyone that watches...
Published on December 8, 2008 by Gary S. Corbett

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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Normans
On the whole this was a good documentary. Very good footage of historic places and for the most part accurate. What was disappointing was the total inaccuracy of the crusades and the take over of the middle east and north africa by Islam. This was all done in the typical British fashion of being politically correct to the point of rewriting history to soothe the...
Published 24 months ago by Snert


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84 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked it a lot, December 8, 2008
By 
Gary S. Corbett (Mesquite,Texas,USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga (DVD)
Well,I'll have to give this production a big thumbs up.
I enjoyed it immensely.

If you are an avid student of history-which many here are-I doubt you'll learn much that's new to you.
But,if for no other reason,the thing is worth owning for the visuals,which are magnificent.
And yes,this type of production will seem familiar to anyone that watches The History Channel.
They used re-enactment groups for the battle scenes,which of course are never very realistic.No actual heads and arms being lopped off.But the regalia is all authentic,so you get an excellent visual sense of the era.
The Bayeux Tapestry footage is superb.

The disc is actually presented in 3 installments.
It shows the progression from Rollo down through William and on through the end,under John.
The main thing I'd never seen much about was the stuff about Robert Guiscard and Sicily.Never have really looked at that too closely,as my interests lie mainly in the goings-on in Northern Europe.The architecture and artwork shown from each era is all breathtaking.

My main quibble-and I'll probably be in the minority-is the soundtrack.It's like they are afraid of leaving much empty space.I always find it distracting while listening to narration,to have period instruments playing-too loudly-and singers singing-too loudly.It's like-enough is enough,ya know?
But then again,I'd rather listen to Muddy Waters singing Hoochie Coochie Man.
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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well done with a few caveats, May 29, 2010
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This review is from: The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga (DVD)
My so far brief reading and knowledge about Normans made me to get a copy of this 3-part documentary. What did I miss? The trilogy begins with the Battle of Hastings (invasion of England in 1066 by William the conqueror) and its immediate causes, but I was expecting a closer look into the previous origins of Normans. While it was not new for me, the second part dedicated to the Normans in southern Italy is quite interesting. Finally, I would say the few words about Richard the lion heart were a bit surprising to me (part 3). Overall then, I would recommend this documentary set as it is well done, with nice photography and entertaining narrative. While no subtitles are provided, the narrative and interviews are spoken in very clear English. Almost forgot, the medieval music used is really nice.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Normans, January 1, 2013
By 
Snert "TC" (Atlanta, GA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga (DVD)
On the whole this was a good documentary. Very good footage of historic places and for the most part accurate. What was disappointing was the total inaccuracy of the crusades and the take over of the middle east and north africa by Islam. This was all done in the typical British fashion of being politically correct to the point of rewriting history to soothe the muslims. Fact of the matter is that the muslims took over the middle east by force with great bloodshed and the crusades was not a racial war. It was a religious war trying to regain what Judaism and Christianity lost by force to the muslims.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Finely crafted, June 16, 2010
By 
Diego Banducci (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga (DVD)
Until a few years ago, I was largely ignorant of the Middle Ages, assuming that the civilized world went into a hiatus with the fall of Rome. Then I started reading about the Byzantine Empire, and many of the other empires of which the Normans were one.

What this video illustrates is that while the Normans were fierce warriors, they were also tolerant overlords who allowed their captive peoples to retain their own religions and social orders. In a relatively short period of time, they were assimilated into these captive peoples, and disappeared. The most interesting of these assimilations was that into the Catholic Church, which this program describes quite well.

As other reviewers have observed, this program is divided into three stand-alone parts, each excellent in its own way: (1) the early Norman conquests, from their Viking roots to their conquest of Britain at the Battle of Hastings, (2) their expansion throughout the Mediterranean, especially in southern Italy and Sicily, which at that time was a world power, and (3) their involvement in the Crusades (a nice discussion of Eleanor of Aquitaine here) and ultimately their full assimilation.

For me, the best segment was the second, when they were at the peak of their power, which included intelligent commentary by John Julius Norwich, author of a fine three-volume history of the Byzantine Empire Byzantium: The Early Centuries.

Unfortunately, the commentary is otherwise limited and quite prosaic. There is a French academic who renders some eminently forgettable comments, which are dutifully translated using subtitles. In this regard the program is not up to the History Channel standard.

One error deserves comment. In the second segment it is stated that Sicily was the only place in Europe where Christians, Jews and Muslims lived in relative harmony. That was also true of Moorish Spain at roughly the same time. Cities of Light: The Rise and Fall of Islamic Spain

If you like this video, you may enjoy The Teaching Company: The Vikings DVD series (The Teaching Company Great Courses Number 3910., Set of 6 DVDs with the course guide book)
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than your common "History Channel Style" documentary, November 6, 2012
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This review is from: The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga (DVD)
This documentary is 2.5 hours long , thorough, & very well presented. Its style is similar or even better than many "BBC style" documentaries. It has an English narrator who is both sober, objective and very informative in his narration . There are plenty of beautiful film shots (inside & out) of Norman castles, cathedrals, monuments & landscapes. There are also many quality & informative interviews with authors and professors regarding the battles of the Normans & their establishment of rule in both England as well as other parts of Europe. Also , another thing that sets this Norman historical documentary apart from others I have seen is that it really goes into the Norman history in other parts of Europe, not just in Britain and France. We see how they expanded in Italy and onto their crusades to the Middle East. The price for this documentary is reasonable considering the quality of its content.
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good and focused, February 19, 2010
This review is from: The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga (DVD)
As a descendant of these people, I was fascinated by the focused telling of their story. Soundtrack could have been better, though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intellectually satisfying and exceptional., April 4, 2012
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This review is from: The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga (DVD)
I thought this was a great trip through Norman culture, heretofore a very arcane subject now brilliantly illuminated. The photography was exceptional and really keeps the viewer coming back. Although there were a few points to quibble, such as the lack of anything on Henry I, the story line was very good. The episode into Italy and Sicily was like a trip to another planet and really illuminated on the true contributions of the Normans. The authors drew some excellent conclusions, especially some fresh material on Norman contributions as a whole. The dvds were good to own and great to watch, and should stir up some real conversations, even in academic circles.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative, June 7, 2010
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This review is from: The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga (DVD)
Very informative. Loved every minute of it. These are the sort of introductory history DVDs that should be shown in schools before teaching anything about the Norman conquests to get a good overall grasp of the situation. It also begs the question are the English really English or would it be better to refer to them as Viking-Saxons? Historians have already established the presence of a Celtic-Viking nation in and around the Irish Sea! In short, especially if we consider that Beowulf was a Goth from present day Sweden, I am getting to the point where I see Britain as more of an extension of Scandanavia then of Europe. Interestingly enough despite 21st century enlightenment the same feudal systems still prevail in Scandanavia i.e. monarchies :)).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars arcturus, July 21, 2014
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This review is from: The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga (DVD)
I was also a bit disappointed in this DVD ... Being of English heritage I was keen to learn more about the Norman influence in and around the British Isles but to my disappointment not mush in this area was forthcoming ... however it was interesting to learn of their influence within the Italian peninsular although commentary a bit starchy and monotonous heavily weighed down with theological history
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good educational documentary on the Normans, June 21, 2013
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This review is from: The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga (DVD)
This is a good educational DVD on the history of the Normans from its Scandinavian roots to its conquests of northern France, England and parts of Italy. The series is very informative, great footage and well documentary. I recommend it as a good addition to your educational library.
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The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga
The Normans - The Complete Epic Saga by William Rufus (DVD - 2008)
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