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Bettany Hughes , Timothy Copestake  |  NR |  DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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WHEN THE MOORS RULED IN EUROPE + Hidden Colors 3:The Rules Of Racism + Hidden Colors 2: The Triumph Of Melanin
Price for all three: $60.47

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bettany Hughes
  • Directors: Timothy Copestake
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: June 10, 2008
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0013XS87U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,431 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


"The drama seems infused, suddenly, with important complexity, with great questions of war, peace, civilian casualties -- The Wall Street Journal

highly informative and entertaining -- Memorable TV

Product Description

How Islamic civilization tamed Western Europe

"Inspiring" --The Observer (U.K.)

Join British historian Bettany Hughes as she examines a long-buried chapter of European history--the rise and fall of Islamic culture in what is now Spain and Portugal. Although generations of Spanish rulers have tried to expunge this era from the historical record, recent archaeology and scholarship now shed fresh light on the Moors who flourished in Al-Andalus for more than 700 years.

This fascinating two-part documentary explodes old stereotypes and offers shocking new insights. You’ll discover the ingenious mathematics behind Granada’s dazzling Alhambra Palace, trace El Cid’s lineage to his Moorish roots, and learn how the Iberian population willingly converted to Islam in droves.

Through interviews with noted scholars, you’ll see how Moorish advances in mathematics, astronomy, art, and agriculture helped propel the West out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance. What emerges is a richly detailed portrait of a sensuous, inquisitive, and remarkably progressive Islamic culture in Christian Europe.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent information for an appealing documentary! April 19, 2013
I found this documentary very informative and beautiful to watch. As other reviewers have noted, this does not have as much factual information as an educated reader could learn from a text in the same time as it takes to view the film - but these media serve different purposes and, frankly, different people, or at least people with different inclinations about how they would like to spend their time.

The information I learned here does also align with what I had already learned about this period of Spain's history from other sources, so I am doubtful that she is somehow just trying to be an iconoclast for the sake of being shocking. Rather, I suspect she takes on material that tends to be colored in one, plausibly inaccurate, light - history, as they say, is written by the victors (and sometimes the dictators, later on, like Franco).

Yes, Bettany Hughes is beautiful and is shown speaking to the camera and interviewing other people in the documentary, just as men have been and continue to do in documentaries on diverse subjects. I am not, in the slightest, aware how her physical presence on screen detracts from the documentary, or how she is seen as self-aggrandizing. I don't recall a single comment she made in the documentary about how intelligent she is or how much she knows or even why she knows it. I think that this ad hominem attack is probably simply because she is a woman, period, in a male-dominated field.

I would agree with the reviewer who noted that it would be wise to discuss the contributions of the Jewish people to learning, in the time of Moorish Spain, as well as the consequences to them of the Spanish Inquisition, but I do not think it is a dramatic failing of the film.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Job! December 29, 2011
By Lector
Verified Purchase
It is one of the best documentaries that I have ever seen before about Spain. The Spanish people should see this video if they want to know their past.
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43 of 55 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too Common Selective Reading of History December 16, 2008
Historian Bettany Hughes gives a decent, sometimes too politically correct overview of the influence of Islam on Medieval Spain. Ms. Hughes starts her journey with the conquest of the Visigoth Kingdom by the Moors coming from North Africa at the beginning of the 8th century C.E. She ends this journey with the fall of the Moorish Kingdom of Granada at the hands of the armies of the Catholic Monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand at the end of the 15th century C.E. Ms. Hughes introduces her audience to the splendors of Moorish architecture in cities such as Grenada, Cordoba, and Toledo. Ms. Hughes rightly reminds viewers about the decisive but often-ignored contribution of Moorish Spain to the European Renaissance in domains such as medicine, mathematics, and astronomy. Italy is usually credited as the key driver for the European Renaissance. To her credit, Ms. Hughes emphasizes that the Christian Reconquista of Moorish Spain often was about gaining land, prestige, and wealth under a veneer of religious fervor. The Reconquista turned out to be a civil war rather than the black-and-white antagonism between Christianity and Islam that has carried the day in the popular imagination. Many inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula converted to Islam for a variety of reasons in the centuries following the arrival of the Moors. Ms. Hughes rightly compares the expulsion of many Muslims from Spain after 1492 C.E. with what is today understood as ethnic cleansing. Ms. Hughes is at her weakest when she almost completely ignores the important contribution of the Jewish community to the splendor of Moorish Spain. This lapse of judgment is somewhat surprising because Ms. Hughes rightly denounces again and again the selective interpretation that has been given to the contribution of Moorish Spain to this day.
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65 of 86 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Brothers & Sisters, Don't Waste Your Money or Time! February 19, 2012
Verified Purchase
This review is the opinion of 3 people that watched this dvd.
If you are in the process of studying our stolen history as I am, don't bother with this dvd. This product it seems, is more about the historian presenting it. The whole thing is following her through a few buildings and lands while she talks. I learned more from 2 pages of my book on the Moors than this whole dvd. The dvd even has her biography on it! Not information about the Moors, about HER!
Do as you please, but I'm trying to tell you so you won't be angry about the price you paid for this boring dvd.The Europeans may find it interesting, but we (AA)didn't. I'll be selling my copy.
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38 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Few TV Documentaries Rise to this Level October 10, 2008
Combining excellent imagery, appropriate graphics, and expert narration, this documentary boldly goes into historical depth and will not lose its viewers in the process. Rather than cultural bias, historical pragmatics are at the heart of this somewhat new approach to Spain under Muslim rule. It is not a revisionist view for most of us who have been following developments in this field for the past 25 years; it is now completely accepted among scholars that the divisions between the muslims and other groups in Spain were exaggerated in the past. However, Islam in the middle ages was anything but marginal in its level of sophistication. What better way to demonstrate this than with the wonderfully technical yet never dry diagrams of the Alhambra in this film. Olé (yes, the muslims gave Spain that word, too)!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Fabricated
It would have been nice if the director and producer would have shown the real Moors from Africa.
Published 6 days ago by Malachi Bryant
3.0 out of 5 stars Important info left out
While this program was informative, it left out some key elements during the time "when the moors ruled in europe:" namely the Jews. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Paula S.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 24 days ago by KALA
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and insightful
History is written by the people sometimes. Excellent and insightful.
Published 1 month ago by Daniel Small
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I regret that great deal of the history was left out. This is sad.
Published 1 month ago by Kakuyon
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time or money. Facts are missing.
I was not happy at all with this documentary. At no time did the film maker or narrator show what the Moors looked like. Read more
Published 2 months ago by MDavis7000
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very nice.
Published 2 months ago by jabradi
2.0 out of 5 stars This was not helpful at all in capturing the importance ...
This was not helpful at all in capturing the importance of the Moors in changing Europe. I doubt if the word "Moor" was used 3 times!
Published 2 months ago by Muriel Lotrin
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST documentary about Moors in Spain
Ms Bettany Hughes is great but this documentary is absolutely FABULOUS, I enjoyed it so much that I watched it already 3 times and have recommended it widely. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Dulcinea del Toboso
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Was not what I thought it was going to be.
Published 2 months ago by sandra parker
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