Dvd Classics: Crusades
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Top Customer Reviews
The Crusades were far more complicated than the simplistic Bad Guys (ignorant Europeans/Christians) against the Good Guys (enlightened Arabs/Moslems) picture would make us believe. Historical perspective helps us see the Crusades as a chapter in the (sometimes quite deadly) embrace of two world religions.Read more ›
It's a good starting point. Anyone who takes it to mean that the whole series is about nothing but the awfulness of the Crusaders is just being stupid.
I can't imagine a better general introduction to the Crusades than this series. Jones discusses the social background, diverse interests, and triggering events that first set the Crusaders' feet on the road to the Holy Land. He doesn't stop there. His handling of his material is simultaneously lighthanded, judicious, and intelligent.
What this series isn't:
1. A comedy routine. Not that it isn't funny whenever there's occasion to be; but that's not the main point of it.
2. A complete history of the Crusades. It couldn't be. Nor is it meant to be. If Terry Jones had tried to squeeze the whole history of the Crusades into four episodes, the series would have been unwatchable, and he still wouldn't have gotten everything in.
3. An "Us versus Them" vindication of Westerners, Christians, and Crusaders, as opposed to all those wicked Middle Easterners, Muslims, and other Sneaky Mediterraneans. Frankly, it's embarrassing how many reviewers here are outraged at what they perceive as Jones's failure to condemn the entire Medieval Islamic world.
Some of the series' strong points:
1. The role of unintended consequences. No one had any idea what they were starting.Read more ›
Jones approaches his subject from what might be called a neo-European perspective, looking at the era mostly as two centuries of western interference in the Middle East. That's not necessarily a bad thing: in fact, it's perfect when Jones details Crusader horrors, giving them an immediate, in-our-streets quality. But the approach loses its footing when Jones explains the ambitions, the background and the people of the wars.
This leads to a few minor but irritating lapses. Jones sees the pope's political ambition as the sole spark of the First Crusade; you'd never know Christians and Muslims had fought each other in Spain for nearly 400 years by 1095. A statement by Saladin that his people had always been in possession of Palestine goes unchallenged (it's not like Jews lived there for 5,000 years or anything).
The biggest sins are errors of ommission. There's virtually nothing about the internal government of the Crusader states, the feudalization of Palestine or the fact they actually got along with their Muslim neighbors when their French and German brethren weren't leading cavalry charges across the sands. Worse, the Byzantine Empire is used solely to bookend the first and fourth crusades.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I would have preferred a little background information about the Muslim conquests to explain why there were so many Muslims in the middle east at the time of the crusades.Published 6 months ago by rhombus
I watched this when I was a kid. It's a well done story. And I it might be true. Glad it's available on DVD.Published 7 months ago by Razor
I am not a scholar by any stretch of the imagination. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Terry Jones makes it enjoyable. I learned a lot as well.Published 11 months ago by william brennan
I got the dvd on time and in good shape and it works fine. I love the dvd because terry jones is a genius who presents history as it can be understood by all and with a tongue in... Read morePublished on April 6, 2014 by Margaret Doheny
This presentation by Terry Jones is from 2001 so it is newer than what I learned in school yet still missing a decade or so of anything found sense then. Read morePublished on March 28, 2014 by Bernie
Very enjoyable and informative. Leaves you wanting more.
Love the shot of T. Jones walking on the beach in a speedo and talking about the importance of washerwomen with mock... Read more
Lacks a comprehensive perspective and is way too long. You don't leave the show feeling you quite understand what happened at a big picture level.Published on December 18, 2013 by Emanuel Perdis
If you like history and humor then this is an ok series to watch. Not to heavy on facts and dates but gives you a basic understanding what the holy crusades were about. Read morePublished on July 6, 2013 by C. Stalmer
Terry Jones of Monty Python may be a comedian but he is hardly an historian. His presentation is manipulative, omits several key factors, and does a disservice to Western... Read morePublished on April 29, 2013 by Mark
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