Empires - Holy Warriors: Richard the Lionheart & Saladin
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Top Customer Reviews
One would get the impression that Richard I was the prime force behind the Crusade, depsite the fact that Barbarossa & the Germans left for the Holy Land a full two years earlier. The program would have you believe that after Barbarossa's death, the German armies simply melted away --- I believe the narrator actually said that most of the Germans "went home." If he meant that "home" was Antioch, then I suppose that is an accurate statement. It was the remnants of the German army (largely decimated by plague) that successfully defended Tyre (left almost unmentioned in this program) against Saladin's forces. Also barely mentioned is Phillip II of France, who played a key role in the political events that unfolded in the Holy Land.
The producers at least mentioned Richard's execution of the 3000 prisoners (following the siege of Acre), but left unmentioned is Richard's complicity in the assasination of Conrad of Montferrat, recently crowned King of Jerusalem, in 1192. The program would prefer to paint Richard as a noble warrior, rather than a political strategist of the first order. The political in-fighting between the Germans, French & English (not to mentioned the already entrenched Crusader States) is a not insignificant part of the story of the Third Crusade, but it goes entirely unmentioned here.
In fact, this program skims the topwaters to such a degree that only a historical neophyte could find much value in it. This program is a big disappointment overall.
I disagree with those who thought that the documentary was biased in favor of Richard I. Most of the historical commentators in the documentary were Arabic and greatly favored Saladin's position, and even one of the English commentators said that Saladin was far more noble than Richard; that they came from "different worlds," that Islam is about tolerance, and that Christianity was very intolerant at that period in history, and that Saladin was too noble to comprehend Richard's brand of dirty fighting. They also glossed over the massacre of the survivors of the Battle of Hattin, but gave a fair amount of time to the massacre of the 3000 Muslims of Acre.
From what I have heard of Saladin and Richard, Saladin probably really was more humanistic than Richard, and the Crusades were not the highest point in Christian tolerance (not that it was the high point in Muslim tolerance either), and I think that this documentary makes it very clear which religious group attacked the other first, and who was nobler of the two great military leaders. Neither the Christians nor their leader look very good in this documentary.
In light of a certain amount of anti-Muslim sentiment in the West following 9/11 and the attacks in Europe, and the ensuing war, it is understandable that the makers of the documentary would look back on the Crusades and find fault in Western behavior.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There have been some extensive reviews of this video, but the reasons I like it are this: it presents Saladin as the great leader he was. Read morePublished 19 months ago by R. Henley
Richard the Lionheart is my 21st Great Uncle! He is wonderful! This is well done. Everyone who enjoys history will love this!Published on July 9, 2014 by Jan Little
What happens when you take two religious faiths who are hopelessly at odds with each other who want the same thing? You have the Crusades. Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by Mark
Any secondary school teaching the new National Curriculum MUST get this DVD. It is an outstanding resource for the medieval topic of Year 8 history. Read morePublished on July 13, 2011 by Andrew Bell
This fanciful tale was barely historical. The muslim scholars they used were obviously going to portray islam and Saladin in the best possible light. Read morePublished on March 22, 2011 by Porter
What is the difference between reading about the 16th century Deformation (aka Protestant Reformation) and the Crusades from a "secular" library? There is no difference. Read morePublished on December 18, 2010 by Sexy Bachelor
I read the reviews on this DVD before purchasing it and they were stellar. However, I was enthralled with it until it reached the end; which in point of fact should have been the... Read morePublished on December 8, 2008 by GreyPony
Empires: Richard the Lionheart & Saladin (Holy Warriors) is an excellent documentary which brings to the screen one of the most exciting periods in History: the era of the... Read morePublished on August 4, 2008 by L Gontzes