Secrets of the Dark Ages
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When you think of brutal hand to hand warfare, you think of the soldiers of the Dark Ages -- the Vikings, the Goths, the Vandals and the Huns. This program will reveal their revolutionary fighting styles, and demonstrate what their greed-inspired aggression achieved for them. Where did they come from? Who are their descendants? Are any of their techniques and inventions still used? Watch this show and find out.
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This is a three-part series with each segment about 50 minutes in length. Each segment covers a differnt topic.
The first segment is entitled "History's Hell's Angels" and covers the period when the Roman empire is being assaulted on all fronts by "barbarians". The video does a good job of explaining that the Germanic people were actually settled, agricultural peoples who were being pushed against and through Roman boundaries by steppe horsemen - the Huns. Covers topics such as the Roman frontier defences, the Germanic people and their arts and outlook, the nomadic culture of the Huns. There is a very good segment on the composite bow and the military capabilities of the Huns. The DVD shows Germans such as Theodoric who very much become "Roman" in many ways.
The second segment is entitled "In A Time Of Shadows" and is the real gem in the series. Covers Germanic migration/conquest of Britain beginning in Denmark and Germany. One notices how many combs are recovered from graves (male graves just as often as female) showing that these "barbarians" are not savages that Hollywood movies show them to have been. Covers Saxon ships and their capabilities for long-distance travel. Anglo-Saxon/Germanic pattern-welded sword making is covered well. The video covers Anglo-Saxon village life at West Stow and other sites and confronts the myth of dirty, knuckle-dragging barbarians living short and mean existances. In fact these people did quite well and were in communication and trading with the continent and further afield. Covers Sutton Hoo and the treasures as well as the period in English history when Christianity was changing the society.
The third segment, "Out Of The Shadows", focuses on centers of knowledge and learning in the "dark ages". Covers topics such as the Lindisfarne Gospels and the artistic craft coming from Christian churchmen. The DVD introduces the viewer to men such as Bede, an English monk who knew the world was round and, although he knew nothing of gravity, knew that the moon influenced tides. Men such as Bede were in communication with each other spreading early science, philosophy, arts. It covers the Viking period, showing the Vikings as raiders, conquerers, colonizers as well as traders, merchants and craftsmen. The video moves on to Muslim Spain, another center of learning on the European continent and where many of the Greek and Roman classics were preserved and disseminated.
This series is very well done, provoking much thought in the viewer and doing so in a very entertaining fashion. Re-enactments are very good, the viewer gets a chance to see artifacts as well as displays of ancient technology whether it's sailing a saxon ship or making a pattern-welded sword. This is an excellent DVD and worth every penny of the price!
Quite worth watching if you are interested in these topics.