The Dark Ages: The Age of Lights (BBC Documentary 2012)

Dark Ages3 Kernels

Well, I’ve stumbled across another great documentary on Acorn TV from a rather colorful narrator – Waldemar Januszczak, an art critic. Once again, had he taught in my high school, I might have actually listened and learned.

Though he’s not as good looking as Dan Jones from Secrets of Great British Castles, he is entertaining in his quirky presentation and voice. Instead of crawling into dungeons, Waldemar has the habit of getting on his knees to point locations on a map. Besides the information you receive, this show is also an armchair travel event around the world to ruins, old churches, and museums that will astound you at every turn.

This utterly fascinating series brought to light a ton of information about lost civilizations in the Dark Ages and the contributions they left behind that were actually enlightening. The documentary is a four-part episode:

  • Episode One: The Clash of the Gods
  • Episode Two: What the Barbarians Did for Us (Huns, Vandals, and Goths)
  • Episode Three: The Wonder of Islam
  • Episode Four: The Men of the North

The first episode astounded me. The depiction of early Christian art and how it intertwined with the Roman and Greek gods is evident. It’s interesting to note how a young and rather happy Jesus morphed over the centuries into a very different portrayal of a suffering Christ.  Early Christian symbols and their explanations are also touched upon.

What the barbarians offered in the way of art and architecture gives an in-depth look into civilizations that rose and fell but left behind astounding creations. The portrayal of the barbarians and how they were demonized in story-telling throughout centuries has cast a dark shade of untruths. Especially the “Goths,” who we think of today as a movement into the dark side, when in fact they were Christians who created beautiful mosaic artwork telling the story of Jesus.

The final two episodes focus on the emergence of Islam, it’s architecture and science and contribution to civilization.  Then he heads north to the Vikings, and the Norse gods and conversion to Christianity. They were craftsman who also made their mark of enlightenment in the Dark Ages.

If you are looking for another documentary that might add a bit more entertaining instruction into your life, you might take a look at this series.

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