When we are first exposed to educational topics that excite and stimulate our minds, the manner with which the information is delivered becomes the template for future learning.
What do I mean? My preference is British.
But, more than British, it must have a glorious British narrator who has gravitas-a certain weight and authority to their delivery and personality. For example, James Galway's marvelous music history series, Music in Time, had the sparkling Irish charm, but the narrator was a British historian whose voice spoke of deep authority. That's my quirk and I have to live with it.
Host Waldemar Januszczak's down-to-earth, almost satiric style takes a bit of an adjustment. From the pointed hair to the use of contemporary slang, Januszczak (a Brit by way of Poland) can come off as trying too hard to reach a younger audience. For example, describing the barbarians' jewelry as "bling."
Still, this is a wonderful exploration of an age that has a terrible moniker that implies it was an age of ignorance. I recall trying to research this era's art and being told by a librarian that there were "many books on Renaissance art." This is a real attitude embraced by even the most educated among us. Truly sad.
The so-called Dark Ages is a lively age of art that speaks of a vitality, an exquisite artistic capability and has a way of getting communicating its mystic message across the ages.
Delightful bits that we learn:
- the rotas square
- the secret signs of Christianity
- the sources of the many images of Christ
- the humble beginnings of the Christian church
- barbarian is a misleading term and their culture/art is exquisite
We learn that the horned Viking helmet was a 19th century opera costume invention and had nothing to do with the real Vikings.
This set had two discs and has four episodes. I liked them all, although I did not really care about episode three which presented Islamic architecture (although the intricate decorations are incredible).
Overall, we learn quite a bit about this mysterious age and the host is very engaging.
Buy it at Amazon.