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Tony Grist

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Januszczak On The Dark Ages 2 [Dec. 5th, 2012|10:19 am]
Tony Grist
The Huns may have been warlike but they also made lovely things out of gold. Their king, Attila, wasn't just or even primarily a destroyer but the ruler of an empire that rivaled Rome in size. On a field in Hungary they're in the process of building a replica of his wooden palace- a weird and beautiful thing- part Star Wars, part My Little Pony.

The Vandals started off in the Baltic, zig-zagged all over Europe and ended up in Carthage where they adopted Roman culture and built and wrote poems about bath houses. Waldemar waved a folder in our faces labelled "Vandal Poems" (oh, he was having fun). The Ostrogoths under Theodoric built San Vitale in Ravenna which has gorgeous mosaics. The Visigoths went to Spain and invented the horseshoe arch before handing it on to the Muslims for further development.

All these people were really rather wonderful and they reinvigorated western culture. It's time we stopped representing them as- well- vandals, goths and huns. 

[User Picture]From: wyrmwwd
2012-12-05 06:01 pm (UTC)
I agree completely. A friend of mine wrote a book about them in the 80s... a lovely illustrated thing that I still have somewhere.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-12-05 08:13 pm (UTC)
The art is amazing.
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From: cmcmck
2012-12-05 06:27 pm (UTC)
The only problem so far with the series was the first programme (the only programme thus far as you know)! I fail to see how Byzantium counts in any way as 'Dark Ages' and I wish he hadn't used the term which historians (such as my goodself albeit this isn't anything like my period) dropped decades ago. Theodoric was nothing like a barbarian.

I'm hoping things improve as it goes along.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2012-12-05 08:21 pm (UTC)
I think the title is designed to pull in the punters. I'm just grateful for an opportunity to look at the art.
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