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Series: Barbarians: Secrets of the Dark Ages

 

History Hells Angels

       History
Richard Rudgley goes in search of evidence of the barbarians of the dark ages, people whose names have for 1500 years been bywords for mindless brutality. The real truth about the barbarians who marched across Europe during the Dark Ages is more shocking than what you may know. Where did they come from? Who are their descendants? Are any of their techniques and inventions still used? Richard discovers the secrets of forgotten empires, and of mighty clashes throughout Europe. The art, society and cultural legacy of the barbarians are shown to have shaped and moulded the destiny of Europe even more than the Roman Empire.
In the first part of the journey through the Dark Ages we will be tracing the legacies of the Huns, Vandals and Goths, to ask whether the 'dark ages' represent a resurfacing of much older tribal lines. Sites in Austria show how sophisticated pre-Roman communities had become with evidence of stunning craftsmanship and sophisticated farming techniques which defy the image of a mindless rabble we have come to accept without challenge.

In a Time of Shadows

       History
On the second part of his journey through the dark ages Richard Rudgley continues into the age of the wandering peoples, the Volkerwanderung. These Northern people enjoyed a golden age unaffected by Rome and just 30 years after the Romans relinquished Britain, the 'Anglo-Saxons' made their move. The bedraggled legions are in retreat. Walls are pulled down. Mosaics shattered. And yet there never was a people called Anglo-Saxon. We look at the lasting influence of Saxon leaders like Alfred the Great, and his blue print for social justice.

Out of the Darkness

       History
The third assault on the tattered remains of Roman civilization came from even further North, where the melting glacial ice had created immense sheltered fjords, leaving its inhabitants little choice but the sea. These fearless navigators understood that dominion over the oceans was the key to their ambitions.
Where the Romans expanded incrementally, the Vikings adopted a bolder, more aggressive approach. So was it the Dark Age which failed Europe, or the stifling uniformity of the great Roman experiment? Were the lost tribes more victim than failure? Richard Rudgley will hope to shed new light on the real secrets of the so-called Dark Age.
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