Terry Jones’ Barbarians take a look at Roman history and the barbarians fighting the Empire. But were they really savage barbarians, as depicted by the Romans? Evidence shows the barbarian tribes had a rich culture, sophisticated science and a brilliant military.
In this four-part BBC series, Monty Python alum Terry Jones travels throughout the geography of the Roman Empire and 700 years of history arguing that we have been sold a prejudiced history of Rome that has twisted our entire understanding of the Britons, Gauls, Vandals and Goths.
A rare blend of scholarly research (as in Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives) combined with Jones’ witty approach makes this a must for any history lover.
This 4-part documentary series is made into one playlist. Each episode starts automatically when the previous one has ended. If you’d like to choose another episode yourself, you can click the playlist symbol on the lower right side of the YouTube video.
Episode 1: The Primitive Celts
In 58 BC Julius Caesar invaded Celtic Gaul. He claimed it was to protect the northern borders of the Empire from these volatile people. But Terry discovers that Caesar’s account was a smokescreen for a more sinister truth.
According to Rome, The Celts were a warring and illiterate people. Yet Terry discovers that these people had mathematical know-how way beyond the Romans. They also had a society that, in stark contrast to Rome, was compassionate and protected the young and the weak, one built on an advanced and complex trading network that spread way beyond the borders of the Celtic world.
So why was Caesar so hell-bent on the destruction of these civilised people? The latest archaeological evidence has revealed that the Celtic world was built on vast deposits of gold, and the Celts were gold miners par excellence. The ambitious Caesar was in poverty and the rich, sophisticated Celts were there for the taking.
Episode 2: The Savage Goths
In this episode Jones takes a look at Arminius, a chieftain of the Germanic Cherusci who defeated a Roman army in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, the Dacian Wars – between 101–102 and 105–106 AD and Alaric I’s sack of Rome.
Episode 3: The Brainy Barbarians
Jones argues that the ancient Greeks and Persians were in reality far from the Roman view of them as effeminate and addicted to luxury. The Greeks valued science and mathematics, while the Persians had initially allowed multiculturalism among the different ethnic groups of its empire (until years of war with Rome).
Episode 4: The End of the World
Around 400 AD, two Barbarian babies were born. One would grow up to become the most feared of all – Attila the Hun. The other, Geiseric, led the Vandals whom history has cast as destroyers. Jones finds out that Roman civilization wasn’t destroyed by the invasion of these tribes, but by the loss of the North African tax base. He sees the common view of Rome and “Barbarians” as a result of the Roman Catholic Church popularizing the Roman version of the truth.