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I recently was given the opportunity to see a pre-release version of a new film coming to the History Channel. This film is called The Dark Ages. (review date: Feb 10, 07)

I have the Dark Ages Game right here on this site for you to play. -See behind the scenes footage, Play the Puzzled by the Dark Ages Game, Make your own Medieval Character or enter the Contest to Win a Playstation 3. Play The Dark Ages

The Dark Ages Premieres Sunday, March 4th at 9 PM/8C on The History Channel©

If you are a serious fan of things Medieval you have really got to see this film. Make room in your schedule Sunday night at 9. If you are just a casual fan of medieval things and like knights and just kind of peek into it once in a while then you really have to watch this special. You are going to get hooked on the subject.

The Beauty of what the History Channel Does

Let me tell you a little bit about this film and about how the History Channel does it, because they do it so well. This film is all about a great blending of telling you what happened during this 600-year period of European History called the Dark Ages. But it isn’t just about telling you what happened. It also shows you what happened. They have a group of scholars and experts in the field who explain how things happened and how this dark period unfolded. But they also show you what happened. While the narrator is explaining the Fall of Rome you get to see it fall. While he is explaining how Ivar the Boneless made his push into conquering Europe you get to see Ivar in action. Is there any better way to learn about a subject? It’s almost as good as a time machine!

What I learned about the Dark Ages from this film.

Everybody has heard about the dark ages and we all kind of have the idea that there were terrible wars and horrific plaques. But do you really know what the Dark Ages were all about?

It all started on one single day -with the fall of Rome. The film explains this to you and gives you an explanation of how the fall had been brewing for quite a while. It then moves on into the ups and downs of the various kings and conquerers who attempted to solidify Europe over the centuries. And just as it looked like Europe might turn a corner, the bubonic plague hit, killing an estimated 100 million people and setting us, as a world, right back into darkness for another couple of centuries.

Ok, so how did we finally come out of the Dark Ages?

This question leads me into some very important things about the film and about the Dark Ages. There are two points that I want to cover.

1. Were knights noble or brutal?
If you are a bit of a fan of the history of knights you know that there has been a big battle raging about what knights were really like. One school of thought is that they were just a bunch of bullies that brutalized peasants into obedience and stole, by force, anything they could get. The second school of thought is that they truly did have a code of conduct (chivaly) and they followed it -And that a few bad knights has given them a bad reputation. The Dark Ages film takes this question head on and answers it plainly: both! Through the progression of the Dark Ages as things got really bad and small lordships were battling for turf knights really were brutal. It was par for the course and this lasted for centuries. But as powerful men began to reunite Europe knighthood evolved into the code of chivalry. It is a well thought out and great explanation. And of course, you get to see it happening.

2. How a few men and women shaped the world we know today

This is the second point of the film that I want to share with you. There were just a handful of individuals that plunged us into the dark ages, slowly over the centuries tried to bring us out of it, then eventually did bring us out of it. Some of them like Charlemagne and St. Benedict you are probably familiar with. But did you know that it was Alaric, King of the Visigoths who brought Rome down? Have you ever heard of Ivar the Boneless? Know how he got his name? Have you ever heard of Queen Theodora? It is said that her extraordinary beauty was matched only by her ambition and that she nearly brought the world out of the Dark Ages and on the very brink of success her dream was extinguished by the coming of the bubonic plague that killed her husband and 100 million other people.

This theme of a few larger-than-life people shaping the world is one worth further exploring and I am currently putting together some nice information about who they were and what they did. I will post more information for you on this blog and I will give you links to what I create. For now all I can say is that you really should check out the The History Channel: The Dark Ages. It’s coming on March 4 at 9 PM Eastern Time. If you can’t fit it into your schedule then Tivo it or record it. You will be glad you did.

Oh and I never did answer the question of how did we come out of the Dark Ages! Well to find out the answer to that question you’re just going to have to watch the show!


The History Channel Official YouTube Video Group

The Official History Channel Flickr Page for the film – Some great images directly from the film.

Here’s a link directly into the History Channel commercial for The Dark Ages Film The first screen you see is of two men with headphones on! This is the Dark Ages commercial and it's a riot.

The History Channel Presents The Crusades - Crescent & The Cross

Interested in learning more about the Dark Ages? The crusades were in the latter part of the period. The History Channel has created a film about this.