Tuesday, February 19, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different: Brainy Barbarians

So you think you know everything about the Romans, do you? They gave us sophisticated road systems, chariots and the modern-day calendar. And of course they had to contend with barbarian hordes who continually threatened the peace, safety and prosperity of their Empire. Didn't they? Terry Jones' "Barbarians" takes a completely different approach to Roman history. Not only does it offer us the chance to see the Romans from a non-Roman perspective, it also reveals that most of the people written off by the Romans as uncivilized, savage and barbaric were in fact organized, motivated and intelligent groups of people, with no intentions of overthrowing Rome and plundering its Empire.

This episode focuses on the inventiveness of different peoples that the Romans regarded as "barbarians," Although that's perhaps stretching the term a bit beyond its conventional definition because in this case it's applied mainly to the Greeks of Syracuse and Rhodes, and to the Parthians (successors to the Persians).

The first part of the series is available at Guba.