Terry Jones’ Barbarians [Complete Documentary]

There is a famous saying: “history is written by the victors”. The Roman Empire was one of the greatest military forces of our history, conquering much of the “known world”. This means that a big part of our history was written by the Romans. I remember learning in school about Rome’s military potency and their cultural heritage. Later, I begun educating myself and I was surprised to find out that many of the things that I knew about their legacy were actually not true.

Terry Jones’ Barbarians” is probably my favorite historical documentary, challenging the Roman and Roman catholic notion of those they had labeled as barbarian.

Episode 1: “The Primitive Celts”


“The popular view of Celtic society is that it was primitive and uncivilized. Terry Jones sets out to challenge this view. Far from being primitive compared to Rome, it was an advanced society that was in some ways even more advanced than Rome. For example, many of the roads in Gaul that were assumed to have been built by the Romans, turn out to have been built by the Celts themselves. However, Gaul was rich and tempting to Rome. The Roman general, Julius Caesar, set out to conquer Gaul with a professional army. The Celts stood no chance against Caesar and the Romans, and so today what we have is Rome’s version of history.”


Episode 2: “The Savage Goths”

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 claims 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.”


Sources: Wikipedia, BBC 2

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