Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Byzantium The Lost Empire|
Actor: John Romer
Genres: Television, Educational, Documentary
For more than 1,000 years, the Byzantine Empire was the eye of the entire world ? the origin of great literature, fine art and modern government. Heir to Greece and Rome, the Byzantine Empire was also the first Christian e... more »
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Shining Light in the Dark Ages
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Byzantium, Volume 1, brings to life an empire that, while seemingly distant, is very closely linked to the evolution of Western Civilization. The first part of a two video set, containing two 50 minute segments first aired on The Learning Channel, Volume 1 traces the growth of the first Christian empire, one that lasted for over a thousand years. Volume 2 traces the maturity and decline of Byzantium through its conquest by the Ottoman Turks in 1453. John Romer, the author and on-screen guide for the series, breathes life into the city and the powerful ideas that made the Byzantium a thriving cultural and commercial center while western Europe was slogging through the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages. At its height, Byzantium housed the most precious Christian relics, including a piece of Christ's cross. Located on the border of Europe and Asia, it ruled an empire that extended across Asia Minor and the Balkans. Then, after the rise of Islam, the empire shrank until little was left outside the city walls. Byzantium turned to Europe for help in fighting the infidels, only to have its own city sacked by the Crusaders whose help it sought. Venice, its erstwhile trading partner, carried off many of its artistic masterpieces. The Hagia Sophia, originally built as a Christian church, became Istanbul's most famous mosque. And the scholars who had kept alive the study of Greek for more than a millennium fled to Europe where they helped lay the groundwork for the Renaissance. Byzantium, the video, takes us on a visually sumptuous journey to key locations throughout the empire, while putting a human face on the key actors in the history of this unique and vital empire. I never suspected I would find this story as compelling as it turned out to be."
One of the great video series
Margaret M. Duffy | New York, NY USA | 05/18/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many Americans know little of any history, even their own. And what little they know of world history is mostly caricature. This series of four videos goes a long way toward helping to explain one of the least known of world histories, that of Byzantium. John Romer does a super job of putting the long history of Byzantium into some kind of context for us. The concept that the Roman Empire did not "fall" but survived in the East until the 15th century may be astonishing to most of us, but so it was. Romer also deals fairly with the sack of Byzantium by the Crusaders in 1204 (as opposed to the vitriolic treatment given it by Terry Jones in another recent video series). Particularly wonderful is the second episode of the series which deals with the role of icons in Byzantine culture and with the brutal history of Byzantine iconoclasm. The art and architecture of Byzantium forms a large part of the series and with great justice, as a reflection of the society that produced it."
Excellent - plus, the host is enjoyable!
Giradman | 10/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many years ago, I rented this series on VHS tapes and enjoyed the presentation tremendously - was waiting for a DVD production and will likely purchase the set - I had absolutely no problem w/ the host of this series and found him quite enthusiastic! With today's modern computer graphics & recreations, the series might certainly be improved, but believe me that this presentation will give you a realistic feeling for the great empire of Byzantium (regardless of how petty one might be in its pronunciation!) - at least rent & then decide!"
Superb (instant favorite) documentary. Excellence in writing
Edmon Begoli | Knoxville, TN United States | 04/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First night I received the DVD set I stayed wathing this 208 min long
documentary till 2 AM in the morning.
Presenter, John Romer, is probably the best presenter of the documentaries I have ever seen on TV. His tells the stories of the greatest cultural and historical value in a lyrical, enaging personal style making you wanting to watch the whole documentary all in one viewing.
Being originally from this broader region, and having a foundation in the material itself I still found the tremendous value and the depth in this documentary. Learning was constant, but it never felt forced or dry.
Interestingly, there were no flashy maps, reenactments, big computer generated effects to "keep you interested". Contrary, at one point in the show John Romer pulls out the Rand McNally map of the Istambul, unfolds it and holding it on the ground, with a marker, draws the expected location of the once standing Imperial Palace.
Now, to answer the question that comsumers as well as Amazon equally care about:
Why should one buy this DVD?
You should do so:
- if you are interested in establishing the cultural and civilizational link between the Ancient Greece, Roman Empire and the Western Societies
of the medieval ages.
- understanding the origins of many essential Christian beliefs, rituals, traditions and symbolisms.
- learn essential historical and archeological facts about the Byzantium
With all that in mind I give this documentary an uncontested, shining 5 stars. I am now up to finding more documentaries with John Romer who is my new favorite TV personality."