Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The History Channel Presents The Crusades - Crescent The Cross|
Genres: Television, Documentary
THE CRUSADES: CRESCENT & THE CROSS presents the epic battle between two Middle Age superpowers: the Christian Crusaders and the Muslims. Fought over two centuries, the conflict decided the fate of the Holy Land of the Midd... more »
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An excellent historical production on the Crusades
medievalcrusadesbabe | Ohio USA | 10/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I received this advanced review copy from the promotional company working for the History Channel. I must admit that they sent me a very nice package and a bonus disk. This is an eight sided box, like a two pound box for candy - lovely print job. The two disks are contained in a book inside the box, along with a CD disk of photos - some from the production, others are historical pictures of either the key players or events/places. A very nice package, though it will not fit on your DVD shelf. Also, one of the pages in my book was stapled in upside down. Still, a nice presentation. Not sure if this product will be the same when released.
Apart from this, the work itself is very interesting. I sat through the entire production and was never bored or antsy. Actually, I found myself marveling at what the History Channel has done here.
The program covers the First Crusade on the first disk. There is an examination of the causes of the initial conflict, examining cultural issues, Religious issues, European social and political unrest, Church influences, financial issues and points of conflict in the Moslem and Byzantine world. While Religion is acknowledged as the primary cause of the conflict, they also do not ignore key issues that lead to these conflicts. There is also discussion of Urban's "selling of the Crusades". Very well put together and an in depth examination of the events leading up to the First Crusade.
Included also are maps of the areas, modern day images of the cities today as well as places that have survived, and those that have not.
There is a lot of information to sift through here. While the story is carefully laid out and well developed in order of events, the program purposefully comes across as a story woven by an expert story teller. Even the added discussions by such noted scholars as Dr. Thomas Asbridge, Tariq Ali, Prof. John France and Dr. Taef el-Azhari, to name a few, comes across as additional parts of the storytelling.
There are the usual added "tidbits" thrown in by the History Channel, like uncovered bits of text to give clarification to some accounts and the discovery of a location of a famous battle that up to now had been unknown.
Emphasis appears to be on key battles, as these are reenacted for the viewer. These are provided by Lion Television, and are nice additions to the material. They keep the viewer interested as this material could get rather dry if not for points of interest like this.
The second disk covers the Second and Third Crusades. Again, social and political climates are discussed and examined. Again, the story is covered in a "timeline" of events from the vantage point of the chroniclers.
We are presented with the fall of Edessa, the calling of the Second Crusade, the rise of Nur-el-Din, the battle for Damascus, Egypt and Sal-al-Din and the arrival of Richard the Lionheart in the Holy Land for the Third Crusade.
Again, key battles are reenacted, strategies discussed, failures noted and by the end of the film we are looking at a very good wrap up of the entire program.
Conflict, social upheaval, cultural differences, battle strategies, religious zealots and the lust for war and violence all comes through as the story of the Crusades unfolds in this production. We see the heroes, and the vile nature of the event itself. Nothing is left glossed over. There is some romanticism here, as the chroniclers tended to be very bias towards their benefactors, but on the other hand, we also see the social and political issues that were key to the events that took place. And while not shown, there is discussion of the atrocities and barbarism that was prevalent during these events.
This is a good overview of the events that took place starting 1099 and which continued for about 200 years. There are some events that are more examined than others, and some key figures that are discussed in some detail. It was, however, very entertaining, factual and well worth, I felt, the time I spent watching it. medievalcrusadesbabe"
Dirty Deals on Either Side
E. Willaims | NC | 10/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A lot of people watched this and hail Saladin as a holy warrior. Even one of the Muslim commentators seemed to make excuses for his vicious bahavior, saying "you had to be back then".
The main point of the movie is that in the first Crusade the Christians "took back" Jerusalem from the Muslims. In the second Crusade, the muslims "took back" Jerusalem from the Christians. In the third Crusade the Christians tried unsuccessfully to retake Jerusalem back.
This documetary left out one key point: Jerusalem belonged to NEITHER the Christians NOR the Muslims. The city of Jerusalem was originally inhabited by the Jews, but that fact seems to have gotten lost somewhere.
Both Saladin and Richard I commited vicous crimes and they both murdered thousands of people. People seem to forget that Saladin probably murdered as many Knights Templar and Hospitalars as Richard did Muslims. They wer both cunning, vicious and excellent military Strategists. The documentary also states something that was probably true: After Years of Fighting each other they learned to respect each other as generals.
This movie tried to be as objective as possible but there was a lot of Christian-bashing here, not that it wasn't deserved. Tariq whatever his name was seemed to be on a Crusade to make the Christians look as evil as possible. He defends Saladin's actions, when the fact is that both generals committed many what we call today "war crimes". After saying all this, I still say it was very educational and enjoyable.
Good for rent
Mkapa | Cleveland, OH | 11/07/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
First of all, I can say that unlike most of what historychannel produces this was pretty entertainment. It doesn't bore the viewer with complex political going on's during the Crusade. Likewise the DVD is filled with live action sequences that presents the many battles in the eyes of those who witnessed it. The actors themselves were superb and held my interest to the very last. The only thing that sucks about live action fighting is the fact that you can tell that they aren't trying to hit each other.
But while this hollywoodization of the crusades may serve the purpose of catching the attention of an ADHD america, it also ends up being its downfall. The DVD is a cliff notes version of the crusades For starters, the DVD isn't necessary a complete account of the crusades. Instead the producers skip to the juicy parts of the crusades and miss some other facts about the crusade. For example...why doesn't this DVD mention anything about the children's crusade? (which really wasn't a crusade of children). Or why don't they mention anything about Richard the Lionheart's conquest of European kingdoms (Sicily and Crete) on his way to the holy land? I mean wouldn't that only diminish their claim that all of Europe was somehow united by Pope Urban's racist crusade?
what about Constantinople? A fallen Christian city that isn't mentioned a lot in this dvd. The DVD is obviously Israel centric, never do they mention the Muslim conquest of European lands. I would of liked to see that since that also seemed to be a crusade. In fact the DVD abruptly ends after the Richard the Lionhearts crusade and then fills in the gaps by suggesting that the wars in the past are effecting today's world. Not really, capitalism and internationalism is more of a reason for the explosion of modern terrorism then the crusade. The DVD only briefly hints at their role in today's society but never shows us the aftermath or other wars that involved the west vs. east. Were lead to believe that Christians were somehow the warmongers.
Also did the producers actually knew they were making a DVD or did they just record over the show? Cause every now and then the screen fades out and then goes back with the words "THE CRUSADES CRESENT AND THE CROSS" at the bottom of the screen. Thanks for reminding of what im watching Historychannel. I totally forget that i put that DVD in there and pressed play!
Then their is the issue of the recycle scenes. Like most historychannel programs, the DVD replays certain scenes over again that you see before. And the DVD uses the same music theme over and over again.
Revisionist history with modern propaganda
Captain Waters | Kiowa, CO | 12/23/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This is essentially revisionist history. It has some well made reenactments with good costumes and sets, but it doesn't spend much time on details that might present an unbiased history of the Crusades. For example, there was no mention of the fact that the Muslim armies had conquered the Iberian Peninsula and had been actively trying to conquer the Franks for 3 centuries. The 'learned historians' that are interviewed only seem to know about the improper activities of the Crusaders. The bonus material includes a timeline that repeats the same shallow history, and a segment of "In Search of History" about The Knights Templar that perpetuates some of the sordid rumors about the order without giving a lot of good factual information.
A much better introduction to the Crusades is given in "The Knights Templar" directed by James Wignall. It gives as much information about the Crusades with factual information and without the anti-Christian propaganda. Of course, one must read extensively to gain a reasonable understanding of history, and Piers Paul Read has written a good history of the Templars which helps to explain much about the Crusades.
The most interesting aspect of the "Crescent & the Cross" video is its use of modern media propaganda. It has fairly authentic costumes and sets for the reenactments, which makes it an attractive spectacle. It has vignettes of Christian and Muslim chroniclers tell the story. Each time we see the Christian chronicler he is dirty & disheveled, in a darkened setting and often without anyone around him. By contrast, the Muslim Chroniclers, sitting in colorful venues, have enthusiastic audiences listening to wonderful tales of Islamic heroism. Add in the 'learned Muslim historians' making subtle references to Western Armies in the Middle East after the 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center, and we get the complete picture: Evil Christians go around the world raping, pillaging and burning for no reason other than to take advantage of peaceful indigenous populations, so it's no wonder that Jihadists want to fly airliners into the World Trade Center."