MONARCHY provides excellent history of Britain as well as the Monarchy. Military history played a great part in both politics and the Monarchy--often one and the same. The 16 episodes (about 48 min. each) provide a chronological picture of kings, queens and other royalty from the Saxons (year 802) to Queen Victoria (1901).
Athena's "Monarchy" is to the student of British royal history, what "Playing Shakespeare" is to Shakespearean actors. It's a sophisticated, upper-level, educational experience, not unlike British Monarchy presented in a university study. The SUBTITLES help on many words--unusual, seldom used vocabulary such as "regicide" [killer of kings] and fratricidal" [killing of relatives]. Your mind will expand! I impatiently awaited the Monarchy role as it related to the USA history beginning with the 18th century. The final 2 episodes did not disappoint in this aspect.
This series has beautiful footage that shows off Great Britain's countryside as well as any travelogue. Many interiors of ancient buildings are included--primarily churches. Visuals come in the forms of live footage, reconstructions, dramatizations, computer imagery, maps, art productions, artifacts, archeological sites, aerial footage, and ancient manuscripts.
The narrator, Dr. David Starkey, is quite expressive in facial gestures, expressions, and his manner of speech. His speech comes in bursts of 1 to 5 syllables. He is a memorable personality, providing extensive history of the royal personal lives, politics, war, and enterprise. His manner and the visuals make this a compelling lecture series. Subtitles are available, but not needed for Starkey's accent.
"Monarchy" is a documentary, but oh so entertaining as well as educational. Bonus material includes a booklet with a valuable timeline to keep track of the episodes, and additional fun and interesting monarchy-related facts and trivia. The fifth disc has a bonus section in script containing bios of 5 20th century monarchs, up to the current Queen; a written bio on Dr. Starkey; and 9 photos with written facts about royal architectural structures.
Every HS and University history department's library needs a copy. Also, public libraries, and those of us who so enjoy the British TV dramas. This puts all royal history in perspective.