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Terry Jones: Medieval Lives

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Parental Guidance (PG)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: April 1 2008
  • Run Time: 231 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0010V4VJY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #30,498 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Terry Jones: Medieval Lives (Dbl DVD)

Customer Reviews

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By bernie TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 7 2014
Format: DVD
Peasant's revolt 1381 is also called Wat Tyler's Rebellion turns out to be more complex than first thought. An excellent view of medieval lives presented by Terry Jones is not a bunch of sound bites and redundant information from obscure experts. They get right down to the bone. The 1349 Black Death plague is also spotted.

Then there is the monk. We learn the truth about monkhood. Most of the monks look like Terry Jones. We see that prayers became a commodity. We learn about bare bottom piety. There is a competition to have the best relics. There was the 1327 rebellion against a monastery; it was a preliminary to 1381.

Now consider the Damsel. Also looks like Terry Jones. The archetype of the passive female. Nicola de la Haye pushing 70; she was aided by William Marshal. We get the real story with the use of puppets to keep this PG13. We have stories of women abducting men. We follow women's fashion. 1429 Joan of Arc story is told; her real crime was that she wore men's clothing.

Would you believe the Minstrel? In 1066 At the Battle of Hastings, Taillefer recited the Chanson de Roland to the Norman troops while juggling with his sword. They tell of troubadours that tell stories in the vernacular. He mentions Geoffrey Chaucer who mysteriously disappears; dispatching is suspected.

A knight to remember. William Marshal returns as the subject in an interesting story of his life and how he became a knight. We see them train horses to kick shields. We learn about the order of the garter founded in 1348.

Shall we consider the philosopher? A medieval scientist and possibly doctor. We get a look at a field where they grew all the herbs needed for medicine. We get pictures of experiments with newer medicines. We even found anesthetics.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have to start by saying that I am a fan of every historical series Terry Jones has done, so my opinion is naturally going to be biased. I would also say that like Monty Python, this type of historical humor is either something you get or don't get. In any case, I found the series to be extremely well represented, with some quite interesting facts about medieval life that most modern people know nothing about. If there is any complaint it is that the individual episodes are only 50 minutes or so long and therefore leave out so much that could be discussed. This is in fact a good starter series for young people who know little about the Middle Ages and whoa re turned off by the traditional dry documentaries narrated by academics. I sincerely hope that Terry Jones continues to mine the depths of English history for the bizarre and fascinating.
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It's quite an entertaining documentary. Some of the information is slightly inaccurate or unnunanced, however. Watching this with a room full of history majors led to a few spots where people were shouting at the TV, and the same applies even more for the Gladiators featurette.

Still, most of the information is accurate and it's very watchable.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa4653834) out of 5 stars 49 reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa45d8e34) out of 5 stars Totally worth the purchase Oct. 9 2008
By A. Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Though he's best known for his Monty Python stuff don't be fooled into thinking this series is comedy. Terry Jones is an expert on this topic and presents some very compelling detail about roles in medieval society. The real gem of the series is that with each profession you watch another piece of the whole puzzle fits together to give you a broad picture. Finding real information about this time period that isn't about nobility or war is virtually impossible and Jones fills that gap admirably. Invaluable (and very entertaining) knowledge for anyone with a casual or professional interest in this sort of thing.

If I were pressed to find a negative about this series, it feels like a few ends are left dangling- I'm left wanting to see more chapters about the daily life of professional soldiers or lesser nobles. Some chapters, such as the one about kings, is more concerned with interesting trivia over daily life. All in all, minor complaints.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa43b0a08) out of 5 stars well made! April 21 2008
By David C. Tanner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've enjoyed Terry Jones's Hidden History Series (Egypt, Rome, History of Weapon technology) and purchased the "Barbarians" documentary. This one is enjoyable and educational like the other ones but adding the animation is brilliant! Considering that Monty Python always had animation, they should have done this on all the Terry Jones documentaries! There is also a bonus documentary on gladiators in Rome which is about an hour or so. Nice!
36 of 44 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa43b8474) out of 5 stars Very well done and so enjoyable - but take another look at monastic spiritual life, and spiritual life in general Oct. 4 2008
By Anthony Sorgi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I echo all the praise of the previous reviews. As a medieval historian turned businessman, and a multimedia producer, I can't say how impressed I am with Mr. Jones' treatment of the subject, with his beloved humor and creativity - challenging our misperceptions and revealing details of medieval life we can appreciate through our shared humanity with people who lived so long ago. Thank you for caring so much about history, and sharing your enthusiasm!!

I challenge Mr. Jones to take another look at medieval monastic life and medieval spirituality. His episode on monks leaves the viewer with no sense of the value of spiritual life in general, or medieval or monastic life in particular. Mr. Jones' criticism of religious institutions and their worldly nonsense is most welcome, but can he look beyond these diversions from spirituality toward the real values and benefits that genuinely attracted people from all strata of society, and still do today? For a very different look at monastic life, I recommend the DVD "Into Great Silence" by Phillip Groning - a glimpse into the lives of Carthusian monks today, at the Grande Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps, founded by St. Bruno and his followers in 1084.

I think one of the most important jobs of a historian is not just to present the facts as accurately as possible, but actually help us see the world through the eyes of the people studied - and most medieval people lived in a world profoundly centered around religious belief and practice. Could he share with us something of the personal experience of devotion and spirituality, in a way that doesn't seem to assume that medieval people were too ignorant to know better? The medieval world was rich with imagination and meaning that, in my personal opinion, makes our modern experience, for all the real benefit of modern science and technology, seem somewhat pale and shallow. I can't think of anyone better able to help us rediscover and appreciate those things about the medieval worldview and medieval spirituality that have stood the test of time, if only Mr. Jones would turn his attention to them. Please do!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa43b6dd4) out of 5 stars Civilization for Dummies? July 12 2008
By Julie P. Weeks - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Where was Terry Jones when all of us were in the History of Western Civilization 101? Medieval Lives has to be the most entertaining, informative treasures of man's ascent from the bog! The DVD format is wonderfully produced with much of the creative descendants of Monty Python; brilliant use of art, music, interviews with academics and a whole range of scientific observation. Mr. Jones creates the perfect balance of humor and historical perspective as he traverses the map of civilization - dispelling the myth of Roman superiority with hilarious delight!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa43b81c8) out of 5 stars Funny, irreverent, and dead-on Dec 2 2009
By L. D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Nobody can skewer a subject like Terry Jones, but these episodes are funny AND tell it like it was. History sometimes sinks in better if taken with a grain of humor, and there's plenty of that here, liberally mixed with facts. Myths get debunked, and history is improved. There's a lot of meat mixed with the fluff, and you'll be surprised how much you can learn. Recommended to both those with mild interest, and to those who really really LIKE this stuff. (Or who just like Terry Jones, who appears as every one of the characters he reviews.)