This week’s TV shows & schedule – Medieval History

*Times are Eastern Time

History Channel:

3/17/2011

The Saxons (12-1pm, and 6-7pm)
Travel with the Saxon pirates as they ravage the British coast. In an orgy of pagan worship, the early Saxon leaders sweep across Britain, facing the Christians and their barbarian brothers in a bloody rivalry for power and land. After witnessing the slaughter of his entire family, Saxon prince, Edwin, flees across Britain, until he’s strong enough to face down his arch-enemy, Aethelfrith, to become one of the greatest kings of his tribe. His power and fame are unparalleled until the young king, Alfred, defends his people against the Viking invaders, uniting his land, and defining what it means to be English.

The Dark Ages (8-10am, 2-4pm)
The Roman Empire, rotten to the core by the fifth century, lay open to barbarian warriors. Europe was beset by famine, plague, persecutions, and a state of war that was so persistent it was only rarely interrupted by peace. These centuries are remembered today as the Dark Ages. Beneath this cloak of darkness were people like Charlemagne, St. Benedict and the Empress Theodora who helped to bridge the gap of civilization between Rome and the Renaissance. Ultimately, these points of light would illuminate the darkness, and Western Europe would rise from the Dark Ages to a level of cultural and political power unseen for a thousand years.

The Plague (10am-12pm, 4-6pm)
It began like the common cold. Then fever, baseball-sized black swellings on the neck, coughing of blood. Few lived more than two days. The year–1347. It was history’s worst biological disaster and almost half of Europe’s population died within three years. Visit the plague ships’ rat-infested holds, witness the terror that swept through the towns, and walk with the religious flagellants. Follow a princess as she travels into the center of the plague, a doctor who struggles to understand what is happening, and a Jewish merchant caught up in violent attacks. Hear the actual words of the victims, taken from diaries and journals. From the Pope’s palace to the humble huts of medieval peasants, watch as people live and die in the unforgiving grip of fear and death, and wonder how we would act if such a terrible event happened today.

3/20/2011

Modern Marvels: Castles & Dungeons (8-9am)
Some of the most imposing structures ever built, medieval castles withstood both bloody assaults and the test of time. Designed like machines with nearly every architectural detail devoted to defense, castles represented the perfect fusion of form and function. Journey back to that unruly era as we examine the complexity of their construction and the multipurpose they served–homes to kings and nobles, economic centers, courthouses, treasuries, prisons, and torture chambers.

National Geographic Channel

3/16/2011

Is it Real? King Arthur (9:30-10am)
He is a gallant and noble warrior. With the guidance of Merlin, the magician, he leads the people of England to victory and freedom. He marries a beautiful and elegant Cornish woman name Guinevere and together, they rule the land of Camelot. But war continues for the young Arthur and he is forced to establish his knights of the round table, men willing to fight for Britain’s independence.

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