Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rome's Neighbors

Unfortunately, those that defeat are often the ones that get to write History.  Such has been the case with Ancient Rome.  We simply do not know a lot about most of Rome's Neighbors (other than the Greeks and Egyptians that is) but in studying this part of European and Mediterranean History, Rome's Neighbors are clearly a part of the story.  As a result, I collected movies I have watched in order to gain a little more perspective to use with Alice while teaching her about the battles Rome fought in order to take over its neighbors.  Here are the resources I was able to find online.  Some of these I let her watch too, some I did not - please preview anything you choose to watch with your child.

Terry Jones Narrates a series of videos about the peoples of ancient and Medieval Europe that does a great job of giving the other side of the story in Barbarians by the BBC.  All the episodes are wonderful and use Terry Jones' sense of humor to indicate why we may have the wrong idea about Rome's Neighbors.

Modern Marvels:  Barbarian Battle Tech - The battle technology of various ancient groups and how they made their weaponry.  This movie is really about the first arms race.

Engineering an Empire - Carthage: The first people the Romans had to defeat to gain control of the Mediterranean.  Carthage Part 1Carthage Part 2, Carthage Part 3, Carthage Part 4  

The Celts were actually a large group of people that is often broken into the Gallic Celts and the Celts of the British Isles in the modern mind.  PBS offers up an entire series about this population called The Celts

A Modern look at what Stonehenge was really for.  Although Stonehenge was first created about 3000 BC, those persons who remodeled it to make it the amazing structure it was to eventually become would be built by the people that gave rise to the British Celts the Romans would have encountered and described.  Nova's Secrets of Stonehenge.
Fascinating study of how the culture of early Celts of Briton developed along with the technologies available to them and created by them.  History of Celtic Britain - Part 1 Pre- and Bronze Age Briton, Part 2 Iron Age Briton, Part 3 Roman Invasion, Part 4 Life with the Romans.

Secrets of the Dark Ages: The Barbarians  An analysis of what the barbarians may have really been like, their technologies, way of life, contributions to history and technology, etc.

The People of Gaul:  This video is more like a video article about the knowledge of the ancient people of France and how, through archaeology, our view of how they lived is changing.  It is quite short.

Barbarians is a series of videos about many of Rome's competitors including; The SaxonsThe Vandals, The Franks, and The Goths.  The filmography of this one includes images of the brutality and violence of their time.  In fact, I would even venture to say it is sensationalized.  This video series make the role these groups of people played in Roman History clear, even if it does not speak much about their cultures.  I am not finding all the videos on Youtube or Hulu, but I have included links for those I did find.

Unfortunately there is not a lot about the Dacians or Thracians (ancient Romanians) that tells of their story other than Trajan/Roman perspectives.  The Roman History would have us believe this entire group of people was wiped out.  While genocide did occur, it is hard to believe that the entire culture was completely wiped clean of the Earth and no one was left to carry on their culture and heritage.  The Dacians were the last hold out to Rome's control before Rome fell and by all accounts were fierce and proud people.  From what I know, many Romanians consider themselves descendants of an ancient line of people far older than the Romans.  There are a few videos available with English subtitles on Youtube

You may also find the article, Ancient and Medieval Peoples informative and helpful if you are looking for information about the groups of people at odds with Rome during its years of decline and right after its fall. 

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