Terry Jones' Medieval Lives

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BBC (ended 2004)

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Episode Guide

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  • Season 1
    • The Peasant
      The Peasant
      Episode 9
      3/29/04
      0.0
      The stereotypical medieval peasant is a toothless, filthy, ignorant wretch, a slave to his feudal lord. Terry discovers a very different reality. They had more holidays than us, their houses were bigger, they frequently ate better and had more influence in the corridors of power. The average peasant knew the law, as he was often left to manage his own land and community affairs. Until the onset of the plague, most peasants were also healthy. So why did it all end in the Peasants' Revolt?moreless
    • The Outlaw
      The Outlaw
      Episode 8
      3/22/04
      0.0
      Unlike the altruistic Robin Hood of legend, outlaws were often members of the landed gentry who robbed the poor to give to the rich. Remarkably, however, these outlaws gained a place of respect in society. And as for the poor commoner needing help from a hooded man - false. Instead they had lawyers, were more litigious than Americans, and paid their bills in butter and cheese. Tripping over a crack in the cart track could be a profitable business even hundreds of years ago.moreless
    • The Peasant
      The Peasant
      Episode 8
      1/24/04
      7.5
      Terry Jones investigates the feudal system and the Peasants' Revolt, and discovers the truth about the Medieval Peasant in the process.
    • The Minstrel
      The Minstrel
      Episode 7
      3/15/04
      0.0
      Supposedly wandering gaily from town to town, medieval minstrels have been written off as an effete and ineffectual footnote to history. But medieval showbiz could be a very risky business, not only as a precarious choice of career, but also because entertainers often found themselves involved in wars and politics.
    • The Outlaw
      The Outlaw
      Episode 7
      1/24/04
      8.7
      Outlaws, men like Robin Hood, dressed in tights and little short tunics, living in the forest and fearlessly standing up for justice for the common man. But did a Medieval outlaw like this ever exist, or is it just part of a widely believed myth? Terry Jones travels Britain and Europe in search of the answer to this very question.moreless
    • The Philosopher
      The Philosopher
      Episode 6
      3/8/04
      0.0
      Since the age of science and reason, the Middle Ages has been dismissed as a period shrouded in ignorance and superstition. But the reputation of medieval scientists, known then as philosophers, has been unfairly blackened. They understood far more than we give them credit for, and had a more ethical approach that we could learn from today.moreless
    • The Minstrel
      The Minstrel
      Episode 6
      1/17/04
      8.0
      We usually see the minstrel as a jolly and free man, who was popular with the kings and with the ladies. But was it really like that? Terry Jones investigates what we think we know about Medieval life, and finds some unexpected insights.
    • The Damsel
      The Damsel
      Episode 5
      3/1/04
      0.0
      Passive, shy, helpless, in distress and in need of rescue? It may have been centuries before Women's Liberation, but that doesn't mean medieval damsels had little control over their lives. Some ran businesses, others led armies. Not only were many women strong, powerful and sexually confident, it wasn't unknown for a damsel to abduct a knight. One famous example produced the Scottish hero, Robert the Bruce.moreless
    • The Philosopher
      The Philosopher
      Episode 5
      1/17/04
      8.1
      Terry Jones examination of Philosophers, their mythic pursuit of a "stone", alchemy and medicine in the Medieval world. Dispelling myths on the fanciful ideas of belief in a flat earth. The ideas of the Franciscan Friar Roger Bacon. Holistic medicine and transmutation. The actual basis of scientific thought and how the Church fomented these pursuits for glory and profit. To the four humours of Medieval health Terry Jones adds his own while he travels to unearth their place in Medieval life.moreless
    • The King
      The King
      Episode 4
      2/23/04
      0.0
      There were three medieval King Richards of England (I, II and III respectively), or so history textbooks tell us. Richard the Lionheart spent most of his life fighting battles and only six months of his 10-year reign in England. Richard II was murdered to prevent a popular uprising against those who deposed him. As for "child murderer" Richard III, his disfigurements were probably inventions. We may not even have a true record of the medieval kings; Terry Jones uncovers evidence of a King Louis.moreless
    • The Damsel
      The Damsel
      Episode 4
      1/10/04
      9.1
      The Medieval damsel is nowadays seen as a beautiful, but helpless woman, forever in need of a knight in shining armor to rescue her. But were damsels really such passive females, or are the stories we think we know about them, simply not true? Terry Jones travels around Europe in search for an answer to that question.moreless
    • The King
      The King
      Episode 3
      1/10/04
      9.4
      We think we know who the kings of the Medieval world were. But do we really know them? Terry Jones tries to find out the truth about the powerful men of the age.
    • The Monk
      The Monk
      Episode 2
      1/3/04
      9.1
      The Medieval monk was dedicated to God, and lived a life of prayer, hard work and poverty. But are the things we think we know, really true? Terry Jones travels around Europe in an attempt to reveal the truth about monks in the Middle Ages.
    • The Knight
      The Knight
      Episode 1
      1/3/04
      9.4
      Medieval knights were brave, dedicated to God and love. They rescued many a damsel in distress and gave chivalry its name. At least, that's how we picture the knight now. But were they really like that? Terry Jones travels around Europe to reveal the truth about the Medieval knight.
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