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 History Channel:Barbarians

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Broj poruka : 387
Godina : 36
Datum upisa : 09.12.2007

PočaljiNaslov: History Channel:Barbarians   Uto 8 Jan 2008 - 19:20

The period of history between the decline of the Roman Empire and the Renaissance known as the “Dark Ages” are an era of superstition, war, and death. For nearly a thousand years the rulers of various tribes across Europe and Asia arrive and decline as fast as a passing storm, but mold the structure of nations to come. The upcoming History Channel Original Special “Barbarians” focuses on four specific groups of people who create brief, but influential empires that are still studied not only by historians, but also by modern day politicians and military leaders today. In night one we are introduced to the Vikings and the Goths. The Vikings begin their conquests with technologically superior ships that can be built within a month to six weeks and with small modifications can be used in shallow waters and rivers as well as oceans while their contemporaries could barely travel around the coastlines. The Vikings under Leif Eriksson are the first Europeans to set foot on American soil centuries before Columbus and the Vikings also greatly change the face of Europe with the conquest of England from their Norsemen settlements in France to become known as the “Normans” in 1066AD.

The Vikings
The Vikings originated as a relatively peaceful people, eking out a living on the less-than-ideal farmland of Scandinavia. As their population grew, competition over scarce resources led to fighting amongst the various Viking families. It was their great invention, the lightning-fast longship that gave them the chance to broaden their horizons and project their terror, destruction, and plundering across the entire civilized world. Every ocean and river was a highway for the Vikings to further exploration and opportunities for mayhem; at their height they projected their unique brand of sea power from Northern Europe, through the Mediterranean and North Africa, to such far-flung places as Kiev and Baghdad. They even became the first Europeans to reach North America, beating Columbus by nearly 500 years.


The Goths
They had little to do with excessive eyeliner or fringe heavy metal music. Instead, this originally peaceful people fled oppression by the Huns and sought refuge in the friendly arms of the Roman Empire. The Romans, not sure what to do with this massive influx of refugees, herded them into concentration camps. The Goths, starving by this time, were so desperate they were willing to sell themselves and their children into slavery for one meal of dog meat. Over time, many Goths found employment in the Roman legions, where they often served as cannon fodder (or whatever the appropriate pre-firearm term would be), in the process becoming battle-hardened, well-trained troops with the best that Roman strategy and equipment had to offer. Having that many desperately hungry Goths with military experience around turned out to be an explosive combination; under their leader Aleric, the Goths in 410 AD became the first foreign power to sack Rome since before the time of Julius Caesar. They went on to form their own empire, the Visigoth Empire, in Spain and Southern France, which lasted until 711 AD.


The Huns
Hot on the heels of the Goths, the Huns emerged to vex the fraying remains of the Roman Empire in the fifth century AD. The origins of the Huns are a bit mysterious, but it seems that they originated in Asia and were driven out by the Chinese and the Mongols, eventually coming to live on land they won from the Romans, known as Hungary. Under the leadership of the legendary ruler Attila they were transformed from nomadic refugees into an empire that would rival their Roman neighbors to the south. They came within in an inch of conquering the Eternal City, but never quite made it there. After the death of Attila, their empire disintegrated into a number of factions headed by various and sundry heirs. Still, their impact on European civilization is unquestionable; they eroded the power of the Roman Empire and then disintegrated, leaving a void into which the Catholic Church stepped for about 800 years.


The Mongols
Sure, we've all heard of Genghis Khan, the fearsome and ruthless Mongol ruler who swept off the steppes of Asia to conquer, plunder, and pillage. What you may not know is that they carved out for themselves the greatest empire the world has ever seen, stretching from the Yellow Sea to the River Danube at its peak. Perhaps even greater than Genghis Kahn was Timur the Lame (or Tamerlane), who fought the Ottoman Turks and sacked Ankara. Timur's reach is said to extend beyond the grave. When he died in 1405, his final words were a warning: "Do not disturb my grave or a fate worse than me will fall upon you." His splendid tomb in Samarkand stood undisturbed until June 22, 1941, when Soviet archeologists opened it to find the skeleton of a tall man with a damaged hip. Also on June 22, 1941, Hitler launched his assault on Russia, which eventually claimed the lives of twenty million people.


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