Terry Jones' Medieval Lives

Terry Jones' Medieval Lives

  • 2004
  • 1 Season
  • 8.3  (536)

Former Monty Python star Terry Jones returns to his roots as a historian in this Emmy award nominated series about some of the best known people of the Medieval period in the UK. Jones looks to separate the myths that have grown up around some of the best known figures and groups of the time and find the real truth about what life was really like for Medieval people. Amongst his amazing facts are the revelations that Richard the Lionheart may not have been as good a king as viewers expect, and peasants were allowed to live in a better way than expected.

Terry Jones' Medieval Lives
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Seasons
The Peasant
9. The Peasant
March 29, 2004
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?
The Outlaw
8. The Outlaw
March 22, 2004
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.
The Minstrel
7. The Minstrel
March 15, 2004
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 Philosopher
6. The Philosopher
March 8, 2004
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.
The Damsel
5. The Damsel
March 1, 2004
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.
The King
4. The King
February 23, 2004
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.
The Monk
2. The Monk
February 16, 2004
A life of prayer in peaceful service to God? Not for many medieval monks, who devoted their lives to making lots and lots of money. Religion was big business in those days and the merchandising opportunities were endless when you had a constant stream of devoted, unquestioning worshippers.
The Knight
1. The Knight
February 9, 2004
Noble hero in shining armor? Or murdering, looting rapist? Discover some unsavory truths - and the dark side of chivalry.
Description

Former Monty Python star Terry Jones returns to his roots as a historian in this Emmy award nominated series about some of the best known people of the Medieval period in the UK. Jones looks to separate the myths that have grown up around some of the best known figures and groups of the time and find the real truth about what life was really like for Medieval people. Amongst his amazing facts are the revelations that Richard the Lionheart may not have been as good a king as viewers expect, and peasants were allowed to live in a better way than expected.

  • Premiere Date
    February 9, 2004
  • IMDB Rating
    8.3  (536)