Good morning, every time I do my yearly recommendations for the following school year and every year I get to the section on the Ancient World. Every year I think, man I am really thin on ancient history documentaries I need to blog more on the ancient world. Every year I do not do it. That changes today and so I am going to do more documentaries on the Ancient World. I will kick off this exploration with the series Storm over Europe. The run time is 51:17.
Barbarians were heading to Rome. What made these barbarians leave their homelands? They left behind beautiful objects in their wake. They were in the search of a new homeland because another tribe was threatening their lives and livelihoods. Eventually, Rome was sacked. These barbarians would be left to pick up the pieces Rome left behind. Who were these invaders? Why were they called barbarians? How did they shape European history? What did they leave behind?
Germanic tribes from the north, slowly moving south. They filled the Romans with dread for two decades. The Natural History Museum in Budapest holds thousands of skulls of these barbarians. Today, one of those skulls is going to undergo facial reconstruction. What did this man look like from two thousand years ago? No matter what he looked like, friends and foes would have recognized him. What can this face tell us about him and his tribe? How did the Cimbrians make their mark in history?
The first tribe explored is the Cimbrians. The Goths and Romans hated the Cimbrians. Little is known about the ordinary people of the Cimbrians. The Cimbrians lived in the high north and it was said that the only thing that separated them was that they had limbs and a voice. They lived in Jutland, at the edge of the inhabited world. How did we learn about the Cimbrians? Why would they live on the edge of civilization?
Their bodies were found in the bogs and the bogs preserved their bodies. These bodies were discovered when peat cutters found them. The bog preserved the bodies and the clothes of the Cimbrians. It was clear from the bodies that the Cimbrians knew how to weave cloth and that their clothing was well made. They did not run around naked as the Romans believed, and in fact, they followed fashions. Today the cloth appears brown but that is due to the peat dying on the cloth. The Cimbrians used a variety of colors to dye their clothes and the colors came from nature. In fact, the dying methods are still in use.
Every Cimbrian settlement also had a blacksmith. The blacksmith had a bit of power in the village. Every village had a furnace and the blacksmith would spend time making weapons. Romans could not make better weapons than the Cimbrians. Cimbrians offered their weapons as sacrifices to the gods. They also created simple and unadorned ceramics. The bogs preserved these crafts for future generations to learn about the Cimbrians. The Cimbrians carried with them the bare essentials.
What is emerging from the Cimbrian culture is that they lived in longhouses on farmsteads. These farmsteads were fortified. Over 150 Cimbrians lived in twenty buildings. The buildings have been reconstructed based on what was found while digging. A hazel rod was found in the ground and it was clear that it was used for measuring.
What made the Cimbrians move from Denmark? Was it a flood? Or was it famine? The Roman historians report that the Cimbrians lived a hand-to-mouth existence. There was no tradition of storing food for the future. In good years, the Cimbrians barely starved but when there were lean years many died. Through word of mouth, the Cimbrians heard about lands further south to a land where there was plenty of food and furs did not need to be worn in the winter. It was then they decided to move. To learn more about the Cimbrian migration continue to watch this documentary.
There is an old-school feel to this documentary, it does not make much fuss about the subjects in the documentary. It is unlike the other documentaries that I have reviewed and watched over the past few years. This would be a documentary to show to a middle school history classroom mainly because it is really unfussy.
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