After Rome: Holy War and Conquest
This two-part series from the BBC examines the ‘clash of civilizations’ in the Middle Ages between Christendom and the Islamic world, including the Crusades. Hosted by Boris Johnson, the current mayor of London, this programme includes interviews with eminent medieval historians and scenes from Europe and the Middle East.
This first programme looks at the early history of Islam; the extraordinary series of conquests that gained for it half the territories of the old Roman empire in just 80 years; the rich and sophisticated civilisation Islam produced; the relationships between Muslims, Jews and Christians; and the background to the crusades.
In this programme Boris Johnson also looks at the Sack of Constantinople, when Latin Christians fought eastern Christians, leading eventually to the fall of the city to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. He looks too at the Reconquista in Spain, which culminated in the wholesale expulsion of Jews and Muslims. At every turn of his journey, Boris Johnson finds that the real history is a good deal more subtle and interesting than the fictions that have grown up around it.