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In 2002, TV Choice Educational Resources created a series of three 30-minute films designed for Elementary and High School students about the Middle Ages. They include:
Medieval Life 1: Two Families
A unique, comic and ultimately tragic insight into how two different families lived in medieval times. On the eve of the outbreak of the Black Death, the local lord of the manor shows us around the manor house. We learn about their way of life, ambitions and views on society.
At the other end of the scale is the Redale family – peasants who live in the village and work the lord’s land. The lord’s thirteen year old daughter is the subject of an arranged marriage to a neighbouring land owner. The reality of the ugly mismatch is brought home in vivid terms.
But a wider, more general development undercuts the nobles’ wedding celebrations: the first signs of the Black Death which will devastate the country.
Medieval Life 2: The Black Death
This film is a gripping and grizzly evocation of the devastation wrought by what was probably Britain’s worst ever disaster: the Black Death of 1348.
The film explains the different kinds of plague, bubonic and pneumonic, and covers in graphic terms the terrible suffering which it brought to its victims.Powerful reconstruction brings to life the sheer horror of the sufferers and their loved ones. Up to half of the population of the country died. The impact of such a huge death toll is brought home in vivid scenes.
We also look at the consequences of the Black Death: how it changed the attitudes of the peasantry to the church and to authority in general.
Was it a factor in the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381?
Medieval Life 3: Religion, Medicine and Women
An exploration of three key aspects of medieval life. Villagers describe a world of startling strangeness to modern minds.
1. RELIGION: The church, and its priests, were of a kind we would not recognise today. It had huge power over peoples’ lives. Before the world of science and rationalism, the threat of hell was very real.
2. MEDICINE AND HEALTH: In the middle ages amputations were carried out without anaesthetic, gout was supposedly cured by goat’s droppings and infant mortality was tragically high.
3. THE STATUS OF WOMEN: Life for women in medieval times was not easy. Women were supposed to obey men without question.