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Ratings: 7.68/10 from 50 users.

BarbariansThey were the dreaded forces on the fringes of civilization, the bloodthirsty warriors who defied the Roman legions and terrorized the people of Europe. They were the Barbarians, and their names still evoke images of cruelty and chaos.

But what do we really know of these legendary warriors? From the frigid North Sea to the Russian steppes, this ambitious series tells the fascinating stories of four of the most fabled groups of fighters in history, tracing 1,000 years of conquest and adventure through inspired scholarship and some of the most extensive reenactments ever filmed. Mongols rides with Genghis Khan and his descendants as they sweep from Asia to the heart of modern Germany in a frenzy of expansion.

They came in waves from out of the dark forests of Europe and over the course of a millennium they drove a mighty empire to its knees. Relentless unmerciful and united only in their hatred for Rome each of these warrior tribes had its own violent agenda dark rites savage tactics and secret weapons.

This documentary follows eight of history's most fearsome tribes: The Goths, Mongols, Huns, Vikings, Vandals, Saxons, Franks and the Lombards as they cut a swath of destruction through the world. BARBARIANS recreates the world of these invaders through even more intense stunts large-scale battle re-enactments and a fast-paced exciting narrative.The whistle of the war axe and the clank of the shield will ring in viewers' ears as these four programs bring the epochal clash of civilizations to life as never before.

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5 years ago

Did anyone else notice the painted water cooler jug in the wagon?!?! Somebody must have forgotten the prop and switched that in! LOL

9 years ago

I can't comment on the accuracy of the other episodes, but the episode that covered the Saxons was so badly researched I have my doubts.

So it was the Britons defending their culture against the Saxons?

Although the British isles have existed much as they are since the end of continental drift (one has to assume :)), Britain is a unitary state created through the 1707 Treaty of Union, which joined the parliaments of Scotland and England. A political union made for the economic gain of English trade, and which will face its first democratic test in September, 2014.

Credit for spotting that Scotland is not part of England, despite what Whitehall civil-servants might say.

So who were these heroic defenders of what would be called England now, though I suppose England only became a nation when it was conquered by the Normans. Though that might be debatable.

soros soria
10 years ago

There's a lesson for us moderns in this tale of the Goths bringing down the enfeebled Roman Empire. Look at the Third World; note its rising populations of have-nots and note our own reluctance to defend our borders....

11 years ago

barbarian is what greeks used to call anyone who wasnt greek or roman. they called them that because thats what their language sounded like.BAH BAH BAH

11 years ago

I find it disturbing, that they dont represent the danes as vikings. Denmark is also a part of scandinavia... Embarassing

11 years ago

Barbarism has not disappeared from this world yet , unfortunately enough :

See the western & israeli barbarism in Plaestine, Irak, Afghanistan, Hiroshima Nagazaki , Vietnam & elsewhere ....WWI , WWII , nazism, fascism, communism , The cold war , the former world wide western imperialism, the western neo-imperialism slavery ...

Great docu

11 years ago

Great documentary!

chas stack
11 years ago

really good doc . tied up a lot of loose ends for me

12 years ago

lesson learned: authority is just a matter of dates and who has the most power at the time. it is merely a means to control people and keep their loyalty. trusting in authority figures can lead to your death

12 years ago

why do people think Norway and Sweden were the vikings and the kings of battle when Denmark was the power in Scandinavia putting the fear of god into nations and using fire and sword to it. Denmark had conquered most of the UK, France, Norway and Sweden during the time of King Canute the Great. I guess I know more than the historians who produced that farce of a film.

12 years ago

Once again Denmark got screwed over, our days of glory vanish slowly into the distance because we failed later. Thank you for kicking it into us again. I'm not surprised though, just disappointed. Seems like we have to think of something brutal and bloody so people outside Scandinavia might actually know we exist in ten years -_-

12 years ago


The mongolians were not caucasians with bad nose jobs. They STILL aren't. They're not magical made-up people. Mongolians are still around, living in mongolia and china where they preserved 80% of their culture and practice 100% less massacre.

12 years ago

@Phil Atio --In large societies,the lowly ,poor and oppressed pockets of that society are exploited as Slave labour or soldiery.Captured or defeated enemies and desperate fringe dwellers also filll the lowest castes.However I hypothesize that White European dominance began at the time of Exploration and Conquest starting in the late 15th century.With terrifying modern weaponry.,ravenous diseases,ruthless cruelty and insatiable greed,the native societies were crushed and enslaved under the various crowns of Europe and the Holy Christian Church>.Later americans,once colonists from Europe,embraced Manifest Destiny as a sacred duty to displace Native peoples and claim their land by force,if necessary.Today,in most developed western countries,the economy and government is still controlled by a small elite white minority with non whites and impoverished or uneducated of all races filling the bottom of society.Therefore inasmuch as exploitation of the poor and weak(like the Goths of Eastern Europe) was not so much a colour or racial issue long past,It became so starting with the Conquistadores and Global Colonization.What is the future of Greed,do you think?

12 years ago

LOL, they get westerners to play Mongolians? FAIL. Other than that, good documentary but I can only bear listening.

12 years ago

this film about vikings, is highly iregular, and just plain wrong, im from Denmark, and aparently we are not a part of scandinavia in this movie, even though we are and always have been, we have viking writings and settlements, and even "castles" here, and evedence that the first king of vikings lived and ruled from Denmark... nothing of this is mentioned and all glory is given to Norway... its like whoever wrote this documentary only took some of the available material and disregarded the rest.... BAD

12 years ago

The vikings ataced the christians because the christians were making genoside against there religion. In north mythology the christianety is the worm, the enemy of man.

Phil Atio
12 years ago

@Reason Voice
'"“for reasons unknown to me the great kingdoms of Africa had fallen to decay shortly before European arrival”
The reason is slavery and European invasion and genocide.”' "Hey lets zoom in a bit “kingdoms of Africa had fallen to decay shortly BEFORE European arrival” so you are saying that white men were enslaving and murdering people before they even got there? White men are not only the devil but quite talented as well."

Nice try, you misquoted me or misread what I said, I think youq uoted erik and then attritubed his quote to me and cleverly snuck in your own little tid bid there. I said African kingdoms were collapsing as a result of european arrival and wars. Europeans have been invading africa from the roman in carthage and greeks/alexander + macedonians in egypt.
"LOL As to whites being oppressed I am not underscoring the oppression suffered by any other race when I say that yes they have been. As mentioned before the Irish by Brittan. Also the Scottish by Brittan, Almost All of Europe by Rome-The Mongols the (every group shown in all of the above docs.) Europe has been fought over and ruled by so many racial and or regional groups most of whom absolutely oppressed the natives who you guessed it were white. Yes people life can suck for us white folks too sorry to burst your bubble."
The white on white crimes and oppression is not even comparable to what the white folks have done to black people. Killing of 600 million people according to doctor khalid muhammad in lecture at templeton university, not even close. It was a genocide.

Other Ryan
12 years ago

Ah, history channel... the bane of real history. Cover says it all. There marketing to kid-like minds.

12 years ago

I thank you for a great doc.

Reasons Voice
12 years ago

@ryan; You are correct. I abhor the diamond industry. I refuse to purchase any diamond for any reason. how about you?

12 years ago

Reasons Voice, you don't really sound like the voice of reason.

Yes, African slaves work hours upon hours extracting diamonds and minerals with little pay FOR WHO?

While the immediate slavers may be Congolese or Angolan, the people at the top are white men. White men in suits who may not actually cause the slavery, but they don't stop it, do they? It's's efficient, so whatever, right?

12 years ago

I can't get over that all the Mongols are white. I can't stop laughing...and the acting is so hilariously bad.

12 years ago

Kim u r dumb

Erik Thorvaldsson (Old Norse: Eir?kr Þ?rvaldsson; 950 – c. 1003 a.d), known as Erik the Red (Old Norse: Eir?kr hinn rauði[1]), is remembered in medieval Icelandic saga sources as having founded the first Nordic settlement in Greenland. The Icelandic tradition indicates that he was born in the Jæren district of Rogaland, Norway, as the son of Thorvald Asvaldsson, he therefore also appears, patronymically, as Erik Thorvaldsson (Eiríkr Þorvaldsson). The appellation "the Red" most likely refers to his hair color.[2] Leif Ericson, the famous Icelandic explorer, is Erik's son.

12 years ago

Can we say, that baltic tribes from the East Coast of Baltic sea was barbarians, also? Those tribes was attacking Denmark, Poland, old russians (everything, what was arround them) somewhere between X - XV centuries. XIII - XV centuries they had a crusade from Europe. One of them, lithuanian tribe, created a state without becoming christians and even tried to unifide rutherian principalieties in XIV - XV centuries (someting like vikings, who created Kievian Rus)...
P.S. sorry for my english ;)

Reasons Voice
12 years ago

@da truth hurtz; I am afraid you are wrong sir, in your assumtion that I am biggoted. Or misinformed and perpetuating the blindness in the world. You are correct in your statements about De Beers and Oppenheimer. But understand that the corporations are not doing this by force of arms. The African nationals, in the form of armed militia groups are selling the souls of their own people. Without the cooperation from these native groups the corporations would be stopped in their tracks. I will be the first to say that it is due to the European domination of Africa that things are as they are today. When the whites dominated the continent the forced tribes who had been at war for centuries to coexist within one nation. Now without a powerful governing power the peoples are once again splitting into tribalistic groups and fighting. I do not detract from the greatness of the native peoples but in my opinion it is their infighting and failure to unify as nations that is costing them. Not once in my previous comment did I refute white involvement in past days in fact I mentioned it. I addressed todays issues and stand by my statements. The truth, no matter how much you don't like it, is still the truth. Mentioning those truths does not make me a biggot.
Thank you

da truth hurtz
12 years ago

@Reasons Voice, one should do some kind of research before hitting their computer keyboard. Your comments are bigoted in every way, It's people like you who continues to hide the truth from the public.
You stated "Slavery is still happening and it is being perpetrated by essentially every race EXCEPT whites these days. Not saying whites wouldn’t do it too if they could get away with it but they are not". The correct statement should have been, whites have gotten away with all the hideous crimes committed to other race on earth... Are you attempting to shift the blame on these rebels who are committing these hideous crimes for all resources found in Africa needed by BIG Corporations? foreign support been there always for BLOOD DIAMONDS and COLTAN Etc. I'm hoping you know who are the De Beers & Oppenheimer. They've own every diamond mines in Africa literally, and please find out how they accomplished such a task. Once you conquer a country and outsource it's resources you are inviting poverty, which will eventually lead to a rise in crime. Africa's history was intentionally buried for many reasons, the main purpose was to keep the slave offspring around the world from ever regrouping. Africans today are nothing more than brain dead ZOMBIES, following a Europeans GOD they think will give them everything in a place called paradise. What a bunch of SPOOKS. To me that's serious brainwashing on a very high level of ignorance. Nothing good has came out of European Christianity for Africans, it was meant to make us inferior and continue with the enslavement by worshiping a white GOD. Not all blacks are racist, we just want the world to acknowledge us for the people we were, and therefore it comes across to those who are white as racism in the end. Many great civilizations of the past and even the present have borrowed and stolen from African culture. In conclusion, indigenous people were and are still great people till the arrival of BARBARIANS in the name of their Kings & Queens. These crimes has escaped punishment because European writes the LAWS. Sincerely I hope you get the big picture as to what's facts from fiction.


12 years ago

wow... I am actually frankonian and I didn't know that we were such a savage people! Without culture, war-hungry and bloodthirsty! And that we took the land from the civilized Romans, how could we? AHAHHAA

This is one of the most brainless and i@#$%ic documentaries I have watched in a while! It's completely one-sided... I would say its a shame that trash like this series is actually financed by anyone and then aired on TV. A history- documentary should teach people and make them think and not present banal statements that regurgitate the same old cliches over and over again.

I thought we have passed the state of considering the germanic tribes as the evil that brought down the poor roman empire. If the director/writer would have actually looked into his research he would have found some more interesting facts to talk about. But that of course wouldn't make an exciting documentary with lots of wars, blood and sword-clattering.

13 years ago

its funny how they make a speculation into absolute fact..
thats probably what happenned so lets say that..

13 years ago

I am reviewing 'Mongols'.

This documentary is an overview of 'the Mongol phenomenon' from the perspective of a very small number of European and North American scholars who seem to have either retired or are employed by relatively minor academic institutions.

It is not intended as a 'definitive history' of the subject (if such a thing were possible). It does not claim either authority or originality but just gives a basic introduction in a workmanlike way. Given its unambitious aims it does a good enough job.

If it has a historiography then it seems to be the quaint C19th sort along the lines of 'great men of history: builders of empire'. Its philosophy is more 'Boys Own Annual' than textbook. It seems to be for kids and certainly not intended for adult audiences (- I hope). Thus we may have to forgive the over-simple presentation. Actually, its obvious flaws are excellent teaching material along the lines of 'what's wrong with this approach and what would you do differently?'

Goodness knows who the intended audience is - given the half-hearted attempt to derive lessons on military tactics from the material and apply it in wildly improbably ways to the American Civil War and World War II, I would guess it was made by/for American military schools. They seem to have chosen the cast from amongst the pupils and school faculty. Whoever they've hired can ride horses (American horses ridden in an American style) better than they can act.

Made on a tight budget with poor quality re-enactments that have a sort of naive charm.

How we tell the story of others often reveals more about ourselves than them: watch closely for a fascinating insight into the wonder and mystery which is contemporary USA culture.

13 years ago

These docs are as historically accurate as 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights' was.

13 years ago

I can forgive white Americans playing Mongols in reenactments (budgets suck), but surely they could have found even one educated Mongolian to do analysis. That, and the descriptive weasel words the narrator uses, makes me sceptical of anything I hear, whether that's warranted or not. Good looking battles, anyway.

Reasons Voice
13 years ago

Slavery is still happening and it is being perpetrated by essentially every race EXCEPT whites these days. Not saying whites wouldn't do it too if they could get away with it but they are not. Look at the African blood diamond and child soldiers..slaves, The South American narcotic gangs abducting and enslaving children, The Asian traffickers of people who then have to work in brothels etc. to pay off exorbitant sums to the cartels. All slavery being perpetrated by every race EXCEPT whites. I am not excusing the past but yes it is the past and the whole time we yell and scream about early American slavery these atrocities are sneaking under the radar. All I can say is I see a lot of people with a fist full of rocks standing in front of their shiny glass houses.

13 years ago

As far as I know the whites learned about slavery because it was already happening when they got there.

...that could be a lie spread by the whites of course.

Reasons Voice
13 years ago

@Phil Atio

"for reasons unknown to me the great kingdoms of Africa had fallen to decay shortly before European arrival"

The reason is slavery and European invasion and genocide." Hey lets zoom in a bit "kingdoms of Africa had fallen to decay shortly BEFORE European arrival" so you are saying that white men were enslaving and murdering people before they even got there? White men are not only the devil but quite talented as well.

LOL As to whites being oppressed I am not underscoring the oppression suffered by any other race when I say that yes they have been. As mentioned before the Irish by Brittan. Also the Scottish by Brittan, Almost All of Europe by Rome-The Mongols the (every group shown in all of the above docs.) Europe has been fought over and ruled by so many racial and or regional groups most of whom absolutely oppressed the natives who you guessed it were white. Yes people life can suck for us white folks too sorry to burst your bubble.

Phil Atio
13 years ago

@patcha, yes I was also expecting the goths to be depressed pasty face white kids who claim to have issues and abusive parents because they tell them to clean their room, and wear a bunch of make up and black lip stick.

pronounced gouths not goths like goth kids. wonder whats the relation.

I am curious about the viking part because I got the impression that vikings were basically all danish in origin and that norway swedes and fins were colonized by danes (from readings of hamlet) one would think that denmark was the centre of the viking world exspecially with copenhagen and all. However it looks like it is norway instead.

Phil Atio
13 years ago

Fair series overall, rather interesting to be quiet honest.

As for why there are no African barbians here, well thats easy all the barbarians come from europe. That is to say there did not exist any african cultures who were people without a land wandering around pillaging people for fun but had no culture. This is why Rome or Greece is not up there are barbarians, they are not barbarians they are civilized societies.

"for reasons unknown to me the great kingdoms of africa had fallen to decay shortly before european arrival"
The reason is slavery and european invasion and genocide.

@Erik, I'm also in Norway-Oslo, and it is laughable to try to compare the "oppresion" of Norwegians to that of African Americans who had the largest forced migration and genocide in recorded history done against them.
@robert you just have a huge ignorance of African civilization to be claiming that africans either did not write down their history or did not develop writing, the alphabet was made in africa.
The accurate thing to say would be that Europeans did not give a shit about african history and often tried to erase it like they did in egypt by burning down the world greatest library or they did in zimbabwe and nigeria.

13 years ago

I was surprised to see the goths weren't all wearing black and looking depressed.

13 years ago

Just ignored to congratulate Vlatko at this one; loved it every bit and goes straight to my faves, will watch it with my child once her history classes start.

13 years ago

Racism will be there forever (even if I sound a lil rude), it might not always be what's your skin color kind, but maybe what country you are from, and if we conquer mars/planets, then it will survive as which planet you are from, we will never outgrow the racism. But maybe more interracial marriages and we can expect it to get it less significant if not erase it.

13 years ago

My family has been traced back to viking invaders in Scotland and my son's mum is descended from mongol invaders in France.
So my boy's got some good blood in him.
Looking forward to watching the rest of the series.

13 years ago

the best work u people doing ,this research and convaying to people thnks sir,

13 years ago

Uh, I love this series and this website. However, 'Saxons' is missing...can it be put back up, please?

13 years ago

What was incorrect? Been a while since I saw it now, but feel free to enlighten me:)
Seems to me that they mostly focused on Norwegian vikings, although danish vikings were important in the british isles, hence the name "Danelaw".

13 years ago

I’m from Denmark – a country that is part of Scandinavia and furthermore has a well-documented Viking prehistory. I strongly believe that big parts of the documentary about the Vikings are oversimplified, one-sided and some places it’s simply incorrect. I’ll highly recommend interested people to seek knowledge elsewhere – this could for example be in sources from some of the many excellent Scandinavian experts existing in this field of work.

13 years ago

Allen: "I did my own study of ethnic populations in the U.S. and we as African American were only at 11%… We are STILL at 11% while every other race has increased even with Asian – Pacific Islanders increases of 5%. "
Here he is implying that african americans in the usa are oppressed because they haven't had a relative population increase. I know whites aren't oppressed, that's my point, but according to this logic they are..
I'm not saying african americans in america aren't oppressed, just pointing out that your argument doesn't show that.

Also I'm from Norway and we have been oppressed earlier in history, and so have the Irish, by the Danes and the English respectively. Not like slaves, but still.

robert l
13 years ago

Erik, what are you talking about White man being oppressed??? White man has never in history been oppressed. Your full of spuff.

the reason that there are no African records is due to several reasons.

First off they didn't leave much written evidence in Africa. Therefore it is hard to fully understand the history. If you look at the likes of Egypt, they left huge amounts of information that historians and archaeologists are still trying to unlock. It wasn't until the discovery of the Rosetta stone that people began to understand Hieroglyphs.
History isn't like paleontology, you cant find a bone and give a complete history of an ancient civilization. Look at what the Romans did to the Carthaginians. A case of genocide and propaganda result in Carthage being labeled as a culture of mass offering of children to the gods and infanticide. I'm surprised many historians are still not trying to convince people that Carthaginians ate their young too.

Secondly as soon as African slaves were kidnapped by White slavers and sent to the colonies no one cared about their rich heritage or culture. It wasn't until Rosa Parks that black people were officially seen as humans in America and still they are persecuted by white Republicans and Democrats.
You may say the emancipation proclamation freed the black slaves but that is totally incorrect as in many parts of america killing blacks was legal and hick sheriff and police officers condoned it such as the killing of 4 black students in Mississippi.

Black history is not important enough it seems. After all White America doesn't want to its history compared to that of Nazi Germany and have all future descendent's of White Slavers and slave owners apologizing for past crimes as is the vogue in Germany.

I am a white male from Ireland, we study real history here and not propaganda. I'm sorry if the truth offends you but get used to it. Racism is a fact of life. However its not the producers fault of this program for a lack of history from Africa. Simply put where are the sources, the written evidence, the cities of these African civilizations. They don't exist in the amount needed to create a picture of life in African Civilizations

13 years ago

Also, if the percentage of africans have stayed the same, it is impossible that every other group have enjoyed growth. That would be mathematically impossible.

13 years ago

Allen, if you measure oppression by growth in population, then whites are the most oppressed since their share of total population has fallen the last century. From about 25% in 1900 to roughly 10% now. While Africa and asia has seen a population boom. It is of course the other way around. Modern societies with high living standards tend to hem population growth because of several factors: Birth control, longer education, women having careers and also the fact that people don't need 10 children to be sure 2 survives to procreate/take care of their parents.

It is true that we learn little of african history, but this is partly because europeans in africa had no interest in building a historic record africans could be proud of, and for reasons unknown to me the great kingdoms of africa had fallen to decay shortly before european arrival, perhaps because of the shift in traderoutes incurred by portuguese trading posts along the coasts.

In short, your analysis is superficial and erroneous, even though you might have some points.

13 years ago

great series, thanks. I've enjoyed it very much. I agree that Africa and Americas could be also covered but hey, nothing is perfect!

13 years ago

The one thing I find EXTREMELY BOTHERSOME is how there seem to be NO documentaries or a history of Africa and what happened. I mean iit's not a SECRET anymore we all know the basics of what happened. The they got the nerve to teach black history just 1 time a year... Which is the shortest month out of the year on top of that. And if you think abouth it, 1 month a year for 12 years = ONLY 1 YEAR OF BLACK HISTORY! Seems like a major cover up to me.
I am now 28 but in the 8th grade I did my own study of ethnic populations in the U.S. and we as African American were only at 11%... We are STILL at 11% while every other race has increased even with Asian - Pacific Islanders increases of 5%. Beware of the CASTE SYSTEM that exists here as well. Felons, the homeless and in certain cases RACISM STILL EXISTS! Thats RIDICULOUS. Its 2010. And why does Colorado have MORE prisons than California???? PAY ATTENTION PEOPLE!!!!