I’m watching the 1969 series Civilization with Kenneth Clark, and it’s starting to get on my nerves. The host so studiously avoids saying anything beyond “Britain and France” that he’s about to tie himself into a naval knot.

“Then Muslims invaded… And we are off to Ireland.” What it is that the Muslims invaded is never mentioned.

“Pilgrims went there on the way to Compostela.” Which was located where, exactly? And it mattered because… No, forget about it. If it isn’t in France, it might as well not exist.

“That formidable lady, Blanche of Castile, mother of St Louis.” And where is Castile? Did anything of interest ever happen there unconnected to bleeding France?

Clark finds more opportunities to mention Japan than Spain, which is frustrating. I’m only on two episodes in. Maybe it changes later on.

If it weren’t for these frustrating omissions, it would be a great series. Everybody should watch because Clark’s love towards medieval art is lovely to see.


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