In Inside the Medieval Mind one of the world’s greatest authorities on the Middle Ages, Professor Robert Bartlett of St Andrews University, investigates the intellectual landscape of the medieval world.
In this series he opens up the often surprising discontinuities and similarities between the medieval age and our own as he remarks:
“In many ways these were people very much like us, in terms of family, ambitions for children and the world of emotions. On the other hand, they inhabited a very different world, in which it was believed the dead visited the living, and where somewhere there lived a race of people with the heads of dogs.”
The series comprises four one hour programmes, each on a different aspect of medieval thinking: Belief; Sex; Power; Knowledge. During the series he visits numerous medieval locations, from Westminster Abbey to Pluscarden Abbey near Inverness, with wide use of readings from original medieval sources.
Since the Renaissance we have wanted to understand the world so that we can control it and make it work to our advantage. Professor Bartlett argues that the medieval world was not to be mastered, so much as contemplated.
Inside The Medieval Mind was first broadcast on BBC Four, 17th March, 2008. For further broadcast details, and to watch again where available, visit bbc.co.uk.