The Clash of the Gods
Reappraising the Dark Ages, Waldemar Januszczak sees how Christian artists used images of ancient gods for inspiration and developed new architectural forms.
The Dark Ages have been misunderstood. History has identified the period following the fall of the Roman Empire with a descent into barbarism - a terrible time when civilisation stopped.
Waldemar Januszczak disagrees. In this four-part series he argues that the Dark Ages were a time of great artistic achievement, with new ideas and religions provoking new artistic adventures. He embarks on a fascinating trip across Europe, Africa and Asia, visits the world's most famous collections and discovers hidden artistic gems, all to prove that the Dark Ages were actually an 'Age of Light'.
In the first episode he looks at how Christianity emerged into the Roman Empire as an artistic force in the 3rd and 4th centuries. But with no description of Jesus in the Bible, how were Christians to represent their God? Waldemar explores how Christian artists drew on images of ancient gods for inspiration and developed new forms of architecture to contain their art.
You are at the first episode