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Joined: Jun 2007
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ByziMom Offline OP
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Blessings to you and yours now and ever and forever,

Does anyone here watch the History Channel series Cities of the Underworld? I was so excited when they advertised an episode about Cappadocia that I could barely contain myself.

My first misgivings came with the title of the episode: Pagan Playground. The local primative cultures were discussed and then, finally, the host and his "expert" moved on to the monastery that St. Basil the Great founded.

Instead of introducing the first church and cemetery that they came upon by its proper, original, Christian name, they called it by its "local name." The snake church. Then they proceeded to walk on the graves and note that the primative "frescoes" (Icons) were put there for a superstitious nature. The Icons were horribly defaced -- some very recently by the looks of the scratches on the walls and the show did nothing to point that destruction out.

They then moved on to an underground church (I apologize for not remembering the name, at this point I was trying not to cry for seeing one of our churches so badly abused). Again, the Icons were horribly defaced. Granted, hundreds of years take a toll of their own, but the point of a spear or a sword leaves a recognizable tell-tale mark much different from the flake and fade of age. The host knew nothing about what he was looking at; and the expert referred to the Christians who met to worship there as illiterate (although some were, there is a good chance that some were not) and the Icons were the only way of passing on the beliefs. The host did not even identify icons of Christ Pantocrator or the Most Blessed Theotokos.

Long story short -- I'm writing the History Channel. I doubt I will watch this show again. Shoddy history work, bias, and what appeared to be flat our ignorance of the religious impact of Saint Basil the Great.

Thanks for the room to vent. I'd be interested in hearing your point of view. I've got this monstrosity tivoed and would like to hear from you and watch it again through different eyes if you can give me different thoughts (other than hitting the mute button -- my daughter already suggested that one wink ).

Take care and God bless,
Missy.

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When I read your title, I had one of those tinges of regret for tossing the TV. Your post reaffirmed my position that original sources are the best places to learn and not biased corporations with agendas.

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The History Channel should have been renamed the "Favorite-Fantasies-of-Fifth-Rate-Historians Channel" long ago. It is saddening, maddening, and in the end, not all that suprising that the History Channel fails to educate once again. I remeber when the "DaVinci Code" came out they were all over the major topics with their favorite "scholars."

It's not that they don't put out some good shows too on things like WWI and WWII, but I don't expect much outside of those tpoics. mad

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I have not seen that episode yet. I believe I recorded it but just came back from vacation. I have been very disapointed by the series so far. The host did an episode last year on Constantinople that I tought would be great--it was of the same quality. It seems all the producers want to do is go for the "spectacular" aspect of things. Things seem to be slanted to make even the most simple things dramatic, rather than informative. Everything he shows is somehow a "secret" that has not been told before, or it's something that has not been seen by human eyes for thousands of years.

All in all, it's just sad. And not worth watching.

Tim

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The host knew nothing about what he was looking at; and the expert referred to the Christians who met to worship there as illiterate (although some were, there is a good chance that some were not) and the Icons were the only way of passing on the beliefs. The host did not even identify icons of Christ Pantocrator or the Most Blessed Theotokos.


Dear Byzimom,

The History Channel, seems to look for secular 'experts'. Frankly, they are usually ignorant of anything when it comes to Christianity. I guess Christianity is not politically correct, or they are athiests. Probably both! To be frank, they're 'idiots', (now that's not nice of me). blush

As for the Turkish archaeologist, she was quite knowledgable..well, considering she's a Turk. On a whole, they are taught history through their own eyes. That means eliminate any elements that shows how prominent Christianity was in that area. Very fearful and very paranoid on their part.

That the churches were even left standing, in itself would be considered charitable. We have to realize what we're dealing with. Most of the lands were taken away from the Turks after WW I. That all the people were not able to live in harmony, and ended up having to be separated by boundaries and moving from one area to another, is sorrowful. Well, I guess we can thank the English and French for drawing the lines in the sand. Well, it happened more recently in Yugoslavia. Another remnant of the Ottoman Empire. What a pity! frown

God Bless,

Zenovia


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It's interesting what you said about the History «hannel hosts being secular and ignorant of Christianity. Last year sometime they ran a series called "Drive Thru History." Did anyone see that? It may have been on History International, I'm not sure. That was the exact opposite! The shows were about historical places and events and yet somehow they always seemed to get around to St. Paul and his travels and letters. One show was on the Oracle of Delphi--we're talking well over one thousand years before Christ's birth--and yet it somehow turned into being about St. Paul and his followers. It wasn't that they put an end to the Oracle. That would have been a natural ending to the show--if it had happened that way. But it didn't. Technically, the Oracle of Delphi closed down permanently in AD 381. And that was AFTER an anti-Christian-pro-Pagan Emperor tried to restore the Oracle.

But the reality is that the town and temples were used as Greece's Treasury for centuries. Phillip of Macedon (Alexnder the Great's father--approx 1300BC) stole all he could from it as did two famous Romans--Croesus and Sulla. Sulla, by the way, was one of the last Roman leaders before Julius Ceasar--long before St. Paul was even born!

So it seems to swing--secular and almost anti Christian to pro-Christian! Go figure!

Tim

Last edited by tjm199; 08/06/07 01:49 AM. Reason: spelling and general making sense
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Dear Tim,

You're lucky if you can get History International on your TV. Our shows tend to be very mediocre. cry

You're confusing me though.
Quote
One show was on the Oracle of Delphi--we're talking well over one thousand years before Christ's birth--and yet it somehow turned into being about St. Paul and his followers. It wasn't that they put an end to the Oracle. That would have been a natural ending to the show--if it had happened that way. But it didn't. Technically, the Oracle of Delphi closed down permanently in AD 381. And that was AFTER an anti-Christian-pro-Pagan Emperor tried to restore the Oracle.



I'm not too sure if the oracle was around for more than 1,000 years before Christ. It might have been though. I can't be sure. confused

Quote

But the reality is that the town and temples were used as Greece's Treasury for centuries. Phillip of Macedon (Alexnder the Great's father--approx 1300BC) stole all he could from it


Alexander the Great's father, Philip of Maccedonia was a Greek, and the king of the state of Macedonia. He united all the Greek states under him, which eventually led his son Alexander and his Greek army, to fight and conquer the Persian Empire. If the series gave the impression otherwise, then it was intentional and faulty. The intent would have been to give credence to the state that is now claiming the name Macedonia. crazy

The true Macedonia, is the Northern province of Greece with the same name. Also the date of king Philip as well as Alexander the Great, would have been around three hundred years before the birth of Christ.

When Alexander conquered all the Persian territories, and established cities a far as India, he made the world Greek. It was the Greek language, (the lingua Franca of the time), that made it possible for Christianity to grow throughout the then world. When Pontius Pilate and Jesus spoke, they probably spoke in Greek...otherwise, how would they have been able to communicate? confused

I can't help but feel from what you've told me, that there was some kind of geopolitical propaganda involved. Many, many wars have been fought over the sea coast city of Solonika, (Thessalonika), this past century. Of course I could be wrong. I just don't trust the history channel. shocked Call it paranoia! crazy

God Bless,

Zenovia

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I enjoy the History International channel. I'm thinking of dropping it though--my cable company has a "tier" system and I'm paying $15 a month for the tier that includes History International. And it's the only channel on that tier I like or would want to watch. So I'm paying $15 a month for one channel! I just don't know if it's worth it.

As for the age of the Oracle of Delphi, PBS lists it as going back to 1400 B.C. National Geographic also lists it as being in operation in 1400 B.C. The official website for the Oracle--oracleofdelphi.com, also lists it as being operating in 1400 B.C. Mind you, I don't know a thing about the group who runs that site, so I wouldn't go around quoting them as an historically accurate website. But the dates agree with the others, so that information can probably be trusted.

You are correct about Phillip of Macedon being in the 300's, B.C. I was wrong. My fingers type slower than my brain sometimes and I didn't catch that mistake. Thank you for the correction.

The temple and building were sacked many times over the years--in 356 during the years of Phillip. The Gauls sacked it in 339 B.C. The Roman dictator Sulla did it again in 86 B.C. to finance his seige of Athens. And in 83 B.C. the Thracians sacked it and allegedly put out the sacred fire that had been burning uninterrupted (again, allegedly) since 1400 B.C.

In the early second century A.D. the Roman Emperor Hadrian took an interest in the site and started a rebuilding process.

But that's my point about how much "historical" shows don't get their facts right. Everyone is an expert yet so many people don't bother doing simple research. The Oracle of Delphi was going strong decades after St. Paul was killed. In 362 A.D. the Emperor Julian the Apostate ordered the Tolerance Edict, stating freedom of religion and started a rebuilding process at Delphi. And finally in 390 A.D. the Emperor Theodosis ordered the closing of the shrine and the temple was razed.

But somehow the show centered on how St. Paul brought an end to the Oracle and singlehandedly was responsible for closing things down. Even though he never set foot in the place and it was around for centuries after St. Paul!

I work in Broadcasting and I know better than to believe what I see or hear, especially when it comes to tv shows. Most people have no idea how much of the show is done in "post production" as we call it. And most people involved are only out to make a buck. So they put together a show, doing very little to no research, and sell it to a network and make money. Yippee for them!

Tim



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