When the Moors Ruled in Europe

Bettany Hughes heads to the stunning Spanish countryside to reveal a forgotten chapter in European history - the rise and fall of Islamic culture.

In 711AD a Muslim army invaded Christian Europe and created a society so rich and powerful that it was the envy of the world. Yet, while the influence of the Celts, Saxons and Ancient Greeks on our history is widely known, few people recognise this story. Bettany tackles this extraordinary gap in our understanding of our cultural roots. 

The West owes much of its culture to the 700 year Arab occupation of the Iberian Peninsula, yet Bettany discovers that it's legacy has been systematically written out of history. Bettany reveals how the Arabs advanced our knowledge of navigation, anaesthetic, geography and anatomy. They brought us iced drinks, toothpaste, chess, erection creams, opera and street lighting. They introduced concepts of etiquette, chivalry, romance, poetry, music and art. The Moorish influence helped propel the West out of the Dark Ages and into the Renaissance.


Programme details

Episode details
  • 1 x 120mins
Production company
Wildfire Television
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