A&E (Sun., Dec. 11, 8 p.m. ET)
Chivalry isn’t dead, at least during this two-hour documentary that recounts the refulgent age of the knights-errant. It is an era that began with the Norman victory over the English in the battle of Hastings in 1066, when the Normans’ use of mounted soldiers charging with lances won the day, and ended with the development of firearms in the 16th century. (They could make a suit of armor thick enough to withstand a bullet, but you wouldn’t want to try to walk around in it.)
In between, the film explores life within the castle, the career of William Marshal (1146-1219), “the best knight who ever lived,” the Arthurian legend, heraldry, courtly love, the Crusades and other topics. This talky history employs dramatic re-creations, period art and some incredible collections of armor, particularly the one in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum.
Is there a more romantic epoch in history? Surely you joust.