The Medieval battlefield must have been a real gory spectacle. But lord knows that didn’t stop European rulers from waging war regularly. In this list, we rank and review the best medieval TV series. So get ready for the sounds of swords bashing against armor and the rhythm of the horse-hoofs as they hit the ground!
Update: May 16th, 2022: This list now includes 32 historic medieval series, it doesn’t include fantasy series such as Game of Thrones, or The Witcher.
The Best Medieval TV Series Of All Time!
1. The Name Of The Rose (TV Series)
Umberto Eco’s acclaimed work has previously received a cinematic version starring Sean Connery and Christian Slater. The TV version in an English-speaking Italian production. The Italian company is the same one that produced the medieval movie back in 1986.
Starring John Turturro and Michael Emerson, the medieval mini-series is set in the 14th century. A monk and his apprentice arrive at a monastery in northern Italy to solve a mystery of murders.
Why you should watch the series? It’s pretty good and lushly gorgeous, having that Italian cinematic look and being filmed at Cinecitta.
Watch: Amazon Prime
2. The White Queen
The medieval series is a television adaptation of the book by the popular British author Philippa Gregory. The medieval story follows Elizabeth Woodville during the bloody Wars of the Roses. Woodville secretly married King Edward IV of York, her family’s enemy.
Her marriage to the young king was considered scandalous and hidden from view for a long time. The secrets, lies, and new royal status, force her to sacrifice everything to maintain her power.
Why you should watch the series? If historical inaccuracy does not bother you, then you’ll find a fun series that features angry princesses with generous cleavages, insecure kings, intrigue, and burning hatred.
3. The Spanish Princess
The sequel to The White Queen focuses on a female warrior with a historical grip. The medieval series tells the story of the intriguing character of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s wife, whose refusal to divorce the king, leads to the establishment of the Anglican Church.
Catherine is s a devout, stubborn, and opinionated young woman. In her early childhood, she was promised to be Arthur’s wife, the eldest son of Henry VII. But the upheavals of fate bound her to another husband. Instead of being maneuvered by the British monarchy, she takes an active political role in shaping the crown and leading her people.
Why you should watch the series? based on a book written by Philippa Gregory ‘The Spanish Princess’, belongs to the ‘Guilty Pleasure’ wing, and does it well, except for a few absurd scenes even on the forgiving scale of the genre. If you do not expect too much sophistication, then you would enjoy a great binge-watching experience.
The Spanish medieval tv series tells the story of the one who later became Queen Isabel (Isabella) of Castile. The show follows Isabel’s life from childhood as she struggles for the crown of Castile. When the crown is placed on her head, at the age of only 23, she is sucked into a difficult and dangerous confrontation with political intrigues in the royal court.
Why you should watch the series? “Isabel” was a huge success in Spain. It was compared to many critically acclaimed series such as “The Tudor Dynasty” and “The Burgas.” Isabel’s daughter Juana of Castile, historically known as Joanna the Mad was captured in Vicente Aranda’s 2011 Mad Love.
Watch: Amazon Prime
After successes such as “Vikings” and “Black Sails”, the History Channel decided to produce another medieval TV series. This time the production centered on the Crusaders called “Knightfall”. The show follows the events and politics that take place in one of the most famous parades in history: the Knights Templar.
Why you should watch the series? This show sadly was a bit disappointing. The narrative wears out as it tries to be customized for progressive agendas which have nothing to do with the medieval period. However, this sword action series has very good actors. It also has breathtaking special effects as well.
Knightfall is far removed from historically accurate, but take it for what it is, entertainment. Knightfall, Vikings, and The Last Kingdom are all based on nonfiction but are “enhanced” to keep people interested.
6. The Cathedral of the Sea
Love, conspiracies, violence, and passion in medieval Barcelona. The Netflix medieval TV series is based on a book of the same name. The plot revolves around the historical upheavals in Barcelona, Spain in the 14th century. It follows the Estaniol family; The upheavals and tragedies in the life of Tzamit’s son until he becomes a rich and influential man.
Why you should watch the series? A powerful and excellent series with quite a few cruel and difficult moments to watch. The plot is complex, and every episode is full of drama that changes the story fundamentally.
7. Resurrection: Ertugrul (Dirilis: Ertugrul)
The medieval series Resurrection: Ertugrul (Dirilis: Ertugrul) takes place in the 13th century. It is based on the father and founder of the Ottoman Empire. The series takes the viewer to the ancient world from which the history of Turkey began.
Why you should watch the series? Beyond the historical drama of a tribal society and its struggle for survival. And dealing with dangers and challenges inside and out, the medieval show has a bit of everything: suspense and action and quite a few sword fights, comedy, and also of course romance.
8. Rise of Empires: Ottoman
The experiences of Sultan Mehmed II who went down in history as a successful 21-year-old Conquer of the most fortified city in Europe Constantinople, (Istanbul) in 1453. Thus finally eliminating the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire.
The Netflix series is accompanied by step-by-step explanations by historians about the stages of the conflict. The methods of land and sea warfare, internal conspiracies, espionage, and betrayals, keep track of the personal history of the young sultan.
Why you should watch the series? Let’s put it this way: creating a dramatic TV series, is a possible task. The creation of a dramatic historical television series isn’t very rare as well. We have seen such in the past. But creating a medieval historical TV series that tells the story of a character considered sacred in Turkish history without censoring or hiding even one frown from her biography is another story.
9. Wolf Hall
An acclaimed period drama from the BBC, based on the novel “Wolf Hall”, written by author Hillary Mantel. The series document the rise of Thomas Cromwell, the son of a violent blacksmith. Over the years he became Henry VIII’s lawyer and chief minister.
Why you should watch the series? Anyone who rejoices in shows like the Bridgerton, and women mummified in a corset, will find what he/she is looking for in the series. It has politics and passion.
In addition ‘Wolf Hall’ has juicy intrigues in the palace courtyard. A fine treat for all lovers of historical medieval TV series.
Watch: Amazon Prime
10. The Tudors
Yet another series on Henry VIII. The chronicles of one of the most well-known kings of England from the time he was a young man until his death. King Henry’s absolute dictatorship disconnected many heads and England from the Pope in Rome. He created for the first time the Anglican Church, headed only by the king.
Why you should watch the series? The Tudors series does an excellent job describing King Henry’s narcissistic and slick personality. Jonathan Reese Myers does an excellent job portraying King Henry’s vibrant, spoiled, arrogant, infuriating, touching, and lustful nature.
Watch: Amazon Prime
The History Channel’s long-running series began with a rather small and low-budget production and has grown to be one of the biggest medieval series on screen in terms of budget, photography, acting, and production.
Vikings focus on the legend and stories surrounding Ragnar Ludbrook and his family. Including his wife Lagertha, his son Bjorn and his brother Rollo, and their good friend, the boatbuilder Floki.
The series tells the story of a farmer who finds a new way to navigate the open sea. This allows the Vikings to do what they love, fight and plunder.
In the first two seasons of the medieval series, we get to know the world of the Viking warriors and the main characters. The character gives us a window to learn about the old Viking cultural clash with the Christian world.
Why you should watch the series? ‘Vikings’ does an excellent job of getting the viewers into its world – thanks to experienced and well-known actors.
Watch: Amazon Prime
12. The Last Kingdom
Well yes, we have The Last Kingdom vs Vikings! One of the best and most interesting series that aired on Netflix.
The Middle-Ages series is based on Bernard Cornwell’s book series “The Saxon Stories.” It takes us to a period of time when Britain was divided into countless small kingdoms. The kingdoms fall one after the other to the Viking invaders. The series follows the young Uhtred who was supposed to reign over his ancestral homeland. During one of the wars between Northumbria and the Danish Vikings, Uhtred’s father falls in battle. His son is taken captive to live with the Danes.
When Uhtred grows he is now a Danish Viking, but when he has no choice, he has to deal alone with the politics of the intriguing Alfred the king of England. Uthred is ever torn between his Dane and English identity.
Why you should watch the series? The Last Kingdom, is an excellent replica of Vikings in a positive sense. If you watched the American History Channel series ‘Viking’ you will find a lot of similar things here.
Both series focus on the exact same period and there is even overlap between some characters. The series has an intriguing plot and a dominant main character. And if that is not enough who can pass on medieval war scenes when the Vikings are at the center of things?
The Netflix series deals with the ‘Battle of Teutoburg Forest,’ a confrontation that took place in about 9 AD, in which the Germans fought against the Romans following their attempt to conquer large parts of Germany and make them part of the prosperous Roman Empire.
Why you should watch the series? There are quite a few strong points in the series. The two main strengths are careful editing and acting quality. Even though the episodes are quite long, each frame serves the story well.
The HBO series ‘Rome’ is a strange combination of sex, violence, soap opera, politics, and history. The series describes the rise of Julius Caesar to the head of the Roman Empire about 50 years BC. To do so, ‘Rome’ focuses on the political intrigue, betrayals, and manipulations that Caesar and his enemies make to stay in power.
Lots of nudity and sex, lots of violence and blood, extra sweat, and pagan customs in all their glory. It is a world of macho, engaged in war, survival, and the pursuit of power.
Why you should watch the series? The series describes the process of the rise of a dictatorship. But what is fascinating about ‘Rome’ is not the history, but the ‘behind the scenes’ history. Admittedly the plot unfolds as in soap operas, but the blatant dialogues and irony save it from their stencils.
A ten-episode British drama. The medieval TV series takes place in 43 AD and unfolds the Roman invasion of a territory that would later become the British Isles.
Why you should watch the series? The prestigious production of ‘Britannia’ is impressive in its size. This show flirts with the fictional and fantasy worlds. The graphic violence and multiplicity of factions fighting for control will surely remind many of ‘Game of Thrones.’ As well as the attempt to turn the oppressed female characters into those who revolt against the old order.
The main weakness of “Britannia” is its heroes and the success of making them interesting in their own right. The series cuts almost randomly from one point to another.
Watch: Amazon Prime
Action, violence, and drama are key elements in ׳Spartacus.׳ The Starz series focuses on the character of Spartacus, a Thracian who led the slave gladiators to war against the Roman Empire in 70 BC.
Why you should watch the series? This Starz production is full of gladiators, spartan warriors, lots of betrayals, lots of frontal nudity, and exaggerated and meticulous aesthetics that make each episode a blood-soaked visual amusement park.
The critically acclaimed anime series Berserk captures the interest of the viewer and holds it tightly throughout two dozen episodes. Guts are well-known as the “Black Swordsman” and he wields the massive sword known as the Dragon Slayer”. He also wears The Berserker knight-like Armor, so Q.E.D (quite easily demonstrated).
Why you should watch the series? Warning – as great and entertaining as this series is, it is not for the faint of heart! Berserk is the kind of story for those who like dark, violent plots with depressing outcomes, then Berserk is one of the best medieval series. Repeat – do not expect happy endings.
Viking traditions are infused with absurdist humor.
Why you should watch the series? An underrated Norwegian comedy series you probably skipped past dozens of times. It takes place in 790 and follows a group of Vikings living in a village called Norheim.
The series has a Monty Python-esque humor, and it mainly focuses on the absurdity of setting a group of violent bloodthirsty Vikings and blending them in a 21st-century cultural climate of political correctness and the Me too movement.
As the series progresses, disputes with neighboring villages, including a rival tribe led by the ruthless villain Jarl Varg, and the efforts of a Roman slave, Rufus, to modernize Norheim’s culture result in ongoing conflicts.
19. Vikings Valhalla
The Netflix series introduced us to a new era of Viking warriors with some of the most famous Vikings who ever lived – Leif Eriksson, Freydis Eriksdotter, Harald Hardrada, and the Norman King William the Conqueror.
Set over 100 years after the events of the original Vikings series, “Vikings: Valhalla” opens with a historic event that took place in 1002 and became known as the St. Brice’s Day Massacre which involved the killing of Danes in the Kingdom of England by King Aethelred in the name of Christianity. In response, their Viking relatives and friends overseas go on a journey of revenge.
Why you should watch the series? Vikings Valhalla is definitely not a patch on the original Vikings series. It is well filmed and well-choreographed and tells an interesting story about the end of the Viking Age, where some Vikings have long converted to Christianity, while others still remain pagans. However, the show is downright historically inaccurate.
Still, Vikings: Valhalla is a solid, well-made medieval show, with clever plot twists, and beautifully orchestrated battles. It has an excellent structure! A thing leads to another in an organic and believable way, and every peak cleverly leads to an even higher peak.
It is not really exciting, but with all respect to Ragnar, Lagertha, and Bjorn Ironside, neither was the first season of Vikings. It reached her peak only afterward. Considering that Vikings: Valhalla will span at least three seasons, it is very possible that the best is yet to come.
A big-budget production from creators Graham King, the Oscar-winning producer, and Michael Hirst, screenwriter, and producer of hit shows like The Tudors, and Vikings.
The series is a wide-ranging epic and deals with the Knights of the Round Table and the rise to greatness of the famous wizard Merlin. The medieval series is packed with well-known actors led by Joseph Fiennes (“Shakespeare in Love”) as Merlin, Eva Green as Morgana, and Claire Forlani as the Queen.
Why you should watch the series? Camelot did not bring any new ideas to the famous folklore. The story has been told in so many series and films. The script, on the other hand, is more or less, predictable. If you never watched anything about King Arthur, you might get some value from watching the medieval show.
Watch: Amazon Prime
The adventures of Brother Cadfael an English monk, a Crusader knight who has repented. He is also a kind of detective investigator who solves all kinds of mysterious crimes and abominations. The series takes place in the 12 century Norman English town of Shrewsbury, the days of chaos left by the English Civil War. Brother Cadfael helps to solve the murder and rape case of The Ice Virgin.
Why you should watch the series? This series never grows old! Cadfael’s unique setting and the acting performances by Derek Jacobi are just brilliant.
Watch: Amazon Prime
22. The Pillars of the Earth
Starz medieval mini-series based on Ken Polt’s best-selling novel and produced by brothers Ridley and Tony Scott. The show is an impressive historical drama that revolves around the construction of a cathedral in 12th-century England. The medieval series was produced for $40 million and filming lasted over a year. It was the network’s most-watched mini-series.
Why you should watch the series? A medieval show that is full of intrigue, fast pace, hidden motives, revenge, and love stories. But what makes The Pillars of the Earth different is the theme – the construction of a cathedral.
The middle ages series recreates the atmosphere, the events, and the characters in precise detail: the walled cities, forests, castles, and monasteries become familiar ground.
Pillars of the Earth is a fascinating and breathtaking masterpiece, which transports the viewer to other districts in place and time, but is recognized by motives and desires.
23. Robin Hood
A British nobleman from Loxley returns home from the wars in the Holy Land. He discovers that the real battle for England must be against the sheriff, his excessive taxation, and corrupt management.
Along with a group of criminals, Robin outsmarts the sheriff and his right-hand man, Guy Magisburn, as he hides in the woods and fights for the peace of the people of Nottingham until King Richard returns from the Crusades.
Why you should watch the series? There is no dull moment, Robin and the gang are always in motion, and the acting is excellent. Another high-quality TV product by BBC.
Watch: Amazon Prime
24. Secrets of Great British Castles
Historian and presenter Dan Jones tell the stories of the turbulent history of Britain’s most famous fortresses and their infamous inhabitants. If you are a true British medieval history nerd, then this Netflix documentary is for you.
You may think you know the history behind some of Britain’s famous medieval warriors and kings because you watched The Last Kingdom or Vikings, but Secrets of Great British Castles will make you realize “You know nothing Jon Snow.”
Why you should watch the series? The stories are truly engaging. In one of the episodes, Dan travels to Rathlin island, where he reveals how hundreds of women and children were massacred in the name of Elizabeth I, and visits the tomb of former governor Arthur Chichester, who began a new colonization strategy using scorched earth tactics and laid waste to much of the land surrounding the town.
Dan Jones is the perfect history teacher you ever had, and he is full of charisma when he talks about castles. Indeed, the viewers get to join along in the fun.
25. Maximilian and Marie De Bourgogne
An outstanding, six-part miniseries based on true events. Set in 1477, Marie de Bourgogne, is heir to the new duchy. As an unmarried woman during the Middle Ages, her rule is up for grabs. King Louis XI of France, who is also Marie’s godfather, plans to wed his sons to Marie to ensure power and wealth.
However since Marie did not respond to his request to marry his son, he threatens her with an invasion of the Low Countries. Marie is forced to sign the Great Privilege and chose to marry the king’s son Maximilian to maintain her position. it is only after a perilous journey through a realm ravaged by war and the Black Death that Mary and Maximilian fall in love. it all ends too quickly and tragically.
Why you should watch the series? It is quite enjoyable, it doesn’t stary off the historic events just to please the PC crowd. The actor speaks in their native tongue to maintain authenticity. Fans of history, politics, and romance will all find something to appreciate.
Watch: Amazon Prime
26. The Bastard Executioner
The medieval series that shows people with yellow teeth is set in the middle ages (1300). The Welsh filmed mini-series ‘The Bastard Executioner’ tells the story of a warrior knight. He is broken by the ravages of war and vows to lay down his sword. But when that violence finds him again he is forced to assume the identity of a traveling executioner/torturer. As a result, he finds himself working in the castle of his enemies.
Why you shouldn’t watch this series? This medieval show has some features that might seem familiar, like internal politics (TLK), and brutal violence and blood (Spartacus.) But It is astonishingly, mesmerizingly bad in so many ways. Though a few saving graces and some kind of humor keep it watchable to fall asleep pretty fast.
27. Troy: Fall of a City
A story about selfish love, hurt respect, stubbornness, cruelty, deception, and cunning. Granted this is not a medieval show, but if you’re looking for a sleeping pill, look no further. The mythological story of the city of Troy, which stood under a prolonged siege by the kings of ancient Greece after Princess Paris shamed the king of Sparta and took from him his wife Helena.
Why you shouldn’t watch this series? Troya The BBC series got 3.8 scores on IMDB, and it’s full of cliches, bad writing, and directing.
28. The Legend of El Cid
A Middle Ages epic set in 11th Century Spain, about the military activities, love affairs, and victories of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, known as El Sid, a Castilian nobleman and war hero in medieval Spain.
El Cid traces his journey as he tries to find his place within a complex monarchy trying to control him. Rodrigo is a young servant who faithfully serves his master, King Sancho II, a decorated war hero exiled at the hands of King Alfonso VI, an ally of both the Moors and Spanis.
As he strives to succeed in the king’s court thanks to his natural talent for using the sword, he becomes embroiled in a conspiracy to overthrow the king, which will lead to bloodshed, pain, and death for both the Christian and Muslim Taifa kingdoms.
Why you should watch the series? El Cid fails to develop the main characters, the protagonists have a difficult time making things interesting, and the result is an overarching story. Nevertheless, El Cid was a hit in Spain, it has A-list acting performances from familiar faces such as Jaime Lorente (Money Heist), and Fernando “Nano” García Domínguez.
Watch: Amazon Prime UK
29. The Hollow Crown
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Award-winning adaptations of William Shakespeare’s historical play The Hollow Crown. This fascinating three-part series covers the period in Britain’s internal bloody struggle known as the Wars of the Roses.
Why you should watch the series? The Hollow Crown is a glorious medieval mini-drama played by famous British actors, Tom Hiddleston, (Thor) as Henry V, Benedict Cumberbatch, (Sherlock) as Richard III, and Jeremy Irons, (Kingdom of Heaven) as Richard IV. If you are a fan of classic English literature, then this series is definitely a must-watch.
Watch: Apple TV
Why you should watch this series? One of the most successful shows on British television starring Rowan Atkinson who was quite a comic success even before he appeared on television, but his entry into the cult district began in the 1980s after he played Edmund Blackadder, in the Middle Ages sitcom.
The following seasons of the series progressed over time, with the second season taking place during the Elizabethan period, the third during the reign of George IV, and the fourth in World War I. A fifth ‘Blackadder’ season was reportedly in the works back in 2019, but Atkinson refused to join the cast.
Radwell Monastery is home to mice, squirrel moles, badgers and other wildlife, forest, and river, all of which strive for a life of friendship, love, and serenity, this harmony is violated as a camp of rats, weasels, mongooses, foxes, and other cruel animals, led by the terrible rat Clooney Maglev, trying to conquer the monastery.
A fierce struggle takes place between the two camps – a struggle between good and evil, love and peace vs violence, and death.
Why you should watch this series? The plot takes place in a period reminiscent of the Middle Ages, and the animated series is clever, funny, and full of fascinating blood-curdling adventures, which take the viewer into a breathtaking world full of magical legends.
32. The Black Arrow (La Freccia Nera)
The television drama The Black Arrow was broadcast on the Primo Canale Rai in 1968 and was renewed in 2006. The Story is set in the mid-15th century, toward the end of the medieval period when the conflict between the Pope and the Roman Empire escalated.
The seven-episode series has been enormously successful and is considered the mother of all Italian television novels. The vassals of the Holy Roman Emperor, Raniero von Rottemburg, and the Duke of Castrolbo go into battle against a common enemy – Bishop Cusano and his supporters.
The Black Arrow, a group of outlaws, stay away from the wars of nobility: they fight injustice on all sides, but in the end, they still have to choose who to support. The little-known Italian medieval show was based on the novel of the same name by Scottish writer Robert Luis Stevenson.
Why you should watch this series? The project is worth watching. It makes you appreciate the wonderfully distorted plot: the creators preferred to slightly change the historic events and moved the action from England during the Crimson and White Rose conflict to the border between Italy and Germany.
The Black Arrow is not available for streaming.