Well, they were mostly show slaves for the Germanic kings imported from North Africa (especially via the Aghlabid emirs), but they were there.
Even if EVIDENTALLY, a black man could never have been a monk, the monastic profession being considered in the 12th century, after the Gregorian reforms, as the most sacred and noble profession (for Gregory VII, any monk, as long as he was pious, was superior to any temporal sovereign, even the emperor. Anyway)
And no, it’s not contradictory. Even the original work is full of historical bullshit (about the Crusades and the Arab villains who killed the pilgrims, when there were agreements for the protection of pilgrims on the road to Jerusalem as early as the 9th …), as long as it is to tell a story that makes sense.
The problem with this film is that the story, in its coherence, n’t make sense, and it’s a very bad adaptation of the original work. That’s a real problem, and that’s what makes the film bad.
It doesn’t matter if there are explosions or a black monk, it doesn’t matter. Who cares when you see Interpol agents investigating in the field when Interpol is an international intelligence gathering agency for European cooperation? Why, here, in the case of the History of the Middle Ages do you ask for realism, when you do not ask for it in our current period?
No, where I think there’s a problem is that the film is bad, makes no sense, and is a spit in the face of the original work.
If the film would have been well directed and scripted and not come into confrontation with the original work, who cares about the colour of the skin of the jeans and the import of the powder?
I mean, Braveheart is historically mega-shit, but everybody loves it, because it’s okay to run over history when you’re making fiction, all that matters is to make good fiction.
Which is obviously not the case here.
Have a nice day.