Another fascinating presentation by Professor Tobin. This time she focusses on just one small part of the ancient world, Anatolia, or what we nowadays call Turkey. But the number of different peoples who lived in this bit of land makes it an amazing trip through time. Did you know that people were building temples in 11,000 BC, even before we started farming or living in villages, let alone cities? Do you know who invented money? Did you know that America's federal system is based partly on the government of a small nation in southern Turkey that was established before Christ? Enough of the spoilers, hear it for yourself. Suffice it to say that Professor Tobin never loses sight of the fact that she is talking about people, not just buildings. And the PDF document you get with the program enables you to see the pictures and check the spelling of those funny names.
It was great to read a book about ancient Egypt by a real scholar. She dealt firmly but humorously with pyramidology and other esoteric nonsense. Her discussion of Egyptian mathematics and brother-sister marriage was enlightening. I appreciated the author's faithfulness in not straying beyond the evidence. A thoroughly good read.
This is an excellent complement to the Modern Scholar lectures on Roman history. The professor gives the historical background as well as describing the monuments in Rome and the provinces. Getting a picture of the man-made material setting helps one to more easily visualise the people and events, than if one only had the literary sources. You get to stroll through Trajan's Rome, at the height of its power and wealth, as well as cities in Africa and Asia. The professor's rather negative view of Hadrian is interesting.
The serious student of Western history will probably not learn anything terribly revealing from this course, but it provides an excellent context and perspective on the subject. The focus is on daily life of common people, though it provides an overall survey of life among the wealthy as well, in order to fill out the picture.
The lectures are clearly understandable in terms of the material presented and the performance is magnificent. Professor Garland speaks with real passion and emotion that helps one develop a clear image of the message. Most importantly, Professor Garland's analysis is conducted in the context of the times, rather than the context of some modern ideology.
It was a joy to listen to.