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Paul

Paul Plympton, Australia
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  • "Another Archaeological Triumph"

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    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.

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    The Modern Scholar: From Troy to Constantinople: The Cities and Societies of Ancient Turkey

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jennifer Tobin
    Overall
    (56)
    Performance
    (47)
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    (48)

    From time immemorial, the region of modern-day Turkey has served as a crossroads between east and west. In this illuminating course, Professor Jennifer Tobin leads a compelling discussion of "Anatolia" from early archaeological sites and the Trojan War up through the Greeks, Persians, Alexander the Great, and the Romans. A land of immense cultural significance, Ancient Turkey has housed an amazing array of peoples - the study of whom shines light on the modern world.

    Paul says: "Another Archaeological Triumph"
  • "A real eye-opener"

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    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.

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    Red Land, Black Land: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 1 min)
    • By Barbara Mertz
    • Narrated By Lorna Raver
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (170)
    Performance
    (86)
    Story
    (88)

    Esteemed Egyptologist Barbara Mertz updates her widely praised social history of the people of ancient Egypt, which was originally published in 1968. Combining impeccable scholarship with a delightfully personal style, the author reconstructs the life of the Egyptians from birth to death, and beyond death, too.

    Elizabeth says: "Brilliant"
  • "An excellent blend of history and art"

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    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.

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    The Modern Scholar: The Grandeur That Was Rome: Roman Art and Archaeology

    • ORIGINAL (7 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Jennifer Tobin
    • Narrated By Jennifer Tobin
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    (22)
    Performance
    (12)
    Story
    (12)

    Common perceptions of Ancient Rome are plentiful, whether they take the form of crazy emperors hosting lavish feasts, scenes of chariot races and gladiatorial combat, or processions of conquering armies. But that is only half the story.

    Paul says: "An excellent blend of history and art"
  1. The Modern Scholar: From ...
  2. Red Land, Black Land: Dai...
  3. The Modern Scholar: The G...
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A Peek at Jefferson's Bookshelf

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219 REVIEWS / 246 ratings Member Since 2010 977 Followers / Following 15
 
Jefferson's greatest hits:
  • The Histories

    "Fascinating and Well-Read History"

    Overall
    Performance
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    I really enjoyed Herodotus' The Histories, about the background and main events of the epic wars between the ancient Persians and Greeks (translated by George Rawlinson). I was hooked by "the Father of History's" enthusiastic accounts of interesting historical and cultural information and impressed by his appealing balance of objectivity and subjectivity. And I savored his many digressions amplifying the historical context, as well as his detailed accounts of the different ancient exotic cultures (like the Egyptians shaving their eyebrows when their housecats died or the Scythians making capes from the scalps of their fallen enemies), which were in a sense all similar in their violence, heroism, treachery, brutality, ethnocentrism, and superstitious following of prodigies and omens and oracles. We haven't changed so much in 2000 plus years???

    Despite some listeners complaining about the reader, Bernard Mayes, I quickly came to enjoy his handling of The Histories, easily imagining myself listening to an elderly, experienced, and decent Herodotus. I appreciated Mayes' subtle changes in tone to express a variety of moods, from Xerxes' waxing wroth at some unpleasant advice and the Athenians getting peeved by the Spartans worrying that they would ally with the Persians, to the suspenseful accounts of battles like those at Marathon, Thermopylae, and Salamis that helped decide the course of world history. I found Mayes always to be right on task, always speaking with effective clarity and rhythm, always perfectly expressing Herodotus' humor, disbelief, admiration, and criticism of his historical subjects.

    The only flaw in the audiobook is the too frequent, sudden flash of a kind of static, which distracts from the overall experience to the point that I'm giving what should be a five star audiobook four stars. I highly recommend it.

  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 1

    "Historical Fascination and Literary Pleasure"

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    Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-89) is one of those classics you always hear about but never read because the prospect of broaching a six-volume history of the Roman Empire written in the 18th century is so daunting. But finally listening to the first volume of the audiobook (which includes the first two volumes of Gibbon's opus) filled me with a historical and literary rapture.

    Gibbon brings to life the Roman Empire from about 180 AD to about 395, the extent of its boundaries, the governing of its provinces, the organization of its military, and the success that led to its decline and fall by, among other things, making the citizens too soft, the military too mercenary, and the senate too weak. This history was made by spoiled citizens, fickle soldiers, corrupt prefects, obsequious senators, pernicious eunuchs, rapacious barbarians, and, of course, numerous emperors: amoral and tyrannical, pusillanimous and paranoid, or, rarely, moderate and able. Gibbon wittily and enthusiastically relates fateful battles, appalling scenes of treachery, rapine, and slaughter (often internecine or inter-familial), interesting details of exotic cultures (like the Sarmatian barbarians who wore "mail" vests of overlapping horse hoof slices and wielded poisoned fish bone weapons), and telling insights like, "History is little more than the register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of mankind."

    I was morbidly fascinated by Gibbon's account of the feuding sects of the "primitive" Christian church, Catholics, Arians, Homoousians, and so on arguing, persecuting, and excommunicating each other over the true substance of Jesus while indulging in pomp, pelf, pride, and power, yet ever spreading their religion due to their zeal, world everlasting after death, and "real" relics, miracles, and visions. Gibbon advocates Age of Enlightenment reason against superstition and might have enjoyed the Jefferson Bible.

    My favorite figure was the philosopher-poet-general Apostate Emperor Julian, who packed so much into his short life (32 years) and reign (1 year and 8 months). As new Caesar, Julian was tossed into Gaul with 360 soldiers and told to rescue it from tens of thousands of German barbarians, disarmingly declaiming, "Plato, Plato! What a task for a philosopher!" As new Emperor, he booted bishops, barbers, and eunuchs out of the palace, replaced them with poets, philosophers, and sages, and tried to return the newly Christian Roman Empire to a Hellenistic Paganism. He even got back at the insulting people of Antioch by writing a satire on his beard. Ah, how might the current world have developed had Julian not played Alexander the Great and invaded Persia!

    Although Gibbon objectively navigates between earlier historical panegyrics and calumnies of his imperial subjects, he also falls prey to his own biases. The worst is his favoritism for western culture at the expense of eastern (opining that a single Greek statue is worth more than whole Persian palaces), and for "civilization" at the expense of "barbarism" (figuring that oral cultures produce no worthy art or culture). Nevertheless, Gibbon always champions humane behavior and criticizes wanton slaughter and destruction, regardless of whether the actors were barbarian or Roman.

    The audiobook is really abridged, because it excludes "Gibbon's table talk," his spicy notes. This is understandable, because they would have broken the flow of the narrative and made the audiobook run too long, but still a pity.

    Some listeners complain that reader Bernard Mayes sounds too British or boring, but I find him perfectly suited to reading long works of history (like Herodotus' Histories). He reads with a professorial British accent and impeccable rhythm, enunciation, and emphasis, a wise and weathered uncle recounting a fascinating history.

    Mostly I had no problem following Gibbon's well-regulated trains of thought, and found his writing elegant, clear, and pleasurable. The only difficulty I had while listening to the audiobook occurred during his long sentences that include "the former" and "the latter," because I'd often have forgotten which was which by the time they appeared, leaving me longing for a printed version of the text. But anyone familiar with 18th and 19th century novels should otherwise have no trouble with Gibbon's prose. I relished it to the point of grins and chuckles. I'll close this review with some examples:

    "The monstrous vices of the son have cast a shade on the purity of the father's virtues."

    "But the power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous."

    "He promised only to betray, he flattered only to ruin; and however he might occasionally bind himself by oaths and treaties, his conscience, obsequious to his interest, always released him from the inconvenient obligation."

    "It was easier to vanquish the Goths than to eradicate the public vices, yet even in the first of these enterprises Decius lost his army and his life."

    "The ecclesiastical governors of the Christians were taught to unite the wisdom of the serpent with the innocence of the dove; but as the former was refined, so the latter was insensibly corrupted, by the habits of government."

    "If this Punic war was carried on without any effusion of blood, it was owing much less to the moderation than to the weakness of the contending prelates. Invectives and excommunications were their only weapons; and these, during the progress of the whole controversy, they hurled against each other with equal fury and devotion."

    "The weak and guilty Lupicinus, who had dared to provoke, who had neglected to destroy, and who still presumed to despise his formidable enemy, marched against the Goths at the head of such a military force as could be collected in this emergency."

    "Their flesh was greedily devoured by the birds of prey, who in that age enjoyed very frequent and delicious feasts, and several years afterwards, the white and naked bones which covered the wide extent of the fields presented to the eyes of Ammianus a dreadful monument of the battle of Salices."

  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 3

    "Literary, Historical, and Humane Fulfillment"

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    The Prophet Mohammed, his followers and successors, and the rise and spread of Islam. The empires of Ghengis Kahn, Timour the Lame, Charlemagne, and Mahomet II. Orthodox iconoclasts and Catholic image worshippers. Popes and anti-Popes. Hyperactive Norman Robber-Adventurers. The zeal, ignorance, and "baleful fountain of holy war" of the Crusades. Rapacious acts and pusillanimity aplenty. Some heroism for hope. Everywhere ambition, pride, scheming, and betrayals. Greek fire, gunpowder, sea battles, and wars involving the deaths or slavery of tens of thousands. The state of Rome in the waning middle ages. The long decline of the Eastern Empire culminating in the inevitable fall of Constantinople.

    When I finished the third and final audiobook volume of Edward Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, including the fifth and sixth volumes (1788-89) of his classic six-volume history, I felt fulfilled. The roughly 120 hours of the three audiobook volumes take the reader from about the 2nd century AD till about the middle of the 15th, from when the empire was a young single entity through its division into two, Eastern and Western, and recounting their respective declines and falls and relationships with each other and with the major barbarian and other civilizations that came and went. The history is everywhere uplifted by Gibbon's Age of Enlightenment reason, moderation, humanity, and elegant and witty prose.

    Bernard Mayes, ever the avuncular, dryly enthusiastic British guide, is a perfect reader for the long history, occasionally nearly succumbing to his own fatigue at so much declining and falling, but ever enhancing Gibbon's love for the material, never missing a beat, mangling a rhythm, or mispronouncing a word. Gibbon's lively notes are missing from the audiobook, so I recommend getting one of the several e-books of his history so as to be able to peruse them.

    The third volume, like the first two, teems with lines full of wit and wisdom, pathos and comedy:

    "Ambition is a weed of quick and early vegetation in the vineyard of Christ."

    "The dominion of priests is most odious to a liberal spirit."

    "Solitude is the school of genius."

    "Of human life, the most glorious or humble prospects are alike soon bound by the sepulcher."

    "In speech they (Bulgarians, Hungarians, and Russians) were slow, in action prompt, in treaty perfidious. . . . Whatever they saw, they coveted; their desires were insatiate, and their sole industry was the hand of violence and rapine."

    "The discipline of the soldier is formed by exercise rather than by study. . . the battles won by lessons of tactics may be numbered with the epic poems created from the rules of criticism."

    "If we contrast the rapid progress of this mischievous discovery [gunpowder] with the slow and laborious advances of reason, science, and the arts of peace, a philosopher, according to his temper, will laugh or weep at the folly of mankind."

    And with vivid portraits of key historical figures:

    "In the blaze of prosperity, [the Tribune Rienzi's] virtues were insensibly tinctured with the adjacent vices; justice with cruelty, liberality with profusion, and the desire of fame with puerile and ostentatious vanity."

    "Of the three popes, John the Twenty-third was the first victim: he fled and was brought back a prisoner: the most scandalous charges were suppressed; the vicar of Christ was only accused of piracy, murder, rape, sodomy, and incest."

    "[The Hermit Peter's] stature was small, his appearance contemptible, but his eye was keen and lively, and he possessed that vehemence of speech that seldom fails to impart the persuasion of the soul."

    "Bold and subtle, rapacious and profuse, the avarice and ambition of Apocaucus [enemy of John Cantacuzene] were by turns subservient to each other; and his talents were applied to the ruin of his country."

    "A beautiful female, a matron in rank, a prostitute in manners, instructed the Younger Andronicus in the rudiments of love; but he had reason to suspect the nocturnal visits of a rival; and a stranger passing through the streets was pierced by the arrows of his guards, who were placed in ambush at her door. That stranger was his brother, Prince Manuel, who languished and died of his wound…"

    If the first audiobook volume has the most compelling figure in the history, the Apostate Emperor Julian, and the second one the most compelling supporting players (like Belisarius), this third one has the most charismatic city, Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Empire, inhabited by wealthy, decadent, proud, weak, and short-sighted people. After a selective but lengthy listing of the many tongue-twisting titles for the specialized ranks of Byzantine hierarchy, among them Autocrator (emperor) Sebastocrator (sub-emperor), Logothete (accountant), Protovestiare (wardrobe), Dragoman (interpreter of foreign ambassadors), and Protostrator (horse assistant), Gibbon says: "Their honors and emoluments, their dress and titles, their mutual salutations and respective preeminence, were balanced with more exquisite labor than would have fixed the constitution of a free people; and the code was almost perfect when this baseless fabric, the monument of pride and servitude, was forever buried in the ruins of the empire." He takes a nearly perverse pleasure in detailing how "The Greeks, by their intestine divisions, were the authors of their final ruin."

    Gibbon's account of the taking of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453 after a furious 53-day siege is gripping. Ancient weapons (bows and catapults) fighting with modern ones (guns and gigantic canons). Irony and drama abounding, as when the last Greek emperor, Constantine, gives a morale raising speech, which turns out to be "the funeral oration of the empire;" as when, the Ottoman Janissaries, Christian tribute slaves molded into elite Moslem infantry, storm the Christian capital; or as when "The Greeks and Turks were involved in a cloud of [artillery barrage] smoke which could only be dispelled by the final deliverance or destruction of the Roman empire."

    For the intrepid, Gibbon's history gives much literary pleasure and historical insight, and is well worth the time it demands.

  • The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume 2

    "More Crimes and Follies of Human Ambition"

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    The 2nd volume of the audiobook of Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire contains the 3rd (1781) and 4th (1788-89) volumes of the classic six volume history, moving from 340 AD through the “total extinction” of the Western Empire and 600 years of the continual decay of the Eastern Empire. Along the way Gibbon performs refined autopsies on 250 years of internecine Christian warfare fought over the precise nature of the Incarnation of Christ (“religious controversy [being] the offspring of arrogance and folly”); the “apostolic fervor” of the Christian extirpation of paganism and destruction of its beautiful temples; the pernicious popularity of relics and saints (“myriads of imaginary heroes, who had never existed, except in the fancy of crafty or credulous legendaries”); the rise of savagely solitary hermits (“unhappy exiles from social life . . . impelled by the dark and implacable genius of superstition”); 1000+ years of Roman laws, from property and inheritance through marriage and divorce to crime and punishment; the superstitious perception of disasters like earthquakes, comets, and plagues; and the impacts on language, religion, law, class, and empire of “barbarians” like Attila and the Huns, Theodoric and the Goths, Genseric and the Vandals, Clovis and the Franks, and Alboin and the Lombards (Long Beards!). And he writes fascinating cultural reports about things like the Green and Blue chariot racing faction conflict that pervaded every sphere of society (from the familial and vocational to the political and religious) and nearly toppled the Eastern Empire (making the soccer hooligans of today seem like quaint Quakers and casting light on our own obsession with sports stars and teams). He even recounts legends of interest, like the story of the Seven Sleepers of Ephesus, a Rip Van Winkle-like tale that spread throughout the world, a human response to shocking change like that of the pagan Roman Empire turning Christian.

    There is in this second audiobook volume no single figure as fascinating as the Apostate Emperor Julian in the first, but there are more compelling supporting characters. The emperor Justinian, for example, the persecutor of Jews and torturer of homosexuals, the rewarder of enemies and punisher of friends, the reformer of the law code, promoter of science and technology and builder of churches, hospitals, and aqueducts, unprecedentedly gave half his reign to his wife Theodora, who in her younger days acted in ribald comic pantomimes and sold her sexual favors to a parade of lovers and who after becoming Empress had people disappear into her private prisons and reappear as maimed monuments to her displeasure and had an old palace converted into a home for 500 prostitutes. The general Belisarius, perhaps the greatest military leader in the history of the Empire--an active giant among a race of supine pygmies--used his brains, bravery, charisma, leadership, and reputation to recover in only six years with pitiful resources and puny armies half of the provinces of Africa and Italy etc. lost by the fall of the Western Empire. In return for his boon-service, Belisarius was repeatedly humiliated by suspicious Justinian but ever exercised a patience and loyalty “either below or above the character of a man,” and his only flaw was uxoriousness, giving Gibbon the opportunity of remarking, “the revenge of a guilty woman is implacable and bloody.” And the life of Andronicus, the last Emperor of the Comnenian dynasty, was an engaging cross between a romantic pulp adventure novel and a revenge tragedy.

    No one can run down a villain as enjoyably as Gibbon! Now he introduces the archbishop Theophilus as “the perpetual enemy of peace and virtue; a bold, bad man, whose hands were alternately polluted with gold and with blood.” Now he dryly caps the life of the emperor Arcadius: "At length, in the thirty-first year of his age, after a reign, if we may abuse that word, of thirteen years, three months, and fifteen days, Arcadius expired, in the palace of Constantinople." Now he ironically sums up Empress Theodora: “The prostitute, who, in the presence of innumerable spectators, had polluted the theatre of Constantinople, was adored as a queen in the same city, by grave magistrates, orthodox bishops, victorious generals, and captive monarchs.” And now he takes to task Romanus: “The hours which the emperor owed to his people were consumed in strenuous idleness. In the morning he visited the circus; at noon he feasted the senators; the greater part of the afternoon he spent in the sphoeristerium, or tennis-court, the only theatre of his victories.”

    Gibbon’s moderation even compels him to qualify his admiration for things he likes, like the St. Sophia cathedral in Constantinople, a sublime work of taste, wealth, and skill that seemed the residence if not the workmanship of the deity: “yet how dull the artifice and insignificant the labor if it be compared to the formation of the vilest insect that crawls on the surface of the temple.”

    The audiobok sounds a little tinny and “skips” several times, but Bernard Mayes is a pleasing reader through this long history, sounding like a wittily articulate and dryly enthusiastic British professor. He never stoops to donning different voices, but merely reads Gibbon’s elegant text with every appropriate nuance.

    Throughout, Gibbon’s history is marked by his Age of Enlightenment value of humane, rational, and moderate behavior and his condemnation of its opposite, by his rich and balanced sentences, by his wit and imagination, by his attempts to obtain from earlier panegyrics and invectives an objective historical truth about his subjects, by his application of the lessons of history to his own contemporary era and to human civilization in general, and by his impressive ability to hold the reader’s interest through thousands of pages of centuries of history. He says near the end, “In a composition of some days, in a perusal of some hours, six hundred years have rolled away, and the duration of a life or reign is contracted to a fleeting moment: the grave is ever beside the throne: the success of a criminal is almost instantly followed by the loss of his prize and our immortal reason survives and disdains the sixty phantoms of kings who have passed before our eyes, and faintly dwell on our remembrance.”

Stephen

Stephen Enumclaw, WA, United States 08-29-13 Member Since 2009
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  • "The long view of Western history"

    13 of 14 helpful votes

    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.

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    The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Garland
    Overall
    (871)
    Performance
    (785)
    Story
    (776)

    Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

    Mark says: "Tantalizing time trip"

What's Trending in Ancient:

  • 4.8 (18 ratings)
    The Greek and Persian Wars  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor John R. Hale

    The Greek and Persian Wars

    • ORIGINAL (12 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John R. Hale
    Overall
    (18)
    Performance
    (18)
    Story
    (18)

    Spanning more than two centuries, the Greek and Persian wars forged a new world order, sparking developments in battle strategy, naval technology, world exploration, and art and culture that impact the world even today. These 24 lectures are your opportunity to survey this globe-spanning conflict and see the human experience behind some of the most remarkable episodes in ancient history.

    Rick says: "Outstanding"
  • 4.9 (14 ratings)
    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I (






UNABRIDGED) by Edward Gibbon Narrated by David Timson

    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Volume I

    • UNABRIDGED (22 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Edward Gibbon
    • Narrated By David Timson
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (14)
    Story
    (14)

    Some 250 years after its first publication, Gibbon's Decline and Fall is still regarded as one of the greatest histories in Western literature. He reports on more than 1,000 years of an empire which extended from the most northern and western parts of Europe to deep into Asia and Africa and covers not only events but also the cultural and religious developments that effected change during that time.

    Allen L. Harris says: "DAVID TIMSON IS AMAZING!"
  • 4.3 (871 ratings)
    The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Robert Garland

    The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Garland
    Overall
    (871)
    Performance
    (785)
    Story
    (776)

    Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

    Mark says: "Tantalizing time trip"
  • 4.3 (463 ratings)
    Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization (






UNABRIDGED) by Lars Brownworth Narrated by Lars Brownworth

    Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Lars Brownworth
    • Narrated By Lars Brownworth
    Overall
    (463)
    Performance
    (274)
    Story
    (275)

    In AD 476 the Roman Empire fell - or rather, its western half did. Its eastern half, which would come to be known as the Byzantine Empire, would endure and often flourish for another 11 centuries. Though its capital would move to Constantinople, its citizens referred to themselves as Roman for the entire duration of the empire's existence.

    Joseph M. Dolan says: "Excellent Book about Little Known History"
  •  
  • 4.7 (256 ratings)
    The History of Ancient Egypt  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Bob Brier

    The History of Ancient Egypt

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 25 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bob Brier
    Overall
    (256)
    Performance
    (242)
    Story
    (243)

    Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

    Nassir says: "Incomprehensibly complete"
  • 4.6 (232 ratings)
    The Fall and Rise of China  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Richard Baum

    The Fall and Rise of China

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Richard Baum
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (215)
    Story
    (218)

    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.

    Yu-Chin says: "Offers excellent objective perspective!"
  • 4.3 (207 ratings)
    The Vikings  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Kenneth W. Harl

    The Vikings

    • ORIGINAL (17 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth W. Harl
    Overall
    (207)
    Performance
    (182)
    Story
    (184)

    As raiders and explorers, the Vikings played a decisive role in the formation of Latin Christendom, and particularly of western Europe. Now, in a series of 36 vivid lectures by an honored teacher and classical scholar, you have the opportunity to understand this remarkable race as never before, studying the Vikings not only as warriors, but in all of the other roles in which they were equally extraordinary - merchants, artists, kings, raiders, seafarers, shipbuilders, and creators of a remarkable literature of myths and sagas.

    Peter says: "Good Informational Listen"
  • 1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed (






UNABRIDGED) by Eric H. Cline Narrated by Andy Caploe

    1177 B.C.: The Year Civilization Collapsed

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 3 mins)
    • By Eric H. Cline
    • Narrated By Andy Caploe
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (194)
    Performance
    (177)
    Story
    (175)

    In 1177 B.C., marauding groups known only as the "Sea Peoples" invaded Egypt. The pharaoh’s army and navy managed to defeat them, but the victory so weakened Egypt that it soon slid into decline, as did most of the surrounding civilizations. After centuries of brilliance, the civilized world of the Bronze Age came to an abrupt and cataclysmic end. Kingdoms fell like dominoes over the course of just a few decades. No more Minoans or Mycenaeans. No more Trojans, Hittites, or Babylonians.

    Emily says: "But it was all going so well....."
  • The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Robert Garland

    The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Robert Garland
    Overall
    (871)
    Performance
    (785)
    Story
    (776)

    Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

    Mark says: "Tantalizing time trip"
  • Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (






UNABRIDGED) by Reza Aslan Narrated by Reza Aslan

    Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Reza Aslan
    • Narrated By Reza Aslan
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (1274)
    Performance
    (1147)
    Story
    (1139)

    From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God comes a fascinating, provocative, and meticulously researched biography that challenges long-held assumptions about the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Reza Aslan sheds new light on one of history's most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived: first-century Palestine, an age awash in apocalyptic fervor.

    Charles says: "Palastinian Politics 4 B.C.E. - 70 C.E."
  • Mythology (






UNABRIDGED) by Edith Hamilton Narrated by Suzanne Toren

    Mythology

    • UNABRIDGED (14 hrs and 39 mins)
    • By Edith Hamilton
    • Narrated By Suzanne Toren
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (81)
    Performance
    (67)
    Story
    (70)

    Since its original publication by Little, Brown and Company, in 1942, Edith Hamilton's Mythology has sold millions of copies throughout the world and established itself as a perennial best-seller in its various available formats. Mythology succeeds like no other audiobook in bringing to life for the modern listener the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths and legends that are the keystone of Western culture - the stories of gods and heroes that have inspired human creativity from antiquity to the present.

    Kathi says: "Good reading of classical myths"
  •  
  • The History of Ancient Rome  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Garrett G. Fagan

    The History of Ancient Rome

    • ORIGINAL (22 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Garrett G. Fagan
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (131)
    Story
    (125)

    Even today, the influence of Ancient Rome is indelible, with Europe and the world owing this extraordinary empire a huge cultural debt in almost every important category of human endeavor, including art, architecture, engineering, language, literature, law, and religion. At the peak of its power, Rome's span was vast. In the regional, restless, and shifting history of continental Europe, the Roman Empire stands as a towering monument to scale and stability, unified in politics and law, stretching from the sands of Syria to the moors of Scotland. And it stood for almost 700 years.In this series of 48 spirited lectures, you'll see how a small village of shepherds and farmers rose to tower over the civilized world of its day and left a permanent mark on history. In telling Rome's riveting story, Professor Fagan draws on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including recent historical and archaeological scholarship, to introduce the fascinating tale of Rome's rise and decline, including the famous events and personalities that have become so familiar: . Horatius at the bridge . Hannibal crossing the Alps during Rome's life-or-death war with Carthage . Caesar assassinated before a statue of his archrival Pompey . The doomed lovers Antony and Cleopatra . The mad and venal emperors Nero and Caligula . The conversion of Constantine The course also addresses one of history's greatest questions: Why did the Roman Empire fall? And you'll learn why most modern scholars believe that the empire did not "fall" at all, but, rather, changed into something very different-the less urbanized, more rural, early medieval world.

    Megan Clanton says: "So Much Better Than Reading a History Book!"
  • The Fall and Rise of China  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Richard Baum

    The Fall and Rise of China

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Richard Baum
    Overall
    (232)
    Performance
    (215)
    Story
    (218)

    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.

    Yu-Chin says: "Offers excellent objective perspective!"
  • The Joy of Ancient History  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Bart D. Ehrman, Professor Bob Brier, Professor Craig G. Benjamin, Professor David Roochnik

    The Joy of Ancient History

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 38 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Bart D. Ehrman, Professor Bob Brier, Professor Craig G. Benjamin, and others
    Overall
    (13)
    Performance
    (11)
    Story
    (12)

    For years, The Great Courses has taken lifelong learners on stirring explorations of our ancient roots; ones that bring you face to face with what history means, and how we use it to understand both the past and the present. So where's the best place to start? Right here with this eclectic and insightful collection of 36 lectures curated from our most popular ancient history courses.

    Emily says: "Ancient World Greatest Hits Playlist"
  • History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Gregory S. Aldrete

    History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective

    • ORIGINAL (24 hrs and 27 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Gregory S. Aldrete
    Overall
    (122)
    Performance
    (109)
    Story
    (109)

    The ancient world has cast a long shadow, influencing our customs and religious beliefs, our laws, and the form of our governments. It has taught us when and how we make war or pursue peace. It has shaped the buildings we live and work in and the art we hang on our walls. It has given us the calendar that organizes our year and has left its mark on the games we play.

    Matt says: "Outstanding - Informative AND Entertaining"
  •  
  • The Story of Human Language  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor John McWhorter

    The Story of Human Language

    • ORIGINAL (18 hrs and 15 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor John McWhorter
    Overall
    (144)
    Performance
    (138)
    Story
    (134)

    Language defines us as a species, placing humans head and shoulders above even the most proficient animal communicators. But it also beguiles us with its endless mysteries, allowing us to ponder why different languages emerged, why there isn't simply a single language, how languages change over time and whether that's good or bad, and how languages die out and become extinct.

    Saud says: "You'll Never Look at Languages the Same Way Again"
  • The Vikings  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Kenneth W. Harl

    The Vikings

    • ORIGINAL (17 hrs and 58 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Kenneth W. Harl
    Overall
    (207)
    Performance
    (182)
    Story
    (184)

    As raiders and explorers, the Vikings played a decisive role in the formation of Latin Christendom, and particularly of western Europe. Now, in a series of 36 vivid lectures by an honored teacher and classical scholar, you have the opportunity to understand this remarkable race as never before, studying the Vikings not only as warriors, but in all of the other roles in which they were equally extraordinary - merchants, artists, kings, raiders, seafarers, shipbuilders, and creators of a remarkable literature of myths and sagas.

    Peter says: "Good Informational Listen"
  • Cities of the Ancient World  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Steven L. Tuck

    Cities of the Ancient World

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Steven L. Tuck
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Cities of the Ancient World is your opportunity to survey the breadth of the ancient world through the context of its urban development. Taught by esteemed Professor Steven L. Tuck, of Miami University, these 24 eye-opening lectures not only provide an invaluable look at the design and architecture of ancient cities, they also offer a flesh-and-blood glimpse into the daily lives of ordinary people and the worlds they created.

  • The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome (






UNABRIDGED) by Susan Wise Bauer Narrated by John Lee

    The History of the Ancient World: From the Earliest Accounts to the Fall of Rome

    • UNABRIDGED (26 hrs and 26 mins)
    • By Susan Wise Bauer
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (91)
    Performance
    (85)
    Story
    (81)

    This is the first volume in a bold new series that tells the stories of all peoples, connecting historical events from Europe to the Middle East to the far coast of China, while still giving weight to the characteristics of each country. Susan Wise Bauer provides both sweeping scope and vivid attention to the individual lives that give flesh to abstract assertions about human history. This narrative history employs the methods of "history from beneath" - literature, epic traditions, private letters, and accounts - to connect kings and leaders with the lives of those they ruled.

    Troy says: "A Fantastic Overview!"
  • The End of the Ancient World and the Beginnings of the Middle Ages (






UNABRIDGED) by Ferdinand Lot Narrated by Charlton Griffin

    The End of the Ancient World and the Beginnings of the Middle Ages

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 23 mins)
    • By Ferdinand Lot
    • Narrated By Charlton Griffin
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Ferdinand Lot (1866-1952) was one of the great historians of his generation, and the transition from Roman to Medieval civilization was a process that fascinated him most of his life. Rather than placing the emphasis for Rome’s fall on purely political or military reasons, Lot put forth multiple explanations for the birth of the Middle Ages which embrace not only politics and war, but linguistic, geographic, cultural, social and economic factors.

  • Cities of the Ancient World  by The Great Courses Narrated by Professor Steven L. Tuck

    Cities of the Ancient World

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 47 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Steven L. Tuck
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Cities of the Ancient World is your opportunity to survey the breadth of the ancient world through the context of its urban development. Taught by esteemed Professor Steven L. Tuck, of Miami University, these 24 eye-opening lectures not only provide an invaluable look at the design and architecture of ancient cities, they also offer a flesh-and-blood glimpse into the daily lives of ordinary people and the worlds they created.

  • The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced (






UNABRIDGED) by Stephanie Dalley Narrated by Napoleon Ryan

    The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Stephanie Dalley
    • Narrated By Napoleon Ryan
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon is an exciting story of detection involving legends, expert decipherment of ancient texts, and a vivid description of a little-known civilization. Recognized in ancient times as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the legendary Hanging Garden of Babylon and its location still remains a mystery steeped in shadow and puzzling myths. In this remarkable volume Stephanie Dalley, a world expert on ancient Babylonian language, gathers for the first time all the material on this enigmatic World Wonder.

  • The Nile: A Journey Downriver through Egypt’s past and Present (






UNABRIDGED) by Toby Wilkinson Narrated by Peter Ganim

    The Nile: A Journey Downriver through Egypt’s past and Present

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Toby Wilkinson
    • Narrated By Peter Ganim
    Overall
    (0)
    Performance
    (0)
    Story
    (0)

    Renowned Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson leads us through space as much as time: From the river's mystical sources (the Blue Nile which rises in Ethiopia, and the White Nile coursing from majestic Lake Victoria); to Thebes, with its Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, and Luxor Temple; the fertile Delta; Giza, home of the Great Pyramid, the sole surviving Wonder of the Ancient World; and finally, to the pulsating capital city of Cairo, where the Arab Spring erupted on the bridges over the Nile.

  •  
  • The Last Viking (






UNABRIDGED) by Berwick Coates Narrated by David Thorpe

    The Last Viking

    • UNABRIDGED (15 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Berwick Coates
    • Narrated By David Thorpe
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (3)

    With the death of Edward the Confessor, the crown of England is hanging in the balance. And in the north Harald Hardrada, the Norwegian Viking leader, is determined to take his chance of capturing the country. But newly-crowned King Harold Godwinson will not let that happen without a fight. Charismatic and the leader of a mighty army, he is determined to make Hadrada the last Viking in England. And so the bloodiest battle yet fought on English soil is about to begin. At stake is sovereignty, freedom and honour.

    Dennis says: "Very old England and invasions"
  • Marching with Caesar: Birth of the 10th Legion (






UNABRIDGED) by R.W. Peake Narrated by Simon Burdett

    Marching with Caesar: Birth of the 10th Legion

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By R.W. Peake
    • Narrated By Simon Burdett
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (4)

    Titus Pullus, the hero of the 10th Legion and the Marching With Caesar series, tells his story from the very beginning of his life, starting with his relationship with his father, how his friendship with Vibius Domitius began, and how their burning ambition to join the Legions was helped by a veteran nicknamed Cyclops. Enlisting in the 10th Legion, raised in 61 B.C. by Gaius Julius Caesar, Birth of the 10th Legion recounts the first campaign ever conducted by Julius Caesar as a commander...

  • The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire (






UNABRIDGED) by Susan P. Mattern Narrated by James Patrick Cronin

    The Prince of Medicine: Galen in the Roman Empire

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Susan P. Mattern
    • Narrated By James Patrick Cronin
    Overall
    (4)
    Performance
    (3)
    Story
    (4)

    Galen of Pergamum (A.D. 129-ca. 216) began his remarkable career tending to wounded gladiators in provincial Asia Minor. Later in life he achieved great distinction as one of a small circle of court physicians to the family of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, at the very heart of Roman society. Susan Mattern's The Prince of Medicine offers the first authoritative biography in English of this brilliant, audacious, and profoundly influential figure.

    Jean says: "history of medicine"
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