I will be listening to this one again! It's hard to soak up all that information in one listening. and it was fun to listen to so it wouldn't be painful to do it again,
Professor Robert Garland's did a great job keeping me interested.
This listen is packed with information, it is not just a one time around listen. Disadvantage is Robert Garland himself, who just can't see to relax and speak normally - sometimes I thought he was out of breath and other times searching for his place in the text. Either way it doesn't matter but it does interrupt the flow. Many of the things you will hear you probably have heard before but overall it is very interesting. I especially loved his connection to art, both very old and newer, to enrich descriptions. I am glad I tried it and will listen to another Great Course series again soon.
24 hours of lecture blew by as Professor Garland, with his lovely English accent and consistent enthusiasm, takes us through the daily lives of the ancients. There is nothing stuffy or stilted about the content for the thousands of years of travel we do (actually millions). He describes every day objects, clothing, hairstyles, family life and then places them into a larger sociopolitical context. He does this equally well across Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures. I didn't think I'd have the attention span to finish, but I might just listen to it all again because it was so rich with interesting information. It's a great partner on long runs, commuting, or doing household tasks.
My "a-hah" moment was his discussion of how the Dark Ages came about. If you are at that point in your life where you want to make sense of the long view of time, you will love this book. It dovetails nicely with Zealot by Rasa Aslan- lots of overlapping information about early Jewish and Roman culture. Thanks for a wonderful course, Dr. Garland.
Really enjoyed hearing the history of civilization as witnessed by the ordinary person of each period. The subject matter is fascinating, the lectures are well-written and impeccably researched and the delivery is fine - if not perfect. I would have listened around the clock if I hadn't had the inconvenient interruptions of life and work.
This is recommended reading/listening for any dedicated history buff! I've already suggested 'The Other Side' to many friends...
I didn't love this course. Some parts were good, and I learned a *couple* of new things, but overall it seemed slow and not unfamiliar. It was a good premise, to explore history from the perspective of your average ancient Greek craftsman, Roman wife, or medieval nun, but I found much of it intuitive and even redundant. Professor Gardner was clearly enthused and enthralled by his topics, and loved telling his story in a first or second person as if actually in ancient Egypt touring Alexandria, or watching a chariot race... But I was not as invested.
I would have been interested to hear a bit more, in fact, on some of the periods and peoples which he covered quickly - Babylon, Persia, pre-Roman Britain... And what about the folks not in the greater European region during those times? He mentions the Saracens in the crusades lecture, but we get very little on them and the Arabic culture that's been developing while we were preoccupied with the Battle of Hastings... Not to mention the other folks beyond the Western World... I understand that he could elaborate more and greater varieties of folks when there was more info from archaeology to give evidence, but I think his discussions of the lives of women and slaves, of the poor and infirm, were all so similar that they might have been combined somehow.
Even when it wasn't redundant feeling, I felt familiar with a lot of the material already. I think I got 98% of what he discusses on Egypt from the Great Course devoted to Ancient Egypt. And I felt like little was new in Greece and Rome - though perhaps I just had a good high school history teacher. And I did have the advantage too of having traveled to many of the Hellenistic sites mentioned on a school sponsored trip - so having been to Olympia, Epidurous, Athens, and Delphi, I was familiar with those stories if the healers, the games, the temples, and the oracles, etc. On that trip too, we visited Rome and Pompeii, so I have imagined the Gladiators, the forum, the baths, etc. so not much was new to me in that era of topics either. Actually, some of the only unfamiliar material was in his more detailed discussions of the death practices. I took a class too, during my study abroad in Scotland, on the Celts and wrote papers on Boudicca and Roman architecture in Britain, so nothing new to speak of from those lectures. Most of what he discussed in the Medieval section I knew from having read the really great historical fiction Katherine by Anya Seaton - that book had everything from Chaucer himself and the royal court, knights, the peasants, the plague, the castles, the heretics, and more...
I did like that he put being a knight and a crusader into better perspective, that is so very romanticized generally. The penultimate lecture on relaxing - sports and music etc was good too.
Basically, I have reaffirmed that I would not have wanted to live in any of those times or places. If I had, I'd have likely been abused if I lived past childhood at all, and would have likely have died in childbirth by now, and if not, I still can't expect to live more than another ten years and will likely do so in poverty. And thank goodness for modern medicine!
Oh, and I can't forget to mention this cause it bugged me the whole 24+ hours : Prof Garland is a good lecturer and really into his stuff, but his lisp drove me nuts. He sounds completely normal, even stereotypical British classicist -until he pronounces the letter "s"... Having studied some articulatory phonetics, I think I can say fairly that his sibilants were overly lateralized, creating a big messy "shh" sound amidst otherwise good elocution. I don't mean to hold it against him, but it Drove me nuts. Listen to the sample before buying, in case that's a deal breaker for you.
Over all a very interesting lecture series. But the lecturer is clearly anti Catholic hierarchy. That is revealed at Lecture 41 approx. 20:40 when he discusses Francis of Assisi. First he states that Francis order was known as Fratichelli. Then is states the Church's rejected the "little brothers" and excommunicated them. WOW. The Church excommunicated St. Francis' order? Well not quite. St. Francis and the Franciscans were never excommunicated and were always embraced by pope and the Church. Some orders that the Italian people designated as Fraticelli were considered heretical by the Church. It's a bit disappointing that type of juxtaposition is used to create a false impression of historical facts.
The lecture's anti-Catholic hierarchy is clear in his discussions of the Churches influence on medieval daily life. I emphasize his disdain is directed at Church hierarchy because he goes out of his way to laud the contributions of monks, priests, nuns and other church people in their aid and comfort of everyday people.
With that caveat, I would recommend this series.
Say something about yourself!
A different reader. I have two issues with Robert Garland's presentation. First, he has a fairly noticeable lisp. I don't think this would bother me if it didn't somehow compound his far bigger shortcoming. He reads one. word. at. a. time. With great emphasis on each word in a way that if I was just learning the language I would love. He doesn't do it in the part that you can hear in the sample and on other occasions he is clearly speaking off the cuff and sounds perfectly fine. The other 90% are very difficult to listen to. If the subject were just slightly less interesting, I could easily delete the whole thing.
Not even a little.
Robert Garland is the professor you wish you had for all your classes in college. He makes history come alive and makes it relevant to our lives today. Most importantly, Professor Garland is in love with his subject, and which is palpable in every lecture. One of the very best Great Courses out there.
How Robert Garland EVER became a Great Courses lecturer is a mystery.
He has a speech impediment that is so distracting, I could only endure 45 minutes.
Absolutely! Interesting insights throughout the world and time.
Other great courses, because of the format.
His energy that makes it easy to be excited to learn new things with him.
Go and see this. Don't miss that. The most terrifying thing you ever saw is coming to baby sit for you tonight!
No, I think that will do...