Integrated approaches to teaching Greek and Roman history are a rarity in academia. Most scholars are historians of either Greek or Roman history and perform research solely in that specific field, an approach that author and award-winning Professor Robert Garland considers questionable.
In these 36 passionate lectures, he provides an impressive and rare opportunity to understand the two dominant cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world in relation to one another - a relationship that has virtually no parallel in world history. He shows you how these two very different cultures intersected, coincided, and at times, collided.
You'll discover the extraordinary culture that we call Greco-Roman: a unique fusion of civilizations that encompasses statecraft, mythology, language, philosophy, fine arts, architecture, science, and much else. Who were the Greeks and the Romans? How did they organize their societies? How did they interact?
In this unique integrated historical approach, you'll see how Greece and Rome's relationship resembled a marriage: two distinct personalities competing in some areas, sharing in others, and sometimes creating a new synthesis of the two civilizations. And you'll consider their more substantive cultural differences, including religion, their views of foreigners, and their ways of thinking.
You'll delight in the variety of sources - literature, archaeology, the visual arts, coinage, inscriptions - that Professor Garland draws upon to assemble a fascinating and complex picture of these two great civilizations. And you'll appreciate how he keeps Greece and Rome focused on how this material affects us today.
Disclaimer: Please note that this recording may include references to supplemental texts or print references that are not essential to the program and not supplied with your purchase.
©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses
I listen to a lot of audiobooks.
Apart from Professor Garland's jerky manner of speech, which grew on me, this audiobook series is absolutely fascinating. I appreciated the integrated history of Greece and Rome from all angles, including other groups like the Etruscans and some mention of other tribes and the Egyptians. I had a fuzzy picture of what these cultures were like and how they fit together, but did not understand the big picture until I listened to these excellent and well researched lectures. The biggest aspect I appreciate by Professor Garland is his storytelling ability and charm. I love how he organizes the courses. Highly recommended for history fans!
Prof. Garland makes clear from several perspectives why we cannot understand or appreciate ancient Rome apart from its relationship to ancient Greece. I now appreciate more than ever the concept "Greco-Roman." This course is excellent, but there are some shortcomings the listener should be aware of.
1. Garland occasionally argues from etymologies to support some of his interpretations. This method of argumentation has been discredited for over 50 years. His conclusions may be correct, but when he etymologizes his methodology is suspect.
2. Garland, in spite of his protestations against it, seems unable to resist playing the role of a long-distance armchair psychologist analyzing the interior motives of long-dead ancient persons about whom we know very little.
3. Garland's presentation of the relationship between Christianity and Greco-Roman culture is superficial at best and just plain wrong at worst. He fails to present (or understand?) the essentially Jewish nature of primitive (including Pauline) Christianity. Further, while he argues that Christianity is essentially an amalgamation of elements derived from contemporaneous Mediterranean religions, he also argues that Christianity thoroughly overhauled the ideology and worldview of the Greco-Roman world. How what was essentially a patchwork of existing religious beliefs could have had such a thoroughgoing transformational effect he does not even address or question. He does not appear to be aware of this apparent contradiction.
That being said, the course is well worth it and I will listen to some of Prof. Garland's other presentations.
I have enjoyed most of the Great Courses I've bought. This lecture is one of the best, with a great depth of information and excellent analysis and synthesis of ancient societies of Greece and Rome. It has been my experience to read and study Greek and Roman civilizations quite separately, making it seem that they are many centuries apart. But in truth, the "classic" age of Greece takes place during the early life of Rome. The Hellenistic period is during Rome's rise to power. Professor Garland provides excellent synthesis of the material in the proper context, demonstrating the interplay of the two cultures. He explores both cultures and governments, with an emphasis on the differences, similarities, and strengths of each society, and how each influenced the other. I have recently finished listening to a half dozen books about ancient civilizations, including the histories of Rome and Greece. This lecture is an excellent find for me- bringing it all together for a better understanding. The approach taken by Professor Garland reshapes the study of these two great societies, giving the listener a new perspective and a fuller and more complex world view.
But the biggest reason I recommend this lecture series is that it's just a really interesting and fun listen!! The teacher is excellent the material is fascinating, and it's just a truly enjoyable experience! Each lecture is engaging and compelling. I kept thinking- ok just one more lecture before bed... That kept happening well into the night, so that I was up early into the next morning, fighting sleep just to hear a little bit more.
This audiobook/lecture is a complete success, and I'm forever grateful that the Great Courses series is available through Audible!! If you are interested in the time period or in the history of either Rome or Greece, you will enjoy this audiobook!! It is one of the best, and the professor is a joy. Don't pass it up! If you are interested enough to read this review, then you should get this audiobook now!! :)
Really, really excellent summation of how these two cultures coexisted, intermingled and influenced....the whole world. I was relatively familiar with Roman history, but found the interconnectedness with the Greeks had passed me by. I now feel that I have a much greater understanding of this pivotal period. Very grateful I bought this series. PS Prof Garland is brilliant, and has the fairly standard upper class british lisp. Makes you think the Brits have no speech therapists as well as few (no?) dentists. I found the lisp endearing - this man has a brain the size of a planet. Ill forgive anything, even a few shh sounds where there should be "s".
great course very instructor has a good voice and is very good on the subject.
a must buy for people looking to increase their learning on the ancient Greek and Roman world
dont have anything to compare it with
very good voice and understanding of the subject
just more understanding and learning of the classical world
"An Unusual and Fascinating Perspective"
This course was very interesting and informative, and also highly enjoyable. The lecturer has a very easy-to-follow, informal style while managing to impart both a lot of knowledge and also a real feeling for these ancient cultures. This course is told in a chronological order and the relevant historical framework is explained very well, but primarily it is about a comparison of Greek and Roman cultures, and the interactions between them. This makes it very unusual and by the end I felt that I understood the two cultures very much better and could view a variety of other material, both ancient history and contemporary culture, in better perspective. As for all Great Courses material, I recommend looking at the Great Courses web site for details on content and also additional reviews.I recommend this course highly.
"Fantastic overview of Ancient Greece and Rome"
I have enjoyed listening to several of The Great Courses, and particularly enjoy Professor Robert Garland's engaging way of teaching you about the ancient world. He has a way of making a long listen very enjoyable and amusing at times. I was drawn to this particular course as I have always read about Greece and Rome separately and this gave a wonderful overview and explained how they worked in synergy to create the world we know today. Of course they didn't always get along and both sides of their relationship with each other, and other nations, such as Persia and Egypt came to influence the modern day world. This course is not dry in any way, and instead gives a very real human perspective of the events, and normal day to day life, as it was known in the ancient world.
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