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:
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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©1999 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1999 The Great Courses
Prof. Fagan was able to rekindle my love of ancient history. Having been out of undergrad for many years now, I had forgotten how much fun "otium cum dignitate" can be. We all find ourselves drawn into our respective specialities (for me, medicine), only reading those books or papers directly relevant to our jobs. We forget what it is like to learn for the sake of learning.
This course took me back to the Western Civ, Latin and Philosophy courses in my undergrad years, which were wonderful for their own sakes. Not because I _need_ to know this stuff, but because I _want_ to.
The courses are laid out very well with a clear outline, concise topics and a logical progression. Each lecture can stand on its own, yet it builds on those before it. The storytelling employed is exemplary and draws you in. It made my daily commute much more productive and entertaining. The hour per day I sit in my car becomes my "otium cum dignitate" again.
Next step: relearn Latin!
I highly recommend this course for anyone interested in renewing their own curiosity. It you have a trip to Rome planned, it certainly can have practical uses as well.
As an amateur with a long interest in Roman History I found this series highly engaging and incredibly informative.
Professor Fagan has an easy style and the content is simply brilliant. The flow of the narrative is superb and the connection to the thematic section of the course is well constructed.
I have read bits of Pliny and currently I am reading Gibbon. I feel these are works that require a solid base in Roman History prior to attacking and I now feel like I am armed to teeth thanks to this course.
Thoroughly recommended to anyone with anything from a passing interest to a life long love affair with Roman History.
This is a good read for anyone who wants a broad overview of the history of Rome. The lecturer does a great job delivering his content and he covers Roman history from its origins in myth, legend, and archaeology as a series of settlements on the banks of the Tiber and continues its journey through its monarchical period, the Roman Republic, the Imperial period, and ends around the fall of the Western part of the Roman empire in the 5th century AD. He is thorough and roughly chronological in his presentation.
However, anyone who considers listening to this should understand that this audio book is "broad" in the fullest sense of the word. The lecturer makes no attempt at being comprehensive and tells his listeners time and again that he cannot and does not make an attempt to treat any topic in great depth. This means that anyone looking for a thorough overview of any aspect of Roman history and culture, such as literature, art, architecture, religion, military history, political history, or even the careers of indispensable figures such as Caesar himself should look elsewhere. This was my only "disappointment" with this book. I entered into it hoping to learn much more about many of these specific elements, but left feeling like I had learned only a very little about a very lot of material. I do not think this is any fault of the book or the lecturer though. There is so much potential content to cover that one has go to more specialized studies if you want to go into any depth. So in summary this book will give you a good overview, but only an overview. Those who already know a lot about Roman history will find little to learn here, but those who don't or have only a vague sense of it will definitely benefit.
All told this is a good overview of Roman history and a worthwhile listen. Enjoy your travels to the ancient Mediterranean!
... And I do love to read!
I'm currently about halfway through Professor Fagan's "The History of Ancient Rome" in Audible's Great Courses, and it's been well-worth every minute. I am a high school Latin teacher, and I needed a good refresher course on Roman history, as it's been a long time since college. Not only is the material fantastic (despite early attempts to just listen while doing laundry, etc., I've planted myself in front of my laptop because I can't stop taking notes), but Dr. Fagan is an entertaining speaker. (He has a wonderful accent.) The combination has made Roman history far easier to get through than would be a traditional textbook.
I was disappointed with this course. I found it a superficial and unsatisfying listen. There were a few really excellent and perceptive lectures, but that was more the exception than the rule. I don't think the shortcomings are Fagan's, but more due to the format, which consists of lectures that average about 20 min each, and don't allow for much analysis. Even Fagan seems frustrated by this - constantly reminding listener of and apologizing for the many things that he will not have time to mention on the course.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
As a fan of history, you cannot get much better than this. This Great Courses offering paints a vivid picture of Rome based on the information available today, and presents various academic opinions when trying to fill in the blanks.
Well paced, with narrative giving way to thematic discussions toward the end; professor is extremely knowledgeable with sense of humor that leavens the topic just enough
no, but 1-1.5 hours at a time was not uncommon
The material was compelling and a journey into the past by a great professor.
The profound amount of change and struggle on how Rome evolved. I never knew and so glad I bought this.
I thought he spoke very well and for the amount of info I had to learn his cadence and tone was very good and I was hooked and attentive throughout and would buy another w/him.
I missed out on this history during HS and College and my curiosity led me to this book. I listened on way to work for about 4 weeks, one lesson each day, before my trip to Italy. I always wanted to know about this history and found it truly fascinating and exciting to learn something I may have missed. I'd never go read this and audio made it the only way to go. I think worth the investment of time if you want to round out your knowledge base on the world this is a must.
This survey of Roman history is competently arranged and executed, but rarely compelling. The end product feels too superficial and rushed. The lecturer has a habit of briefly mentioning topics nearly every episode and then saying "but we don't have time to talk about that"—a habit I've not noticed before in other Great Courses.
It's hard to articulate, but the course feels like it's geared toward students who have studied Latin, who know very little about Roman history, and who will be expected to do original research with primary sources in the future. For example, the lecturer regularly details what written evidence there is for a given era or topic, and he often highlights areas where he suggests more research should be done—the type of tone more typically taken in a graduate program, not a survey history course. It's not a bad approach, just one that isn't quite congruous with how most Great Courses work.
"Nilli secundus! Great history, and great value!"
What have the Romans ever done for us?
I struggled both in Latin and History at school. The thought then of twenty four hours of lectures on Roman history would have filled me with horror!
However, I really enjoyed this course - more like a good fireside epic of the story of Rome, the habits and customs of the Roman people, the political intrigues, religious beliefs (including conversion to Christianity) and the final decline - all of which has determined the ground of so much of our own civilisation.
Professor Fagan tells the story with charm and occasional wit, never lapsing into simply repeating dull facts, but always tying it together in a narrative that bounces along enjoyably, making it always a pleasure to look forward to the next lecture. Although it is forty eight lectures long, my feeling at the end was of having only scratched the surface of this massive subject.
However, to have such a course, containing so much good teaching, for a single audiobook credit is fantastic value.
"Great help in Studying Ancient history"
This audible, I found very interesting and helpful in increasing my knowledge of Rome. I have a degree in Ancient History from the OU and this recording gave me further insight into the power struggle that existed throughout the time of Rome as a player in World Politics.
Probably, Julius Caesar. However, he was merely one of the catalysts that led to the rise of Rome under the emperors. Although, Octavian / Augustus Caesar was the first Emperor / self declared god of the Romans.
Yes, it made the audio easy to listen to and made Rome seem almost come to life.
Emotional reactions do not come into the subject matter. However, Professor Fagan's style did cement my feeling that certainly from the triumvirate on Rome was gradually falling into the ways of a degenerating empire and finally collapsed in on itself, making it fairly easy for opposing forces to defeat and gradually remove the force that was Rome from any of the World Powers
I would recommend this audio to anyone wanting to study Rome.
"Really great it makes me want more detail."
I'm doing an OU course and this is great for background info and I can listen in the car. The lecturer makes it so interesting and the characters from so long ago come alive. He doesn't attempt to portray everyone as their myth and where we don't know information he says so.
Spartacus and his rebellion hold a fascination for me, however he is told here as simply a side character in the lecture on Crassus, which is a shame.
His timing and ironic comments on the chatracter of some of the people, he brings them to life.
Would definitely recommend for anyone with a love of history.
"Very good history"
Informative, well structure and interesting
Very informative an easy style to listen to, some of the asides are quite funny.
Its too huge a subject (and too long) to do in one sitting. There is so much to absorb that I listened one or two lectures at a time.
"An Excellent Account of a Fascinating Story"
I thoroughly enjoyed this course and recommend it highly. Professor Fagan is not one of the very top lecturers of the Great Courses (e.g. Bob Brier, Kenneth Vickery, Robert Greenberg) but his low-key style grew on me very quickly and I became absolutely captivated by this course. Detail is given where appropriate but also omitted where it gets in the way. There is a very good mixture of historical narrative and discussions of social issues (the "thematic lectures" as Professor Fagan calls them) and these components are well integrated. As with all Great Courses I recommend looking at the Great Courses web site for more information about content. One final comment -- Professor Fagan has another Great Course, on Emperors of Rome. I made the mistake of listening to that first; although the Emperors course works as a freestanding item, it would have been better as a follow-up to this course. (Also the Emperors course is not as good in my view). If you want a thorough and detailed introduction to Ancient Rome, this course is absolutely perfect.
Totally enjoyed the performance and the material. Detailed enough to be thoroughly interesting but not so detailed that you get bored. Very much recommended
"Very good overview! "
It was not too deep and not too shallow, I found that you could whizz through on 1.5 x speed without getting lost but you had to be in a place of low distraction.
The delivery was pleasant and I like the dry wit of the lecturer. I'd highly recommend, you'll find yourself following up to learn more afterwards!
Thoroughly enjoyed listening to Professor Garret G. Fagan's narration...a great unfolder of stories. His commentary is well balanced, always offering a measured interpretation of the facts.
My favourite lecture so far.
"Rome wasn't built in a day - It takes 22hrs 42mins"
This title is definitely in my top 3 amongst some very stiff competition. I was enthralled from start to finish. Some audiobooks I've read, I just can't wait to end but I have to finish them - once this book started I was dreading it!
As a City Councillor, I was amazed at how similar politics was then as it is today - both in terms of the political set-up and the behaviour of politicians!
Professor Fagan is a very good narrator. He is an expert in his field with a sense of humour that comes across throughout the lectures. Professor Fagan's humour and comments throughout often reflect his personal opinions on certain actions of behaviour, which gives you a perspective to think about and consider, whether you agree with him or not. I don't often write reviews, but felt that his personality and emotional input was deserving of a cracking review. I would like others to share the fantastic experience. Professor Fagan is my hero.
This book was a shock to the system. I enjoyed it so much that I have even sometimes reflected that I wish I'd studied the topic at University as an undergraduate; I read Politics.
I listened to another audiobook on Ancient Rome before this one and really did not enjoy it too much. That book was only redeemed by one top-notch chapter on Rome in Numbers, using stats and figures to give a perspective of the Ancient World. I almost gave up on the topic, then this Lecture series caught my eye. If you're considering learning about Ancient Rome and haven't tried the Great Lecture Series - cross the Rubicon, 'cast the die' and give Professor Fagan a chance.
"Brilliant, just brilliant!"
This is a very well structured set of lectures, easy to listen to and easy to take in.
Professor Fagan has great knowledge of the subject, and his soft voice lets you close your eyes and be transported back to the period of the Romans.
If you are interested in Roman history, then this is the book for you. Just brilliant!!!
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