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The History of Ancient Rome Lecture

The History of Ancient Rome

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 being 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.

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

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  •  
    B. Weaver Austin, TX 05-12-16
    B. Weaver Austin, TX 05-12-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Optimum est!"

    Very good course on Ancient Rome. I especially enjoyed the discussion of the republican period. Most "documentaries" (read: "entertainment") seem to focus on either decadent Roman emperors or on the military exclusively but this gives a thorough breakdown of the ad hoc "duct-tape-and-baling-wire" nature of the Roman Republic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bill P. 04-30-16
    Bill P. 04-30-16
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    18
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    "A bit rushed and not particularly compelling"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan 04-28-16
    Ryan 04-28-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Fantastic !!!"

    This book is a remarkable recount of Roman political, cultural, philosophical, and military history, it is fantastic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher 04-22-16
    Christopher 04-22-16 Member Since 2013
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    11
    6
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    "A great course that lives up to its name."

    Love the professor.

    For the most part, the course is quite captivating. The professor is very gifted, charismatic, and expert. I learned so much.

    Over the 48 chapters, only a couple points from laborious, which is impressive.

    I look forward to listening to other great courses on Rome as well.


    I learned so much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Hearty 03-29-16
    Ryan Hearty 03-29-16 Member Since 2016
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    "great lectures"

    I spent a lot of time on this one but it was well worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stewart 02-19-16
    Stewart 02-19-16 Member Since 2014
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    4
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    "Excellent history of Ancient Rome"

    I highly recommend this work. The professor has a conversational tone which helps make the subject matter easier to grasp

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nathan bennion 01-23-16 Member Since 2015
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    8
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    "entertaining education"

    this is what I've been looking for. an education that keeps your attention and available for commutes

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DBruno1987 11-03-15
    DBruno1987 11-03-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good overview"

    I'm hooked on the great courses, especially the ones on ancient history. This one expanded my views and I readily listened to the whole thing pretty quickly. So that proves that it deserves a good rating.

    The lecturer definitely lays out what historians CAN'T know, and emphasizes that most of what we know is just speculative. This is cool with me, but it made the lectures seem a little bit less "dramatic," which is an element I really like about ancient history. There were some more dull parts, especially in the beginning, but overall I enjoyed it. I think it could have been better if the lecturer got more into explaining the characters of the story (i.e. Historical figures), and painted a more vivid picture of what the world and atmosphere was like. He did this to an extent, but it felt less gripping than a lot of other lecturers I've listened to on here. He was extremely objective, sure, but I like the story and drama of history a little bit more than the 100% objective truth.

    Overall, though, he did a good job and I would recommend this series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    edmond f mcgill 10-12-15 Member Since 2012

    Read, think, write.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent survey."
    Where does The History of Ancient Rome rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is wonderful that The Great Courses are available at Audible. Not possible to rate these lectures against books although, for a comprehensive survey of Roman history, this ranks very high.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of Ancient Rome?

    The Ides of March.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    It is interesting to see this series of lectures as scenes. Flashing before our eyes is Romulus killing his brother, Hannibal destroying Roman army after Roman army only to lose the long game, Divus Julius begin stabbed to death under the statue of his great adversary, the Republic "evolving" into an autocracy ever more remote from the People of the Empire and the pressures inside and out that finally brought the thing (res) down.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It is good to laugh and cry when reading history.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommend these lectures for those who know little or nothing of Roman history and also for those who know a good deal and want an opportunity to bring it all together and to remember what they have forgotten.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas E. Kutzner Afghanistan 10-08-15
    Thomas E. Kutzner Afghanistan 10-08-15 Member Since 2015

    Tkutz

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    4
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    "A to Z History with applicable conclusions"
    What made the experience of listening to The History of Ancient Rome the most enjoyable?

    Getting into some history? START HERE. Dr. Fagan gives a great introduction to what to look out for when studying history before starting a greater history of Ancient Rome. The themes and storylines seems to have been chosen by someone who knows from the most extensive of knowledges about the subject. I feel like I both missed nothing and can't wait to know more.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The society of Rome and the lessons learned for modern day.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Garrett G. Fagan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, does he have any others? I going to go look after I get done writing this.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Learn. Grow. Be entertained!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Jim Vaughan
    Malvern, UK
    10/30/13
    Overall
    Performance
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    "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.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Norfolk, England
    5/14/14
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    "Great help in Studying Ancient history"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The History of Ancient Rome to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    What about Professor Garrett G. Fagan’s performance did you like?

    Yes, it made the audio easy to listen to and made Rome seem almost come to life.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend this audio to anyone wanting to study Rome.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    2/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Really great it makes me want more detail."
    Would you listen to The History of Ancient Rome again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What about Professor Garrett G. Fagan’s performance did you like?

    His timing and ironic comments on the chatracter of some of the people, he brings them to life.


    Any additional comments?

    Would definitely recommend for anyone with a love of history.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Andy
    Leicester, United Kingdom
    1/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good history"
    If you could sum up The History of Ancient Rome in three words, what would they be?

    Informative, well structure and interesting


    What about Professor Garrett G. Fagan’s performance did you like?

    Very informative an easy style to listen to, some of the asides are quite funny.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    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.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    1/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jon Dickenson
    4/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absorbing"

    Totally enjoyed the performance and the material. Detailed enough to be thoroughly interesting but not so detailed that you get bored. Very much recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ducarta
    London, UK
    2/4/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul Martin
    10/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Narrator"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • DrBlues
    Newcastle upon Tyne
    1/17/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Rome wasn't built in a day - It takes 22hrs 42mins"
    Where does The History of Ancient Rome rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    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!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The History of Ancient Rome?

    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!


    What does Professor Garrett G. Fagan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    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.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Tailorman
    MORPETH, United Kingdom
    4/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brilliant, just brilliant!"
    What made the experience of listening to The History of Ancient Rome the most enjoyable?

    This is a very well structured set of lectures, easy to listen to and easy to take in.


    What does Professor Garrett G. Fagan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    If you are interested in Roman history, then this is the book for you. Just brilliant!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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