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.
Guided by some of our most highly rated and award-winning professors - including archaeologists, classicists, military historians, and religion scholars - you'll hopscotch around the world and across time to experience the fascinating variety of what ancient history has to offer.
Because the subject itself spans roughly five millennia, this "best of" collection does all the legwork for you, selecting captivating lectures that offer both introductions to and deep dives into some of the most prominent ancient civilizations, including the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians. This collection also takes you far afield into the dramatic stories of cultures in Europe, the Middle East, South America, India, China, and other parts of the world.
Listening to some of our brightest academic minds talk about the ancient world, you'll truly understand why we're still captivated by people and events from thousands of years ago, and why they still have much to tell us about where we are. And where we're headed.
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A Modern Urban Girl Who Loves Learning About the Ancient World
The narrators are professors speaking directly to the listener so their personalities and enthusiasm for the topics really comes through. No dry voice reading in monotone here.
This course is like a greatest hits playlist of topics in ancient history, or an ancient world highlight reel. This isn't the "deep cuts" so it is a good place to start if you like ancient history movies or documentary films. It covers the high points, important points and the popular points. These lectures don't include endless background information or things interesting only to academics. These lectures focus on aspects of the ancient world that are still relevant and interesting to the modern world.
Here's the table of contents:
JOY OF ANCIENT HISTORY LECTURES
1 Lessons of the Peloponnesian War
2 Parthenon and Acropolis
3 Heroes at Thermopylae
4 On Athenian Tragedy
5 The Parable of the Cave
6 Famous Greeks—Solon
7 Aristotle's View of the Natural World
8 The Battles of Megiddo and Kadesh
9 Greco-Roman Views on Death—and Beyond
10 Gaius Julius Caesar
11 Early Germanic Europe
12 Gladiatorial Games
13 Dining in Imperial and Republican Rome
14 The (Mad) Emperor Caligula
15 Being a Rich Roman
16 The Mystery Cults
17 Herodotus’s Account of Egypt
18 The Great Pyramid of Giza
19 Being an Egyptian Worker
20 Cleopatra—The Last Pharaoh
21 What Do the Mayan Glyphs Say?
22 The Amazon—Civilization Lost in the Jungle
23 Chalice of Blood in Ancient Peru
24 Attila the Hun—Scourge of God
25 Mesopotamian Creation Stories
26 The Empire of Hammurabi
27 The Epic of Gilgamesh
28 The Chariot Revolution
29 The Assyrian War Machine
30 The Art and Architecture of Power
31 Cyrus, Xenophon, and the Ten Thousand
32 Opening the First Dead Sea Scroll
33 Jesus in His Context
34 The Legend of Troy
35 The Qin and the First Emperor of China
36 Alexander Invades India
When I drive, I read... uhm listen. I like SciFi, Fantasy, some Detective and Espionage novels and Religion. Now and then I will also listen to something else.
The 'Joy of Ancient History' is a fruit salad of the best lectures from a vast array of courses on Ancient History by 'The Great Courses.' As an anthology it gives you a taste of everything, without expecting you to finish every fruit. Unfortunately this collection also suffers the shortcomings of anthologies in general. While a tremendous job was done to try and establish cohesion it didn't always work. Listening to the lectures I couldn't help to sometime wish that I could hear a previous lecture just to get into the picture. It spans a vast array of subjects, times and topics. That said, I am grateful for listening to it, because I was introduced to the Terracotta Army, and Prof. J Rufus Ferus' biographical sketches on Julius Caesar (from 'Famous Romans') and Solon (from 'Famous Greeks') made two figures I found boring come alive. Prof. Glen S Holland's lecture on 'Mesopotamian Creation Stories' (from 'Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World') was very interesting. The lost civilisation of the Amazons introduced by Prof. Edwin Barnhart was absolutely fascinating.
You will have difficulty in not gaining something you never knew from these lectures. 36 of the best lectures by professors of the Great Courses is not something you should just pass by. While I didn't like one or two lectures and I felt it sometimes suffered continuity, I thought the choices was generally excellent, intriguing, gripping and awe-inspiring. A must have for anyone interested in some or other aspect of ancient history.
Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.
This is a quick overview of ancient history, consisting of various lectures taken from various courses. Some will inevitably be more interesting to you than others. And you'll have to deal with the professor in each lecture referencing something he or she mentioned at a different point of the original course from which the lecture is taken. Once you're done with this, pursue the courses that you think are most interesting.
The different subjects and different professors. I added many new titles to my wish list.
The sections on South American cultures. I knew very little about them, but I want to learn more.
Several of the lectures mentioned Ramses II, who's one of my favorites.
No, but it definitley kept me interested. I couldn't wait to see what the next subject was going to be.
A good introduction to ancient history as a whole, and a way to sample different titles to see which ones might interest you. Great Courses needs more compilations like this.
Good overview of the great courses ancient history offerings.
Let's you sample various lecturers and courses. Most are very good.
Yes, Brief narrative, interesting topics.
Outline of ancient Athens.
- Tough to recall. However, a few have such strong accents the narration suffers.
focus on classical archaeological facts, not idyllic bible stories
focus on classical archaeological facts, not idyllic bible stories
too many bible stories unsubstantiated by classic archaeology
Long drive to get to work and back so i have plenty of time to listen.
Good over view of the topic, not a book that gets down in the weeds but then it doesnt claim to either. Makes history very accessable for people who find it hard to read the subject.
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