This course explores the world of Ancient Rome as students investigate important events and key figures of the epoch. The individual lectures will examine major themes while touching upon the fascinating details of Roman life, such as the Romans' intensely hierarchical social order. Along the way, numerous facts of cultural literacy, such as what it means to "cross the Rubicon", will be illuminated as listeners enjoy Frances Titchener's unique style and finesse. At the end of this course, students will possess a thorough understanding of Ancient Rome's legacy to the modern world, and will have fully considered the poet Vergil's assertion that the Romans' talent was to "rule mankind and make the world obey."
©2003 Frances B. Titchener; (P)2003 Recorded Books, LLC
I think a middle ground is called for here. I would argue both with the reviewer who questioned Titchener's credentials (she has them, and deserved) and with the reviewer who called the book thorough and 'the' one to get--I think a closer view is somewhere in the middle. The parameter's of the task (a general audience comprehensive history of Rome with length and lecture limits) necessitate curtailment of detail. And while there are some factual errors and some infelicities, the book has its merits. Personally, I think the course would have been better served to be in two parts; Titchener seems much more captivated by the republic than the Empire (the Julio-Claudians in half an hour?). Maybe I was just growing weary of it, but it did seem to me that the glib colloquialism increased and, by the time of the Julio-Claudians the goal seemed to become more to tell an entertaining quick story than to engage in history. A little less embellishment of one line in Plutarch about Sulla's death, for example, or using a satirist as a historian (i.e. Juvenal) would have given time for more nuanced coverage. On the other hand, as evidenced by the positive reviews, the book is OK. A good overview. Just don't take it as the final word in Roman history.
There are so many good books in the world to read, don't waste time on the crappy ones !
This is an excellent starting point if you know very little about the Ancient Romans and want to learn, in a nutshell, the real story. Most of us know the names Caesar, Nero, Caligula ... with the associated tags. e.g. Caesar crossed the Rubicon - Nero fiddled whilst Rome burned - Caligula married his sister then killed her!
These lectures provide a wonderfully simple springboard from which to venture into a more in depth study of the fascinating Ancient Romans!
Excelent book, I enjoy the listening. Interesting analysis of the great questions of the history of Rome; the author addresses the causes of the success of Rome, the fall of the Republic and finally the collapse of the Imperio
A quick overview of Roman history this series of lectures was absolutely fascinating. The professor did a wonderful job of presenting the material in an informative and humorous manner. I've listened to it several times since its purchase and would buy it all over again.
This lecture dwells on the stagy episodes of Roman history not verified in current research and judging them from a 20th century viewpoint. This is done in a very simplistic and moralistic tone "the Romans are bad again...." like telling a fable to children rather than explaining complex historical events to adults. A lot of time is wasted by first telling what will be told in the next lecture, then telling it and then summing it up again. Roman history deserves better. If you still want to listen to this lecture make sure you consult other sources whenever events become too exciting (e.g. Sulla dying being eaten up by maggots - not relevant to history anyway)
I have listened to this book several times. It is very thorough and enlightening. Highly Recommend. However, I question the authors assumption that Christianity was the cause of the fall of the Roman Empire! I have always read and understood that the ultimate cause was internal to the Roman Empire to include (gross decadence and immorality).
I downloaded this book to get a overview of Rome and Roman history. I thoroughly enjoyed the lectures. I normally listen while commuting to work but found myself wanting to listen during whatever spare time I had. They were informal and fun and I was following up on the lecture series by reading more about the people and events in my off time.
I loved this overview of Roman history, the best of many I have read or listened to. The professor's style is a bit informal, which I regarded as a plus. Informative, fast-paced, funny at times, and highly entertaining.
It was quite bad. The hyper-colloquial tone could be a matter of taste (although it was really overdone). The choice of what to include and what not to could be personal (although the absence of figures like Cicero and Arminius was quite too much). However, some of the data are at least debatable, if not downright mysterious. What was the disease the killed Sulla by producing masses of quivering worms? And why the emphasis on Tiberius as an unwanted heir at the same time when Drusus is not even mentioned?
There are also bigger questions. I cannot believe that Romulus killing Remus could represent the typical Roman choice of 'state' (there was not even a city yet) v. family. I thought that you needed to arrive at least at the end of the regal period for that to show up.
I've listening to many Modern Scholar lectures. This is one of the best.
The lecture did not use convoluted academic language. She had some major points and supported with wonderfully interesting details.
This is a lecture so it doesn't really apply but she expresses certain points very well as if talking to her in a cafe, not in a lecture hall.
"Entertaining, Informative and Addictive"
Frances B. Titchener delivers an easy to follow lecture series, which kept me entertained from start to finish. I would recommend this to anybody who wishes to familiarise themselves with the most significant events and leaders in Roman history. Professor Titchener charms the listener with humour and captivating narration. I will listen to A History of Ancient Rome again in the future.
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