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The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World | [The Great Courses, Robert Garland]

The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.
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Publisher's Summary

Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

The past truly comes alive as you take a series of imaginative leaps into the world of history's anonymous citizens, people such as a Greek soldier marching into battle in the front row of a phalanx; an Egyptian woman putting on makeup before attending an evening party with her husband; a Greek citizen relaxing at a drinking party with the likes of Socrates; a Roman slave captured in war and sent to work in the mines; and a Celtic monk scurrying away with the Book of Kells during a Viking invasion.

Put yourself in the sandals of ordinary people and discover what it was like to be among history's 99%. What did these everyday people do for a living? What was their home like? What did they eat? What did they wear? What did they do to relax? What were their beliefs about marriage? Religion? The afterlife?

This extraordinary journey takes you across space and time in an effort to be another person - someone with whom you might not think you have anything at all in common - and come away with an incredible sense of interconnectedness. You'll see the range of possibilities of what it means to be human, making this a journey very much worth taking.

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.

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses

What Members Say

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  •  
    Jeff United States 01-15-14
    Jeff United States 01-15-14
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    "Fantastic lecture series"
    Any additional comments?

    This lecture series is packed with very interesting information, and professor Garland is very easy to listen to. If you're at all interested in history and what daily life was like in the past, I would heartily recommend it to you.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dale 01-15-14
    Dale 01-15-14
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    "OUTSTANDING!!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World the most enjoyable?

    The author's unique perspective on history...i.e. from "the other side".


    What did you like best about this story?

    I felt as if I was a part of history again...loved it!


    Which character – as performed by Professor Robert Garland – was your favorite?

    No favorite


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

    No, it was better broken up into manageable chunks...gave me time to chew over what I'd just heard.


    Any additional comments?

    Wish Professor Garland had more similar lectures...

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nate 01-12-14
    Nate 01-12-14
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    "Simply amazing"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World to be better than the print version?

    Truly worth a listen or two. Kudos to Prof Robert Garland, he provides a rich listener experience.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua MEDFORD, NJ, United States 01-08-14
    Joshua MEDFORD, NJ, United States 01-08-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Enthralling experience through ancient history"
    If you could sum up The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World in three words, what would they be?

    Personable, relate-able, fascinating


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    His recitation of Chaucer in Middle English, I enjoyed hearing what I would guess to be an authentic accent to how the language was spoken.


    What does Professor Robert Garland bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His quips about his personal feelings or how we would personally feel if we lived during those times.


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

    I laughed at his story when he was 6 and burst out singing the hymn for the holy crusade in the middle of a restaurant with his family.

    Maybe a theme that I've discussed with my friends about how he stresses how dangerous life was in ancient times, especially during Greek and Roman times, how easily it was to become sick or injured and how often those occurrences could leave you permanently disfigured or dead.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd enjoy meeting this professor.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. 12-14-13
    J. 12-14-13 Member Since 2015

    Ancient History, philology, non-fiction.

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    "Outstanding insights, excellent narration"
    Would you listen to The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World again? Why?

    Because of the Professors skillful delivery I'll definitely be giving this title another listen. This lectures series will round out your timeline with useful details that make it easier to parse the bigger picture.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommend this title to anyone who loves History.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samara United States 12-09-13
    Samara United States 12-09-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Entertaining for a history book"
    Would you listen to The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World again? Why?

    I will be listening to this one again! It's hard to soak up all that information in one listening. and it was fun to listen to so it wouldn't be painful to do it again,


    Any additional comments?

    Professor Robert Garland's did a great job keeping me interested.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HIII 09-07-13
    HIII 09-07-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Enriching daily life"

    This listen is packed with information, it is not just a one time around listen. Disadvantage is Robert Garland himself, who just can't see to relax and speak normally - sometimes I thought he was out of breath and other times searching for his place in the text. Either way it doesn't matter but it does interrupt the flow. Many of the things you will hear you probably have heard before but overall it is very interesting. I especially loved his connection to art, both very old and newer, to enrich descriptions. I am glad I tried it and will listen to another Great Course series again soon.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jen WINSTON SALEM, NC, United States 08-16-13
    jen WINSTON SALEM, NC, United States 08-16-13 Member Since 2011
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    "More, please!"

    24 hours of lecture blew by as Professor Garland, with his lovely English accent and consistent enthusiasm, takes us through the daily lives of the ancients. There is nothing stuffy or stilted about the content for the thousands of years of travel we do (actually millions). He describes every day objects, clothing, hairstyles, family life and then places them into a larger sociopolitical context. He does this equally well across Egyptian, Greek, and Roman cultures. I didn't think I'd have the attention span to finish, but I might just listen to it all again because it was so rich with interesting information. It's a great partner on long runs, commuting, or doing household tasks.

    My "a-hah" moment was his discussion of how the Dark Ages came about. If you are at that point in your life where you want to make sense of the long view of time, you will love this book. It dovetails nicely with Zealot by Rasa Aslan- lots of overlapping information about early Jewish and Roman culture. Thanks for a wonderful course, Dr. Garland.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 08-23-14
    Cynthia Monrovia, California, United States 08-23-14 Member Since 2012

    Audible listener who's grateful for a long commute!

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    "When the Mundane makes History Real"

    The Villa of the Papyri is nestled on the bluffs of the Pacific Palisades in California. Finished in 1974, it was closed for renovations and reopened in 2010 as "The Getty Villa." J. Paul Getty's Villa - and The Getty Center in West Los Angeles are, as Getty promised, free to all.

    Okay, maybe the original Villa dei Papiri was in Herculaneum, which was destroyed in AD 79 - along with Pompeii - when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. Pompeii is now temporarily at the California Science Center in Exposition Park, near the LA Coliseum and USC.

    I coincidentally finished listening to Dr. Robert S. J. Garland's "The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World" (2010) just before I took out of town family to the Pompeii exhibit. Garland's lectures were so concise and vivid, I recognized every single artifact and I knew what it was used for - and keep in mind, I listened to the Audible version which doesn't come with books. I knew what kind of artisan made something, the training they had, and whether they were a slave, a manumitted slave, or free born. I looked at a restored fresco, and impressed my sister by telling her that the ancient Romans would have changed the painted scene as fashions changed. Trends and fads are as old as Ancient Greece. Just as the 1980's Laura Ashley overstuffed and frilled pastels and floral wallpaper gave way to furniture and frames various hues of the same color, tailored linens, hardwood floors and painted walls 30 years later, the painted harbor scene popular during one emperor's reign gave way to starkly contrasting blocks of color, proving that abstractionism isn't a modern construct. I even knew when I got to the gift shop which replica jewelry belonged with the exhibit, and the social class of the women who would have worn it. It didn't stop me from buying the regionally misplaced and historically non-existent Sphinx earrings just because I liked anyway.

    The title of this series of lectures is a misnomer, though. Garland's lectures on Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, and to a limited extent Ancient Persia, are worth the price and the listen. However, he's missing entire major ancient civilizations: China's written history is more than 4,000 years old; there's the Mayans, who were a civilization for about 3000 years, until the Spanish arrived, with their viruses, in 900 AD; and many other cultures that flourished and vanished or were absorbed by conquerors. These civilizations had writing, so they were historic, not pre-historic.

    If the title had been accurate, I'd give this 4 instead of a 3. It's not higher because some of the lectures are repetitive. I did enjoy Dr. Gardner's voice and his delivery, but I wasn't so excited that I listened to more than one lecture a day.

    [If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Walnut Creek, CA, United States 12-16-13
    Susan Walnut Creek, CA, United States 12-16-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Not So Much About Daily Life as Basic Culture"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I was excited to find this book, but I was eventually disappointed in that selection. Don't get me wrong. I thought it was a good series. It just wasn't what I surmised from the title. I have taught introductory courses about the ancient world. I know about ancient cultural practice: religion, class, labor, concepts of the world, gender roles, etc. What I was hoping for was a clear picture of daily life. Where did these people sleep? What did they do when they got up in the morning? What did they do during the day? At night? How exactly, really, specifically, did the daily life of a king differ from that of a laborer, for example? I wanted to be able to see individual people living their lives.


    What about Professor Robert Garland’s performance did you like?

    His voice was pleasant, easy to listen to.


    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
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