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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

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  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-15-14 Member Since 2014

    linbur0100

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Extremely difficult to listen to"
    What disappointed you about The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

    My first Great Courses was wonderful, so I was inadvertently misled into thinking they were all going to be like that (well, obviously it would have to be a topic you have some kind of interest in, but based on how great the first one was, I assumed they would all be up to the same standard.) Unfortunately, that is absolutely not the case here. This gentleman is an awful narrator. The content itself could be presented in a much more interesting way, so the "story" only gets 3 stars. But his reading is atrocious. He first goes so slow you can't stand it, and are tempted to put the speed on double to make him sound like he's talking normally. But then in sporadic starts and jumps, he will speak very quickly, so if you are on double time, those sections are too fast to absorb easily. It is possibly one of the worst history Great Courses, and I absolutely do not recommend it.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    NA. This is a history book. There is no "ending" per se


    What didn’t you like about Professor Robert Garland’s performance?

    His reading is atrocious, as I mentioned above.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    NA. Again, it's a history book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elise Boynton Beach, FL, United States 06-07-14
    Elise Boynton Beach, FL, United States 06-07-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Took forever to finish but worth it"
    What did you love best about The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

    This is a well presented narrative which was 48 or so chapters so wasn't something you finished in one or ten sessions and I am sure I missed a lot. The very British Professor Garland divided up his lectures into distinct categories and in chronological order (that was amazing) and you felt like you were part of the scenery. You could visualize the hearth, the castles, the burials, the rich, the desperately poor. His lectures carried you through the Middle Ages and that was a surprise.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Hard to say who the favorite character was because there were so many. The Author cited Geoffrey Chaucer a lot so his insight on Britain was one of the best listens. Also enjoyed piece about Cicero and his riveting oratory. Pope Leo who organized the first Crusade, Peter the Hermit who got lots to volunteer to go fight, and so many more.


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

    This work is about the lives of ordinary people. Very little about the kings, queens, princes, and rulers. This was not their story. You could visualize yourself in ordinary peoples homes, join them for their ordinary routine of daily living. Somehow, with the lack of pictures, telecommunications, even paper, people survived and Professor Garland made it come to life. His narration was quite good which was a big plus in a book (lecture) this long.


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

    The long story on slavery was a bit difficult to absorb. We know it existed in ancient times but didn't realize the extent it was entrenched in civilized society. This was so well established that no one, not even slaves themselves, could imagine life without servitude. The effect of the Black Death on all of Europe was so tragic. It truly defined the "Dark Ages" and scapegoats and prejudices became more solidified than ever.


    Any additional comments?

    I am proud to get through this and thanks to the Professor for loving history so much. If you like to learn the history of those you don't hear about in text books, get these lectures.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri Stevenson 05-30-14 Member Since 2013
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    "The Missing Lens of the Mundane"

    I really enjoyed this collection of views into the world of the history that never gets told! It has given me many wonderful hours of reflection and perspective. I have found this to be a wonderful addition to my library and a valuable asset to completing the big picture of our greater story, which, perhaps, may lead to an even grander version of humanity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Glenn Snow 05-24-14
    Glenn Snow 05-24-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Great material, but difficult narration"
    If you could sum up The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World in three words, what would they be?

    Comprehensive, deep, frustrating


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Professor Robert Garland?

    Professor Garland is obviously expert in this field, and the material itself is outstanding. But throughout the lectures, the cadence of his speech is so disjointed and seemingly random that it makes it hard to follow. He speaks in 3 and 4 word bunches, with pauses in mid-phrase which make no sense semantically. It's as if... the narrator thinks of... only a... few words ahead... of time and then... feeds them out as... they are ready.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Janis Silver Spring, MD USA 05-23-14
    M. Janis Silver Spring, MD USA 05-23-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Fascinating, illuminating, delightful"
    What did you love best about The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

    This lecture series truly delivers -- it was fascinating, fresh and shed light into some of the shadowy corners of life in the ancient world. Professor Garland used highly visual language to depict unforgettable scenes of lost eras and empires: I can't shake images like the one of the Roman slave tossed into a pool of lampreys because he broke a cup, or the terrified Celtic monk tossing his precious illuminated manuscript into a peat bog while being chased by Viking marauders. Wow. Garland has really delivered on a commitment he clearly made to himself, remembering to tell stories of men, women, soldiers, nuns, and more slaves than you can possibly comprehend. Terrific and truly enriching.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Francis Maryland, USA 05-21-14
    James Francis Maryland, USA 05-21-14 Member Since 2012

    Reviewer

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    "Very compelling"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, gives a nice view of everyday life in a number of ancient civilizations.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

    The narrative surrounding death in an ancient Greek household.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The story of an Irish Monk being pursued by a viking.


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

    It was very moving in places. Garland is a very compelling speaker.


    Any additional comments?

    My one qualm is that after the 4th century or so, everything was viewed through a Britain-focused lens. I would have preferred to spend some time going back to Rome in the time of Constantine, or learning about life in the Byzantine empire.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Helena, MT, United States 05-12-14
    Scott Helena, MT, United States 05-12-14
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    "Very Interesting"

    I have a greater understanding of the similarities and differences between how people lived in ancient civilizations and how we live now. I could listen to this several times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Tingley 05-11-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Too much negative, not very engaging"
    Any additional comments?

    I love history and was excited about this book but only got about half way through it and gave up. I did give it 3 stars because it does have some redeeming qualities in that there are interesting snippets here and there, but the author tends to focus too much on the negative - slavery, war, torture, hardship. And frankly the narrator was dry and boring, not engaging at all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mathias Ska, Sweden 04-29-14
    Mathias Ska, Sweden 04-29-14 Member Since 2013

    mathias2592

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    "A pleasure to listen to"

    Could not recommend this highly enough. Hours and hours of subtly feel-good narrative about a very interesting topic. Perfectly presented, great narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David United States 04-27-14
    David United States 04-27-14 Member Since 2012

    Hellicopter Man

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    "Harsh on the ears and monotonous."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I recommed the written work "The Common People of Ancient Rome by Frank Frost Abbot" Scribner 1911. Its been on my Kindle for years and I think it was free. Not certain how I came up with it. I still reference Edicts of Diocletion wage and price controls.


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

    I will give it one more try but this presentor is like fingernails on slate, both in sound and in intellectual breadth.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Harsh. Monotonous. Humourless. Obsessed with class.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    One more source to peruse but thin gruel. And gruel it is. Even amateur Dan Carlin is WAY better.


    Any additional comments?

    I was really looking forward to this. What a bust.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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