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.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
This course is a mix of good and bad. Is the course entertaining? Yes. Did I learn from this course? Yes.
I found the first two lectures hard to get through. So if you are listening to the beginning, know that it will get better. I was fascinated by some of the Egyptian funeral rites, and how we still follow some of these in some form even today. I learned many things I did not know previously, so that’s a definite plus for an educational course.
But the course lacked in so many ways. These are my specific issues.
1.Guessing. I can’t help but feel that the lecturer was just guessing at what we imagined things might have been like. This was painfully obvious for lecture 2, Being Paleolithic, but cropped up many times throughout the series with statements like “I believe that” or “It seems likely that”. To be fair, there are parts of history that just aren’t documented well. But it’s probably best to just leave those parts alone and admit “we don’t know”.
2.Huge gaps. The course is 48 lectures. Of those lectures, 6 cover Egypt, 12 on ancient Greece, 12 on ancient Rome, and except for a few lectures and a few parts of lectures, the balance covers England. Sometimes, certain cultures are covered to the exclusion of others because some cultures have an extensive preserved literary history, and others do not. But that does not explain the exclusion of China, Japan, the Indian subcontinent, or the Arabs, all of whom have extensive written histories. Nor does it explain the exclusion of the Inca’s, the Berbers, or many others for whom extensive written histories are not available, but for whom there is a substantial archaeological record. This course continues the old Euro-Centric view of the world, as though history didn’t happen outside of Europe.
3.For a course that says it covers “Daily Life in the Ancient World”, much of it still covers events that are significant to rulers. While a significant battle may affect the course of history, daily life really doesn’t consist of battles. Battles are more the exception.
4.What did people wear? What did people eat? What professions or work was most common? These are great questions for someone who is interested in what life was like in the ancient world. These questions were answered, but sporadically. Sometimes we’d learn a little bit about what one culture ate, but not any of the others. Sometimes we’d learn what another culture wore, but this information was missing for the other cultures covered. I would have appreciated some consistency here.
This is a good course, but not a great course.
The content in this lecture series is fascinating, however, I would change the narrator! I understand this is difficult because he is a professor with in depth understanding of the content. The challenge for me is that he keeps asking you to "put yourself in the state of mind of X". All...the while.. speaking... in such... a... choppy style... that... I often...find myself ready to... throw the phone... out of... the... window!
Be ready to take this in small chunks, or, maybe, speed it up to 200%.
This guy's love of humanity shines right through. He's got a pedagogical gift and the sweep of time this course takes in is breathtaking
Transplanted New Yorker living on Cape Cod
This lecture series has been incredibly interesting, engrossing, informative AND entertaining. I've really enjoyed the professors expertise and depth of information on so many aspects of daily life across eons of time. His wit, humor and just a touch of personableness ultimately catapulted this series to the top of my most enjoyed Great Courses! So far. I highly recommend this series to anyone and especially to those wishing to broaden and deepen their own perspective on being human.
I think that this is a great series of lectures. Perhaps because it has been studied for such a long time and there are typical topics to look at, ancient history is often about battles and kings.
Furthermore, Professor Garland is exactly the sort of thoughtful, genuine, and interested lecturer who can carry a lecture series.
The only fault--or at least something to be clear about--is that the title is a misnomer. It is the other side of Western history so don't expect to learn much about daily life in ancient China, South America, Africa, India, etc.
Still, I found it very worthwhile.
A wonderful account of history from Neanderthals to the Middle Age society.
Robert Garland is extremely knowledgeable. He does have some lengthy pauses between thoughts at times which can be distracting.
This course takes you into the every day lives of ancient peoples, and all of their trials, tribulations, and any joy there was to be had. Garland's passion is in every word he utters, and he breaths life into those long dead. What he has taught me is that these people are not antiquted and lost footnotes in history, but they are you and they are me. Do yourself a favor and take this journey as I will again. .
No, I have about two hours of driving in the car to and from work each day. These courses make the time so much more pleasant.
More courses from Dr Garland!!!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.