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
A must read.
Multiple... Mr Garland does an amazing job of bringing the common man, woman and child of ancient times back to life. Times might have been different, yet people are people, then and now.
I enjoyed his story telling style ... his narration takes away the distance of time and the "us" and "them" mentality.
As a woman, it was difficult to listen to what the women and children of those times endured.
This lecture is in my top 3 , really enjoyable. If you have not yet taken in any of the Great Courses, do it!
As a masters student of late antiquity, i think professor Garland does a good job at trying to illuminate the popular side of history, especially to elicit sympathy in the reader for them. would recommend.
I suppose this would be a good introduction because the material is very basic. I you know much history at all you will be bored and waiting for some nugget that you didn't already know. The narrator slurs his "s" so that you want to get a towel.
didn't get that far--too boring.
It is very long because the author wastes time on material that does not pertain to the subject.
This was my second listen to a work from the Great Courses, and, while I didn't enjoy it quite as much as King Arthur: History and Legend, it was still a decent listen.
One of my biggest gripes with it, though, was that at times the lectures seemed somewhat broad and unfocused. It sometimes felt like I was getting a macro perspective when I wanted a micro perspective. And yet, it didn't cover the macro perspective enough for me to really understand what was going on politically at the time either. Go figure.
The course also isn't nearly as comprehensive as the title suggests. The course covers heavily Egypt, Greece and Rome. Mesopotamia and Neanderthals are also covered, as are the middle ages. However, it's worth noting that the entire course is very euro-centric. Persia has, like, one lecture. I have no idea what the Slavs and Mongols were doing through all this. Civilizations like Ancient China and the Mayans are not covered. In addition to being very Euro-centric, the course is also specifically Britain-centric, and much of what is covered is done through its effects on that region. For example, the anglo-saxons are brought up when they invade Britain. Some time is spent on there culture and whatnot when they get there, but not much is spent on what those people were doing before Britain. The people of the middle ages are covered, but there is very little told about variations based on region. Perhaps everyday peasant life was just that uniform throughout Europe. I'm honestly unsure.
I also felt that at times I wasn't getting a good grasp of where and when things were happening in relation to each other. This is most prominent towards the end when he covers Britain, since he goes back to cover the Celts, killing the chronology, and then covered many different peoples (anglo-saxons, vikings, normans etc.) in rapid succession. Needless to say, I felt like I missed a bit.
Overall, I liked the coverage of the paleolithic times and Mesopotamia. Egypt was nice to listen to too, but much of it didn't feel very new, being one of the most heavily covered ancient civilizations in school. I think the course started to drift for me around the coverage of Rome. There was simply so much of it and it all felt like Ancient Greece version 2.0.
The narrator was good, in my opinion. However, he has a very prominent lisp. It took me a little bit to get use to it, but once I did I had no other issues with him.
I can't imagine anyone not being enthralled by these lectures. It's a look into our history that is is immeasurably important. To empathize with and understand the daily plight of our ancestors is a truly moving and fascinating travel through time. It puts your own life into perspective.
The scope of the course is focused on western civilization (so in a sense focusing on the "primary side of history" but it's a new look at it and since it's the story most of us know best it is helpful and a great choice. I certainly enjoyed it because it felt it connected more closely to my own lineage. I would however LOVE to see a version of this course focusing on other cultures.
As for content, I as an art historian worried I would know much of this already. I did, but it was still mostly new information.
Truly a great course.
"Nearest thing to time travel available"
Superb, loved his Greece and Rome, bought this and couldn't get enough. A natural story teller just brings the lives of ordinary people to life. Just relax and let Professor Robert Garland read the narrative to you. Got to be even better than reading it for yourself.
The leader of the Roman bandits which he did with an east end accent like Fagan from Oliver Twist or an English pirate.
Infant mortality in the ancient and medieval world 25-30%. Starvation of the children left behind after their family were wiped out by the plague and having to beg in the streets. Throwing ones relative onto a passing plague cart from an upstairs window which for a deeply religious people must have been terrible, but they had no choice.
At 53 years of age I want to go to university and study history under Professor Garland. Along with the Time Travellers Guide to Medieval England and the Time Travellers Guide to Tudor England by Ian Mortimer this is a must for those that wish to learn about history from the viewpoint of ordinary people. Works such as these have taken a long time to appear, but now they they have I hope there is more to come.
"Well worth the listening"
It informed about ordinary people through many cultures.
Very well researched and read. Obviously interested in his subject and puts it across in an interesting and accessible way.
"Excellent empathic history"
Excellent narration with extraordinary breadth of research and insight into the other side of historical life across the classical and medieval periods. Wonderful example of empathic social history done with wit, intelligent charm and compassion.
"Brilliant Trip Back In Time"
This was one of the best audiobooks I've purchased. The 48 30-minute lectures give a fascinating glimpse of what life was like for ordinary people in ancient and medieval times. The lectures are informed by a wealth of learning but are never stuffy or dry. On the contrary, they are very well written and are delivered in an excellent speaking voice by Professor Garland who brings the people "on the other side of history" brilliantly to life. Another reviewer has said that they are the nearest we'll get to a a trip by time-machine and that captures the essence of the lectures: as Prof Garland speaks we are back there with those ordinary people, sharing their hopes and fears and marveling how they coped without basic things we take for granted - medicine that is effective, spectacles to correct our vision, and so forth. Highly recommended.
"A great Listen. plenty of it. Slight repetition."
Entertaining and informative. Well presented by the prof. who sounds a bit of a stereotype, but his enthusiasm is evident and his empathy for ancient lives is clear.
"like stepping back in time...."
very good but doesn't half go on a bit... all good though, just like stepping back in time ;-)
"A Captivating Journey!"
It was an adventure to be sure and one that has kindled a new desire to know more about history, society and the human condition.
The narrator is easy to listen to becuase he loves his job which brings you into the story without much struggle.
I managed to listen all the way through doing a bit every day and highly recommend. I'll certainly resist a lecture or two.
One of the best Great Courses I have taken. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in history.
"loved every second of it"
The narration is excellent and makes easy listening of what is at times dense material. Professor Garland gives a very entertaining 101 style lecture
"Shame about the narration"
Good content but it was quite spoiled by the author pausing before almost every word.
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