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
Highly interesting, entertaining, and informative. One of the best Great Courses I have taken. Although the speaker has a lisp, it is barely noticeable and he does not whistle while he talks. His descriptions of ancient life are also quite varied and engaging.
I like books. I really like beer. I love Jesus.
All the way from the mists of distant antiquity, numerous things bind humanity together. This course explores many of those binding themes: family relations, work, religion, death... and the theme of the 'other side' of history (especially as it contains to vignettes of everyday life) is helpful and refreshing.
Interestingly, Professor Garland brings together the fruit of all of the narrow sectarian scholarship of recent vintage (think Blume and closing minds). Homosexual, feminist, all manner of niche minority studies all rolled up into one course. I don't mean to give the impression that this course is only composed of those studies, as Professor Garland draws more broadly than that.
If the material for the course is distinctly modern in its construction, so are the moral judgments of the professor. In fact, the moralizing of Professor Garland seems the most common thread to run through the all of the material.
Well, I enjoyed listening to this. I expected it to be more global, but it does cover daily life in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and England.
The lecturer is very knowledgeable on the subject at hand. He seems to rely heavily on writings and data gleaned from archeological records (he resists speculating more than what is absolutely necessary). at points it felt like he focused on the upper to middle upper classes and city life, which makes sense.
Dr. Garland has proven himself a miracle worker and raised the dead in this Great Course. He has so adeptly described "the other side of history" (his term for the lives of normal people in the ancient world) that you cannot help but see how little difference there is between us. Yes, there is a great technological divide, but inside, we are the same. Bravo Dr. Garland. Mission accomplished.
I listened to two of the lectures through the Channels section and HAD to buy the entire series. Professor Garland is a great storyteller, his lectures are interesting and engaging, and I was hooked. Clever clever, Audible.
I really liked how he started in prehistory, worked his way through several major civilisations - Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and then my favourite bit was exploring the Dark Ages, the period after the collapse of the Roman empire, and the experience of Celts, Vikings and other peoples through to the Medieval period. I find this part of history fascinating, how such a far-reaching empire receded and what it left behind. And of course, as Robert Garland tells it, most people wouldn't have realised what they were living through, and the pace of change was gradual. The way history is viewed in macro events and political shifts, the fall of the Roman empire and the Dark Ages was a dark, blank, slow part of history, but the reality is that people lived through it, living their lives in ways that seemed perfectly natural at the time. I'm not really doing it justice here but I was enthralled in listening to Prof Garland's descriptions of this period, in fact I think I'd like to go back and listen to the last chapters again to absorb more.
I would say that as Prof Garland warns, he is primarily an ancient historian, so expect a lot of detailed lectures on the Greek and Roman peoples in particular. I'll admit I skipped a few of these, not because they weren't good but because I was more interested in the post-Roman period as I mentioned, and I really liked the pace of the post-Roman lectures, spending 2-3 lectures on each types of peoples and periods through the Dark and Medieval ages.
I also liked how he focused an entire lecture in most major periods on what it was like to be a woman in those times, and for the periods he didn't cover in as much depth he still devoted a reasonable portion of a lecture to the experience of women. The sad reality is that women have been heavily oppressed through most of human history, and Robert clearly illustrates this. Of course there are still significant inequalities between the genders today, and my experience of hearing in detail how men have controlled and abused women in the past serves to show that modern day sexism and patriarchy has a dark and sordid origin.
"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.
This course gives a great idea of what it was like to be an ordinary person. The course covers all stages of a persons life,and is very informative. Robert Garland makes a great host.
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
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