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
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.
I Was excited to start this course, but I must say it didn't live up to my expectations. I was hoping for for a well painted picture of lives in history, and even though the were some glimpses of that, I got to say I was slightly disappointed.
Having said that, I did finish the course, and don't regret having done so.
Brilliantly written and presented by Prof. Garland.
An astoundingly vibrant and detailed view into past ancient times. Garlands vocabulary and language is a treat in itself. A gem!
I liked hearing about the Vikings, and the Persians, but most other things weren't that new to me. allot of this I learned in school as a kid. he doesn't go that deep into things like I would have liked, but rather seemed vague, and skimmed over cultural details that I would have liked to learn.
the neanderthal stuff at the beginning wasn't that good, mostly because it was assumptions. once he got past all that, things became more interesting.
I would recommend this if you just want a summary of what you learned in school about ancient cultures.
The closest we can get to walking a mile in their shoes. Presenting the various classes of people in the ancient world, Professor Robert Garland's expertise and lecturing style brings a far removed and unknown reality to life.
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