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The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World | [The Great Courses]

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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  •  
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 08-21-13
    Mark Raglan, New Zealand 08-21-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tantalizing time trip"

    This lecture series spans 24 hours of listening time, covering thousands of years of human history and prehistory. Although it is a lecture series, it isn’t at all stuffy or boring. In fact it is an enthralling, gripping and moving story of how our ancestors used to live their daily lives. The author focuses on what he calls the ‘other side’ of history, looking at the way ordinary people, rather than the ruling classes, lived their lives. He paints vivid pictures of the daily challenges facing early humans, Neanderthals, hunter-gatherers, the first farmers, the first citizens of Mesopotamia, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. He then moves to Britain to describe the Roman occupation, and the Anglo-Saxon period, finishing with the Norman invasion and the mediaeval era.

    Themes that arise and recur many times across this immense span of history and prehistory include: the prevalence of slavery; the low social status of women and the hazardous nature of childbirth; the ever-present threat of violent death and appalling injury; short life expectancy; the constant discomfort caused by lice, worms, tooth decay, arthritis and gastroenteritis, and the smell of bad breath, body odour and faeces which would have filled the air in most of these societies most of the time. The immense power of religion was another force controlling the lives our ancestors to a depressing extent.

    For each period of history the narrator focuses on a few different roles within the society in question. For example, in the Roman period you would learn what it was like to go into battle as a legionary, or to be a criminal facing the hideous ordeal of crucifixion, or an elderly man who can’t afford to retire and must work until he drops, living on the top floor of a rickety high rise Roman apartment block, with no sanitation and the constant risk of being burned alive in a fire.

    I was never bored for a moment as the narrator transported me back through history and into the shoes, or sandals, of my ancestors. I wholeheartedly recommend this talking book.

    51 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beth Case Lubbock, TX USA 07-23-13
    Beth Case Lubbock, TX USA 07-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    "History of the everyday person"
    What made the experience of listening to The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World the most enjoyable?

    He really brings to life the experiences of the everyday person in history, not just the rich or famous or influential.


    What other book might you compare The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World to and why?

    I haven't read or listened to anything that compares to this.


    What about Professor Robert Garland’s performance did you like?

    He is entertaining, not dull or monotone.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Average Joe Throughout History


    25 of 25 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Candace NEW ORLEANS, LA, United States 08-01-13
    Candace NEW ORLEANS, LA, United States 08-01-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Just what I was looking for"
    Would you listen to The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World again? Why?

    Yes, It's a great chronological history and would be great to reference again and again.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I loved that it gives the human aspect of history. It puts a face to history that is not usually done and enable's you to swim through it. You can imagine what it must have really been like to be a housewife in ancient Egypt or a soldier in the roman army.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Robert Garland – was your favorite?

    He didn't do any character voices. He's definitely a professor. His tone is quite matter of fact but not boring. He does interject some humor and make it relatable. I felt like I was in a very relaxed lecture hall.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It's too lengthy and you wouldn't be able to absorb it all in one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    I love that audible is offering these courses. I can't wait to try another one when I am finished with this one.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheri Chemainus, British Columbia, Canada 09-17-13
    Sheri Chemainus, British Columbia, Canada 09-17-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Entertaining and Facinating"
    What did you love best about The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

    This book will take you into the lives of common people. Professor Garland is down to earth and well spoken and adds a touch of humor. I loved this. My all time favorite audio book.


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

    Yes....both. And I am so very grateful to live in this era. Our ancestors had it very tough.


    Any additional comments?

    You will find many of your own beliefs and customs are rooted a long way back in history. I highly recommend this book even if you are not a history buff.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom MARIETTA, GA, United States 09-01-13
    Tom MARIETTA, GA, United States 09-01-13 Member Since 2001
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    "Gives Life to History"
    Where does The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Among the best. A great combination of story and performance


    What did you like best about this story?

    Well narrated and informative. Where do I go for my course credit?


    What about Professor Robert Garland’s performance did you like?

    Very good storyteller. Took a short while getting used to to English accent. I found it very similar to the character of "Ducky" in NCIS. But as I listened his narration and use of humor was first rate. He made it easy to live the story that he was telling.


    Any additional comments?

    I found this to be a great listen. Dr. Garland both kept my attention and brought some chuckles from his intelligent brand of humor. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants real insight to history delivered in an interesting manner.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Enumclaw, WA, United States 08-29-13
    Stephen Enumclaw, WA, United States 08-29-13 Member Since 2009
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    "The long view of Western history"

    The serious student of Western history will probably not learn anything terribly revealing from this course, but it provides an excellent context and perspective on the subject. The focus is on daily life of common people, though it provides an overall survey of life among the wealthy as well, in order to fill out the picture.

    The lectures are clearly understandable in terms of the material presented and the performance is magnificent. Professor Garland speaks with real passion and emotion that helps one develop a clear image of the message. Most importantly, Professor Garland's analysis is conducted in the context of the times, rather than the context of some modern ideology.

    It was a joy to listen to.

    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 08-22-13
    Julia SAN FRANCISCO, CA, United States 08-22-13 Member Since 2008

    I listen to a lot of audiobooks.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing"
    Any additional comments?

    I was so stunned by this course I listened to all of the lectures twice! The course lectures are well researched, enjoyable, and absolutely fascinating. I feel so fortunate to be living in the age of showers, antibiotics, and anesthesia!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hannelore APO AE, Germany 08-27-13
    Hannelore APO AE, Germany 08-27-13 Member Since 2002
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    "Great listen"
    What did you love best about The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

    The narrator manages to really bring the life of ancient common people to life. I highly recommend the audio book. It was fascinating from beginning to end.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug Lake Elsinore, CA, United States 01-23-14
    Doug Lake Elsinore, CA, United States 01-23-14 Member Since 2013
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    "All Hail To The Ninety and Nine"
    What did you love best about The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

    A fascinating affirmation of familiar life down through the ages.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The breadth of this work is so wide as to make it difficult to pick just one favorite character, but the story of an Egyptian couple going out on the town sticks in my mind.


    Have you listened to any of Professor Robert Garland’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    While I have not listened to other works by Professor Garland, I can say that it is delightful to hear his voice, his presence in the topics he addresses that goes beyond tonal quality, replete with a sense of humor one might imagine he was in a mode of self-entertainment while assembling much of his material.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    "So you think you have it rough?!"


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kevin BOSTON, MA, United States 08-20-13
    Kevin BOSTON, MA, United States 08-20-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Good read, worth the time"

    A very well done lecture series, with very solid narration. The topic adds quite a bit a color to world history.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 84 results PREVIOUS129NEXT
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  • JL
    United Kingdom
    10/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Nearest thing to time travel available"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Ancient Rome


    Which character – as performed by Professor Robert Garland – was your favourite?

    The leader of the Roman bandits which he did with an east end accent like Fagan from Oliver Twist or an English pirate.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Sandra
    Nr Langholm, United Kingdom
    8/18/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well worth the listening"
    What did you like most about The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

    It informed about ordinary people through many cultures.


    What about Professor Robert Garland’s performance did you like?

    Very well researched and read. Obviously interested in his subject and puts it across in an interesting and accessible way.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • JOHN
    County Cork, Ireland
    2/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • richard
    IPSWICH, United Kingdom
    10/7/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Olly
    7/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Accessible, satisfyingly detailed, and fascinating"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The Other Side of History is a delightful idea for a series of lectures. It makes ancient history seems so much more tangible, real, and fascinating. The macro-scale progression of ancient society is woven into the details of how its citizens actually lived their lives in such a coherent and natural way. Professor Garland is consistently entertaining, and his obvious passion for the subject is wonderfully infectious. Highly recommended.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • m
    guisborough, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No prior knowledge needed"
    Where does The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high


    What about Professor Robert Garland’s performance did you like?

    Never did he presume prior knowledge but was not patronising to those who had it, he connected with the audience rather than talking 'at' his listeners.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    At 24 hours length that would be difficult, the half hour sections made it easy to listen to and easy to keep on listening.


    Any additional comments?

    Robert Garland involves the listener and makes them feel like a time traveller by staging the scene before describing the events. It is difficult not to relate to the topics as they cover daily life of the average citizen in various civilisations, from birth to death and beyond. His style is clear and easily understood with few 'long' words, it presumes no prior knowledge yet at the end of it the listener is left with a remarkable knowledge of the ancient world which can be used as a gateway to more indepth study or as a means to really understand and end enjoy dramas depicting the era covered.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    west sussex, United Kingdom
    6/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic."

    Just get it, delivery great. Story great. I was very excited about listening to this, outstripped my expectations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lesleyboyd
    scarborough, United Kingdom
    5/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Everyday history in a nutshell"

    Really enjoyed this book. Although it is of historic interest it was like listening to mini autobiographies. Feel as if I know much more about ancient history and what life was like. Would have preferred more detail but at least the pace was good. Shame about the narrator - pleasant voice but too often a bit stuttery and robotic. Nontheless I would recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • T. Sunderland
    Jolly old England
    2/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I've learnt so much"
    Would you listen to The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World again? Why?

    I've always been interested in the ancient world. I purchased this series of lectures on whim and I am please to say that the good Professor has fondled my mind with his enthusiasm and knowledge. For the first time ever, I have actually listened to the entirety of an audio-book (ADHD?). I will probably listen to whole thing again in a year's time to refresh my memory and I will also be purchasing the other lecture that he has done on the Romans and Greeks.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The period of Egyptian history really fascinated me and got me hooked.


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

    Learning that I am a descendant of the French...


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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