The Peloponnesian War pitted Athens and its allies against a league of city-states headed by Sparta. The ancient Greek historian Thucydides captured this drama with matchless insight in his classic eyewitness account of what was arguably the greatest war in the history of the world up to that time.
These 36 half-hour lectures draw on Thucydides' classic account as well as other ancient sources to give you a full picture of the Greek world in uneasy peace and then all-out war in the late 5th century B.C. Professor Harl plunges you into the thick of politics, military strategy, economics, and technology.
You will feel the ancient Greek world come alive as you explore the war debates at Athens and Sparta, the devastating plagues that swept through Athens, the Revolt of Mytilene, the Battle of Pylos, the disastrous Athenian and Spartan expedition to Sicily against Spartan allies. You'll experience the thick of action and consider lively scholarly debates that continue to this day.
Unlike earlier great wars, the Peloponnesian War was not a conflict between kings, but between citizens from different city-states who shared the same language, gods, and festivals. Citizen assemblies decided questions of war - voting on their own fates, since they were the ones who had to do the fighting.
One of the most remarkable aspects of this era is that culture flourished side-by-side with the politics of war - that, even as Athenian citizens were honoring Aristophanes' mocking antiwar play, The Acharnians, by giving it first prize in a drama competition, they were debating with equal ardor whether to continue the war, and deciding overwhelmingly to do so.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2007 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2007 The Great Courses
Kenneth W. Harl is truly exceptional. Probably the best performance in my experience with the great lectures series, and I own a dozen. Buy it, listen to it, enjoy it, you can't go wrong with this guy.
If you already have a grasp of Ancient Greek history, this will be a good listen about the Peloponnesian war. If you know very little or nothing, it will be harder to follow as the Professor throws out names, places, events rather rapidly and assumes you know what he's talking about. Before listening to the Peloponnesian war, I listened to The long Shadow of the Ancient Greek World by Ian Worthington, so I had the necessary background knowledge to follow along. This series of lectures focuses more on the war as the title suggest and I learned a good deal more about the war and its players and events than I had known before. Even so I wish the lectures were longer and even more details could be provided about the many events as I feel some were glossed over too quickly but in the interest of keeping things moving along, I suppose it's better for most listeners.
One of the top five lecture series from TTC I have enjoyed to date. The professor does an excellent job of keeping the story interesting. His delivery of this course is what elevates it from merely good to fantastic.
Harl is great
All of it.
Harl relays the informative in a comprehendible and digestible manor that makes listening a joy. Nothing kills a lecture like a Prof who is clearly disinterested of bored with the subject but Harl is clearly electrified and excited by the topics at had which in turn only makes the lectures far more engaging.
Knowing little about the greek world, aside from myth and the Iliad, learning about the Greek political climate as well as actual warfare strategies was intensely interesting
If you're interested in Greek ancient history then this is a must.
As the song goes"...when will they ever learn? ". This is a story of the testing of alliances that very nearly brought Athens down and created wasps' nests of killing for 26 years in the 4th century bce. It is told in a way that is very easy to follow and to understand strategies, great leaders and foolish demagogues.
If you ever wanted to learn about the Peloponnesian War, here is how you do it. Prof. Harl does a wonderful job not only relaying the information, but making it enjoyable and funny is some parts.
THE ONLY COMPLAINT....
At the beginning and ending of each lecture (because all it is is a semester course on the topic) there is applause and then a string orchestra. It's not necessary and honestly is really distracting, mainly because it is not real. It's the canned "Applause Track" that you see on sitcoms. However, its not a big enough deal to remove any stars or marking.
This course demonstrates the consequences of when military powers, built on intricate alliance networks, come to blows. It shows how a network of states can have competing interests, how those interests manifest themselves on the battle field, and what kind of consequences may ensue. Professor Harl does a fine job of recounting the numerous facets of the war. However there are a large number of names and places interacting with one and other throughout the conflict, and making a list of all of these different factions was a necessity. Over all the course was great and provided valuable insights on the perils of what changes erupt from a state during periods of intense warfare.
It was an enjoyable experience. A very balanced review of the war. He tried his best to entertain the viewpoints of both belligerents without choosing favorites despite the obvious Athenian bias of the contemporary western tradition.
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