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.
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.
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.
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.
Great and very informative audio book. Very knowledgeable lecturer and it shows in the analysis of the Peloponnesian War. Personally, I believe it was one of the best audio books I had purchased so far.
The lecturer gives you background information when needed, goes on depth explanation when needed and in general he explains everything fantastically.
Fair balanced and nuanced introduction to the subject, that also takes opposing views into consideration.
For example when sparta is discussed, Harl discusses the views of several scolars that have conflicting views, and then disusses the central points said scolars make.
Even though this course is very much moddeled on thucydides, Harl remains both critical and sceptical to this source.
Lastly although Harl gives us his views on certain matters, at no point does he put them forth as absolute truths.
Pericles and Brasidus.
Not yet, but i Would.
Yes but i know better.
It is a series of lectures, and not reading the course outlines between each lecture, makes remembering the content impossible.
This is not the fault of Harl, thats just how human learning Works.
Well worth every penny.
Learning about this part of history, has given a lot of added meaning to a lot of litterature, of which I have an interest.
Sadly the maps provided is not always that usefull and i find myself using Google maps instead. The only map i found myself using is the strategic conciderations map.
This issue about the maps, is however a minor issue.
That is really a great overview conducted by an amazing and passionate professor who really really really enjoys what lectures about.
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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