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The Persian Empire Lecture

The Persian Empire

Over the span of 24 fascinating lectures, you'll take on the role of a history detective to discover the truth about the Persian Empire. You'll discover the key to the empire's success lay in its greatest rulers, each of whom played a critical role in shaping and strengthening a civilization we still remember today. Take this opportunity to complete your understanding of the ancient world and discover the humanity of the ancient Persians.
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Publisher's Summary

For the past 2,500 years, we've heard about the Persian Empire as a decadent civilization run by despots, the villains who lost the Battle of Marathon and supplied the fodder for bad guys in literature and film. But it turns out this image is inaccurate. As recent scholarship shows, the Persian Empire was arguably the world's first global power- a diverse, multicultural empire with flourishing businesses and people on the move. The key is to look at the Persian Empire from the Persian's perspective. Over the span of 24 fascinating lectures, you'll take on the role of a history detective to discover the truth about this grand civilization.

You'll discover the key to the empire's success lay in its greatest rulers, each of whom played a critical role in shaping and strengthening a civilization we still remember today. But while the great kings were administering justice or waging wars, everyday Persians were just as important to the success of the empire.

You'll also learn about the empire's efficient communications network; the Persian economy and the workers and entrepreneurs who supported it; the role of women in the empire, especially the influence of royal women; and the daily cultural exchanges between the diverse peoples of the empire.

Professor Lee shows you a whole new history of the ancient world - a perspective largely unknown even by students of history. These lectures capture the people, the strength, the rise and the downfall of this great empire, revealing the complexity behind centuries of a previously one-sided history. Take this opportunity to complete your understanding of the ancient world and discover the humanity of the ancient Persians.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (145 )
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4.3 (133 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Matthew R. Krouse 05-19-14

    java juice

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ancient History Does Not Get Much Better Than This"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Persian Empire to be better than the print version?

    Not sure. I do not have the print version of any of the Great Courses. This category of Audible products is unique.


    Have you listened to any of Professor John W. Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Not yet but if he has any others available I definitely will consider purchasing them.


    Any additional comments?

    John Lee really made the history of the Persian Empire come alive for me. This is a difficult subject to teach because so much of the evidence was destroyed by Alexander the Great--and then buried under so many later layers of history. However, John Lee did a fantastic job of putting all of the evidence in context (in a manner that did not require one to have a PHD in Archaeology to understand) which allowed listeners to form more complex conclusions about the ancient Persians than the remaining biased sources state.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Burnes Austin, Texas, United States 02-28-14
    Burnes Austin, Texas, United States 02-28-14 Member Since 2013
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    "This Book Would be Better as a Visual Experience.."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I am a history buff and admired Dr. Lee's command of the material and his passion for it. I know with other video CD versions of "Great Courses" there are handbooks, visuals, etc. as part of the video series. I suspect that those versions of this lecture have a non-stop series of images which Dr. Lee refers to as he lectures. It was difficult to visualize this very "fact-based" set of lectures. He describes artifacts, objects and locations, none of which you can see obviously, by listening. It seems that this soundtrack was literally lifted from the in-classroom lecture without any adaption for the audio-only format. The Great Courses publishers do this lecture series a great disservice by being careless in adapting this to audiobook format. I wouldn't take any of their courses without the visuals now.Without the images or illustrations/maps, etc it becomes quite frustrating listening to events located in ancient cities without being able to see where they are, e.g., "Babylon". A verbal aside saying "Babylon, located in central modern Iraq, near the city of Hillah", etc.would have helped for some basic geographic positioning instead of saying "it's on the same latitude as San Diego" which doesn't tell us anything of value. I quit halfway through the first section. I wish I could get a refund. That was an expensive experiment learning that "Great Courses" don't translate well into audio files.


    What was most disappointing about The Great Courses’s story?

    Darius dies.


    What didn’t you like about Professor John W. Lee’s performance?

    See above.Given it is so "fact-based", without images it doesn't lend itself to stand-alone audio without adopion (there are some great examples of how to do this on Audible- I just listened to "Without Their Permission" and the author was very considerate and did an audio book which was uniquely produced for audio. For this lecture series to succeed in this medium, it would have to be more story-driven (vs. fact-oriented); think of how David McCullough or Robert Caro tell a historical story.


    Did The Persian Empire inspire you to do anything?

    Yes, read some BOOKs on it. :-)


    Any additional comments?

    Someone should get the "Great Courses" people to stop trying to take the shortcut way of simply re-packing the existing audio and re-engineer their content approach for audio-only.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Knute 09-08-15
    Knute 09-08-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Fantastic thematic historical exploration"

    As a student of history, I found this exploration to be filled with both crucial details that made me re-think ancient times and anecdotal cultural cues that wove a fascinating tale in my mind. Great balance of archaeological historical evidence, secondary sources and myth debunking!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jon 08-28-15
    Jon 08-28-15 Member Since 2012
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    "A 360 degree view of Ancient Persia"

    This is a great course for people new to studying ancient history or people that have studied it for years.
    For periods I was familiar with, like Alexander's invasion of Persia, Prof. Lee does a great job of presenting the Persian viewpoint which is very thought provoking.
    Topics like the role of women in Persia, the economy of the period, and the daily lives of everyday people were covered in penetrating detail with reference to the ancient sources.
    The downside of the overall excellent presentation is that Professor Lee is too in love with the topic and appears to sometimes dismiss Greek sources completely while presenting Persian sources with little criticism.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heidar Rock Hill, SC, United States 01-20-14
    Heidar Rock Hill, SC, United States 01-20-14
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    "Disapponted"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor John W. Lee?

    Doubtful. Please stop playing the nerve racking music at the start of every chapter.


    Would you ever listen to anything by The Great Courses again?

    Probably, with hesitation.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I do not know what this question means, The material were mostly trivial and extremely narrow in topic, not covering the great pre-Islamic contributions of Persian Empire in science, literature, arts for over four centuries.


    Could you see The Persian Empire being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    Absolutely.


    Any additional comments?

    The author did show a great deal of passion about his subject, I appreciated that. Unfortunately, he spoke only of the geography and wars of B.C. Persian Empire, very limited details, and nothing of the great engineering, mathematics, literature, medicine, etc. that all were developed between 200 and 700 AC centuries.

    8 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ali Esmail Dashti 02-11-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Great book"

    It was a great pleasure listening to this audio book. I learned a great deal on the history of the Persian Empire.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trevor 12-21-15
    Trevor 12-21-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Completely worthwhile!"

    I never really gave the Persians too much thought, and certainly almost no credit in terms of their success. Professor Lee frames the entire course in a more balanced perspective of the Persian empire than is typical. Overall, this course really made me realize how integral the Persians are to classical history; their impact on past and present times is remarkable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travis 12-16-15
    Travis 12-16-15 Member Since 2013
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    "A Truly Interesting Class"

    I listened to the whole course in 3 successive nights and wasn't ever bored. Excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Omid 08-22-15
    Omid 08-22-15
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    "Excellent"

    Great review of the Persian Empire.
    I hope to see works of similar quality covering the subsequent history of Persia.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samuel 07-15-15
    Samuel 07-15-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Story of a Mighty Empire!"

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to how the mighty persian empire rose and fell. Professor Lee does an excellent job of painting a vivid picture of the dynamics of the ancient empire and keeping the journey interesting at the same time. He does a remarkable job making the Persians actually human in spite of the negative stereotypes they are labeled with.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Louis Eguchi Wale
    7/20/15
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    "Love Persian history and this book is great. The great courses never let me down!"

    This is a great unbiased view of Persian history with lots of unknown facts from this learned lecturer. If you have a view on Greek history this audiobook offers a fair and fresh opposing view from the history writers from Ancient Greece and Alexander the Great.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • AllanJensen
    3/18/15
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    "Great learning experience"

    Great to get updated on Persia.
    However, the lecturer seems to miss the point that empires tends to base their rule on " do as we say or you will be killed"

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • A Manning
    London
    1/27/15
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    "fascinating insight into the unknown (for me!)"
    What made the experience of listening to The Persian Empire the most enjoyable?

    The material is fascinating; well put together and well read.I know something of Egyptian, Greek and Roman history but very little of the Persian empire- other than the view that comes from Greek sources.This was an eye opener- not just about the Persian Empire, but also it's relationship to other things I know more about such as Thermopylae, Alexander the Great;...


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed all of this audio book: content and narration.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Details of things like Artemisia- the woman Persian leader; the strengths and weaknesses of various leaders -especially the Achaemenid period with the likes of Cyrus the Great, Cambyses, Darius, Xerxes, Artaxerxes...- people whom I'd heard of vaguely but knew very little about.


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

    I kept making time to listen to this- a good sign for an audio book!


    Any additional comments?

    It's raised my interest to know more about the history of Asia- especially in a world of globalisation.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Abstraining
    1/25/16
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    "A wonderfully clear overview"

    This was a comprehensive survey of Persian history. It placed the development of the Persian empire into its cultural context. It was refreshing to look at the empire from the perspective of its inhabitants rather than simply through the eyes of the Greek historians.

    I was struck by the ethical nature of early Persian religion; that Persian nobles and kings were expected to "ride well, shoot straight and tell the truth".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dr Ibrahim Nasr
    10/14/15
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    "Excellent book"

    I never imagined that the Persian Empire was that great. This book is not based on an opinion. It is based on the most recent evidence including archeology.

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

    Good overview, interesting and engaging. It was refreshing to hear a different perspective and I learnt a lot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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