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The Persian Empire | [The Great Courses]

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.

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (32 )
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  •  
    Matthew R. Krouse 05-19-14 Member Since 2013

    java juice

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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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud United States 03-24-14
    Saud United States 03-24-14 Member Since 2007

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

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    "A rich history revealed"

    Professor John W. Lee mentioned that the Persian Empire is presented as the enemy by more commonly accepted Greek historians several times in this course, and proceeds to explore its history on its own terms.

    1 of 1 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.

    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 Member Since 2013
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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.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alireza 07-28-14
    Alireza 07-28-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Interesting story with some missing arguments!"
    What did you like best about The Persian Empire? What did you like least?

    .


    Would you recommend The Persian Empire to your friends? Why or why not?

    .


    Did Professor John W. Lee do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    .


    Was The Persian Empire worth the listening time?

    .


    Any additional comments?

    Interesting course, but strange. Can the word strange describe a history book, speech and course? Maybe not, but I still can't find a better word, as Im still somehow in doubt how I could and should summarize my experience with this study.Professor John Lee insist that Persia and Iran are two different and separate things, but the whole history starts in Pars and Susa and Ilam, places and people which have always been a part of Iran; The Persia. The professor refers to all the tablets and other historical texts found in Babylon as the arguments for his story, when babylon was a part of Persia, but denies (and not only questions) the value of Cyrus' cylinder describing the human rights when he conquered the Babylon. He simply judges it as propaganda. However when he describes how Persian kings ruled the empire and how Persian people lived, he constantly confirms its validity.So interesting story, and definitely worth to listen to, but if it is a pure objective history book, without any political or personal motivation, I'm not sure.I will continue with my study about Persian history, as this course left me many questions and doubts. And indeed made me much more curious.

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