Sad Donkey

San Francisco, USA
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  • The History of Ancient Rome

  • By: Garrett G. Fagan, The Great Courses
  • Narrated by: Garrett G. Fagan
  • Length: 22 hrs and 40 mins
  • Original Recording
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 2,075
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,882
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,863

Even today, the influence of Ancient Rome is indelible, with Europe and the world owing this extraordinary empire a huge cultural debt in almost every important category of human endeavor, including art, architecture, engineering, language, literature, law, and religion. At the peak of its power, Rome's span was vast. In the regional, restless, and shifting history of continental Europe, the Roman Empire stands as a towering monument to scale and stability, unified in politics and law, stretching from the sands of Syria to the moors of Scotland. And it stood for almost 700 years.In this series of 48 spirited lectures, you'll see how a small village of shepherds and farmers rose to tower over the civilized world of its day and left a permanent mark on history. In telling Rome's riveting story, Professor Fagan draws on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including recent historical and archaeological scholarship, to introduce the fascinating tale of Rome's rise and decline, including the famous events and personalities that have become so familiar: . Horatius at the bridge . Hannibal crossing the Alps during Rome's life-or-death war with Carthage . Caesar assassinated before a statue of his archrival Pompey . The doomed lovers Antony and Cleopatra . The mad and venal emperors Nero and Caligula . The conversion of Constantine The course also addresses one of history's greatest questions: Why did the Roman Empire fall? And you'll learn why most modern scholars believe that the empire did not "fall" at all, but, rather, changed into something very different-the less urbanized, more rural, early medieval world.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Accessible

  • By Sean on 10-05-13


5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-27-13

Prof. Fagan was able to rekindle my love of ancient history. Having been out of undergrad for many years now, I had forgotten how much fun "otium cum dignitate" can be. We all find ourselves drawn into our respective specialities (for me, medicine), only reading those books or papers directly relevant to our jobs. We forget what it is like to learn for the sake of learning.

This course took me back to the Western Civ, Latin and Philosophy courses in my undergrad years, which were wonderful for their own sakes. Not because I _need_ to know this stuff, but because I _want_ to.

The courses are laid out very well with a clear outline, concise topics and a logical progression. Each lecture can stand on its own, yet it builds on those before it. The storytelling employed is exemplary and draws you in. It made my daily commute much more productive and entertaining. The hour per day I sit in my car becomes my "otium cum dignitate" again.

Next step: relearn Latin!

I highly recommend this course for anyone interested in renewing their own curiosity. It you have a trip to Rome planned, it certainly can have practical uses as well.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • The Dark Tide

  • The Iron Tower Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Dennis L. McKiernan
  • Narrated by: Cameron Beierle
  • Length: 9 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 211
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 153
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 157

Tuck Underbank is a Warrow -- think a hobbit with shoes and "large jewel-like eyes" -- living in the peaceful Boskydells. When an unnaturally cold winter strikes and the evil Modru threatens the world, he and a number of his fellow Thornwalkers go to the High King's aid. But a vast expanse of lightless blizzard called the Dimmendark (sounds bad, doesn't it?) is spreading over the land, and Tuck soon finds that the "dark tide" is going to swamp them all.

  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • I like McKiernan, but Beierle is distracting

  • By T. Osminer on 11-24-09

It is what it is

5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-12-11

Many people will see the obvious similarities between the adventures told by Mr. McKiernan and those of Tolkien. The books were originally written to take place in Tolkien's world, but for licensing reasons had to be placed into a world of his own. I am quite happy that this story was told. McKiernan is a masterful storyteller; his use of the English language superb and effortless.

The narration is also excellent. As always, the voice of the narrator takes some getting used to, but Mr. Beierle is great. I strongly recommend this series and I hope more of McKiernan's books from my childhood make their way to audiobook. Revisiting them on the long drive to work as a grown-up takes me back.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful