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Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire Lecture

Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire

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Publisher's Summary

Alexander the Great - one of the most renowned figures in antiquity - has inspired everything from medieval romances to blockbuster movies, and military leaders from Julius Caesar to Napoleon to the U.S. general Norman Schwarzkopf. But who was this great king of Macedon? And why is he so legendary?

Go beyond the myth and learn about the man who changed the face of the ancient world and laid the foundation for the great traditions of the Roman Empire - all in fewer than 12 years. These 36 spellbinding lectures take you deep inside the world of Alexander to witness the astonishing feats of military genius that made his name renowned for millennia after his death.

Through this detailed portrait, you'll go beyond the legends and the myths to truly understand what made Alexander great. Along the way, several Alexanders emerge: the military general, Macedonian king, Persian emperor, Egyptian pharaoh, and leader of the Hellenic League. You learn about the many aspects of this extraordinary individual - his passions, extraordinary talents, and the training that helped mold his character. You'll learn how battles were fought and won in the ancient world and examine Alexander's great martial achievements within this larger military history. You'll also head onto the battlefield to analyze some of Alexander's greatest triumphs, including the Battle of the Granicus River and the Battle of the Hydaspes River.

Alexander's empire did not survive beyond his lifetime, but his legacy has cast a long shadow on the history of the West. Join Professor Harl for this journey into the world of Alexander and see how the Western world - and, indeed, our world - still bear the marks of this legendary conqueror.

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

©2010 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2010 The Great Courses

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (476 )
5 star
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4.7 (430 )
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Story
4.6 (431 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Deep Reader 11-27-13
    Deep Reader 11-27-13

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1450
    ratings
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    "Alexander, the Man and the Legend"

    Audiobooks focusing on one individual usually don't excite me, but this academic journey shows us Alexander as an extraordinary human being in extraordinary circumstances. Not a legend. Not godlike.

    That doesn't mean his story is any less exciting up close. Worth the buy. I give it 4 stars in Story because the professor takes so long explaining the world and Macedonia before Alexander's birth to set the stage.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carlos Avalos Buenos Aires, Argentina 07-28-13
    Carlos Avalos Buenos Aires, Argentina 07-28-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent!!!"
    Would you listen to Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire again? Why?

    A great story about one of the most amazing personalities ever.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Alexander comes across as one of a kind.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Professor Harl depicts battles and sieges with pasion and precision.


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

    I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Riley 12-20-15
    Riley 12-20-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Professor knows his stuff"

    I've been going down the list of everything Prof. Harl has from the Teaching Company. This guy is great!

    Love his encyclopedic knowledge, the random tidbits he inserts into his lectures, and his sense if humor. Really keeps me engaged even when covering more mundane chapters like taxation in Alexander's empire (ugh).

    Fully recommend. I now understand why there will never, ever be a Hollywood movie / story / whatever that could ever do Alexander justice. The scope of his story is far too large. Truly the most deserving of the title "Great" of any human being in history.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    The World's Greatest Sacramento, CA 05-11-16
    The World's Greatest Sacramento, CA 05-11-16
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    "Very enjoyable history about a fascinating time."

    Professor Harl is a great admirer of Alexander and it shows through in his passion for this subject. His knowledge is outstanding, as is his ability to make the story come alive again through his excellent voice and speaking ability. I have enjoyed all his courses so far and I think he is the perfect guy for this tale of epic conquest.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Casey E.R. Sanders 02-16-16 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent Course"
    What did you love best about Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire?

    Professor Harl presents the story of Alexander from a variety of viewpoints and is historically solid in analysis and his compelling storytelling.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Antigens the One Eye because of his name.


    What does Professor Kenneth W. Harl bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Humor.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I had never realized Alexander reached India and had an impact on that civilization.


    Any additional comments?

    Professor Harl pronounces "ally" and "allies" a little strangely, but it adds to his charm.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ajax 10-09-15
    Ajax 10-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "captivating and enthusiastic."

    Professor Harl - was captivating and enthusiastic. My understanding of Alexander's life was deeply enriched. I was skeptical of 36 lectures but found myself eager to hear the next one. I will probably relished to this multiple times. thank you Professor Harl

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris Jacksonville, FL, United States 07-21-15
    chris Jacksonville, FL, United States 07-21-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    "Wow! The Best History Course I've Listened To"

    The professor that presents this course kept me entertained for 36 lectures. I've listened to a few other courses. Some were good and a couple were bad, this is the best.

    It felt like the professor was going to jump out of my phone. He knew his information and loved presenting it. The whole course is in chronological order which I love. I highly recommend it if you want to learn everything about Alexander the Great!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Juliana 07-26-15
    Juliana 07-26-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful!!"

    Professor Harl really brings the story to life. His enthusiasm and wide knowledge for the topic is evident. An extremely well presented series whose worst aspect was that it had to eventually come to an end. I now have all of Prof Harl's lecture series on my wish list and am working through them.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arthur Pendragon 05-09-14 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Tedious"
    What disappointed you about Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire?

    I found the lectures to stray from the topic, and didn't illuminate the significance of the dates and events that were mentioned. My view is that the lectures by Dr. Harl were quite dull despite the potential that this topic (Alexander) holds. Dr. Harl clearly knows his dates and details well, but I don't think he puts everything into perspective by identifying the significance of the details, some of which were frequently unrelated to the topic.


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

    Yes.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Kenneth W. Harl’s performances?

    No.


    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tommy D'Angelo North Providence, RI United States 07-03-17
    Tommy D'Angelo North Providence, RI United States 07-03-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good Historical Narrative; Concluding Lectures :-("
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I was worried there wouldn't be much chance of me enjoying this course. I say this because after listening to "Great Ancient Civilizations of Asia Minor" and "The Era of the Crusades" also by Professor Harl, I was afraid his style just wasn't a hit with me and his tendencies to "get lost in the details" vs. sticking with the big picture, his overuse of "filler words" (uh, umm), and rushing through his sentences would prevent me from getting into this course. The problem is I had already purchased "Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire" and 4 other courses of his well before I listened to the other two courses and thus thought I was doomed to endure the same experience as the first two courses of his I listened to.<br/><br/>However, I was wrong. This is a well done course and a testament to the belief that people can improve and surprise you. While there was still some of the "getting lost in the details" phenomena (or getting a little off track vs. sticking with the main point he was discussing), and while I felt like he lost alot of his momentum with the last 5 lectures or so being mostly humdrum, there really aren't any only negative things I can say about this course. Actually, maybe one other minor thing: sometimes the professor got so much into the discussion that his voice would fluctuate between loud outbursts and a lower volume making it difficult for me to find the right volume on my phone. Yet this tendency to get all animated was actually a good thing most of the times: you could sense the passion and his laugh was endearing! Love it! Check out his discussion on the whales in Lecture 24.<br/><br/>The historical narrative was very well done. He covers the Greek city-states, Persian Empire, and Macedonian Empire from about the 5th century BC to about the 2nd century BC (including Philip II’s reforms and successes, Alexander’s battles, the wars of his successors, and the final fates of the Hellenistic empires).<br/><br/>Although at times he would stray from the political/war narrative to cover other topics (like all history courses), the professor did a good job with the pace of discussing Alexander’s journey east and keeping the drama up vs. breaking things up too much and causing a loss of interest.<br/><br/>While the wars of Alexander’s successors is complicated and difficult to follow at times due to its complexity, I thought the professor did a good job of covering all of the twists and turns in lectures 28-30.<br/><br/>I would've liked a more engaging series of concluding lectures (32-36), overall I am glad I gave Professor Harl a third chance. I hope his other courses are as well done as this one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Paul
    4/18/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A tad boring for novices and casual history fans"

    While a good subject the professor just doesn't have the same enthusiasm as most of the others I've listen to in the Great Courses series so it gets a bit boring, still chock full of facts and information so not a total loss of time.
    Only problem with it as far as I'm concerned.

    If you are interested in Alexander and his conquests it's definitely worth a listen even if the narrator seems like he's just going through the motions.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Cyberbilge
    3/28/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "narrator sounds rushed"

    He continually sounds like he's trying to rush through a paragraph to start the more interesting bit. except he does this for the whole story

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lance Johnson
    Ilford, United Kingdom
    1/14/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fantastic set of engaging lectures"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, it gives a deeper insight on the stories of Alexander of the Great - discussing the sources, his father's history, a brief history of pre-Alexander, the story of Alexander, and his influence and how the empire evolved after his death.<br/><br/>


    What other book might you compare Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire to, and why?

    I have viewed several different media on Alexander the Great - In the Footsteps of Alexander television series with Michael Wood, Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian, Plutarch's Alexander (listening now). <br/><br/>All of them have value, and all add to the richness of the story of Alexander.<br/><br/>I would highly recommend the TV series In the Footsteps of Alexander with Michael Wood, which I believe is free online. It takes you to all the actual places in the world where Alexander travelled to, and builds the setting and narrative which brings alive the story of Alexander. After which you can simultaneously listen to this series, although I do recommend listening to Charlton Griffin narration of the Campaigns of Alexander by Arrian, after watching the TV series. <br/><br/>It is like connecting the dots - the TV series gives you the dots, the Arrian book gives you the lines to connect the dots, and the Prof Harl story gives you the colour - resulting in a full fledge picture in your mind.<br/><br/>All of these media/books are helpful.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Kenneth W. Harl – was your favourite?

    Prof Harl who actually a guest presenter in the tv series the Footsteps of Alexander, does actual tours of Alexander sites in Turkey - and takes u to the actual battle sites(not in these lectures), so he is the go to guy for info on the classics and Alexander. His lectures are very engaging, only 30 mins long, but you just keep wanting to listen to more - he gives explanations and the background - much of which the TV series and the Arrian book lacks.


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

    I had a sense of wonder, and amazement of the book - and the stories, and am currently listening to Plutarch's Alexander in Parallel lives read by Charlton Griffin


    Any additional comments?

    I thoroughly recommend this course, I have listen to previous Great Courses - and have been disappointed - however this was surprisingly very good - I recommend all to listen to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew J Nolan
    10/20/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Phil and Alex conquer the world"

    This is a very informative series of lectures about the career of Alexander and the later Hellenistic world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Eager
    2/21/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very well presented lectures"
    What made the experience of listening to Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire the most enjoyable?

    Easy to listen, follow and understand this complex subject.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire?

    There are many memorable moments, thus too many to choose and write about.


    What does Professor Kenneth W. Harl bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    His commentary is clear and he has a genuine passion for his subject


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • dean
    2/2/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "great!"

    thoroughly enjoyable and in-depth look into the life of the worlds greatest warrior who ever lived

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • linda
    3/13/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic"

    I loved every minute of this lecture series. I have learned so much it has been wonderful. I have now a great understanding of the life of Alexander the Great. Professor Harl was brilliant and his passion for the subject was palpable. Thank you

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Russell Tomlinson
    1/14/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Another great listen"

    This is my third Great Courses audio book and they keep getting better.Harl clearly knows his stuff and is able to deliver it in a very entertaining way.The course deals with the pre and post world of Alexander the Great as well as his life and achievements.Of course Alexander the Great is a very controversial character and Harl discusses many of the debates.Excellent listen.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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