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Publisher's Summary

Rome grew from a tiny community of small hill villages near the River Tiber in central Italy to one of the most powerful empires the world has seen. The Romans themselves believed that their great city was founded in the middle of the eighth century BCE. By the middle of the second century CE, Rome had a population of 1.5 million; Alexandria, in Egypt, 500,000; and Londinium, in Briton, 30,000.

Not counting locally recruited forces, this vast empire was subjugated and policed with only around 25 legions, or the equivalent of only three and a half times the entire police force of New York City. How was this possible? Military power, colonial organization, superior technology, a well-organized infrastructure, and a cohesive economic system. These elements of Roman genius are well known, but it was the very idea of Rome that proved so persuasive and this Roman ideal was born from mythology.

©2005 Peter Meineck; (P)2005 Recorded Books

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Very Worthwhile!

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This fascinating series of lectures deals not with the Roman gods and goddesses per se but rather with the myths that pertain to the past of the great city: Remus and Romulus, the rape of the Sabine women, the Seven Kings of Rome, Aeneus, etc. It is well organized and based not only on the classic texts that have survived but also on archeological findings, much work in that field in fact being currently underway. In fact, it is striking how much is yet to be discovered in order to fully understand the myths that have been transmitted down to our times.Like other ‘Modern Scholar’ audio productions, some lectures are completed with answers to questions posed by students in actual classroom sessions. Also, references to a web site are provided for those who wish to go further in their learning ... or to test it with a ‘final exam’.This lecture series is a great complement to 'Greek Mythology' by the same lecturer and is strongly recommended to all interested in the topic.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Early Roman History Through Its Foundation Myths

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The course focuses on early Rome's legendary heroes and founders. It is not stories about the Roman versions of the 12 Olympians. <br/><br/>This course would be a good supplement for anyone interested in Rome's earliest days, as reported by the ancient historian Livy. It also might be of interest to anyone wanting to know more about the heroes like Brutus, Romulus, Aeneas and the Trojan War Settlers, Cincinnatus and Coriolanus, that are name-checked by Senators during the Roman Republic.<br/><br/>Here's the table of contents:<br/>Introduction<br/>Lecture 1 Mythological Rome <br/>Lecture 2 The Making of Myth: How the Romans Recorded Their Mythology <br/>Lecture 3 Greek Myths and the Romans: Cacus, Hercules, and the Greeks in Italy<br/>Lecture 4 Arcadian Fantasies: The Fathers of the Founders<br/>Lecture 5 Trojan Ancestors: The Myth of Aeneas<br/>Lecture 6 Romulus and Remus <br/>Lecture 7 The Seven Kings of Rome <br/>Lecture 8 Etruscan Kings in Rome: Myth or History? <br/>Lecture 9 Myths of the Republic<br/>Lecture 10 Myths of Roman Expansion<br/>Lecture 11 Virgil and The Aeneid (Part One) <br/>Lecture 12 The Aeneid (Part Two) <br/>Lecture 13 Ovid <br/>Lecture 14 The Survival of Classical Myth <br/><br/>This series of lectures is best for someone who already knows a little bit about Roman mythology and/or early Roman history, and wants to take the next step. Since such a small amount of early Roman history has survived, this course looks for that information in Rome's myths and cultural tradition.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rogayah
  • 06-06-10

Myths and their meaning

This is an excellent introduction to the mythology of the Greeks and Romans; they have had such a profound effect on the Europe of the past, especially from Medieval times to the modern day, though we may sometimes forget that today. For that reason, and the fact that these stories are still so fresh and relevant, the course and the whole series is well worth listening to.

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  • David
  • 03-11-15

Enjoyable but too brief!

I enjoyed the lectures though I found them a little brief and, I think deliberately, the focus was on understanding the Aeneid, rather than necessarily the precursors to it. Overall, an enjoyable series of lectures but I'll have to track down some more in depth studies of the earlier myths. Would recommend, but won't cover all the bases!