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Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation Lecture

Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation

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Publisher's Summary

Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire painted a portrait of the Roman Empire in a long, debilitating slide to oblivion, but now historians have reevaluated this picture to create a radically different understanding of the period now known as "late antiquity." Far from being a period of decline and fall, late antiquity marked one of history's great turning points.

These 36 half-hour lectures take you through five momentous centuries that link the classical world with the modern, beginning with Rome near its pinnacle of power and geographical extent and ending with the Byzantine Empire, the rise of Islam, and a succession of barbarian Christian kingdoms.

You'll explore key features of late antiquity including how this tripartite division occurred; the memorable rulers and religious leaders who led the way; and the architecture, visual arts, and literature of the period. You also study what it was like to live in the late antique world: How did people earn their livings?

What was the role of women in society? What distinguished the great cities of the era?

Nothing in Rome's previous experience compared with the ferment of late antiquity, which saw the unpredictable growth of new institutions, states, religions, and arts. After taking this course you will never think of the barbarians and the "fall" of Rome in quite the same way again. Your imagination will be alive with the incidents, innovations, and peoples of an exciting era that gave birth to us all: late antiquity.

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

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

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  •  
    AlexIndia Fort Worth, TX, United States 12-15-14
    AlexIndia Fort Worth, TX, United States 12-15-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Drinking history from a fire hose!"
    What made the experience of listening to Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation the most enjoyable?

    The fact that Dr. Noble gave such a detailed answer to the simple question of the fall of the Roman Empire. It took you from the end of the 2nd century to the 8th century, but to do this you have to jump around geographically. History, especially this period, reads like a novel that is telling 8 stories at once... sort of like A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones for you non-readers).


    What other book might you compare Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation to and why?

    I have listened to several of the lecture courses and for the most part, they have been well worth my while. Some others will say that they are too academic .... well duhhh! It's a lecture course! When I buy a lecture course, I get a lecture course... not a novel! This one was not like some of the other courses in that it MUST jump around to be able to tell the story. Thus it is not told in linear form but is told in modular form.


    What does Professor Thomas F. X. Noble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He knows far more than I could memorize. I loved the lecture but I will need to listen several more times so that the knowledge can begin to permeate into my brain.


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

    This question is not suitable for a lecture... Audible needs to set up a set of questions that is more tailored to the lectures rather than all being applied to novels.


    Any additional comments?

    I recommend this lecture but know that you will be drinking from a fire hose. If you like history and want the details, then buy this one. But I would recommend it not being your first lecture. I think you need to have a good foundation in Greek and Roman history before you jump into this one. Also it would be good to review some maps before listening so that you can get a good visual of where all the places are and who invades who.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Tyrrell 10-02-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "outstanding teacher and fascinating subject!"

    Professor Noble is an engaging teacher and storyteller. I highly recommend this and any lecture of his.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Albert Ogden 07-20-16
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    "Tough going"

    Professor noble knows his stuff, however these lectures are seriously compromised by two problems, one of which is personal while the other is theoretical.

    First personal: the professor is afflicted by a variety of verbal ticks. He has a hard time ending the sentence without an "OK?" or a "you see?". There are many varieties of this issue and it required a great deal of discipline on my part to ignore them instead of getting perpetually irritated.

    Then there's his whole theory of "what do we know?" He actually spent half a lecture on why we don't know anything about a certain period. One or two sentences would have sufficed.

    Easily one of the most difficult of the 20 or so lectures that I've listen to from the GreatCourses.


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Tancredi New York City 11-26-15
    Tom Tancredi New York City 11-26-15 Member Since 2014
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    "so much on early catholism, not enough politics"

    Wish there was more on 5-6th century Gothic and European politics with Christianity. this was the Era where empires turned to kingdoms, and 7 to 8 sessions focused on early Church doctrine, which seemed too much in my opinion.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 11-08-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Diocletian to Rashidun"

    I'm an avid fan of late antiquity: it's an incredibly fascinating and colorful span of history that rarely gets the attention it deserves. Professor Noble, a lively lecturer with a conversational style, surveys the Mediterranean realm from the time of Diocletian to the rise of the Abbasid Caliphate. The meat of the course focuses on the successor kingdoms to the Western Roman Empire and the roots of the Christian church. Personally, the best lectures centered around the fathers of the church and the bizarre world of early Christian asceticism/monasticism. After you get oriented to late antiquity with this Great Course, go pick up Tom Holland's In The Shadow of the Sword for a more literary take on the East Roman Empire and Persia before the rise of Islam. Then, immediately listen to Count Belisarius by Robert Graves, a historical novel that allows you to live and breath the Age of Justinian.

    “AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY”

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicolas Cobelo 11-03-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Great speaker!"

    Excellent course to transition from ancient european history to the middle ages!

    1- The World of Late Antiquity
    2- The Crisis of the 3rd Century
    3- The New Empire of Diocletian
    4- Constantine’s Roman Revolution
    5- The House of Constantine, 337–363
    6- The End of a Unified Empire.
    7- Ruling the Roman Empire—The Imperial Center
    8- Ruling the Roman Empire—The Provinces
    9- The Barbarians—Ethnicity and Identity
    10- Rome and the Barbarians
    11- Barbarian Kingdoms—Gaul
    12- Barbarian Kingdoms—Spain and North Africa
    13- Barbarian Kingdoms—Italy
    14- The Eastern Empire in the 5th Century
    15- The End of the Western Empire
    16- The Age of Justinian, 527–565
    17- The Christianization of the Roman World
    18- Christianity and the Roman State
    19- The Rise of the Roman Church
    20- The Call of the Desert—Monasticism
    21- Monasticism—Solitaries and Communities
    22- The Church Fathers—Talking About God
    23- Patristic Portraits
    24- “What Has Athens to Do with Jerusalem?”
    25- Graven Images—Christianity’s Visual Arts
    26- The Universal in the Local—Cities
    27- Rome and Constantinople
    28- Visigothic Spain and Merovingian Gaul
    29- Celt and Saxon in the British Isles
    30- The Birth of Byzantium
    31- Byzantium—Crisis and Recovery
    32- Muhammad and the Rise of Islam
    33- The Rise of the Caliphate
    34- Material Life in Late Antiquity
    35- The Social World of Late Antiquity
    36- What Happened, and Why Does It Matter?

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Bartosh Lubbock TX USA 10-15-17
    B. Bartosh Lubbock TX USA 10-15-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very good!"

    Fascinating lecture that demonstrates just how complex the changes from antiquity to the medieval world could be.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Curtis 06-28-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Great narrator"

    The best of all The Great Courses lectures I've listened to (most of the history selection).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    horoscopy 04-02-17
    horoscopy 04-02-17 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "EXTREMELY interesting "course'...great speaker"
    What made the experience of listening to Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation the most enjoyable?

    the professor is extremely interesting to listen to and sounds very enthusiastic himself over subject and is not your typical "boring, long winded speaker". his mind moves very fast so sometimes it is hard to keep up with his thoughts...but that makes it challenging and enjoy relistening to it over and over to capture all his interesting information and thoughts.


    Any additional comments?

    RECOMMEND HIGHLY

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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