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The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World Lecture

The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

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Publisher's Summary

Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

The past truly comes alive as you take a series of imaginative leaps into the world of history's anonymous citizens, people such as a Greek soldier marching into battle in the front row of a phalanx; an Egyptian woman putting on makeup before attending an evening party with her husband; a Greek citizen relaxing at a drinking party with the likes of Socrates; a Roman slave captured in war and sent to work in the mines; and a Celtic monk scurrying away with the Book of Kells during a Viking invasion.

Put yourself in the sandals of ordinary people and discover what it was like to be among history's 99%. What did these everyday people do for a living? What was their home like? What did they eat? What did they wear? What did they do to relax? What were their beliefs about marriage? Religion? The afterlife?

This extraordinary journey takes you across space and time in an effort to be another person - someone with whom you might not think you have anything at all in common - and come away with an incredible sense of interconnectedness. You'll see the range of possibilities of what it means to be human, making this a journey very much worth taking.

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

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses

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  •  
    Kim M. Tampa, FL, United States 06-01-16
    Kim M. Tampa, FL, United States 06-01-16 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Finally, a History of The Average Joe (and Jane)!"

    Biographies of famous historical figures, while interesting, are a dime (or Audible credit) a dozen. What I really wanted to learn about were the daily routines and slice-of-life narratives about regular people who inhabited the world during ancient times. That is precisely what this book delivers.

    It's honest, raw, humorous, and somehow still sensitive in its delivery. There's a huge scope of material being covered here, and it works with the presentation. Each chapter is a sort of snapshot in time, a day in the life of someone with whom I can identify, because Professor Garland makes each accessible and understandable to the layperson. You don't have to be a student of history, art, or science to find this book interesting and understandable.

    I purchased this book as one of two audiobooks to take with me on a trip to Europe. I'm so glad I did! I was able to connect some locations I visited and artifacts in a museum to the faces of individuals conjured in my mind by his vivid descriptions and the humanity he brought to his subjects.

    I'm pleased with this purchase and consider it one of my favorite Audible books.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tomer 05-10-16
    Tomer 05-10-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Want to know how 99.999% of the humanity lived???"

    For most of humanity's existence, the "average-Joe" on the street wouldn't of been able to read this review. The only works of art they were likely to behold would reside in a place of worship. And if you were a female... GOOD LUCK!

    Today, we are lucky enough to even be aware of the past. Being informed how our ancestors lived before us helps a craft a more all encompassing perspective on the history of our species. The genesis of my historical perspective on the "average-Joe" comes from these insightful lectures.

    While scanning a vast arrary of civilizations, from the Anicnet Egyptian's to the peasants of mid-evil Britain, Dr. Garland takes the listener on a sweeping narrative of how 99% of people lived throughout the ages. This intriguing outlook on history is one that never even popped into my mind before listening to these lectures. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn about this fascinating subject. If you are a student of history, this is a must-listen for you!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fivepointfivesix 05-01-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Lisp is unbearable!!!!!"

    How Robert Garland EVER became a Great Courses lecturer is a mystery.

    He has a speech impediment that is so distracting, I could only endure 45 minutes.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 11-02-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Everything promised and more"

    This is (I think) my sixth Great Course, and it is my favorite by far. The range of history covered is remarkable, and I loved getting details about the life of an ordinary person in Babylonia, Rome or (especially) Egypt. Medieval times were far more interesting than I expected. I think I had grown to think the middle ages were a time when the sun didn't shine and old women were constantly being put to the flame as witches. Not so. People were learning, loving and moving forward.

    In past Great Courses, the lecturers (who are not the professional readers in most of the Audible selections) frequently annoyed me with verbal tics. Not Professor Garland. This was especially surprising since he has a slight lisp. His selection of stories, detail and occasional glimpses of his own life added to the enjoyment of this course.

    I feel I know far more about our distant ancestors and will look for other courses by Professor Garland.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen P. Manning San Francisco, CA United States 10-11-15
    Stephen P. Manning San Francisco, CA United States 10-11-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Info, vgood; voice & attitude, nope"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The factual info is interesting and different, with focus on ordinary life in the ancient world rather than the usual interest in great men, battles, etc. (Not that there's anything at all wrong with that.)


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Most interesting was, of course, the focus and the details of lives of ordinary people in civilizations distant from us in time. Reinforces how coddled and easy our lives are by comparison, even those of us who consider ourselves "disadvantaged."


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    First, his moralizing attitudes. Despite occasionally reminding us not to impose our current notions on people who lived in vastly different circumstances, his typically PoMo university-style moralizing about racism, sexism, inequality, etc. really got on my nerves, as well as using these old cultures to occasionally take shots at contemporary politics, etc.. If a 19th century Oxford don has taken a similar attitude out of a Christian context, I am sure the professor would be outraged at his dogmatic arrogance. But his own contemporary religion is just as smug and irritating and condescending. I finally stopped listening after Chapter 22. Really irritating.Second, his speaking style is highly artificial, even for a Brit professor. Very clipped and hyper-articulated. Eventually it distracts from his content.


    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MICHELE LIGHTFIELD KATY, TX, US 06-18-16
    MICHELE LIGHTFIELD KATY, TX, US 06-18-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Time-Traveler's Wish List"

    Robert Garland brings the intricate ancient history of the common man and woman to life. Scholarly and substantial, with just the right amount of wit and humor - this is an imaginative journey that demands we find that favorite chair, brew a cup of wonderful tea, and lock distraction away for the better portion of an hour or two. As a bonus, Garland's voice is so pleasant, he could be reciting a grocery list and it would be both interesting and soothing.

    I recommend this book to anyone who agrees that those who forget their history are destined to repeat it.

    Well worth the investment of time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gene313 06-14-16
    Gene313 06-14-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Excellent but limited geographical reference"

    Great lecture series but the information was 90% focused on classical ancient history in the Mediterranean and Britain. Highly recommend the series but disappointed with the limited focus on cultures most people are already quite familiar with.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric San bernardino, CA, United States 11-10-15
    Eric San bernardino, CA, United States 11-10-15 Member Since 2003
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    "painfully slow narration"

    The performance ruined this series for me. Slow ... with ... huge ... pauses... between ... words. Even stepping up the playback speed didn't really help. The information was okay, though there were small errors in information (no one carries a hawk on their shoulder, nor were the swords so heavy that they needed two hands) that brought into question the rest of the information.
    It was nice to hear about the common folk during the time periods though.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Albuquerque, NM, United States 11-07-14
    James Albuquerque, NM, United States 11-07-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Lecture Exposes is Prejudices"

    Over all a very interesting lecture series. But the lecturer is clearly anti Catholic hierarchy. That is revealed at Lecture 41 approx. 20:40 when he discusses Francis of Assisi. First he states that Francis order was known as Fratichelli. Then is states the Church's rejected the "little brothers" and excommunicated them. WOW. The Church excommunicated St. Francis' order? Well not quite. St. Francis and the Franciscans were never excommunicated and were always embraced by pope and the Church. Some orders that the Italian people designated as Fraticelli were considered heretical by the Church. It's a bit disappointing that type of juxtaposition is used to create a false impression of historical facts.
    The lecture's anti-Catholic hierarchy is clear in his discussions of the Churches influence on medieval daily life. I emphasize his disdain is directed at Church hierarchy because he goes out of his way to laud the contributions of monks, priests, nuns and other church people in their aid and comfort of everyday people.
    With that caveat, I would recommend this series.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pandora Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 10-28-14
    Pandora Victoria, British Columbia, Canada 10-28-14 Member Since 2011
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    "One of the Best Things I've Ever Had from Audible!"

    As the title indicates, this is unequivocally one of the best listens I've ever had the delight of finding here on Audible!

    Knowing a thing or two about anthropology, I had one or two very minor quibbles with one detail or another, (specifically whether pre-Neolithic Revolution life was characterized by fear and suffering, where fossil evidence shows the rampant rise of malnutrition and disease afterwards indicating a lower quality of life for several millennia) but there are always debates in this field. These are, however, far, far, over shadowed by Garland's profound humanity, conscientiousness, and care. There were a number of times his heartfelt compassion for right's of men, women, children, and the disadvantaged literally brought tears to my eyes. There were a few times I think Garland had tears in his eyes! His critiques of the discriminations of ancient attitudes towards sexual identity, culture, class, etc., are canny, and obviously informed by a genuine empathy and open mindedness. They are not the natural insights of someone who is posturing these qualities, and it was refreshing to hear.

    Garland himself has a staggered sort of way of speaking, one brought on I think by fervour, and which I found quite charming. He is entertaining and articulate.

    The course often employs a second person narrative, and this walkthrough of ancient life was almost like a dramatic exercise or hypnosis. It draws you right along, puts you right in the shoes, and is very effective, absorbing, and quite fun.

    The information fed my curiosity for the minutiae of day to day ancient life, while also providing enlightening geopolitical context. It was also lovely to hear such up to date information, including homonids like the recently unearthed Homo Floresiensis.

    This course was engaging, educational, entertaining, inspiring and insightful. I can say something of this series which I think to be the truest compliment, that is that I've learned so much by it. I've come away with more from this course than many of the myriad books I've read collectively, and never felt my mind stray for a moment. Garland has only two courses here on Audible, the other of which I gobbled up immediately, sincerely cannot wait for his next.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Tereza H
    8/3/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More a thorough introduction than anything else"
    What did you like best about The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World? What did you like least?

    The course tries to cover a broad time period and I think it's a great introduction for someone who is new to the subject of cultural studies / history etc.. However, for someone who is a slightly familiar with this area the course is not as satisfying. It repeats basic facts from other more interesting and entertaining works. While this might be just a matter of taste or background, some facts need an update reflecting current discoveries - especially the part on prehistory.
    What I value most about the course is the humanistic approach of the professor.


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

    This is the first course by R. Garland I have listened to. I would probably listen to some other course by him if the subject was more specifically defined.


    Which character – as performed by Professor Robert Garland – was your favourite?

    N/A


    Do you think The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • kate
    6/30/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent"

    Wonderfully informative, easy to listen to.
    I'm very glad I chose to listen to this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ahmad
    6/10/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Like going back in time."


    The narrator was great. He was eloquent creating a world that you can really live in.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Olly
    7/30/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Accessible, satisfyingly detailed, and fascinating"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The Other Side of History is a delightful idea for a series of lectures. It makes ancient history seems so much more tangible, real, and fascinating. The macro-scale progression of ancient society is woven into the details of how its citizens actually lived their lives in such a coherent and natural way. Professor Garland is consistently entertaining, and his obvious passion for the subject is wonderfully infectious. Highly recommended.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • m
    guisborough, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No prior knowledge needed"
    Where does The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very high


    What about Professor Robert Garland’s performance did you like?

    Never did he presume prior knowledge but was not patronising to those who had it, he connected with the audience rather than talking 'at' his listeners.


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

    At 24 hours length that would be difficult, the half hour sections made it easy to listen to and easy to keep on listening.


    Any additional comments?

    Robert Garland involves the listener and makes them feel like a time traveller by staging the scene before describing the events. It is difficult not to relate to the topics as they cover daily life of the average citizen in various civilisations, from birth to death and beyond. His style is clear and easily understood with few 'long' words, it presumes no prior knowledge yet at the end of it the listener is left with a remarkable knowledge of the ancient world which can be used as a gateway to more indepth study or as a means to really understand and end enjoy dramas depicting the era covered.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lesleyboyd
    scarborough, United Kingdom
    5/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Everyday history in a nutshell"

    Really enjoyed this book. Although it is of historic interest it was like listening to mini autobiographies. Feel as if I know much more about ancient history and what life was like. Would have preferred more detail but at least the pace was good. Shame about the narrator - pleasant voice but too often a bit stuttery and robotic. Nontheless I would recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • T. Sunderland
    Jolly old England
    2/20/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I've learnt so much"
    Would you listen to The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World again? Why?

    I've always been interested in the ancient world. I purchased this series of lectures on whim and I am please to say that the good Professor has fondled my mind with his enthusiasm and knowledge. For the first time ever, I have actually listened to the entirety of an audio-book (ADHD?). I will probably listen to whole thing again in a year's time to refresh my memory and I will also be purchasing the other lecture that he has done on the Romans and Greeks.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    The period of Egyptian history really fascinated me and got me hooked.


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

    Learning that I am a descendant of the French...


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • MR
    6/11/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "interesting but not as catching as hoped"

    Great to delve into history in this way: less removed from humanity... Unfortunately uses masculine generics, though the author does criticize sexism in history.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    west sussex, United Kingdom
    6/2/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic."

    Just get it, delivery great. Story great. I was very excited about listening to this, outstripped my expectations.

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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