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Publisher's Summary

The career of Pericles, the leading Athenian politician and general from c. 450 to 429 B.C., is a prism through which to view the "Golden Age" of Greece, a brief but remarkable era when Athens experienced a cultural flowering of extraordinary power and importance for Western culture.

In the generation that followed Pericles' appearance on the public stage shortly after the Persian wars, Athens rapidly transformed the alliance of Greek states - an alliance first created as a defense against the Persians - into a true Aegean empire, dominated by the Athenians and their mighty navy. But this dramatic increase in military power, cultural influence, and prestige was also accompanied by something unique: the growth of full participatory democracy. But in examining the lives of Athenian men and women, one has to ask what freedom and autonomy really meant to a society that relied on slaves and was ruthless in its treatment of its subjects.

These 24 stimulating lectures present a well-rounded portrait of almost every aspect of Athenian life during the Golden Age, including. the different ways Athens and Sparta raised their children; the fate of Athenian girls as mothers and managers of the household; young Pericles' role in bringing Aeschylus's masterpiece, The Persians; why the Spartans rejected the aid of Athens in putting down a slave revolt; and Thucydides' terrifying description of the plague's physical and social impact on Athens - including the death of Pericles - and its possible role in the ultimate defeat of Athens by Sparta.

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

©2004 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2004 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The Age of Pericles

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Fantastic!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This was a terrific exploration of Periclean Athens, focusing on topics ranging from family dynamics to theatre to philosophy to legal process.

What does Professor Jeremy McInerney bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Energy, enthusiasm, and wit.

6 people found this helpful

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Fantastic course in Classic Greek civilization.

The lecturer does a great job of presenting an overview of Athenian culture. Very easy to listen to. Clear presentation, and not pompous at all (there is one professor in the Ancient history great courses series that I avoid as much as possible because his voice always reminds me of the archetypical arrogant college professor lording it over his students... but I digress)

Note that this focuses on the culture, legal system, and daily life of the golden age of Athens. I’ve seen some people appear disappointed that is not a survey of Ancient Greek political history. For that you should listen to the “Shadow of Ancient Greece.” That will give you all the background history. Admittedly, the great courses series could have done a better job of naming their Greek history selection. They nailed it with Roman history, not sure why their nomenclature had to try to get all fancy with the Greek stuff.

This lecture is a deeper dive into Greek culture with emphasis on law, drama, and philosophy.

The lecturer also ends with a fairly moving and convincing account of why Greek civilization still matters today. A nice bonus.

5 people found this helpful

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great course. part of a trilogy?

i listened to this great course as part of a trilogy including the other Jeremy McInerney one on Ancient Greece in general and the course on Athenian Democracy (then i listened to the mueller report as a humorous, palate cleansing satyr play).

4 people found this helpful

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Unflinching look at the Golden Age of Athens

Anyone can tell you that Western civilization owes much to the ancient Greeks. But few people can give you the insight of this lecturer. He gives an in depth tour of ancient Greece in the 400s BCE and he does not attempt to hide the ugly aspects of a society that used slave labor. He uses the Persian and Peloponnesian wars as bookends for his examination.

He gives a detailed portrait of life for generals and politicians as well as everyday citizens and foreigners. In doing so he covers the historical and cultural events that shaped the city.

Finally, he discusses how the ancient Greeks were similar and different from us in their conception of ideas of freedom and democracy.

I would recommend this to anyone looking for an in depth look at the ancient Greeks, but you do need some familiarity with the material to get the most out of it. I would not recommend it as a first book about the ancient world.

7 people found this helpful

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Too much anachronistic nonsense

I would like to rate this higher, but there was just too much ranting about slavery and the treatment and status of women.

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Possibly my favorite great course on Audible

The passion and performance of Professor Jeremy McInerney was just excellent. Enjoyed every lesson and certainly learned a lot. Give this a listen, supremely well done.

1 person found this helpful

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I found I really enjoyed this great course on Pericles

It is so much more rich and more organic about golden age of Athen than a narration about the life of Pericles.

Dr mclnercey is great!

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Great Summary of the Age of Pericles

Helps to have basic understanding of early western civilisation. This course should whet your appetite for more. I was pleased that he dealt with the daily realities of ancient Athens; the good, the bad and the ugly as well as the politics, the art and commerce of the age.

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one of the top history Great Courses

Professor McInerney is one of my favorites of the Great Courses lecturers. If you (or if homeschooling, your student) have little or no background in Ancient Greece, I would start with his course on "Ancient Greek Civilization" - equally well planned and delivered, but more at an introductory / overview level.

This course is a deep dive into the Greece's Golden Age. One aspect I particularly appreciate is his attention to cultural and social history. So much of what made this time special is the cultural flowering that occurred. At the same time, the family and social system was terribly different than ours, to the extent that certain norms are hard to fathom. Prof. McInerney does a great job of constructing the 30 minute lecture as well. His passion for the subject and wit shine through.

Finally, I appreciated how he tied this long ago time with its deep relevance to today's world. I just finished my second listen and possibly got more the second time. It would also be excellent as a preparation for visiting Athens.

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Brilliant

Brilliant, enlightening, highly informative. An absolute pleasure to listen to. Time well spent. 5 stars all around.

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  • Alasdair Macintyre
  • 07-20-15

An excellent overall overview of Ancient Athens

This was an excellent introduction to Ancient Athens, with lectures covering pretty much every aspect of society. As the name suggests, it focuses roughly on the period around Pericles' lifetime (495-429BC), between the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars (although it goes a bit before and after for context), during which Athens was a world power .

It IS worth having a map of Ancient Greece handy while listening, along possibly with one of Athens itself - there are plenty downloadable on the internet.

The narrator is a very clear speaker, perfectly intelligible at 1.25x speed (which makes the lectures around 24 minutes long). The lectures are pretty easy to understand and often are a good introduction if you want to study an area in more depth. The course overall gives a very good overview, especially with getting into the mindset of WHY people thought particular things, without going into excessive confusing detail. While you can easily spot connections between the lectures, they're mostly self contained enough that you COULD pick and choose which to listen to without getting horribly confused (though it's a good enough course you probably won't feel the need to).

Lectures (if you go to the course page on The Great Courses website there's individual lecture summaries):
1) The Agora (essentially overview of the city center)
2) The Persian Wars (which were the precursor to:)
3) The Athenian Empire (how, why, etc)
4) The Career of Pericles
5) Aspasia (Pericles' mistress - includes legalities + role of women)
6) Parthenon and Acropolis (this is a mixture of religion and architecture)
7) Panathenaea - The Festivals of Athens
8) Paideia - Education in Ancient Athens
9) Marriage in Pericles' Athens
10) Family and Property
11) Coins Trade and Business
12) Death and Burial
13) Aeschylus and Early Tragedy (first of 4 lectures on greek theatre)
14) Sophoclean Tragedy (second major Athenian tragedian)
15) Euripides (third major tragedian)
16) Comedy in the Age of Aristophanes (
17) Athenian Courts and Justice
18) Democracy and Government
19) The Age of Moderation
20) Freedom, Equality and the Rights of Man
21) Athens after Pericles
22) Socrates and the Sophists (this and the next are overview of philosophy)
23) Plato
24) An Elegy to Athens

6 people found this helpful

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  • EmilyK
  • 09-02-19

Fascinating lectures from a fave prof

Professor McInerney is one of my favorites of the Great Courses lecturers. If you (or if homeschooling, your student) have little or no background in Ancient Greece, I would start with his course on "Ancient Greek Civilization" - equally well planned and delivered, but more at an introductory / overview level.

This course is a deep dive into the Greece's Golden Age. One aspect I particularly appreciate is his attention to cultural and social history. So much of what made this time special is the cultural flowering that occurred. At the same time, the family and social system was terribly different than ours, to the extent that certain norms are hard to fathom. Prof. McInerney does a great job of constructing the 30 minute lecture as well. His passion for the subject and wit shine through.

Finally, I appreciated how he tied this long ago time with its deep relevance to today's world. This is one I plan to listen to again.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Nikola
  • 04-15-22

Great course

Excellent content, well spoken professor. Highly recommended for listeners with some basic knowledge of ancient Greek history.

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  • Mikael
  • 01-07-22

Excellent narrator

One of the best audio books I have ever heard. The narrator is excellent and very knowledgeable and its a blast to listen to. I love the split into different chapters, makes it very easy to follow. I recommend this book to all.