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Publisher's Summary

Spanning more than two centuries, the Greek and Persian wars forged a new world order, sparking developments in battle strategy, naval technology, world exploration, and art and culture that impact the world even today.

These 24 lectures are your opportunity to survey this globe-spanning conflict and see the human experience behind some of the most remarkable episodes in ancient history.

Look beyond the infamous story of King Leonidas and his famed "300" and uncover the people and the world of the ancient Greeks and Persians. The clash of these two great cultures helped spark some of the most important cultural events in the history of the world: the chronicles of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon; the dramas of Aeschylus; and Greece's remarkable invention of democracy.

An expert on methods of ancient warfare, Professor Hale offers rare insights into how each skirmish was lost and won. You'll meet the great Greek and Persian leaders, and compare the war technologies they pioneered.

But Professor Hale offers more than just textbook descriptions. An accomplished archaeologist, he provides rare and valuable insights gleaned from years of fieldwork, including an analysis of the landscape of the battlefield of Marathon and modern archaeological surveys of the ground where Xerxes and his engineers dug an 80-foot-wide canal across an Aegean cape.

It's a perspective on history you'll find virtually nowhere else. Bringing together both sides of the story - Greek and Persian - Professor Hale creates a complex and informative account of this world-changing era.

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

What members say

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  • Feedback
  • VERNAL, UT, United States
  • 01-21-14

Outstanding

If you could sum up The Greek and Persian Wars in three words, what would they be?

Brilliant, enthusiastic lecture.

What did you like best about this story?

The extraordinary drama surrounding birth of the Western World.

Have you listened to any of Professor John R. Hale’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Brilliant, enthusiastic lecture.

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

Professor Hale has a gift for beginning and ending on a high point.

Any additional comments?

If only I had history professors like Hale when I was in college…. But at least I can enjoy it now.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Excellent<br />

I have listened to several Great Courses, and have to commend this speaker. He was well spoken, concise, and kept me interested in the topic. Wonderful lectures!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Encompassing historical approach

A good way of interpreting Greek History through its centuries long rivalry with the Persians.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent content well told.

This authored dived into some of the most important history of the world. Having studied Thucydidies and Alexander of Mastodon in the past I was impressed by how many gaps he filled in my knowledge of these giants who's shoulders we stand on today.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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excellent!

this is the second course I have purchased with John Hale. His abilty to tell a compelling story is second to none. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical adventure.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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The Great Courses As Always - Phenomenal

Excellent story telling, great performance, and a great perspective from a professor who was also an archaeologist in many historic sites in Greece. The material was excellent and is so obviously relevant to all that we experience today. Beautiful stories such as the 300 at Thermopylae all the way to Alexander the Great. I had no previous knowledge of this time period and now I can competently speak about it.
Fantastic. The Great Courses do it again!

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Great overview with excellent research anecdotes

Excellent overview of the Persian Wars to the coming of Alexander the Great. It will close gaps in your knowledge.

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very enjoyable and educational

a bit boring but that's more just the subject. He seems knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the topic and it was a very enjoyable listen.

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Great story telling and overall very solid lectures

Dr. Hale did a great job in making the lectures very entertaining. Overall pretty factual and objective statements giving a fairy complete historical overview when he makes statements on some controversial topics. Not always but you won't notice those bits unless you're decently well versed in this area of history.

Would recommend, great lectures

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John Hale's crush on Xerxes

John Hale spends most of his lectures trying to defend the "legend" of Xerxes. No battle as lopsided as Thermopylae has ended in a "Victory" for an aggressor. it broke the back of the Persians, forever. He makes it sound like a whooping unmatched in history. Hale tries so hard to aggrandize the Persians that he totally losses perspective of the consequences of the Greek and Persian wars, especially regarding Thermopylae.

1 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew M
  • 01-27-15

history at its best: riveting and informative

What made the experience of listening to The Greek and Persian Wars the most enjoyable?

The brilliant reading style of the narrator makes you feel you are there at the battles, on the marches, with the politicians and intriguers- rather than a distant observer. I've enjoyed a lot of the Great Courses history series and this is one of my favourites. The narrator takes you along, in a fascinating and exciting journey. The story of the march of the 10,000 Greeks is mind boggling: the flow of events, intrigue, trials and determination of those involved, with links to Socrates and to Alexander the Great (if ever a story cries out for an epic film it's this!).

What did you like best about this story?

The reading style and material that transports you back in time.

What does Professor John R. Hale bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Humour, excitement & enthusiasm; with paced reading that draws you in.

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

One of the few books where I've found myself recounting some of the events to other people.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • john
  • 12-04-17

Greek history at it's best

Would you consider the audio edition of The Greek and Persian Wars to be better than the print version?

Thoroughly enjoyed these lectures,informative and entertaining,I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in Greek history.

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  • Ms. T. L. Robinson
  • 02-09-17

wonderful

A great period in history wonderfully narrated.
highly recommend for history buffs and those wanting to start learning history.

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  • Cal
  • 12-12-15

Wonderful. Very easy to listen to.

Would you consider the audio edition of The Greek and Persian Wars to be better than the print version?

Yes.

What did you like best about this story?

Battles are described wonderfully. There is much passion in those parts of the lectures in particular.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The battle of Thermopylae

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

The death of King Leonidas

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  • Stephen
  • 09-23-15

You'll not want to put this down

Where does The Greek and Persian Wars rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the very best

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

Yes! - But it pays to take your time and absorb the information, it is delivered in such a thought-provoking manor.

Any additional comments?

One of the better Great Courses books.Professor John R. Hale does a great job of giving us the history in a balanced way, he has an unbiased view of both parties. (This, to me, is the most critical aspect of any book on history) He shows the strengths and weaknesses of both sides in a way that is informative rather than critical (Unlike some books I've read)One part of the book I find most interesting is Xerxes invasion of mainland Greece. This covers the well-known heroic tragedy at Thermopylae and the outright bizarre event on the Bosporus...

He describes "Xerxes Canal" - An earth-work that should be classed among the wonders of the ancient world. - In fact up to the 1990's experts didn't believe the ancients were capable of such a feat.

I had to smile at a Greek diplomat's solution to the problem of Persian court etiquette ;-)

Prof John R. Hale has that special way of delivering information that makes you think about things in a new light. When all is said and done This is one of the best books about the ancient world I've read.