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Publisher's Summary

Immerse yourself in this comprehensive survey of ancient Greece from 750 to 323 B.C. - from the emergence of Greece at the end of the Dark Ages to the final disintegration of Greek autonomy through the Macedonian kings Philip II and Alexander the Great.

These 48 riveting lectures tell the story of ancient Greek institutions and the people who molded them during the Archaic and Classical periods.

Concentrating on the city-states of mainland Greece, with a special focus on Athens, Professor Worthington guides through some of history's most hard-fought struggles - from armed conflicts (such as the Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War, and the campaigns of Alexander the Great) to political and social struggles (including the late 6th-century civil war in Athens that pitted nobles against the lower classes and eventually produced the first stirrings of democracy).

As you explore innovative Athenian approaches to democracy, law, and empire, you discover how these approaches served as the bedrock for ideas and practices that you live with every day. You also encounter a wealth of intriguing links to many of our own contemporary institutions and attitudes about democracy, law, and empire.

By the end of Professor Worthington's final captivating lecture, you discover that there was nothing inevitable about democracy, the Western concept of justice, or any of the other traditions and institutions that now play such central roles in the politics of the modern Western world. The story of how this tentative structure transformed into the firm foundation of our contemporary world is gripping, enlightening, and immensely rewarding.

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

©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent. Compelling and informative.

What about Professor Ian Worthington’s performance did you like?

He is clearly excited and passionate about the subject, and this comes across both in his delivery and in his planning and preparation of the content.

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

Too many to list!

Any additional comments?

The other commenter should not be trusted, his review is completely inaccurate. I would say this is a matter of subject preference, but there is so little in it that corresponds to reality that I do not doubt he must have listened only to one or two lectures before giving up, likely having too little interest in the subject matter to begin with.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Fantastic primer, can get a little dull at times

The instructor is great; clear, concise, entertaining and endearing. Two thumbs up.

The course itself provides a great deal of context - it tied together all the disparate facts about Greece in my head. The coverage is extensive, from essentially prehistoric Greece to the Hellenistic period after Alexander the Great.

I also enjoyed the point of view of the instructor: he was careful to state when he was offering a personal view vs. A consensus view.

I give the content 4/5 since there were several classes focused on the details of legal procedures which I found very dull.

Definitely would recommend this lecture series for anyone interested in ancient Greek history who is not already an expert.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Great Place to Start Your Journey Into Greek History

Professor Worthington does an amazing job painting the total picture of Ancient Greece, with a clear chronology from the Archaic period to the Hellenistic. His viewpoints stem primarily from Athens and have a lot of interpretation of the Athenian Constitution. He is very clear to point out his own viewpoints and how they differ from current perspectives. My absolute favorite is how much Professor Worthington HATES Pericles, which whom I also find quite over rated.

As for the negative review of this lecture. I'm not sure what they are talking about. My guess is they did not give Professor Worthington much of a chance past the first lecture or so.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Amazing

Such a wonderful and well executed course detailing all the important events and people in Greek history. This course is a must.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Hard to Stay Engaged

I can't say this was a bad course but because it did not capture and retain my attention and I found myself counting the minutes and lectures down to the end it is hard for me to rate this above 2 stars.

While the focus of the course is on democracy, law, and imperialism, it would’ve been good if the beginnings of the first Greek civilizations were discussed: Minoan and Mycenaean. Again I understand his focus was on other topics but I found it disappointing that among 48 lectures more time couldn't have been found to spare on other cornerstones of Greek influence on the modern world including Greek philosophy, theater, and the Homeric poems.

The professor has a unique style. Alot of time it was like he was presenting the lectures like one big story by a campfire. I actually found that endearing. But there are other times when it feels like he is talking to a classroom of elementary school children like his propensity to ask simple questions such as "Why would he do that?" or "Where was he going?". His humor mostly feel flat with me. However, there's no disputing the professor knows his stuff and is very comfortable presenting.

He does a good job of achieving what he set out to do: recount ancient Greek history focusing on democracy, law, and imperialism from aprx. 750 B.C. to 323 B.C (emergence of Greece at the end of the Dark Ages and the final disintegration of Greek autonomy through the Macedonian kings Philip II and Alexander the Great). I just feel like there has to be better ancient Greek courses out there that encompass all aspects of that long shadow including theater, philosophy, etc and can do so in a more engaging manner.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely outstanding

This professor makes Greek history come alive. I thought I would get bored with all the dates and personalities prior to starting this course, but that was not the case at all. Quite the opposite! Not all of the details may be to your taste, especially the extended level of detail with which he treats ancient Greek law — in that case, I would suggest listening to those sections at two times speed – that helps if you start to be uncomfortable with his endearing but somewhat awkward sense of humor as well.

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Amazing Adventure into Greece

This professor is different and wants you to think about the facts and what the books say. He hits the most significant events and what lead up to the them. The sections on Greek Laws was very in-depth and will explained. Overall, it was a great course.

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Masterfully done

Professor Worthington is an engaging instructor and gifted storyteller. This was incredible. So sorry he doesn't have any other courses...well...on to the Greek and Persian Wars

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very informative

I enjoyed the presentation, especially the further touching on Macedonian rule and the focus on law, imperialism and empire

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic.

Broad expertise kept afloat with sustained enthusiasm and light heartedness.

Delivered in general, with enough spunk to be interesting, and enough humility not to be offensive.

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  • mr
  • 03-18-14

Good

not what i expected. very good, large focus on law and democracy. goes through the battles, just more human focused.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • William
  • 08-07-18

excellent

With almost no background knowledge of ancient Greece I wondered how I would fare with this audio book. I have to say that I found it very informative and easy to listen to. it is always good when something of the lecturer's personality comes through as it did with these lectures. Now to go over the lecture notes supplied in the pdf file. Highly recommended.

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  • Geordiestu
  • 07-18-18

Absolutely loved this course about Ancient Greece.

I have a few books from Ian Worthington and enjoyed them all. But this course is the next level. I enjoyed his delivery, and his proposed questians to get you to think. I will no doudt listen to it again and again

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  • Greg Gauthier
  • 06-03-18

Thorough, entertaining, and insightful

Professor Worthington's lectures are a treasure trove of insight into the early history of Western Civilization, and what we see when we peer into that ancient cradle, is that this baby is as ugly as it is beautiful. One thing I have always appreciated about good lecturers, is their ability to spin a narrative that is both self-critical and self-affirming, and Worthington does a masterful job of it.

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  • Finn
  • 06-03-18

Fascinating account of the Ancient Greek world

The content and delivery of these lectures was excellent. Ancient Greece was brought to life by Worthington; his series was a balanced discussion of political, military and social developments - and why they were so important. His detailed analysis and enthusiastic delivery made this a joy to listen to. I will now be going on to read some of the books he has written on Philip and Alexander.