The Great Courses: Ancient History

40 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 21,165 ratings

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

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses
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    • The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

    • By: The Great Courses, Robert Garland Ph.D. University College London
    • Narrated by: Professor Robert Garland Ph.D. University College London
    • Length: 24 hrs and 28 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4,320
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3,923
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3,887

    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Tantalizing time trip

    • By Mark on 08-21-13

    Regular price: $52.95

    • The Art of War

    • By: The Great Courses, Andrew R. Wilson
    • Narrated by: Professor Andrew R. Wilson Ph.D Harvard University
    • Length: 2 hrs and 49 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 581
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 520
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 513

    Sun Tzu's The Art of War is a landmark achievement in the evolution of strategic thought. So universal and timeless are its tactics for pursuing a competitive advantage that some of the most notable people in government, sports, and the entertainment world have all quoted from its nearly 2500-year-old pages.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Art of War Boot Camp

    • By SAMA on 12-11-13

    Regular price: $9.95

    • Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations

    • By: The Great Courses, Kenneth W. Harl
    • Narrated by: Professor Kenneth W. Harl Ph.D. Yale University
    • Length: 6 hrs
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 278
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 248
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 246

    Locales like Mesopotamia or the Indus Valley, peoples like the Hittites or Assyrians, or rulers like Sargon, Hammurabi, and Darius are part of a long-dead antiquity, so shrouded with dust that we might be tempted to skip over them entirely, preferring to race forward along history's timeline in search of the riches we know will be found in our studies of Greece and Rome.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Fantastic, but too short.

    • By M. Brian Burchette on 01-01-15

    Regular price: $14.95

    • Lost Worlds of South America

    • By: The Great Courses, Edwin Barnhart
    • Narrated by: Professor Edwin Barnhart Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin
    • Length: 11 hrs and 54 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 632
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 576
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 566

    Buried by the centuries on soaring mountain slopes and beneath arid deserts and lush jungles of South America, the remains of extraordinary, majestic civilizations-many unknown until recent decades-are now coming to light and raising tantalizing questions about what else may be awaiting discovery.Take an adventurous trek to these wilds of South America and the great civilizations of the ancients. In 24 eye-opening lectures, you'll take an in-depth look at the emerging finds and archaeological knowledge of more than 12 seminal civilizations.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Lost Worlds Rediscovered

    • By L.L. on 09-30-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • History of the Ancient World: A Global Perspective

    • By: The Great Courses, Gregory S. Aldrete
    • Narrated by: Professor Gregory S. Aldrete Ph.D. University of Michigan
    • Length: 24 hrs and 27 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 868
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 774
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 769

    The ancient world has cast a long shadow, influencing our customs and religious beliefs, our laws, and the form of our governments. It has taught us when and how we make war or pursue peace. It has shaped the buildings we live and work in and the art we hang on our walls. It has given us the calendar that organizes our year and has left its mark on the games we play.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Outstanding - Informative AND Entertaining

    • By Matt on 11-20-13

    Regular price: $52.95

    • Ancient Greek Civilization

    • By: The Great Courses, Jeremy McInerney
    • Narrated by: Professor Jeremy McInerney Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley
    • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 249
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 225
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 221

    Clearly, the Greeks are a source of much that we esteem in our own culture: democracy, philosophy, tragedy, epic and lyric poetry, history-writing, our aesthetic sensibilities, ideals of athletic competition, and more. But what is it about Hellenic culture that has made generations of influential scholars and writers view it as the essential starting point for understanding the art and reflection that define the West?

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Interpretive History, Not a Comprehensive Overview

    • By Mike on 03-07-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age

    • By: The Great Courses, Jeremy McInerney
    • Narrated by: Professor Jeremy McInerney Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley
    • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 125
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 116
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 116

    This series of 24 lectures examines a crucial period in the history of the ancient world, the age ushered in by the extraordinary conquests of Alexander the Great. In all the annals of the ancient world, few stories are more gripping than those from this era. In the opening lectures, you'll explore the enigma of Alexander, son of a brilliant father, yet always at odds with the man whom he succeeded. Just as important to these lectures are the in-depth discussions of the bounties of Hellenistic culture, which contributed landmark ideas in everything from philosophy, art and architecture, and religion.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Good Overview of Alexander and Hellenistic Empires

    • By Mike on 03-22-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Famous Greeks

    • By: The Great Courses, J. Rufus Fears
    • Narrated by: Professor J. Rufus Fears Ph.D. Harvard University
    • Length: 12 hrs and 25 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 154
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 146
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 144

    Join Professor Fears for this riveting 24-lecture examination of fascinating figures who shaped the story of Greece from the Trojan War through the rise of Rome. What do their lives, studied in the context of their times, tell us about virtue and vice, folly and wisdom, success and failure? Inspired and informed by the monumental works of Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Plutarch, these lectures allow you to do exactly that, guided by a truly great teacher.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • He put all the pieces together

    • By Ji M. on 10-18-16

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The History of Ancient Rome

    • By: The Great Courses, Garrett G. Fagan
    • Narrated by: Professor Garrett G. Fagan Ph.D. McMaster University
    • Length: 22 hrs and 42 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,741
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,574
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,558

    Even today, the influence of Ancient Rome is indelible, with Europe and the world owing this extraordinary empire a huge cultural debt in almost every important category of human endeavor, including art, architecture, engineering, language, literature, law, and religion. At the peak of its power, Rome's span was vast. In the regional, restless, and shifting history of continental Europe, the Roman Empire stands as a towering monument to scale and stability, unified in politics and law, stretching from the sands of Syria to the moors of Scotland. And it stood for almost 700 years.In this series of 48 spirited lectures, you'll see how a small village of shepherds and farmers rose to tower over the civilized world of its day and left a permanent mark on history. In telling Rome's riveting story, Professor Fagan draws on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including recent historical and archaeological scholarship, to introduce the fascinating tale of Rome's rise and decline, including the famous events and personalities that have become so familiar: . Horatius at the bridge . Hannibal crossing the Alps during Rome's life-or-death war with Carthage . Caesar assassinated before a statue of his archrival Pompey . The doomed lovers Antony and Cleopatra . The mad and venal emperors Nero and Caligula . The conversion of Constantine The course also addresses one of history's greatest questions: Why did the Roman Empire fall? And you'll learn why most modern scholars believe that the empire did not "fall" at all, but, rather, changed into something very different-the less urbanized, more rural, early medieval world.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Accessible

    • By Sean on 10-05-13

    Regular price: $41.95

    • Famous Romans

    • By: The Great Courses, J. Rufus Fears
    • Narrated by: Professor J. Rufus Fears Ph.D. Harvard University
    • Length: 12 hrs and 26 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 196
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 183
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 181

    These 24 lectures retell the lives of the remarkable individuals - the statesmen, thinkers, warriors, and writers -who shaped the history of the Roman Empire and, by extension, our own history and culture. Professor Fears divides his presentation into three "turning point" epochs in Roman history: Rome's war with Hannibal (the Second Punic War); Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic; and the imperial era between Augustus and Marcus Aurelius.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Captivating Biography

    • By Abdur Abdul-Malik on 07-24-13

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The History of Ancient Egypt

    • By: The Great Courses, Bob Brier
    • Narrated by: Professor Bob Brier Ph.D. The University of North Carolina
    • Length: 24 hrs and 25 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 2,045
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 1,903
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 1,899

    Ancient Egyptian civilization is so grand our minds sometimes have difficulty adjusting to it. It lasted 3,000 years, longer than any other on the planet. Its Great Pyramid of Cheops was the tallest building in the world until well into the 19th century and remains the only Ancient Wonder still standing. And it was the most technologically advanced of the ancient civilizations, with the medical knowledge that made Egyptian physicians the most famous in the world.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Incomprehensibly complete

    • By Nassir on 07-09-13

    Regular price: $52.95

    • Great Ancient Civilizations of Asia Minor

    • By: The Great Courses, Kenneth W. Harl
    • Narrated by: Professor Kenneth W. Harl Ph.D. Yale University
    • Length: 12 hrs and 10 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 239
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 219
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 218

    Embark on an unforgettable trip into the historical glories of the past with these 24 lectures that immerse you in the history of an often overlooked region of the ancient world. With Professor Harl as your guide, you'll plunge into the history of Asia Minor's great ancient civilizations and come face to face with eye-opening historical milestones. Among these: the rise of the Hittites, the legendary Trojan War, the birth of Western philosophy, the fiery Greek and Persian Wars, the victories of Alexander the Great, the dawn of the Hellenistic Age, the spread of early Christianity, the golden age of Byzantium, the birth of the Ottoman Empire, and much more.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • There Ain't Nothin Minor about this Asia!!! : )

    • By Mike on 04-26-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The World of Byzantium

    • By: The Great Courses, Kenneth W. Harl
    • Narrated by: Professor Kenneth W. Harl Ph.D. Yale University
    • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 408
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 369
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 367

    Byzantium is too-often considered merely the "eastern rump" of the old Roman Empire, a curious and even unsettling mix of the classical and medieval. Yet it was, according to Professor Harl, "without a doubt the greatest state in Christendom through much of the Middle Ages," and well worth our attention as a way to widen our perspective on everything from the decline of imperial Rome to the rise of the Renaissance.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Traditional History at it's Best

    • By Mike on 04-26-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations

    • By: The Great Courses, Brian M. Fagan Ph.D. Cambridge University
    • Narrated by: Professor Brian M. Fagan Ph.D. Cambridge University
    • Length: 18 hrs and 9 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 546
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 500
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 493

    Where do we come from? How did our ancestors settle this planet? How did the great historic civilizations of the world develop? How does a past so shadowy that it has to be painstakingly reconstructed from fragmentary, largely unwritten records nonetheless make us who and what we are?

    These 36 lectures bring you the answers that the latest scientific and archaeological research and theorizing suggest about human origins, how populations developed, and the ways in which civilizations spread throughout the globe.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Great Conceptually But Becoming Dated

    • By Amazon Customer on 09-25-13

    Regular price: $41.95

    • The Persian Empire

    • By: The Great Courses, John W. Lee
    • Narrated by: Professor John W. Lee Ph.D. Cornell University
    • Length: 11 hrs and 59 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 421
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 390
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 383

    Over the span of 24 fascinating lectures, you'll take on the role of a history detective to discover the truth about the Persian Empire. You'll discover the key to the empire's success lay in its greatest rulers, each of whom played a critical role in shaping and strengthening a civilization we still remember today. Take this opportunity to complete your understanding of the ancient world and discover the humanity of the ancient Persians.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Ancient History Does Not Get Much Better Than This

    • By John Wayne on 05-19-14

    Regular price: $34.95

    • The Origin of Civilization

    • By: The Great Courses, Scott MacEachern
    • Narrated by: Professor Scott MacEachern Ph.D. University of Calgary
    • Length: 24 hrs and 2 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 96
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 90
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 90

    What defines a civilization? How did the first states emerge? How were the world's ancient states similar and different? Answer these and other dramatic questions with this grand 48-lecture course that reveals how human beings around the world transitioned from small farming communities to the impressive cultural and political systems that would alter the course of history.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Not good as an intro to civilazations.

    • By Neema on 12-16-13

    Regular price: $52.95

    • Ancient Empires before Alexander

    • By: The Great Courses, Robert L. Dise Jr.
    • Narrated by: Professor Robert L. Dise Jr. Ph.D. University of Michigan
    • Length: 18 hrs and 18 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 152
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 143
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 142

    Complete your knowledge of the ancient world with this comprehensive look at the dozen empires that flourished in the 2,000 years before the conquests of Alexander the Great. Over the course of 36 insightful lectures, you'll follow the Egyptians, the Mycenaean Greeks, the Persians, the Carthaginians, and others as they rise to glory, create administrative and military structures, clash with one another, and eventually collapse.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • University Level Lecture Series

    • By Emily on 08-18-15

    Regular price: $41.95

    • Between the Rivers: The History of Ancient Mesopotamia

    • By: The Great Courses, Alexis Q. Castor
    • Narrated by: Professor Alexis Q. Castor Ph.D. Bryn Mawr College
    • Length: 18 hrs
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 312
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 282
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 279

    All cultures lie in the shadow of ancient Mesopotamia-the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers that is now mostly encompassed by the borders of modern Iraq. In this fascinating series of 36 lectures, an award-winning teacher leads you on a vivid journey through Mesopotamian history-from Neolithic times to the age of Alexander the Great.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Kinda Tells you what u need, but not really

    • By tamim on 03-11-15

    Regular price: $41.95

    • Greece and Rome: An Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean

    • By: Robert Garland Ph.D. University College London, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Professor Robert Garland Ph.D. University College London
    • Length: 18 hrs and 50 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 479
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 436
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 433

    Integrated approaches to teaching Greek and Roman history are a rarity in academia. Most scholars are historians of either Greek or Roman history and perform research solely in that specific field, an approach that author and award-winning Professor Robert Garland considers questionable.In these 36 passionate lectures, he provides and impressive and rare opportunity to understand the two dominant cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world in relation to one another-a relationship that has virtually no parallel in world history.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Excellent content with some caveats

    • By Mountain K9iner on 08-12-14

    Regular price: $41.95

    • The Long Shadow of the Ancient Greek World

    • By: The Great Courses, Ian Worthington
    • Narrated by: Professor Ian Worthington Ph.D. Monash University
    • Length: 24 hrs and 59 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 102
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 95
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 95

    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.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Excellent. Compelling and informative.

    • By Reid Kotlas on 09-17-13

    Regular price: $52.95

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