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I'm an engineer and have been interested in history since an earlier age. From childhood, I heard about fascinating things of Ancient Greece: its myths, architecture and stories of its wars. However, because there are plenty of things to talk for each of those topics, many books or lectures introduce them separately and I never got the whole picture. I was eager to find a lecture with a comprehensive introduction.
I gave this lecture a try because I loved Prof Fears' "Famous Romans". It turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. Prof Fears' story telling is fantastic. But most importantly, he put together all the puzzle pieces of the whole picture while those Famous Greeks serve as the brightest parts.
To list a few of my previous missing links: what happened to Sparta and Athens between Greco-Percian War and Peloponitian war? why did Greeks hate Socrates after Peloponetian war? why did Aristotle teach a barbarian prince? what happened to Greece when Rome rose?
If you have the similar missing links, give it a try and Prof Fears will give you the answers.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
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Professor Fears does a fine job bringing to life the world of ancient Greece and illuminating the ideas, philosophies, and motives of some of the towering figures of ancient Greek history. Pericles, Socrates, Plutarch, Thucydides, Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great, Pyrrhus, and Cleopatra are discussed among others. I was a bit bummed that Alexander the Great was only given one full lecture. The final lecture on Cleopatra was very interesting. I have been studying Roman history for years and found new material about Mark Anthony.
This course is overshadowed a bit by his "Famous Romans" course, but I don't think that is the professor's fault. Rome was vast, integrated (more or less) and operated on a time scale of centuries. It's stories are bound to be a bit more gripping and fascinating.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What did you like best about Famous Greeks? What did you like least?
Many of the stories are interesting of course, but the lecturer is hard to bear. He comes across as the kind of old fashioned academic who equates wisdom with large words and unusual pronunciations, and who thinks his credentials as a classicist gives him the authority to make strained comparisons between the Greek world and his conservative take on american politics.
He is also often inaccurate. He makes no distinction between reliable and unreliable sources and gives the listen no indication that he is sometimes drawing from contemporary sources and sometimes from a myth that appeared hundreds of years later. I only recognised this for the figures I did know, but it meant I couldn't trust what he said about the figures I did not know. I stopped about three quarters of the way through.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I have been listening to lectures for a long time and The Teaching Company/ The Great Courses are generally very good but Professor Fears is their best lecturer, funny, succint, a great actor.
History in his hands is fascinating, clear and compelling, even casting light on some of Socrates impenetrable musings. Famous Greeks, Famous Romans and Churchill are superb. I cant reccommend enough