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Publisher's Summary

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. 
Among the fascinating gallery of individuals whose lives, ideas, actions, and legacies you'll explore are Hannibal (who caused the Second Punic War personally, much as Adolf Hitler caused World War II), Augustus (who, beginning at the age of just 19, brilliantly followed a doctrine of ruthless expediency in order to rescue Rome from a century of civil war), and Marcus Aurelius (that most noble and philosophic of rulers who may have hastened the Empire's decline by tolerating the wicked cruelty of his heir). 
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.
As he presents the great figures of each period, he makes them seem personal and immediate. As you study these and many other significant Romans, you'll probe fundamental questions about the political and cultural history of Rome. What was the impact of Greek civilization on the Romans? Why did the Roman people, at the height of military, political, and economic power, abandon their republican liberty for the dictatorship of Caesar and his successors? What made the 2nd century A.D. one the most creative periods in world history? And why did the central figures of Roman history hold so much appeal for America's Founding Fathers?

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

©2001 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2001 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Abdur Abdul-Malik on 07-24-13

Captivating Biography

Any additional comments?

Hands down one of the most thrilling historical courses I've ever listened to. The description of the Second Punic War makes me wonder why Hollywood hasn't tackled it yet. The war with Hannibal shows just how close Rome came to being eradicated. Had Hannibal fully pressed his advantages Rome may have been a historical footnote and we'd all be speaking a Phoenician derivative.

The sections on Julius Caesar were also extremely well done. The course ends with the philosopher King, Marcus Aurelius, the last of the "Five Good Emperors". His decision regarding succession is given a strong rebuke by Professor Fears.

The first lecture is done in a style a little different from the rest, so let the course build up. Once Hannibal starts crossing those Alps, you'll be hooked!

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Marc on 08-19-14

Professor Fears is a joy, listening to him is fun.

Would you listen to Famous Romans again? Why?

Yes, the information is easy to follow, and fun to hear

What other book might you compare Famous Romans to and why?

And book by W.E.B Griffin.

What does Professor J. Rufus Fears bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His voice, it makes one think a friend of Caesar is telling the story.

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


Any additional comments?

I'm going to buy more from him

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
1 out of 5 stars
By Asha on 07-20-15

Dumbed down and superficial

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

This series claims to be university level, but if it is then all I can say is that standards at university have really fallen.

Admittedly I didn't get beyond the first two lectures, but as they both consisted of imaginary conversations between the subject of the lecture and his father, as well as irritating parallels with the the USA (the Ancient Romans got rid of their Kings, just as in the United States we got rid of King George....) it was just too dumbed down for me. A teenager with an interest in history, or someone who likes their learning superficial, may enjoy this - I did not.

A waste of money, and if I could give it no stars I would.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By D on 05-17-15

too narrative.

it is good. but it does not focus enough on the characters of each lecture. it follows the largely narrative route taken by most courses on roman history. for example only the last 10 or so minutes of claudius is on him. the first part focuses on the narrative from augustus through tiberius to caligula.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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