Greece and Rome: An Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean : The Great Courses: Ancient History

  • by The Great Courses, Robert Garland
  • Narrated by Professor Robert Garland
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient History
  • 18 hrs and 50 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

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 an 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. He shows you how these two very different cultures intersected, coincided, and at times, collided.
You'll discover the extraordinary culture that we call Greco-Roman: a unique fusion of civilizations that encompasses statecraft, mythology, language, philosophy, fine arts, architecture, science, and much else. Who were the Greeks and the Romans? How did they organize their societies? How did they interact?
In this unique integrated historical approach, you'll see how Greece and Rome's relationship resembled a marriage: two distinct personalities competing in some areas, sharing in others, and sometimes creating a new synthesis of the two civilizations. And you'll consider their more substantive cultural differences, including religion, their views of foreigners, and their ways of thinking.
You'll delight in the variety of sources - literature, archaeology, the visual arts, coinage, inscriptions - that Professor Garland draws upon to assemble a fascinating and complex picture of these two great civilizations. And you'll appreciate how he keeps Greece and Rome focused on how this material affects us today.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent content with some caveats

Any additional comments?

Prof. Garland makes clear from several perspectives why we cannot understand or appreciate ancient Rome apart from its relationship to ancient Greece. I now appreciate more than ever the concept "Greco-Roman." This course is excellent, but there are some shortcomings the listener should be aware of.

1. Garland occasionally argues from etymologies to support some of his interpretations. This method of argumentation has been discredited for over 50 years. His conclusions may be correct, but when he etymologizes his methodology is suspect.

2. Garland, in spite of his protestations against it, seems unable to resist playing the role of a long-distance armchair psychologist analyzing the interior motives of long-dead ancient persons about whom we know very little.

3. Garland's presentation of the relationship between Christianity and Greco-Roman culture is superficial at best and just plain wrong at worst. He fails to present (or understand?) the essentially Jewish nature of primitive (including Pauline) Christianity. Further, while he argues that Christianity is essentially an amalgamation of elements derived from contemporaneous Mediterranean religions, he also argues that Christianity thoroughly overhauled the ideology and worldview of the Greco-Roman world. How what was essentially a patchwork of existing religious beliefs could have had such a thoroughgoing transformational effect he does not even address or question. He does not appear to be aware of this apparent contradiction.

That being said, the course is well worth it and I will listen to some of Prof. Garland's other presentations.

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- Mountain K9iner

Phenomenal listen!!! A superior audiobook!

I have enjoyed most of the Great Courses I've bought. This lecture is one of the best, with a great depth of information and excellent analysis and synthesis of ancient societies of Greece and Rome. It has been my experience to read and study Greek and Roman civilizations quite separately, making it seem that they are many centuries apart. But in truth, the "classic" age of Greece takes place during the early life of Rome. The Hellenistic period is during Rome's rise to power. Professor Garland provides excellent synthesis of the material in the proper context, demonstrating the interplay of the two cultures. He explores both cultures and governments, with an emphasis on the differences, similarities, and strengths of each society, and how each influenced the other. I have recently finished listening to a half dozen books about ancient civilizations, including the histories of Rome and Greece. This lecture is an excellent find for me- bringing it all together for a better understanding. The approach taken by Professor Garland reshapes the study of these two great societies, giving the listener a new perspective and a fuller and more complex world view.

But the biggest reason I recommend this lecture series is that it's just a really interesting and fun listen!! The teacher is excellent the material is fascinating, and it's just a truly enjoyable experience! Each lecture is engaging and compelling. I kept thinking- ok just one more lecture before bed... That kept happening well into the night, so that I was up early into the next morning, fighting sleep just to hear a little bit more.

This audiobook/lecture is a complete success, and I'm forever grateful that the Great Courses series is available through Audible!! If you are interested in the time period or in the history of either Rome or Greece, you will enjoy this audiobook!! It is one of the best, and the professor is a joy. Don't pass it up! If you are interested enough to read this review, then you should get this audiobook now!! :)
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- Benoibe "audio addict! Mostly interested in history and some historical fiction. Will Durant is my all time favorite. Loving the Great Courses too."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-08-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses