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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.
©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses
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By Mountain K9iner on 08-12-14

Excellent content with some caveats

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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. <br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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.<br/><br/>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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39 of 42 people found this review helpful


By Julia on 09-06-13

Totally Fascinating

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Apart from Professor Garland's jerky manner of speech, which grew on me, this audiobook series is absolutely fascinating. I appreciated the integrated history of Greece and Rome from all angles, including other groups like the Etruscans and some mention of other tribes and the Egyptians. I had a fuzzy picture of what these cultures were like and how they fit together, but did not understand the big picture until I listened to these excellent and well researched lectures. The biggest aspect I appreciate by Professor Garland is his storytelling ability and charm. I love how he organizes the courses. Highly recommended for history fans!

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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By Jonathan on 11-10-14

An Unusual and Fascinating Perspective

This course was very interesting and informative, and also highly enjoyable. The lecturer has a very easy-to-follow, informal style while managing to impart both a lot of knowledge and also a real feeling for these ancient cultures. This course is told in a chronological order and the relevant historical framework is explained very well, but primarily it is about a comparison of Greek and Roman cultures, and the interactions between them. This makes it very unusual and by the end I felt that I understood the two cultures very much better and could view a variety of other material, both ancient history and contemporary culture, in better perspective. As for all Great Courses material, I recommend looking at the Great Courses web site for details on content and also additional reviews.I recommend this course highly.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Louise Armitage on 09-16-14

Fantastic overview of Ancient Greece and Rome

I have enjoyed listening to several of The Great Courses, and particularly enjoy Professor Robert Garland's engaging way of teaching you about the ancient world. He has a way of making a long listen very enjoyable and amusing at times. I was drawn to this particular course as I have always read about Greece and Rome separately and this gave a wonderful overview and explained how they worked in synergy to create the world we know today. Of course they didn't always get along and both sides of their relationship with each other, and other nations, such as Persia and Egypt came to influence the modern day world. This course is not dry in any way, and instead gives a very real human perspective of the events, and normal day to day life, as it was known in the ancient world.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Jade on 04-28-17

Terrific

This is the second great course I have listened to by Professor Robert Garland. Extremely knowledgeable and wonderful delivery. I commute three hours a day, listening to this course makes the commute worth it.

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