Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation : The Great Courses: Ancient History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Thomas F. X. Noble
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient History
  • 18 hrs and 21 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire painted a portrait of the Roman Empire in a long, debilitating slide to oblivion, but now historians have reevaluated this picture to create a radically different understanding of the period now known as "late antiquity." Far from being a period of decline and fall, late antiquity marked one of history's great turning points.
These 36 half-hour lectures take you through five momentous centuries that link the classical world with the modern, beginning with Rome near its pinnacle of power and geographical extent and ending with the Byzantine Empire, the rise of Islam, and a succession of barbarian Christian kingdoms.
You'll explore key features of late antiquity including how this tripartite division occurred; the memorable rulers and religious leaders who led the way; and the architecture, visual arts, and literature of the period. You also study what it was like to live in the late antique world: How did people earn their livings?
What was the role of women in society? What distinguished the great cities of the era?
Nothing in Rome's previous experience compared with the ferment of late antiquity, which saw the unpredictable growth of new institutions, states, religions, and arts. After taking this course you will never think of the barbarians and the "fall" of Rome in quite the same way again. Your imagination will be alive with the incidents, innovations, and peoples of an exciting era that gave birth to us all: late antiquity.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Drinking history from a fire hose!

What made the experience of listening to Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation the most enjoyable?

The fact that Dr. Noble gave such a detailed answer to the simple question of the fall of the Roman Empire. It took you from the end of the 2nd century to the 8th century, but to do this you have to jump around geographically. History, especially this period, reads like a novel that is telling 8 stories at once... sort of like A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones for you non-readers).

What other book might you compare Late Antiquity: Crisis and Transformation to and why?

I have listened to several of the lecture courses and for the most part, they have been well worth my while. Some others will say that they are too academic .... well duhhh! It's a lecture course! When I buy a lecture course, I get a lecture course... not a novel! This one was not like some of the other courses in that it MUST jump around to be able to tell the story. Thus it is not told in linear form but is told in modular form.

What does Professor Thomas F. X. Noble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He knows far more than I could memorize. I loved the lecture but I will need to listen several more times so that the knowledge can begin to permeate into my brain.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

This question is not suitable for a lecture... Audible needs to set up a set of questions that is more tailored to the lectures rather than all being applied to novels.

Any additional comments?

I recommend this lecture but know that you will be drinking from a fire hose. If you like history and want the details, then buy this one. But I would recommend it not being your first lecture. I think you need to have a good foundation in Greek and Roman history before you jump into this one. Also it would be good to review some maps before listening so that you can get a good visual of where all the places are and who invades who.

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- AlexIndia

outstanding teacher and fascinating subject!

Professor Noble is an engaging teacher and storyteller. I highly recommend this and any lecture of his.
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- James Tyrrell

Book Details

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