Living History: Experiencing Great Events of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds : The Great Courses: Ancient History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Robert Garland
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient History
  • 12 hrs and 38 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Macedonia, 336 B.C.E. - King Philip II is murdered under mysterious circumstances amid a cloud of intrigue.
Constantinople, 532 C.E. - The Byzantine Emperor Justinian nearly abandons the city to an angry mob until his wife, Theodora, persuades him to stay.
France, 1095 C.E. - Pope Urban II gives a speech that inspires thousands of his subjects to embark on a crusade to Jerusalem.
Time and again, moments shape history. We often examine history from a distant vantage, zooming in on a few kings and battles. But history is made up of individuals who were as alive in their time as we are today. Pausing on a few key individuals and magnifying specific moments in their lives allows us to experience history in a whole new way-as a vibrant story, full of life.
Living History: Great Events of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds takes you back in time and throws a spotlight on two dozen turning points where the tide of history changes irrevocably. These 24 dramatic lectures examine key events from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome to medieval Europe and Asia. Spanning thousands of years and three continents, this course illuminates fascinating historical dramas on the individual scale.
More than covering great events that change the contours of history, Professor Garland takes you into the scene and allows you to hear what he terms the "heartbeat of history". Rather than merely reviewing the facts of events such as the Battle of Marathon, the arrest and trial of Jesus, and the coronation of Charlemagne, you'll engage with a variety of firsthand accounts and authentic primary and secondary sources to experience what it was like to live these events as they occurred. From reports by historians such as Herodotus and Livy to official scrolls and administrative records, these eyewitness sources and ancient documents take you back in time through the eyes of people who were there.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Excellent but with some notable flaws

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I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Garland's previous series on Daily Life in the Ancient World and was eager to pick up his latest work.

It is a scintillating journey through a series of events in which decisions or actions that took hours, minutes and even seconds shaped our world. It is told with Dr Garland's usual flare for dramatic interpretation with the expected scholarship that he is known for.

The good: The lectures on Julius Caesar, Marc Antony and Alexander the Great were fascinating with meticulous attention to detail while preserving a sense of what actually happened given that playwrights have taken liberties with some of the details. (eg: 'Et tu, Brute?' is a fabrication of Shakespeare as is Marc Antony's famous eulogy of Caesar.)

The not so good: I was disappointed with several factual errors, mostly involving the Jesus lecture and Charles Martel lecture. Dr Garland quotes from the Bible as his source, as is appropriate given that our evidence for Jesus trial is limited to that text, the writings of the Church Fathers and historians such as Josephus and Tacitus. However, during Jesus' trial Dr. Garland states that Jesus never explicitly says He is the Messiah. If we are to use our only available source, the professors statement is untrue: in fact Jesus does state that He is the Anointed One by saying "I AM".

With respect to the Martel lecture, the lecturer shies away from saying that the emerging Islamic empire was bent on conquering the known world and even seems to deny the point altogether. Surely, the Muslim onslaught within a generation of Mohammed's death as well as the words of the Quran itself belie this assertion. Though to be fair the Professor does state that as a matter of counter factual history if Martel had not succeeded that the Muslims would have conquered Europe and Arabic would be taught at Oxford as the primary language.

Overall an excellent series though not without some flaws.

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- Andrew W. Wong "Encyclopedia Boy"

Better Than Going to the Movies

Any additional comments?

Light up a bowl, burn a fat boy. Sit back and listen. You are there! The narrator kicks ass!

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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-29-2015
  • Publisher: The Great Courses