Rome and the Barbarians : The Great Courses: Ancient History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Kenneth W. Harl
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient History
  • 18 hrs and 22 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

The history of the Romans as they advanced the frontiers of Classical civilization is often told as a story of warfare and conquest - the mighty legions encountering the "barbarians." But this only tells one side of the story.
Who were the Celts, Goths, Huns, and Persians met by the Romans as they marched north and east? What were the political, military, and social institutions that made Rome so stable, allowing its power to be wielded against these different cultures for nearly three centuries? What role did those institutions themselves play in assimilating barbarian peoples?
These 36 engaging lectures tell the story of the complex relationship between each of these native peoples and their Roman conquerors as they intermarried, exchanged ideas and mores, and, in the ensuing provincial Roman cultures, formed the basis of Western European civilization.
You'll study the institutions that made Rome so extraordinary, as well as the extraordinary figures - both Roman and barbarian - whose names have been familiar to us for so long. You'll learn about Augustus, Constantine I, Diocletian, Gaius Julius Caesar, Nero, Attila the Hun, as well as a myriad of figures whose names are less familiar to us.
But these lectures deliver far more than personal snapshots, as compelling as those may be. Professor Harl brings to life the institutions that shaped both Rome and her relationship with, and assimilation of, the barbarians at her constantly expanding frontiers. You'll come away with a new appreciation of how our Western world came to be and detailed knowledge about the individuals from royalty to "barbarian" who played key roles in that process.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Best Course I've heard yet.

The Teaching Company and the Great Courses offer a number of series that cover the classical era and Rome specifically.

This is the best of those courses that I've listened to.

This series concentrates on Rome's relationship to various barbarian people's.

Because Rome's dealings with barbarian people's was so extensive, however, this series of lectures can also be seen as a linear history of Roman political and military influence.

From the Battle of Alia in the 4th Century BC, to the Battle of Chalons in the 5th Century AD, Professor Harl describes the various peoples, civilizations, and cultures that Rome encountered in her long history, as well as how those people's and cultures influenced Rome.

Professor Harl is a wonderful lecturer. He's entertaining, informative, and the lectures are well organized.

My favorite lecturers of history are able to bring historical figures and events to life in a way that written sources and contemporary biographies cannot.

Since purchasing this, Professor Harl has become one of those lecturers.

If you enjoy classical history or you are curious about the time period, I highly recommend this lecture series.
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- M. Brian Burchette

How Barbarians Created Roman HIstory

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This is a great course if you are interested in Roman history. The course really is a history of the Roman empire from inception to its decline and fall told against the background of barbarian invasions and interactions.


What did you like best about this story?

Professor Harl's discussion of economic and social factors influencing Roman history was wonderful. He is very careful to disclose sensitive issues in historiography and to let the listener know which side of a controversy he is on. Very, very professional.


What about Professor Kenneth W. Harl’s performance did you like?

The unbelievable breadth of his knowledge and detailed observations concerning cause and effect in Rome's interaction (and integration) with barbarians. I came feel that I could see the panorama of Roman history and the factors (and internal inconsistencies) that led to its fall. There is a lot here for politicians to learn from.


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

Not that type of book. But I really enjoyed Professor Harl's presentation. Even in 40 hours of Roman history there was never a dull moment (in fact, I was constantly going back to listen again to the details in certain passages).


Any additional comments?

Easy to listen to a 1.25x rather than 1.0.

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- Christopher

Book Details

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