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Where does The Italians before Italy: Conflict and Competition in the Mediterranean rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
This is a higher level, more in depth study than most of The Great Courses on Audible. I suppose it ranks lower than others on the "entertaining" scale, but higher on the depth of information scale.
What other book might you compare The Italians before Italy: Conflict and Competition in the Mediterranean to and why?
Other related series by the great courses would include Foundations of Western Civilization I & II (both excellent), Europe and Western Civilization in the Modern Age, and The Middle Ages series: Early Middle Ages, High Middle Ages, Late Middle Ages
Have you listened to any of Professor Kenneth R. Bartlett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
Professor Bartlett also teaches The Great Courses series on European Civilization and the Italian Renaissance, plus their video series The Great Tours: Experiencing Medieval Europe. He is extremely knowledgeable. The other courses are less focused on the political evolution of Italy and more focused on civilization, art, and historic sites. It all depends on what you're interested in.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
No. This is a long and detailed title with 24 lectures. I listened to about an hour a day over a couple of weeks.
Any additional comments?
This is a series for those who know European history and want to delve deeper re the politics of the Italian city states. Prof. Bartlett assumes that the listener knows European history, particularly of the middle ages. It is assumed you already know about the Byzantines, the Holy Roman Empire, the Turkish empire, the royal houses of Anjou, Habsburg, etc. With that as background, this series provides a survey of all the city states and their political (more than cultural) evolution, particularly vis a vis their relationships with Rome and the rest of Europe.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
Having forgotten much of what I learned about Italian history at university, I chose this course as a survey-refresher. It is an ambitious endeavor to attempt to teach this subject in only 24 lectures.
As you can see, any of the following lecture subjects provides more than enough material for a course of its own:
1. Italy, a geographical expression.
2. The question of sovereignity.
3. The crusades and Italian wealth.
4. Venice: a maritime republic.
5. Terraferma Empire.
6. Genoa: La Superba.
7. Bankers and dukes.
9. Christians vs. Turks in the Mediterranean.
10. Rome: papal authority.
11. Papal ambition.
12. Papal reform
13. Naples: a matter of wills.
14. Naples and the threat to Italian liberty.
15. Milan and the Visconti.
16. The Sforza dynasty.
17. Mantua and the Gonzaga.
18. Urbino and the Montefeltro.
19. Ferrara and the Este family.
20. Siena and the struggle for liberty.
21. Florence and the guild republic.
22. Florence and the Medici.
23. The Italian mosaic: E Pluribus Gloria.
24. Campanilismo: The Italian sense of place.
Each of us has favorites and subjects we'd like to have heard more about. (For me, it was Lombardia and the north in general). But this is a survey, and it provides what a survey should: a broad perspective. For me, it gave me a greater sense of how Italy became the nation it is, and what a wonder it is that unification ever took place!
For those who complain, "It's all names and stuff," I'm afraid that's what history classes tend to be. But your reading, research, and interest outside of class is what will really make the dry facts come to life.
(Audible, please make the downloads available through Safari. I wanted to use the pdf on iPad, but had to download on Microsoft, email it to myself, and convert it in iBooks).
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up The Italians before Italy: Conflict and Competition in the Mediterranean in three words, what would they be?
This course offers an excellent overview of the political and economic interactions between the major Italian cities Venice, Genua, Milan, Rome, Mantua, Urbino, until the Napoleonic take-over of Italy. Medieval and Renaissance Italy is the battlefield for the competition between the Habsburg empire and the French kingdom fighting each other in Italy, the Italian cities becoming allies of either the one or the other. Within most of the Italian cities, the aristocrats oppose the merchant classes, the aristocrats linking themselves to the Habsburg emperor, the merchant classes linking themselves to the French king or to the pope, cities having to shift sides if the tide turned.