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Publisher's Summary

Immerse yourself in this comprehensive survey of ancient Greece from 750 to 323 B.C. - from the emergence of Greece at the end of the Dark Ages to the final disintegration of Greek autonomy through the Macedonian kings Philip II and Alexander the Great.
These 48 riveting lectures tell the story of ancient Greek institutions and the people who molded them during the Archaic and Classical periods.
Concentrating on the city-states of mainland Greece, with a special focus on Athens, Professor Worthington guides through some of history's most hard-fought struggles - from armed conflicts (such as the Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War, and the campaigns of Alexander the Great) to political and social struggles (including the late 6th-century civil war in Athens that pitted nobles against the lower classes and eventually produced the first stirrings of democracy).
As you explore innovative Athenian approaches to democracy, law, and empire, you discover how these approaches served as the bedrock for ideas and practices that you live with every day. You also encounter a wealth of intriguing links to many of our own contemporary institutions and attitudes about democracy, law, and empire.
By the end of Professor Worthington's final captivating lecture, you discover that there was nothing inevitable about democracy, the Western concept of justice, or any of the other traditions and institutions that now play such central roles in the politics of the modern Western world. The story of how this tentative structure transformed into the firm foundation of our contemporary world is gripping, enlightening, and immensely rewarding.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2009 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2009 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Reid Kotlas on 09-17-13

Excellent. Compelling and informative.

What about Professor Ian Worthington’s performance did you like?

He is clearly excited and passionate about the subject, and this comes across both in his delivery and in his planning and preparation of the content.

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

Too many to list!

Any additional comments?

The other commenter should not be trusted, his review is completely inaccurate. I would say this is a matter of subject preference, but there is so little in it that corresponds to reality that I do not doubt he must have listened only to one or two lectures before giving up, likely having too little interest in the subject matter to begin with.

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16 of 16 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Daniel Silveyra Perez on 03-05-15

Fantastic primer, can get a little dull at times

The instructor is great; clear, concise, entertaining and endearing. Two thumbs up.

The course itself provides a great deal of context - it tied together all the disparate facts about Greece in my head. The coverage is extensive, from essentially prehistoric Greece to the Hellenistic period after Alexander the Great.

I also enjoyed the point of view of the instructor: he was careful to state when he was offering a personal view vs. A consensus view.

I give the content 4/5 since there were several classes focused on the details of legal procedures which I found very dull.

Definitely would recommend this lecture series for anyone interested in ancient Greek history who is not already an expert.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By mr on 03-18-14


not what i expected. very good, large focus on law and democracy. goes through the battles, just more human focused.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Greg Gauthier on 06-03-18

Thorough, entertaining, and insightful

Professor Worthington's lectures are a treasure trove of insight into the early history of Western Civilization, and what we see when we peer into that ancient cradle, is that this baby is as ugly as it is beautiful. One thing I have always appreciated about good lecturers, is their ability to spin a narrative that is both self-critical and self-affirming, and Worthington does a masterful job of it.

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