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Ancient Empires before Alexander Lecture

Ancient Empires before Alexander

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Publisher's Summary

Complete your knowledge of the ancient world with this comprehensive look at the dozen empires that flourished in the 2,000 years before the conquests of Alexander the Great. Over the course of 36 insightful lectures, you'll follow the Egyptians, the Mycenaean Greeks, the Persians, the Carthaginians, and others as they rise to glory, create administrative and military structures, clash with one another, and eventually collapse.

Professor Dise immerses you in the political, administrative, and military details of these thrilling civilizations, analyzing three basic questions: How did this particular empire emerge? How was it governed and defended? How and why did it ultimately fall? These questions raise a host of profound issues on the growth, development, and failures of vast imperial systems.

Grounded in a chronological approach, you'll find no better guide through the palatial halls, administrative offices, and war-torn battlefields of these empires than Professor Dise. Each lecture is packed with a range of rich sources on which our current understanding of the ancient Near East rests, including cuneiform tablets, colorful narratives, and archaeological remains.

As you comb through these intriguing records, you quickly become more informed about how the past is recorded and passed down to subsequent generations. Spanning thousands of years of human history and encompassing regions both familiar and forgotten, this course is a remarkable tour through the farthest reaches of the ancient world - in all its marvelous diversity.

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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There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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  • Travis
    25/01/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "the Dream of Empire."

    great courses isn't just a title this is truly a great course. I enjoyed every minute of these lectures listening for hours at a time

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • horoscopy
    17/11/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "very interesting story very well told"
    What made the experience of listening to Ancient Empires before Alexander the most enjoyable?

    despite what a couple of other reviewers said about the professor sounding monotone...I found his way of speaking quite interesting and think he actually is a great speaker. I will admit some times I wondered if he was reading his thesis papers but if you pay attention to what he is saying ...it is very interestingly told and actually his "monotone voice" begins to refreshingly stand out from other speakers of Great Courses..some of whom sound like they are imitating Bill Gates or like to use "uh uh, uh" a lot! (not this one!)


    Any additional comments?

    recommend it highly If interested in ancient civilizations....great stuff here!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Emily
    Philadelphia, PA, United States
    18/08/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "University Level Lecture Series"
    Where does Ancient Empires before Alexander rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I listen to a lot of ancient history lectures. Some are broad, some are basic, some are thematic, some are popular, some are casual. This series is serious. This isn't an "aren't-the-Greeks-amazing," "how-the-Romans-are/aren't-like-us," "Egypt-is-cool" lecture. Don't get me wrong, I love those lectures, but this is University level serious.

    This is a deep dive into the ancient bronze age superpowers of the Mediterranean and Near East. Every lecture has so much critical information packed in. I needed to stop more than once and consult maps or just pause to take it all in. The lectures are organized chronologically by civilizations. Some time periods overlap as he follows each empire's timeline from rise to fall. It was helpful for me to listen to a set of lectures for one empire and stop rather than binge on them right after another.

    I've listed the lecture outline below. Standouts for me were the Kingdom of David and Solomon, The Mitanni, Every Lecture on Hatti (the Hittites), The Collapse of the Mycenaean World (interesting Sea Peoples ideas), Every lecture on the Assyrians, and the Carthage and early Rome lectures (interesting from the Carthaginian point of view). All lectures are rich with essential details and not much fluff. If you are not already into the ancient world, you might hate this and I'd recommend another audible choice. If you are into the ancient world, I recommend Ancient Empires before Alexander as *THE* advanced course. I absolutely love this series and it's the one I refer back to for comparison to any new ancient world media I come across.


    Any additional comments?

    Lecture Table of Contents
    1 A Meditation on Empire
    2 Lands, Seas, and Sources
    3 Sargon and the Dawn of Empire
    4 The Third Dynasty of Ur
    5 The Empire of Hammurabi
    6 Mitanni and the Kassites
    7 The Rise of Hatti
    8 The Government of Hatti
    9 Hatti at War
    10 The Climax and Collapse of Hatti
    11 The Rise of the Egyptian Empire
    12 The Imperial Army and Administration
    13 The End of the Egyptian Empire
    14 The Minoan Thalassocracy
    15 Mycenae and the Dawn of Greece
    16 The Collapse of the Mycenaean World
    17 The Birth of Israel
    18 The Empire of David and Solomon
    19 The Dawn of Assyria
    20 The Rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire
    21 The Government of Assyria
    22 Assyria at War
    23 The Climax and Collapse of Assyria
    24 The Neo-Babylonian Empire
    25 The Rise of the Persian Empire
    26 The Outbreak of the Greek Wars
    27 Xerxes and the Invasion of Greece
    28 From Plataea to the Peace of Callias
    29 The Persian Empire from 450 to 334
    30 The Government and Army of Persia
    31 Alexander and the Fall of Persia
    32 The Origins of Carthage and Its Empire
    33 Ruling and Defending Carthage's Empire
    34 The First War with Rome
    35 Hannibal and the Fall of Carthage
    36 Ancient Empires before Alexander, and After

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    28/08/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring--"

    I just couldn't finish this course. I made it through the first 4 chapters but I could go no further. Let me be up front that it was not the material but the presenter. He seemed bored by his own material. His presentation was monotone and just had no life to it. If I was in his classroom course, I would have to sit in the back. I would sit in the back so I hopefully wouldn't be noticed when I dropped off to sleep.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Joshua
    VALLEJO, CA, United States
    11/08/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No customer support from the publisher"
    Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Professor Robert L. Dise Jr.?

    No


    What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    The publisher could have offered the supplemental reading material for a proportional price (they want $10+ to get the course outline. I paid ~$11 for the credit which bought the entire course). Does doubling the price seem reasonable for an outline, an outline that can be made into a simple PDF and emailed with little to no additional actual cost to the publisher?This is not an issue with Modern Scholar courses.


    How could the performance have been better?

    I don't think the professor looked at this course as if it was for an audio audience; it seemed he was trying to give regular classroom lectures without any visual keys. Lecturing to an audiobook-only audience is a distinct skill from lecturing to a group of people live.


    Any additional comments?

    Avoid buying courses from this publisher until they update their policy on supplemental materials. Suggest Modern Scholar courses if appropriate.

    2 of 36 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Dr Nik Jewell
    10/02/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Like Listening to Kevin Costner on Tranquillisers"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Yes, it was worthwhile, though I got more from reading the notes alongside my Penguin Atlas of Ancient Civilisations.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I have a soft spot for the Persian rulers, given such a hard time by Herodotus.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Robert L. Dise Jr.’s performances?

    If the course contained information that I wanted to know about then yes; however, this is by far the worst oral performance I have yet encountered on Audible. 18 hours of droning monotone. Really pretty painful.


    Do you think Ancient Empires before Alexander needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    If it does I would rather it was read/presented by somebody else!


    Any additional comments?

    Good and interesting material but only just about bearable to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Clare
    London, United Kingdom
    22/02/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Lecturer isn't as clever as he thinks he is"
    Any additional comments?

    I thought I would give the Great Courses another go. Once again the lecturer chosen seems an odd choice, This is a series of lectures on Empires before Alexander so they choose someone whose specialty is the Roman Empire! Why? Surely it should be someone who specialised in the earlier Empires.There are some superficially irritating things, why does each lecture end with some canned applause & some music thousands of years too late? Also the title should have been Empires of Europe, Near & Middle East before Alexander as no mention is made of any empires in China, India or Africa outside of Egypt etc. I don't mind the focus but I mind that it's pretending it's not there.Sadly the lecturer also feels the need to make factious comments every now & then which I imagine is supposed to make the lecture more engaging but actually is just irritating.However, despite this I have managed to persevere & have found it interesting enough to continue. However, niggles of doubt do creep in. The lecturer doesn't appear to know much about archery as he confuses compound & composite & fails to mention recurve when it was relevant. How much else, that I know less about, is similar?All in all Modern Scholar remains superior

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dr Ibrahim Nasr
    5/02/16
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good book"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The best thing about this history is the linking between the events and the explanation of why such events happened


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

    There were few events that made me feel as if I am living with the historical characters especially with the Persian empire


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jonathan
    Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    29/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting Material but Mediocre Delivery"

    This lecture course covers a large number of ancient empires, leading up to (but not including) Greece and Rome. For more details about content, I strongly recommend looking at the Great Courses web site which includes titles of each lecture (and lots of reviews). I knew very little about Ancient History and this course provided a really good introduction -- relatively brief on each empire, but a good overview. However the course had two main problems from my perspective. One is that the material is very much slanted towards military history -- lots of detail about armour, chariot types etc, while the cultures are treated rather sparsely. This would suit some people but wasn't ideal for me. The biggest problem though is that the lecturer is rather boring. He does not put any personality into the material -- he sounds as if he is just reading written notes and sometimes he sounds rather bored by the whole thing. Overall I'm glad to have listened to this but I had to force myself to keep going at several points.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stephen
    stoke on trent, England
    19/09/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Must Try Harder"
    Has Ancient Empires before Alexander put you off other books in this genre?

    It could have if it had been the first "Great Courses" book I listened to


    What aspect of Professor Robert L. Dise Jr.’s performance might you have changed?

    There are parts of this course where he just sounds bored


    Was Ancient Empires before Alexander worth the listening time?

    Just about


    Any additional comments?

    "Professor" Robert L. Dise doesn't sound like a professor. He lacks impartiality on the various peoples. He uses racial epithets when describing some cultures:
    For example he compares the ancient Greeks to a bunch of "Drunken Rednecks" and condemns them for daring to resist the Persian invasion.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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