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The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World cover art

The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

By: Robert Garland,The Great Courses
Narrated by: Robert Garland
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Publisher's Summary

Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.

The past truly comes alive as you take a series of imaginative leaps into the world of history's anonymous citizens, people such as a Greek soldier marching into battle in the front row of a phalanx; an Egyptian woman putting on makeup before attending an evening party with her husband; a Greek citizen relaxing at a drinking party with the likes of Socrates; a Roman slave captured in war and sent to work in the mines; and a Celtic monk scurrying away with the Book of Kells during a Viking invasion.

Put yourself in the sandals of ordinary people and discover what it was like to be among history's 99%. What did these everyday people do for a living? What was their home like? What did they eat? What did they wear? What did they do to relax? What were their beliefs about marriage? Religion? The afterlife?

This extraordinary journey takes you across space and time in an effort to be another person - someone with whom you might not think you have anything at all in common - and come away with an incredible sense of interconnectedness. You'll see the range of possibilities of what it means to be human, making this a journey very much worth taking.

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

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World

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Excellent and enjoyable

What did you like most about The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World?

I appreciated the care and attention given to the lives of women in these lectures. In my opinion, Professor Garland has made a great effort to be as inclusive of their daily struggles and social contexts as the subject and current evidence allows. He also devotes chapters on the sick, disabled, the poor and refugees. All together I found it very immersive and Professor Garland's passion and enthusiasm for this very broad subject helps to give the listener a sense of what ancient life was like. I found it fascinating to learn how much we differ from the social mindsets of different ancient cultures, and in what ways we are still very much the same.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Despite the obvious hardships that the people in these lectures had to endure on a daily basis, there are moments that make you smile. These are the moments that I feel that we today can relate too all too well. Dealing with your in-laws, tolerating a boring drunk at a party, falling in love, etc. There are also areas where the social behaviours of an ancient culture could be seen as shocking and utterly horrifying to us today.

Any additional comments?

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is fascinated with the ancient world and wants to get a taste of what life was like for ordinary people.

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15 people found this helpful

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An eye-opening account of the ancient 99%

I have thoroughly enjoyed this journey of the ancient world seen through the eyes of the every day folk. I found these lectures to be thought-provoking & surprising - which is certainly what you'd want in a lecture series.

Prof Garland did quite a good job of communicating the realities of daily life in the ancient world. Although at times his manner was a tad awkward, it didn't detract from the information excessively. He even injected a bit of vigor into subject which was appreciated.

As for the story itself, the subject matter was well-researched and fairly comprehensive. It was also presented in a way that made the information easy to retain and follow. However, I did expect more information than was presented - this isn't necessarily a fault of the series - but is perhaps due to the scanty nature of some of the evidence available. I also might've appreciated a little more detail into the ethics and thinking of people in the societies presented.

Therefore, I award this course 12/15 stars. Performance, although very good was, as mentioned, slightly awkward at times. Story, not as detailed as I would've desired but very good overall. I was awarded with an overall positive experience in listening to this series!

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12 people found this helpful

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An Engrossing Lecture Series

Lately, our educational institutions have become a little precious about teaching history. There is too much rationalism and too little 'investment in minds' underpinning much of Western academia. And of course, more and more education is now priced out of most ordinary people's reach. That is why The Great Courses is such a valuable institution. I've listened to a great many of their lecture series. And this lecture series about the daily lives of people throughout history is one of the greatest examples of what can be achieved in this format. The writing is excellent, and the lectures are delivered in an interesting and idiosyncratic style. There is a lot to interest the student of history, including the occasional funny witticism or pithy personal anecdote of the author. Once I got into this series, I had to listen until the end: each episode really is very good. If I ever get to London, I will certainly make my way to the British Museum (of plundered artifacts) and pop in and say hello to 'Ginger'!
I learned a lot from this series. Every lecture was presented in a logical and interesting manner and each built upon the preceding one in a considered and meaningful way. In such a broad sweeping series you will find naturally find some material to be a little 'skeletal'. However, insofar as this series attempts to draw a broad picture of ordinary human life, experience, endeavour and development, there is no doubt it admirably achieves its aim. This is a great achievement by Professor Robert Garland.

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8 people found this helpful

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Fantastic experience.

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

Yes. I've listened to a lot of history courses, understandably, most of them cover the big events of the era, and follow the succession of kings and emperors. This really fills in the gaps for what it was like to live there at the time. The small details and facts that are invariably left out of the 'Great man' narratives.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Me. Though this is still structured mostly as an exposition, I could still close my eyes and imagine myself in these times and places, as a worker in ancient egypt decorating the pharaoah's tomb, or drinking at a symposium with fellow Greeks, discussing politics and philosophy.

Any additional comments?

I noted that Robert Garland plugged his other Great Course: "Greece and Rome: An Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean". I spent my next credit on that one, and it didn't disappoint.

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6 people found this helpful

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A masterpiece

I want you to understand that I'm not really into history. I bought this on a whim as it was good value for money and thought, what the heck. Though I'm so glad I did. This truly is a masterpiece and a real exploration into the human condition. I only wish that more people took the authors approach to teaching history. This is easily the most relatable, and human, history I have ever heard. Its not just that though, you can almost feel how you would feel back then and see that in many ways we arn't much different.

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5 people found this helpful

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Fantastic audiobook

Content and reader are wonderful , an audiobook I will listen to many times , thank you.

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5 people found this helpful

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Fantastic!

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Professor Garland. His voice was a joy to listen to and his presentation of the other side of history sparked my imagination. I learned so much and I couldn’t recommend this course more highly.

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5 people found this helpful

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Walk through history.

Loved every moment of this walk through history. Charmingly narrated. Educational and also entertaining. Recommend!

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4 people found this helpful

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Genuinely Great Course

Any additional comments?

Always stimulating and riveting - it really does bring the ordinary folk from antiquity to life. Fantastic experience.

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4 people found this helpful

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great course

fascinating glimpse in the lives of ordinary people in the past. could not get enough of it.

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4 people found this helpful

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