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Living History: Experiencing Great Events of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds

Narrated by: Robert Garland
Length: 12 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Macedonia, 336 B.C.E. - King Philip II is murdered under mysterious circumstances amid a cloud of intrigue.

Constantinople, 532 C.E. - The Byzantine Emperor Justinian nearly abandons the city to an angry mob until his wife, Theodora, persuades him to stay.

France, 1095 C.E. - Pope Urban II gives a speech that inspires thousands of his subjects to embark on a crusade to Jerusalem.

Time and again, moments shape history. We often examine history from a distant vantage, zooming in on a few kings and battles. But history is made up of individuals who were as alive in their time as we are today. Pausing on a few key individuals and magnifying specific moments in their lives allows us to experience history in a whole new way-as a vibrant story, full of life.

Living History: Great Events of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds takes you back in time and throws a spotlight on two dozen turning points where the tide of history changes irrevocably. These 24 dramatic lectures examine key events from ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome to medieval Europe and Asia. Spanning thousands of years and three continents, this course illuminates fascinating historical dramas on the individual scale.

More than covering great events that change the contours of history, Professor Garland takes you into the scene and allows you to hear what he terms the "heartbeat of history". Rather than merely reviewing the facts of events such as the Battle of Marathon, the arrest and trial of Jesus, and the coronation of Charlemagne, you'll engage with a variety of firsthand accounts and authentic primary and secondary sources to experience what it was like to live these events as they occurred. From reports by historians such as Herodotus and Livy to official scrolls and administrative records, these eyewitness sources and ancient documents take you back in time through the eyes of people who were there.

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

©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Kept me listening and delivered

The course delivered on its promise to present historical events in such a way we could feel apart of them. I was impressed by the detail and the effort by the professor to achieve that in every lecture.

A couple of the lectures felt somewhat tedious; less interesting than others due to the event it was based on. I ended up skipping over them because they were too difficult to get through.

Overall, I was kept interested and wanted to continue listening. My only gripe was that I usually expect to take something profound after listening to an entire course; something that delivers beyond what was expected. This one didn't and simply met expectations, which is fine and made for an enjoyable experience.

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  • Mike McGuire
  • 2015-06-26

Excellent material, engaging presentation.

Dr. Garland has a very engaging style of presenting historical events by taking us into those events as though we were direct participants.

I would recommend this course to anyone with historical interest, in particular the ancient world, who has been bored/turned off by dry, recital style of historical presentation.

I intend to seek out any other of his history courses - they are simply a pleasure to experience. You will seldom get better value for your listening dollar.

35 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 2015-11-12

Another Great Course From A Great Professor

After listening to another course from the same professor, I was pleased to see this one become available.....and it did not disappoint. Well researched and expertly delivered, "Living History" draws the listener into great historical moments, allowing you to look around yourself and see them come to life.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Ark1836
  • 2016-04-05

A Difficult Review

This course covers twenty-four significant events in ancient and medieval history with the goal of making the listener feel present at the event. I have gone back and forth whether to give this a positive or negative review. There are aspects of the course that I really like—the professor selected a mix of interesting historic events and provided an often exciting description of what took place. On the other hand, the professor often inserted personal opinions and sometimes snarky comments that were distracting at times. With this criticism noted, I still appreciated the professor's enthusiasm. I also feel like I learned something from each lesson, which is how I ultimately try to judge courses like this. So, I have to give this a somewhat mixed review—not a bad course but not as great as some other history classes I have taken through the Great Courses. Since the professor only spends thirty minutes on each topic while running through a couple thousand years of history, I would not recommend this class for a beginning history student. I majored in history in college and have read many history books, so I had a good background for the lectures. Someone missing that background might have difficulty understanding all aspects of the course or could be confused.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Steven Levinson
  • 2015-11-05

Very good

I am a huge fan of the professor. He has a very interesting perspective on historical subject. The primary sources very much come alive with his narration. This was my second one, after the other side of history. Will be on the lookout for more.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • dan
  • 2015-09-09

Loved it

One of the challenges of reading history books is that they are often dry and boring. This professor presents history through the eyes of those people that lived it. His passion shines through his telling of the stories from different times of history. I thoroughly enjoyed this purchase.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Margaret Strauss
  • 2015-08-09

Totally enthralled the whole way through.

Where does Living History: Experiencing Great Events of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Totally enthralled the whole way through.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Living History: Experiencing Great Events of the Ancient and Medieval Worlds?

Realizing just how much small decisions changed out world.

What about Professor Robert Garland’s performance did you like?

I had to get used to slight hesitations in the presentation, but once I had it was good that it was presented slowly enough to take in the information.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but each chapter has a different main character.

Any additional comments?

Anyone who loves history should get this book.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Emrich
  • 2015-07-27

Enjoyable Journey

The narrator is a worthy guide to lead you through the material while keeping you engaged. I'll give this one multiple listens.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2016-01-08

I wish I had this in High School.

How wonderful a story that teaches, captures the imagination and holds your attention to the last minute.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Shaun Spalding
  • 2015-07-30

try his other course first

Five star course, but not as good as his other one. I listened to that one first. it has a bit of overlapping content with this one and was, overall, more compelling. But his presentation here is 5 stars

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • gwilsonmd
  • 2016-04-19

Have listened to it TWICE!

Love listening to Dr Garland's lectures! His love of history is infectious!! I have studied certain periods very extensively (late Roman Republic/early Empire, Tudor/Stuart England), this lecture helps you understand the bigger picture. Very interested in learning more about Chinese history! Thank you Dr. garland!! Please add some more of your lectures to the selections!! I especially loved your story about visiting "Ginger"!!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful