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The Greek and Persian Wars cover art

The Greek and Persian Wars

Written by: John R. Hale,The Great Courses
Narrated by: John R. Hale
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Publisher's Summary

Spanning more than two centuries, the Greek and Persian wars forged a new world order, sparking developments in battle strategy, naval technology, world exploration, and art and culture that impact the world even today.

These 24 lectures are your opportunity to survey this globe-spanning conflict and see the human experience behind some of the most remarkable episodes in ancient history.

Look beyond the infamous story of King Leonidas and his famed "300" and uncover the people and the world of the ancient Greeks and Persians. The clash of these two great cultures helped spark some of the most important cultural events in the history of the world: the chronicles of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon; the dramas of Aeschylus; and Greece's remarkable invention of democracy.

An expert on methods of ancient warfare, Professor Hale offers rare insights into how each skirmish was lost and won. You'll meet the great Greek and Persian leaders, and compare the war technologies they pioneered.

But Professor Hale offers more than just textbook descriptions. An accomplished archaeologist, he provides rare and valuable insights gleaned from years of fieldwork, including an analysis of the landscape of the battlefield of Marathon and modern archaeological surveys of the ground where Xerxes and his engineers dug an 80-foot-wide canal across an Aegean cape.

It's a perspective on history you'll find virtually nowhere else. Bringing together both sides of the story - Greek and Persian - Professor Hale creates a complex and informative account of this world-changing era.

©2008 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2008 The Great Courses

What listeners say about The Greek and Persian Wars

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A good listen

I enjoyed this. Don't be surprised if you get a bit turned around now and then though, all of the same players take turns allying and warring with one another, sometimes within a span of 100 years or less!

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Great lecture series

So much to learn! I found myself fully absorbed in these lectures. Not much gore, thankfully, but more focused on strategy,

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  • Feedback
  • 2014-01-21

Outstanding

If you could sum up The Greek and Persian Wars in three words, what would they be?

Brilliant, enthusiastic lecture.

What did you like best about this story?

The extraordinary drama surrounding birth of the Western World.

Have you listened to any of Professor John R. Hale’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Brilliant, enthusiastic lecture.

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

Professor Hale has a gift for beginning and ending on a high point.

Any additional comments?

If only I had history professors like Hale when I was in college…. But at least I can enjoy it now.

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11 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2015-05-13

excellent!

this is the second course I have purchased with John Hale. His abilty to tell a compelling story is second to none. I thoroughly enjoyed this historical adventure.

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4 people found this helpful

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  • smbizguy
  • 2016-11-19

Excellent content well told.

This authored dived into some of the most important history of the world. Having studied Thucydidies and Alexander of Mastodon in the past I was impressed by how many gaps he filled in my knowledge of these giants who's shoulders we stand on today.

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3 people found this helpful

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  • M. Aldridge
  • 2015-12-07

Excellent<br />

I have listened to several Great Courses, and have to commend this speaker. He was well spoken, concise, and kept me interested in the topic. Wonderful lectures!

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  • EmilyK
  • 2019-07-06

Excellent chronicle of fascinating period

Hale is one of the best Great Courses lecturers, and this one is no exception. He creates fascinating and well-organized lectures that stand on their own, and the overall course is incredibly informative. His voice is easy to listen to, and there's a bit of humor to the presentations. Of course, it doesn't hurt that this is one of the most interesting and important-to-know eras of Western history.

This lecture series doesn't seem to presuppose or require any knowledge of the period. If i were using this for homeschooling, or otherwise a newbie to the area, i would start with the lectures on Ancient Greek Civilization by Jeremy McInerney.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2017-11-24

Encompassing historical approach

A good way of interpreting Greek History through its centuries long rivalry with the Persians.

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  • MA
  • 2017-06-09

No critical thinking and cross-examinations

Contrary to the speaker clams, this is a one-sided narrative of the wars from the Greek point of view.

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  • Eric Green
  • 2021-01-02

just what the title says

This series moved along at a good pace, but still has time for interesting details.

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1 person found this helpful

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  • Warzhenaji
  • 2018-09-03

The Great Courses As Always - Phenomenal

Excellent story telling, great performance, and a great perspective from a professor who was also an archaeologist in many historic sites in Greece. The material was excellent and is so obviously relevant to all that we experience today. Beautiful stories such as the 300 at Thermopylae all the way to Alexander the Great. I had no previous knowledge of this time period and now I can competently speak about it.
Fantastic. The Great Courses do it again!

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  • Amanda Kuttler
  • 2018-04-07

very enjoyable and educational

a bit boring but that's more just the subject. He seems knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the topic and it was a very enjoyable listen.

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