The Great Courses: Civilization & Culture

22 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 205 ratings

The Foundations of Western Civilization Publisher's Summary

What is Western civilization? According to Professor Noble, it is "much more than human and political geography," encompassing myriad forms of political and institutional structures - from monarchies to participatory republics - and its own traditions of political discourse. It involves choices about who gets to participate in any given society and the ways in which societies have resolved the tension between individual self-interest and the common good.

Within this series of 48 lectures, you'll discover the many ways in which Western civilization has addressed those questions, from its first stirrings in the great river valleys of Iraq and Egypt in 3000 B.C to the beginning of the 17th century and the dawn of the modern world. Your learning will cover vast amounts of territory and thousands of years, beginning in the ancient Near East and moving to Greece and then Rome. You'll explore ancient empires, including those of Persia, Alexander the Great, and Rome.

You'll watch as western Europe gradually expands, both physically and culturally. And you'll examine the globalizations of Western civilization with the Portuguese and Spanish voyages of exploration and discovery.

This broad and panoramic series, ripe with the telling detail on which history can turn, will help you pull an enormous sweep of history together into one coherent - though by no means closed - framework as you watch history develop under the influence of such critical factors as ecology and environment, geography, and climate; government and economics; technology; religion; work and leisure; philosophy; literature; art and architecture; and virtues, values, and aesthetics.

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

©2002 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2002 The Great Courses
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    • The Foundations of Western Civilization

    • Written by: Thomas F. X. Noble, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Thomas F. X. Noble
    • Length: 24 hrs and 51 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 9
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 8
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 8

    What is Western Civilization? According to Professor Noble, it is "much more than human and political geography," encompassing myriad forms of political and institutional structures - from monarchies to participatory republics - and its own traditions of political discourse. It involves choices about who gets to participate in any given society and the ways in which societies have resolved the tension between individual self-interest and the common good.

    • 1 out of 5 stars
    • very protestant and narrow

    • By Carole Oleniuk on 2018-12-12

    Price: CDN$ 71.17

    • Foundations of Western Civilization II: A History of the Modern Western World

    • Written by: Robert Bucholz, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Robert Bucholz
    • Length: 24 hrs and 35 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 5
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5

    Beginning with the Renaissance, the culture of the West exploded. Over the next 600 years, rapid innovations in philosophy, technology, economics, military affairs, and politics allowed what had once been a cultural backwater left by the collapse of the Roman Empire to dominate the world. This comprehensive series of 48 lectures by an award-winning teacher and captivating lecturer will show you how - and why - this extraordinary transformation took place.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • sympathize and greet

    • By Destry Rides on 2017-12-23

    Price: CDN$ 71.17

    • The World Was Never the Same: Events That Changed History

    • Written by: J. Rufus Fears, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: J. Rufus Fears
    • Length: 18 hrs and 13 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 8
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 8
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      4 out of 5 stars 8

    History is made and defined by landmark events-moments that irrevocably changed the course of human civilization. They have given us: spiritual and political ideas; catastrophic battles and wars; scientific and technological advances; world leaders both influential and monstrous; and cultural works of unparalleled beauty.

    • 2 out of 5 stars
    • Not up to the standard of other courses

    • By Cameron on 2018-06-01

    Price: CDN$ 56.38

    • Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity

    • Written by: David Christian, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: David Christian
    • Length: 24 hrs and 26 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 12
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 12
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 12

    How is it possible for the disciplines of cosmology, geology, anthropology, biology, and history to fit together? These 48 lectures answer that question by weaving a single story from accounts of the past developed by a variety of scholarly disciplines. The result is a story stretching from the origins of the universe to the present day and beyond, in which human history is seen as part of the history of our Earth and biosphere, and the Earth's history, in turn, is seen as part of the history of the universe.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • excellent, loved every minute

    • By Clifton Corcoran on 2019-03-31

    Price: CDN$ 71.17

    • Peoples and Cultures of the World

    • Written by: Edward Fischer, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Edward Fischer
    • Length: 12 hrs and 8 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 1
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      5 out of 5 stars 1
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      5 out of 5 stars 1

    As the "science of humanity," anthropology can help us understand virtually anything about ourselves, from our political and economic systems, to why we get married, to how we decide to buy a particular bottle of wine. This 24-lecture course reveals the extraordinary power of anthropology - and its subspecialty, cultural anthropology - as a tool to understand the world's varied human societies, including our own.

    Price: CDN$ 46.25

    • The Development of European Civilization

    • Written by: Kenneth R. Bartlett, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Kenneth R. Bartlett
    • Length: 24 hrs and 32 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 5

    In almost every way that matters, historical Europe was the laboratory in which the world you now live in was conceived and tested. And you'll be living with the consequences for the rest of your life. These 48 lectures lead you through the doors of that laboratory and guide you through the development of Europe from the late Middle Ages through the eve of World War II.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Great

    • By Francois on 2018-11-06

    Price: CDN$ 71.17

    • From Yao to Mao: 5000 Years of Chinese History

    • Written by: Kenneth J. Hammond, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Kenneth J. Hammond
    • Length: 18 hrs and 14 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 18
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 14
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 14

    For most of its 5,000-year existence, China has been the largest, most populous, wealthiest, and mightiest nation on Earth. And for us as Westerners, it is essential to understand where China has been in order to anticipate its future. These 36 eye-opening lectures deliver a comprehensive political and historical overview of one of the most fascinating and complex countries in world history.You'll learn about the powerful dynasties that ruled China for centuries; the philosophical and religious foundations-particularly Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism-that have influenced every iteration of Chinese thought, and the larger-than-life personalities, from both inside and outside its borders, of those who have shaped China's history. As you listen to these lectures, you'll see how China's politics, economics, and art reflect the forces of its past.From the "Mandate of Heaven," a theory of social contract in place by 1500 B.C.E., 3,000 years before Western philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, to the development of agriculture and writing independent of outside influence to the technologically-advanced Han Dynasty during the time of the Roman Empire, this course takes you on a journey across ground that has been largely unexplored in the history courses most of us in the West have taken.In guiding you through the five millennia of China's history, Professor Hammond tells a fascinating story with an immense scope, a welcome reminder that China is no stranger to that stage and, indeed, has more often than not been the most extraordinary player on it.

    • 4 out of 5 stars
    • Comprehensive review of China's history

    • By Trent T on 2019-01-07

    Price: CDN$ 56.38

    • The African Experience: From 'Lucy' to Mandela

    • Written by: Kenneth P. Vickery, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Kenneth P. Vickery
    • Length: 18 hrs and 18 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 11
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 10
    • Story
      5 out of 5 stars 10

    The story of Africa is the oldest and most event-filled chronicle of human activity on the planet. And in these 36 lectures, you'll explore this great historical drama, tracing the story of the sub-Saharan region of the continent from the earliest evidence of human habitation to the latest challenges facing African nations in the 21st century. By learning with these lectures, you'll finally be able to bust myths and correct potential misunderstandings about Africa.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Contagious Passion

    • By C. Erin Edmundson on 2018-09-08

    Price: CDN$ 55.51

    • Making History: How Great Historians Interpret the Past

    • Written by: Allen C. Guelzo, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Allen C. Guelzo
    • Length: 12 hrs and 15 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      0 out of 5 stars 0
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    How do historians create their histories? What role do the historian's viewpoint and method play in what we accept as truth? Answer these questions and more as you go inside the minds of our greatest historians and explore the idea of written history as it has shaped humanity's story over 2,000 years

    Price: CDN$ 46.98

    • War and World History

    • Written by: Jonathan P. Roth, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Jonathan P. Roth
    • Length: 25 hrs and 1 min
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 1
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      4 out of 5 stars 1
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      4 out of 5 stars 1

    This fresh and challenging inquiry into human societies takes a deep look at the effects and roles of war. As the most complex of all human endeavors, warfare - from ancient to modern - has spurred the growth of essential new technologies; demanded the adoption of complex economic systems; shaped the ideology and culture of nations; promoted developments in art and literature; and spread faith across the globe.

    Price: CDN$ 71.17

    • Foundations of Eastern Civilization

    • Written by: Craig G. Benjamin, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Craig G. Benjamin
    • Length: 23 hrs and 22 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 5

    China. Korea. Japan. Southeast Asia. How did Eastern civilization develop? What do we know about the history, politics, governments, art, science, and technology of these countries? And how does the story of Eastern civilization play out in today's world of business, politics, and international exchange?

    Price: CDN$ 56.38

    • 36 Revolutionary Figures of History

    • Written by: The Great Courses, Bob Brier, Allen C. Guelzo
    • Narrated by: Allen C. Guelzo, Bob Brier
    • Length: 18 hrs and 36 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      3 out of 5 stars 1
    • Performance
      4 out of 5 stars 1
    • Story
      3 out of 5 stars 1

    Alexander the Great, Jesus, Darwin, and Churchill are just a few of the many politicians, religious leaders, scientists, philosophers, authors, inventors, and generals who transformed our world in ways that still resonate today. Now, with this unique collection of 36 lectures from our extensive course catalog, meet the remarkable people without whom the world would never be the same.

    Price: CDN$ 52.57

    • History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration

    • Written by: Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius
    • Length: 11 hrs and 59 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 15
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 11
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 11

    Mutiny. Disease. Starvation. Cannibals. From the ancient wayfarers to modern astronauts, world explorers have blazed trails fraught with danger. Yet, as History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration vividly demonstrates, exploration continues to be one of humanity's deepest impulses. Across 24 lectures that unveil the process by which we came to know the far reaches of our planet, you'll witness the awe-inspiring and surprisingly interconnected tale of global exploration.

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • So interesting!

    • By Scott Duncan on 2019-02-02

    Price: CDN$ 46.98

    • Understanding Cultural and Human Geography

    • Written by: Paul Robbins, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Paul Robbins
    • Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      5 out of 5 stars 1
    • Performance
      5 out of 5 stars 1
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      5 out of 5 stars 1

    In addition to the study of the environment, Professor Robbins examines the wide-ranging implications of a world economy. You'll explore the wellspring of culture and delve into the thorny issues of geography, ethnicity, and statehood. When you complete this course, you'll have all the tools you need to look beyond the headlines and analyze world events in a whole new way.

    Price: CDN$ 46.98

    • Understanding Japan

    • A Cultural History
    • Written by: Mark J. Ravina, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Mark J. Ravina
    • Length: 12 hrs
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 52
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 49
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 48

    In an exciting partnership with the Smithsonian, The Great Courses presents these 24 lectures that offer an unforgettable tour of Japanese life and culture. Professor Ravina, with the expert collaboration of the Smithsonian's historians, brings you a grand portrait of Japan.

    • 3 out of 5 stars
    • Great comprehensive cultural review

    • By Chris on 2019-04-02

    Price: CDN$ 46.98

    • Turning Points in Middle Eastern History

    • Written by: Eamonn Gearon, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Eamonn Gearon
    • Length: 18 hrs and 6 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 6
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 6
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 6

    The Middle East is a critically important area of our world. And, with its current prominence in international affairs, media images of the Middle East reach us on a daily basis. Much media coverage, however, is incomplete at best, failing to take account of either the complexities or the historical background of this pivotal region. For most of us, the real story of the Middle East remains untold. What made this crucial geopolitical area what it is today?

    • 5 out of 5 stars
    • Excellent Course, Highly Reccomend

    • By S.R. Rolfe on 2018-08-14

    Price: CDN$ 56.38

    • A History of India

    • Written by: Michael H. Fisher, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Michael H. Fisher
    • Length: 18 hrs and 22 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 10
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 10
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      4.5 out of 5 stars 10

    Over 5,000 years, India has been home to a rich tapestry of peoples and cultures. Two of the world's great religions - Hinduism and Buddhism - have their origins in South Asia, and the lands east of the Indus River have long been a central hub for trade, migration, and cultural exchange. Today the subcontinent contains 20 percent of the world's population and is a thriving center for global business, making this region one of most significant economic powerhouses in the world.

    Price: CDN$ 56.38

    • Native Peoples of North America

    • Written by: Daniel M. Cobb, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Daniel M. Cobb
    • Length: 12 hrs and 35 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      3.5 out of 5 stars 5
    • Performance
      3.5 out of 5 stars 5
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 5

    The Great Courses has partnered with Smithsonian to bring you a course that will greatly expand your understanding of American history. This course, Native Peoples of North America, pairs the unmatched resources and expertise of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian with the unparalleled knowledge of Professor Daniel M. Cobb of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to provide a multidisciplinary view of American history.

    Price: CDN$ 46.25

    • The Big History of Civilizations

    • Written by: Craig G. Benjamin, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Craig G. Benjamin
    • Length: 17 hrs and 49 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4.5 out of 5 stars 4
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3
    • Story
      4.5 out of 5 stars 3

    The history of human civilization is an astonishing story of migration, innovation, and social development. Now, the exciting new field of "big history" allows us to explore human civilizations in ways unavailable to historians of previous generations. Big history scholars take a multidisciplinary approach to study great spans of time, unlocking important themes, trends, and developments across time and space.

    Price: CDN$ 56.38

    • The History and Achievements of the Islamic Golden Age

    • Written by: Eamonn Gearon, The Great Courses
    • Narrated by: Eamonn Gearon
    • Length: 11 hrs and 58 mins
    • Original Recording
    • Overall
      4 out of 5 stars 2
    • Performance
      4.5 out of 5 stars 2
    • Story
      4 out of 5 stars 2

    The study of Western Civilization traditionally follows a well-known but incomplete arc: the grand achievements of Greece and Rome, several hundred years of the Dark Ages, and then the bright emergence of the European Renaissance. But amid the "dark" Middle Ages, the Abbasid Empire, which ruled the Middle East as well as much of Northern Africa and Central Asia from 750 to 1258, serves as a vitally important but often overlooked bridge between the ancient and modern worlds.

    Price: CDN$ 46.98

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