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
Yes, it was worthwhile, though I got more from reading the notes alongside my Penguin Atlas of Ancient Civilisations.
I have a soft spot for the Persian rulers, given such a hard time by Herodotus.
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.
If it does I would rather it was read/presented by somebody else!
Good and interesting material but only just about bearable to listen to.
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
The best thing about this history is the linking between the events and the explanation of why such events happened
There were few events that made me feel as if I am living with the historical characters especially with the Persian empire
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.
It could have if it had been the first "Great Courses" book I listened to
There are parts of this course where he just sounds bored
"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.
"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
"very interesting story very well told"
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!)
recommend it highly If interested in ancient civilizations....great stuff here!
"University Level Lecture Series"
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.
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
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.
"No customer support from the publisher"
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.
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.
Avoid buying courses from this publisher until they update their policy on supplemental materials. Suggest Modern Scholar courses if appropriate.
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