Clearly, the Greeks are a source of much that we esteem in our own culture: democracy, philosophy, tragedy, epic and lyric poetry, history-writing, our aesthetic sensibilities, ideals of athletic competition, and more. But what is it about Hellenic culture that has made generations of influential scholars and writers view it as the essential starting point for understanding the art and reflection that define the West? This series of 24 lectures by an accomplished Greek scholar and teacher traces the complex web of links between the present and its Mediterranean origins, taking you from the Late Bronze Age up to the time of Philip II of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great. It's an intellectual journey that lets you see ancient Greek civilization in the light shed by the newest and best research and criticism, expanding your understanding of history, literature, art, philosophy, religion, and more.
With a special focus on the two crucial centuries from 600-400 B.C.-the era of the Persian and Peloponnesian wars and of classical Athens as described in the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides and the philosophic dialogues of Plato-you'll come to understand how the uniquely "Greek" identity was forged, and how it gave root to so much of what we consider vital about our own present day. Just as important, you'll learn how the differences between our own modern values and beliefs and those of the Hellenic world-including slavery and the exclusion of women from public life-do not imply a lack of relevance to our own times but can instead teach us as just much as our affinities.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©1998 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1998 The Great Courses
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"Interpretive History, Not a Comprehensive Overview"
The professor who does this series is brilliant and those who have some familiarity with ancient Greek civilization will enjoy the insights and interpretations he offers. I highlighted the fact that the author does A LOT of interpreting in this series. Because of this, while he does cover all of ancient Greek civilization from its origins in Minoan and Mycenean civilizations to its radical change in Alexander the Great, he is not as comprehensive as I would have liked and leaves some gaps and much material untouched. Those of you who are looking for a good, first, general overview of ancient Greek civilization should look elsewhere. However, if you've already had your overview and would like to hear the perspective of a well established scholar on the ancient Greeks, then this book will be right for you.
"A little disappointed"
I recently listened to the History of Ancient Rome by Garett Fagan and was blown away. He did a fantastic job of telling the story from start to finish, level setting for those who are new to the topics and left you filled feeling quite knowledgable. Therefore, I was expecting something similar from Ancient Greek Civilization but that was not the case.
This speaker seemed to assume you had more background to begin with, bounced around a lot more and was more interested in discussing interpretations than walking you through the basic story. I think I would've enjoyed this more if I had first took a course on Ancient Greek history and listened to this afterwards. It felt more like a conversation you would have after taking such a course.
"Excellent look at Greek history"
We all know a little about Greek mythology, but most of us don't really know the chronology of Greek history. This course helps set that straight in very interesting, easy to digest lectures.
"Lots of information and lots of fluff"
I'll make this quick. The course covers Greek civilization from roughly 1100 or so BC until the conquering of Greece and Persian by Alexander the Great. The only downside to this course is the professor adds a great amount of fluff and repetition. I liked certain parts, but wish I would have downloaded the other great courses lectures on Greek Civilization.
"Not what I was hoping for."
I'm a scientist, and thus I have not had an education in ancient history but respect the Greeks for all that they brought to modern civilization. I was hoping for a much more informative review of Greek civilization. This lecture may be if interest to someone with full knowledge of Greek history, but if you don't have that background, this lecture series is not very interesting.
Lots of information that illuminates the origins of classical Greek culture and the timeline of events leading up to the Arrival of Alexander the Great.
One of the best of the Great Courses I have listened to from Audible. The instructor was interesting to listen and follow and the course was easy to follow.
The professors accent makes it an easy listen and the lectures are engaging. It was easy to keep coming back. Finished the series in about a week.
I'm obsessed with Greek culture and, no matter how much you know about it, this lecture series will interest you.
Some of the negative reviews say that there is too much interpretation going on but I don't think that's exactly fair. For instance, so little is known about Minoan Greece that it is necessary to form interpretations.
Although, my favorite lecturer on Greek culture is Elizabeth Vandiver. Try her lectures after this one - they are even better.
"Great Survey of Ancient Greece"
This survey of ancient Greek history is a comprehensive but compact review of this key civilization. With the typical back and forth between narrative and topical content, I was brought back to my undergraduate courses in this topic. This course compares most favorably with the lectures I recall from years ago.
If you want to know the key events of Ancient Greece -- this is the course for you. From Marathon to the Peloponnesian war, from Pericles to Socrates, to the strange case of the Spartans, this has it all.
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