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Summary

The Roman Republic is one of the most breathtaking civilizations in world history. Between roughly 500 BCE to the turn of the millennium, a modest city-state developed an innovative system of government and expanded into far-flung territories across Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. This powerful civilization inspired America's founding fathers, gifted us a blueprint for amazing engineering innovations, left a vital trove of myths, and has inspired the human imagination for 2,000 years.

How did Rome become so powerful? This mystery has vexed historians from the ancient Greek writer Polybius to 21st century scholars. Today, removed as we are from the Roman Republic, historians also wonder what it was like to be a Roman citizen in that amazing era. Beyond the familiar names of Romulus, Caesar, Octavian, Brutus, and Mark Antony, what was life like for the ordinary people? And what did the conquered peoples think of this world power?

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

©2018 The Teaching Company, LLC; 2018 The Great Courses

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Lecture Titles

Lecture 1 The City on the Tiber
Lecture 2 The Monarchy and the Etruscans
Lecture 3 Roman Values and Heroes
Lecture 4 The Early Republic and Rural Life.

Lecture 5 The Constitution of the Roman Republic
Lecture 6 The Unification of the Italian Peninsula.
Lecture 7 Roman Religion: Sacrifice, Augury, and Magic
Lecture 8 The First Punic War: A War at Sea

Lecture 9 The Second Punic War: Rome versus Hannibal
Lecture 10 Rome Conquers Greece.
Lecture 11 The Consequences of Roman Imperialism
Lecture 12 Roman Slavery: Cruelty and Opportunity

Lecture 13 Roman Women and Marriage
Lecture 14 Roman Children, Education, and Timekeeping.
Lecture 15 Food, Housing, and Employment in Rome.
Lecture 16 The Gracchi Attempt Reform

Lecture 17 Gaius Marius the Novus Homo
Lecture 18 Sulla the Dictator and the Social War
Lecture 19 The Era of Pompey the Great
Lecture 20 The Rise of Julius Caesar

Lecture 21 Civil War and the Assassination of Caesar
Lecture 22 Cicero and the Art of Roman Oratory
Lecture 23 Octavian, Antony, and Cleopatra.
Lecture 24 Why the Roman Republic Collapsed

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Excellent

An excellent lecture series. I wished it did not have to end. I hope there is a continuation of the series by the same lecturer.

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  • Christopher
  • 08-02-18

Very good, but doesn't stand out

This is a very solid course, and if you're new to Roman history or to The Great Courses, it would be a fine place to start.

But if you're like me – a long time fan of TGC on Audible, and something of an ancient history enthusiast – then there is not a lot here that you haven't heard already from TGC's other ancient history offerings, namely Garrett G. Fagan's excellent two-part survey course, composed of "The History of Ancient Rome" and "Emperors of Rome", and Robert Garland's course on "Daily Life in the Ancient World."

Though the focus here is on just why the Roman republic became so powerful (And it IS just about the republic – it leaves off right as Octavian/Augustus seizes power, whereas a lecture on the "Rise of Rome" really ought to take you through at least to Trajan.), it's really not much more than another (admittedly very decent) survey course of Roman history. And that's a bit of a shame, as Aldrete has written books on such specific things as Greek linen body armor and floods of the Tiber in antiquity. TGC's ancient history offerings could use more specificity of focus, and Aldrete is perfectly qualified to give that to us… But that's not what happened.

To sum up: it's a perfectly enjoyable course, but don't expect any major revelations if you're already familiar with the subject.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-03-18

Great for the Beginner

If you're entirely new to the history of the Roman Republic, pick this course up. It's a fine introductory survey that covers Rome's early history right up to the reign of Augustus. However, if you're already steeped in Roman history, you might not find anything fresh or exciting. Aldrete is a fine lecturer and an obvious master of the subject, though, and I have no complaints against him.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Helen Spalding
  • 06-07-18

Engaging, Insightful, Prescient

Ancient history has much to teach us about present history. Rome is often remembered best as an Empire which dominated the Mediterranean basin for nearly a thousand years. However, for half of that time, Rome was a republic -- the people elected representatives to run the gov't. Alas, that system broke down and fell apart only to pick itself up again but as a dictatorship under the authority of the emperor.

How did that happen? In this short course, you will be exposed to what went wrong and how it went wrong and when it started going wrong.

As I read the headlines, I see similar signs in our own fracturing republic. Here is how we can actually learn from history rather than being doomed to repeat it.

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  • Tyler Lacovara
  • 22-05-18

Interesting & Informative

This helped me get through weeks of commuting. Rome is a fascinating subject and this book does a great job of making information accessible and interesting.

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  • R. Williams
  • 14-05-18

great survey with some thought thrown in

Gibbon considered the decline of the empire. this course wonders what made the Republic fall. The framing in the work of Polybius is a great idea, but ultimately the conceptual material kind of burns up on reenetry and we get the soggy hope that maybe the Roman's doom can instruct us... still worthwhile.

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  • Bryan
  • 18-04-18

How Rome got to be an Empire

This is a wonderful set of lectures on how Rome started and then grew to the point of Imperium.. Dr. Aldrete knows his material and presents it very effectively. How did a small city surrounded by hills end up controlling so much of the world? The customs, laws, education, military, and government structures are discussed and explained in this wonderful series.

Definitely a great overview of the Roman Republic and a treat to listen to.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-03-18

loved every minute!

Couldn't stop listening to it! Never had the idea to make history come alive by simply pausing for moments of reflection - these lectures do it perfectly!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • John S. Tillinghast
  • 26-03-18

Fascinating history of the Roman Republic.

I listen to this course every day on the way to and from work and I didn't want it to end. There was a lot in here that I hadn't heard of before, and eras and topics that they don't make movies about.
The narration was great by the way.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 24-03-18

very good

this book was very good I would suggest it to anyone you will like it

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  • John Pinkerton
  • 23-03-18

An Easy Entry Course

This is a great course with the quality that one comes to expect, but will be very remedial if you've listened to other courses on the topic. I would note that the professor is an excellent speaker who does a great job presenting the course, and it DOES develop certain individuals a bit better than some others, but it's certainly not an overall standout. If you're interested in Roman history and want something a little more in-depth, I enormously recommend the two courses presented by Professor Garrett G. Fagan. Those two courses (The History of Ancient Rome and Emperors of Rome) present essentially all of the information detailed here and more, albeit in two courses.