Ancient Empires before Alexander : The Great Courses: Ancient History

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Robert L. Dise Jr.
  • Series: The Great Courses: Ancient History
  • 18 hrs and 18 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting Material but Mediocre Delivery

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.
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- Jonathan

Like Listening to Kevin Costner on Tranquillisers

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Yes, it was worthwhile, though I got more from reading the notes alongside my Penguin Atlas of Ancient Civilisations.


Who was your favorite character and why?

I have a soft spot for the Persian rulers, given such a hard time by Herodotus.


Would you be willing to try another one of Professor Robert L. Dise Jr.’s performances?

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.


Do you think Ancient Empires before Alexander needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

If it does I would rather it was read/presented by somebody else!


Any additional comments?

Good and interesting material but only just about bearable to listen to.

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- Dr Nik Jewell

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-07-2013
  • Publisher: The Great Courses