Editor reviews

One of the most powerful and influential Empires of the Ancient world, the Roman Empire, is explored in The Great Courses' The History of Ancient Rome. This historical audiobook is skillfully narrated by Professor Garrett G. Fagan, who takes listeners through the major events and noteworthy figures, as well as a cultural exploration of this vast and resilient Empire. This book informs listeners of the historical significance this mighty Empire had on shaping the modern world we know today. It is engaging as much as it is educational. Available now from Audible.
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Summary

Even today, the influence of Ancient Rome is indelible, with Europe and the world owing this extraordinary empire a huge cultural debt in almost every important category of human endeavor, including art, architecture, engineering, language, literature, law, and religion. At the peak of its power, Rome's span was vast. In the regional, restless, and shifting history of continental Europe, the Roman Empire stands as a towering monument to scale and stability, unified in politics and law, stretching from the sands of Syria to the moors of Scotland. And it stood for almost 700 years.
In this series of 48 spirited lectures, you'll see how a small village of shepherds and farmers rose to tower over the civilized world of its day and left a permanent mark on history. In telling Rome's riveting story, Professor Fagan draws on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including recent historical and archaeological scholarship, to introduce the fascinating tale of Rome's rise and decline, including the famous events and personalities that have become so familiar: Horatius at the bridge; Hannibal crossing the Alps during Rome's life-or-death war with Carthage; Caesar being assassinated before a statue of his archrival Pompey; The doomed lovers Antony and Cleopatra; the mad and venal emperors Nero and Caligula; the conversion of Constantine.
The course also addresses one of history's greatest questions: Why did the Roman Empire fall? And you'll learn why most modern scholars believe that the empire did not "fall" at all, but, rather, changed into something very different - the less urbanized, more rural, early medieval world.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©1999 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)1999 The Great Courses
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jim Vaughan on 30-10-13

Nilli secundus! Great history, and great value!

What have the Romans ever done for us?

I struggled both in Latin and History at school. The thought then of twenty four hours of lectures on Roman history would have filled me with horror!

However, I really enjoyed this course - more like a good fireside epic of the story of Rome, the habits and customs of the Roman people, the political intrigues, religious beliefs (including conversion to Christianity) and the final decline - all of which has determined the ground of so much of our own civilisation.

Professor Fagan tells the story with charm and occasional wit, never lapsing into simply repeating dull facts, but always tying it together in a narrative that bounces along enjoyably, making it always a pleasure to look forward to the next lecture. Although it is forty eight lectures long, my feeling at the end was of having only scratched the surface of this massive subject.

However, to have such a course, containing so much good teaching, for a single audiobook credit is fantastic value.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 20-02-15

Really great it makes me want more detail.

Would you listen to The History of Ancient Rome again? Why?

I'm doing an OU course and this is great for background info and I can listen in the car. The lecturer makes it so interesting and the characters from so long ago come alive. He doesn't attempt to portray everyone as their myth and where we don't know information he says so.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Spartacus and his rebellion hold a fascination for me, however he is told here as simply a side character in the lecture on Crassus, which is a shame.

What about Professor Garrett G. Fagan’s performance did you like?

His timing and ironic comments on the chatracter of some of the people, he brings them to life.

Any additional comments?

Would definitely recommend for anyone with a love of history.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Sean on 05-10-13

Accessible

Any additional comments?

As an amateur with a long interest in Roman History I found this series highly engaging and incredibly informative.
Professor Fagan has an easy style and the content is simply brilliant. The flow of the narrative is superb and the connection to the thematic section of the course is well constructed.
I have read bits of Pliny and currently I am reading Gibbon. I feel these are works that require a solid base in Roman History prior to attacking and I now feel like I am armed to teeth thanks to this course.
Thoroughly recommended to anyone with anything from a passing interest to a life long love affair with Roman History.

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16 of 17 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Ark1836 on 02-05-17

Well-Done

Let me first preface my review by saying that I was a history major in college, and I have long had an interest in Ancient Rome. I have read many books and watched many documentaries on the topic over the decades. So, I am not a newcomer to this topic, but I still learned things in this course. The professor is cogent and organized and provides a good timeline. My main complaint is that this is a little too much of a broad survey course for such a nuanced and important part of history. The later part of Roman history especially gets short shrift, though, to his credit, the professor warns the listeners at the beginning of his intent. He justifies this at least somewhat by arguing there is a nebulous line between the end of late Roman period and the beginning of the early Medieval period. While there is an argument to be made for his approach, I wish this one of the Great Course's 60 lesson classes to give enough time to do more justice to the Imperial and late Roman periods. That being said, I will give the professor the benefit of the doubt that he did not have a say as to the length of the course.

I really liked the professor's tempo of switching between political and social history. He struck a very nice balance, which is often hard to do with many courses becoming overly dominated by one or the other.

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7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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