Read The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World by Robert Garland Online


Look beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.The past truly comes alive asLook beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts. Over the course of 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Garland covers the breadth and depth of human history from the perspective of the so-called ordinary people, from its earliest beginnings through the Middle Ages.The past truly comes alive as you take a series of imaginative leaps into the world of history's anonymous citizens, people such as a Greek soldier marching into battle in the front row of a phalanx; an Egyptian woman putting on makeup before attending an evening party with her husband; a Greek citizen relaxing at a drinking party with the likes of Socrates; a Roman slave captured in war and sent to work in the mines; and a Celtic monk scurrying away with the Book of Kells during a Viking invasion.Put yourself in the sandals of ordinary people and discover what it was like to be among history's 99%. What did these everyday people do for a living? What was their home like? What did they eat? What did they wear? What did they do to relax? What were their beliefs about marriage? Religion? The afterlife?This extraordinary journey takes you across space and time in an effort to be another person - someone with whom you might not think you have anything at all in common - and come away with an incredible sense of interconnectedness. You'll see the range of possibilities of what it means to be human, making this a journey very much worth taking.(Great Courses, #3810)...

Title : The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 16047202
Format Type : Audible Audio
Number of Pages : 379 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World Reviews

  • Petra X
    2018-11-27 05:40

    I think I've had enough of linguistics for now. But the word histories, the idea of Proto-European has reawakened my interest in ancient history and how we are connected and how we are not connected but it seems like we are. For instance, writing arose at about the same independently on several continents by people with no contact with each other. So far, and I'm up to Minoans and Myceneans it is fascinating. I'd like to find some books/lectures on palaeontological anthropology - about the earliest people, how they lived. I'm glad I discovered these Great Courses. They are fascinating. There is one bad effect though, I am finding I can't get into light biographies and fiction at all.

  • Clif Hostetler
    2018-11-30 01:38

    I found these lectures interesting because they were the product of a lecturer who has given a lot of research time to collecting information about what life was like for ordinary people in the ancient world. When I read history I often try to image what everyday life was like, but my thoughts are imaginings based on few clues or evidence. Here's a lecturer who's done the work for me.There are forty-eight lectures in this collection, and they cover history from the Paleolithic, through the ancient Mediterranean civilizations, and then on through Medieval times. I thought they were well done, and I enjoyed them very much. The following is a list of lecture titles which can give an idea of the various civilizations discussed.1 Taking on the Other Side of History2 Being Paleolithic3 Living in Mesopotamia4 Being Egyptian5 Belonging to an Egyptian Family6 Practicing Egyptian Religion7 Being a Dead Egyptian8 Being an Egyptian Worker9 Being Minoan and Mycenaean10 Being Greek11 Growing Up Greek12 Being a Greek Slave13 Being a Greek Soldier or Sailor14 Being a Greek Woman15 Relaxing Greek Style16 Being a Greek Refugee17 Being a Sick or Disabled Greek18 Practicing Greek Religion19 Being an Old Greek20 Being a Dead Greek21 Being Persian22 Living in Hellenistic Egypt23 Being Roman24 Being a Roman Slave25 Being a Roman Soldier26 Being a Roman Woman27 Being a Poor Roman28 Being a Rich Roman29 Being a Roman Celebrity30 Being a Roman Criminal31 Relaxing Roman Style32 Practicing Roman Religion33 Being Jewish under Roman Rule34 Being Christian under Roman Rule35 Being a Celt in Ancient Britain36 Being a Roman Briton37 Being Anglo-Saxon38 Being a Viking Raider39 Living under Norman Rule40 Being Medieval41 Being Poor in the Middle Ages42 Being a Medieval Woman43 Being a Medieval Christian or Heretic44 Being a Medieval Knight45 Being a Crusader46 Being a Pilgrim 47 Relaxing Medieval Style48 Daily Life Matters

  • HBalikov
    2018-12-05 06:31

    I am tired of kings and prelates and their problems. This has come at just the right time. Garland takes us from pre-history (thanks to archeology) through the Middle Ages. As time progresses, this narrative becomes a bit more Euro-centric, but the 48 lectures provide a wealth of information on the daily life of ordinary people: their work; their recreations; their religions and their communities. Garland's expertise is in the B.C.E., but he shares some wonderful aspects of the later epochs including an important analysis of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.When all is said and done, it was the similarities that I found myself pondering. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. There are so many "things" that have changed our lives but we behave in much the same way. Our need for companionship; our propensities for conflict; our search for a higher authority and thoughts of an afterlife. Each lecture is just short of half an hour. There wasn't one that I found less than informative and entertaining.

  • Rick Davis
    2018-12-15 01:50

    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be an ancient Egyptian farmer? How about a Roman gladiator, or maybe a geriatric Athenian? The 48 lectures by Robert Garland in The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World will help you put yourself in the place of countless people in the ancient world who did not happen to be famous generals, statesmen, kings, or philosophers: the ordinary folk of history. I happen to greatly enjoy books which invite the reader to enter into the lives of people from the past. Books like Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Time of Christ by Alfred Edersheim or Daily Life in Ancient Egypt by Barbara Metz offer interesting ways to explore and understand history. Books like The Brendan Voyage by Tim Severin that take an experimental archaeology approach are also great fun. If these approaches to history interest you, then Garland’s 48 lectures in this course will be like pure mental candy. That being said, the course was a bit uneven, but I’ll get to that in a moment.First off, Garland is at his best when breaking down ancient Greek and Roman culture. Just on the basis of this series, I’m planning on listening to his Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean. Every lecture about the Greeks or Romans was stellar and fantastic. Although I have a pretty strong timeline of ancient history in my head, this course helped me fill in the gaps with ideas about how the common people who were not senators, emperors, or generals lived their lives. I will probably go back and listen to some of them again before teaching ancient history to my students in the fall.However, there were also some weaknesses in the course. The lectures on living in ancient Mesopotamia were rather sparse and perfunctory. It also seemed like Garland didn’t totally “get” the Jews either. They are skimmed over rather quickly, but the powder-keg that was 1st century Judea could have afforded at least a few lectures given the widely diverse groups living there at the time.Finally, Garland admits in the course to not being a medievalist but rather an ancient historian. It shows. Throughout his discussion of the medieval period, it never seems like he manages to convey to his listeners what the medieval worldview is all about. He does a great job of being very sympathetic to the ancient Roman religion and society, making sure that we don’t judge them too harshly for things like slavery and their many superstitions and the like. However, rather than trying to get the listeners to feel the same sympathy for medieval Christianity, he often frankly expresses bewilderment about such things as how the Catholic Church could have ever wanted to persecute Cathars, and he presents it as a fairly capricious thing. He equates being a medieval peasant with being a Roman slave. (Seriously?) He talks about how you, an innocent person, could have been condemned as a witch by the Inquisition and put to death. (In reality, most killing of witches was an act of the secular authority alone. Through most of the middle ages, belief in witchcraft was condemned as superstition, and even during the late middle ages, it was the inquisition in Spain that ended witch trials because they didn’t measure up to the inquisitors’ standards for evidence. Likewise, his misconceptions about the Crusades are numerous. I’ve seen several reviews of Rodney Stark’s God’s Battalions: The Case for the Crusades which make the point that, while Stark’s information is not false per se, the view of the Crusades he is reacting against is a mere straw man as no actual historians still propagate the myths he is attacking. Well, Gardner trots out many of those very myths as historical fact and talks of the Crusades as one aspect of history that none of us as moderns could possibly identify with at all.I’m not, by the way, trying to dissuade you from listening to this lecture series. They were still wonderful. The middle ages don’t make up a huge part of the series. I’m just warning you that if you want to learn about life in the middle ages, you would be better off reading some books by Frances and Joseph Gies (or even watching Terry Jones’s television series “Medieval Lives”).So overall this is a fun series of 48 lectures for those who want a clearer picture of what it would be like to live in the past. While some parts are better than others, there is much to learn and enjoy, and Robert Garland clearly has a great love for his subject matter.

  • Jim
    2018-12-15 05:55

    Really 4.5...These lectures deal with the other, less talked about folks from ancient, classical and medieval history.Prof Garland attributes his enthusiasm for history to the unnamed 'Ginger' discovered in Egypt about 5200 years ago. Without Ginger we might not have been able to experience the entertaining and informative lectures about the other people of history. Those 'other' people are those faceless folks who lived and died in some of the most formative times of human history.These lectures are spawned from thoughts and informed conclusions about the lives of those not fortunate enough to be 1) educated enough to record lifetime events, 2) wealthy enough to have the 'free' time to spend in reflection and 3) aware enough to recognize that their lives, thoughts and feelings might ever matter. Mostly, for me, the lectures caused me to think about all those fellow humans that have lived throughout those ancient, classical and medieval times that tried desperately just to survive. It made me think about how the homeless might be remembered in 5000 years. What will our future historians say about the average laborer who provided for his family, or the single mom making ends meet, or the immigrant used car salesman who drives for Uber in his spare time. All these faces will never be the subject of an epic poem, or grace the ceiling of a grand cathedral or the floor with a heroic mosaic. In much the same way, Dr Garland has gently introduced us to those nobodies of yesteryear and has breathed (new) life into them...according to them the recognition due them, and perhaps giving them just a little of the immortality afforded heretofore only to the likes of Achilles-like famous characters.I found the lectures well-paced, clear and well-organized. The good Professor has a pleasing voice and dry sense of humor. These lectures took a long time, but it was time well spent. The lectures made me think.Highly recommended for the serious student of ancient, classical and medieval history...especially when the series is on sale, and you have a coupon handy.

  • Kirsti
    2018-11-23 07:38

    I finished it! All 48 lectures!The author is informative, entertaining, and deeply compassionate about "the other side of history" -- the history of women, slaves, soldiers, peasants, servants, artisans, farmers, townspeople, and other "ordinary" people who weren't rich or powerful. One of his other books is about celebrities in the ancient world, so he devotes some time to that topic in this series. Some people were celebrities because of their titles or money, but others became famous because they were unusually brave, beautiful, or controversial (including gladiators, acrobats, and philosophers).I actually wish this had been longer. Garland confines himself to ancient and medieval Europe and Southwest Asia. I wish he had devoted some attention to the Americas, Asia, and Australia, but those are not his areas of expertise.

  • Leopold Benedict
    2018-12-01 03:33

    I excepted micro history, but most of it is macro history concerned with great men and great events. Moreover, the author projects 21st century Western morals on ancient society - overall disappointing.

  • Lucky Bradley
    2018-12-12 07:30

    This course made me miss going to college. Professor Garland is clear, crisp and smooth with the material. I never realized how interesting it would be to have 48 lessons that cover the common person's life from Neanderthal through the medieval times.It was interesting to hear how a common person lived. Ranging from slaves, to women (sometimes one and the same, sadly more often then sometimes), to citizens, soldiers and merchants. It was interesting to hear about what their day to day lives were like, who they married and what they did when they had a day off.I have no complaints about this Great Course, and definitely no complaints about the professor. The only thing is I did wish it had more with other cultures, but that is because I knew a lot of the information from my other studies. However, that isn't a problem because of the Course.This was definitely 24 hours worth of instruction that was worth it. I am going to pick up my next set of lessons from the Great Courses immediately.

  • Karen
    2018-12-04 06:28

    Excellent seminar on the "other" side of history; instead of focusing on the usual kings, queens, pharoahs, emperors, etc., this focuses on the forgotten people that we usually don't hear about-- the peasants, the slaves, the poor/working classes, the women (other than queens and other royalty, of course-- these are the unsung and usually repressed middle/lower-class women who didn't have anywhere near as many rights and privileges as their upper-class counterparts), etc., and how they were treated and lived their daily lives through different eras and empires-- the ancient Egyptians, Greece, Roman, Middle Ages, etc. Definitely would recommend for other history buffs who've already read and know all about all the usual histories of the royals and want to learn about the average person in these historical periods who never have books written about or movies made!

  • Monika
    2018-11-28 04:46

    At first it's a little bit dry with history facts. Definitely second part of the course is much more interesting, especially when you can now compare different countries. Entertaining.

  • Travis Mueller
    2018-12-09 03:56

    2.5 stars. It was generally good and had some interesting ideas but never quite lived up to my expectations. In particular, it too often told stories from a high and distant perspective, more an overview or summary than a close look at what life would have been like. There were a few lectures, such as one on a leisurely day in the life of an Athenian citizen, that captured the feel I had been hoping for but they were sadly a minority. Another problem is that the lecturer had a very strong bias towards modern western society; being a member of such society myself it is hard to argue that it is not a nice culture to live in but too often his words seemed to contain contempt for earlier societies and a tendency to emphasize the worst aspects of life in the periods examined. He also seemed confused about the idea of life expectancy which casts some doubt on his expertise. My understanding is that low life expectancy at birth (the most commonly quoted number) reflects high infant mortality rates and that someone who survives to adulthood (perhaps late teens to 20s depending) could expect to live to about 50 or 60 depending on exact circumstances. But the lecturer tended to make it sound like it would be a miracle for people to live that long. Of course life expectancy is a hard to grok concept and his interpretation may have been more accurate that it seemed to me, but it added to the overly negative tone that I found in the work. Still, it was a good overview of daily life in earlier civilizations and had useful ideas and concepts despite its flaws.

  • Barbara
    2018-11-28 03:46

    Though styled as "the other side of history", this is largely a history from the perspective of middle-class men, focusing on the ancestors of the lecturer's chiefly American audience. The lot of women, slaves and the very poor is touched upon fairly often, but generally mentioned in passing as exceptions from the normative male experience. Two of the forty-eight lectures are devoted to the lives of women and slaves as special topics.The lecture series does have its moments, presenting, for instance, an interesting and believable account of the origins of conflict amongst Romans, Jews and Christians, but the majority of what is covered will already be familiar to anyone who has visited a few good museums. It covers a broad sweep of history, from prehistoric life to medieval times, and so has no time to get into any detail about "daily life". Or perhaps I was expecting too much and it was not time that was the limiting factor, but historical source material.All in all, a little disappointing.

  • Cathy
    2018-12-16 05:36

    Garland is an engaging lecturer and he speaks for those that we don't usually hear from: slaves, women, the non-privileged. The bizarre excesses of the rich compete with the horrors visited on the poorest (a slave thrown to eels if memory serves). I'm one of those who believes that human nature doesn't change, just circumstances. Some times I'm glad I'm old.

  • Travis Omernick
    2018-11-20 02:53

    You know its a professor and not a professional author because he constantly feels the need to trow in his own personal anecdotes. You could learn as much by reading the wiki pages of various civilizations. The most inexcusable to me is that the author cites the Bible as a source and talks about Jesus's life as if it actually happened. I quit there and probably won't go back.

  • Lindsay
    2018-11-21 04:48

    Learning about every day people in ancient times is just my kind of literary adventure. This is best ingested by listening. What a great lecturer!

  • Hank Pharis
    2018-11-26 09:49

    This was uneven. Some sections were very interesting and some were not. I also was a little put off by his dogmatic assumptions about our most ancient history.

  • Jurij Fedorov
    2018-12-13 09:39

    It's like discovering a great book or newspaper and then suddenly you see an article in the book/newspaper about your own subject of interest. You read it and see a ton of mistakes in it. Does it mean that the rest of the book/newspaper is bad too? Why do you blindly believe everything you know very little about in that specific source?Pro:A lot of interesting facts are mentioned. It's not a bad intro into basic history. If you have this lecture just laying around you should definitely check it out.Con:He is not neutral. His biases shine way too much at times. And as I am not an expert on history I kinda have a hard time guessing when he is biased or when he is just correct in his assumptions. I feel like there should be better history lectures and books out there. Not that this one was bad. It just wasn't great either. Also, it's very dry at times. It really doesn't feel like you are living in that time age when you are reading it because it's very much based on factual findings and texts and not a narration of a life in that specific time.

  • Mohammad Abu Shaban
    2018-12-09 04:38

    مجموعة من المحاضرات (48 محاضرة) حول ما يسميه المحاضر "الجانب الآخر من التاريخ"، يتناول فيها تفاصيل الحياة اليومية للناس العاديين الذين عاشوا وماتوا في القرون الغابرة دون أن تذكرهم كتب التاريخ. هؤلاء ليسوا بالقادة الفاتحين ولا من الفلاسفة أو العلماء أو الأدباء، فهم مجرد أناس عاديين يمثلون - للمفارقة - الغالبية العظمى من البشر لكننا لا نعرف عنهم إلا أقل القليل.المحاضرات ممتعة وأسلوب المحاضر مشوق وبعيد عن التعقيد. أنصح بالاستماع لها

  • Fate's Lady
    2018-12-18 07:28

    This close would more accurately be titled "Daily Life in Ancient Europe and the Mediterranean". It's interesting subject matter, but considering it skips the Americas, Asia, most of Africa, and even lots of Eastern Europe, it's a lot more limited in scope than it purports. It also gets a few things slightly wrong, probably mostly more recent discoveries, but it's a great primer anyway if you're willing to keep an open mind.

  • Sarina Madan
    2018-12-11 06:50

    This was pretty good. I kept gaining and losing interest, not due to the subject matter, but as a result of the length. I thought it was unique in that it is presented in the second person, for example 'you are a Roman soldier. You enjoy going to the local bathhouse'. <--- paraphrasing. :)The material covers all the way from the neolithic period to the medieval period (right up to Chaucer). I loved the Egyptian, Roman, and Greek sections the best.

  • Juan Manteca
    2018-12-11 06:56

    Robert Garland is a amazing and passionate author and his passion is very easily transmitted in this book. Daily life is a much needed discipline of History that need to be bigger and recognised and Garland, with his expertise, is making it easy.

  • Pat Hearps
    2018-12-15 01:54

    Was a bit slow and too detailed through Ancient Greece & Rome but found the period from collapse of the (Western) Roman Empire through to early Medieval period fascinating. But that may just be a reflection of my interests :)

  • Jack Hayne
    2018-12-12 01:50

    Good primer on ANE civilizations from Egypt to Rome. Daily life in Egypt was the most eye opening. Never have I encountered so much data on daily life, though I’m sure it is out there. Would recommend this for biblical students for background data.

  • Erin Kelly
    2018-11-24 04:38


  • Melinda
    2018-12-02 06:51

    A grand 48 episode tour through the back streets of history, hearing about all the unknown people, the little people of history. Fabulous stuff

  • Becky
    2018-11-24 01:38

    Loved this history course; listened at 1.5x as otherwise a little slow.

  • Carol
    2018-12-09 04:48

    Fascinating and brilliantly done. Prof. Garland made the details relatable from multiple perspectives.

  • Brynn Cook
    2018-12-03 07:56

    Very entertaining. Robert Garland was exceptionally enthusiastic and engaging: I will definitely be listening to this audiobook again!

  • Nichole
    2018-12-15 09:41

    I love this lecture series and I want to give Robert Garland a big hug for being so flippin endearing. Reading the other reviews, I agree with most of what people say (even sometimes the criticism) but I also want to add how great this was to listen to as a feminist. History is frustrating because you've got two layers of patriarchy to get through: the time itself, which didn't empower or record women's stories, and the modern era, which overlooks the few that do emerge and data anomalies. Garland makes an effort to really talk about what it was like being a woman in so many different societies, and it was awesome! Not just a rich woman, but a peasant, a nun, you name it. It's common for historians and anthropologists to employ strong cultural relativism, but his storytelling-style leaves room for him to say "Imagine you are a woman in Ancient Greece. Your life is probably pretty awful." It feels a lot more honest, hearing these assessments, even if I don't always agree with his views.

  • Ob-jonny
    2018-11-22 02:37

    Fantastic alternative view of history from the perspective of the vast majority of the people. The wars and kings are interesting history but the life of the common man is so much more real. It tells you what really happened there and allows you to compare it with your own life for context. I never thought of Ancient Egyptians as extremely conservative people. It's amazing that the Athenian citizens didn't work at all and were supported by the surrounding areas that had been made subservient to them. I always thought that people worked harder the further you go back in time but as it turns out that ancient people had a lot of free time assuming that you weren't a slave. There was such a large percentage of the population in the category of a slave in the classical era although life was not completely intolerable even to them. The author had a personal opinion that the best time and place to live in history was during the golden age of the Roman empire. I think that it is fascinating that the Romans had such a high quality of life so long ago and that in many respects it was a happier time then even the 1800s when society finally started catching up to the Romans. Another thing I never had considered is that there is almost no surviving records of private correspondence from ancient times. In other words, we have very few private letters, shopping lists, and descriptions of day to day life going back to ancient Greece and nothing from before. But evidence like graffiti on the walls of Pompeii give a fascinating window into everyday life. The life of women was discussed which is extremely important because it is almost completely overlooked by history. Women did not have the freedom to move around on their own even in the most enlightened civilizations like the golden ages of Greece and Rome. It was sad to learn this because it must have been hard for half of mankind to stay at home in times when there was no TV, internet, or even books for the most part. It must have been so boring. I highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in ancient history because it describes what life was really like for people in a way that is not covered by standard histories of wars and great rulers.