History of Ancient Rome

Course No. 340
Professor Garrett G. Fagan, Ph.D.
The Pennsylvania State University
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Course No. 340
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Course Overview

There are many reasons to study ancient Rome. 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. At its height, the Roman Empire, unified in politics and law, stretched from the sands of Syria to the moors of Scotland, and it stood for almost 700 years.

Rome's influence is indelible. Europe and the world owe a huge cultural debt to Rome in so many fields of human endeavor, such as art, architecture, engineering, language, literature, law, and religion. In this course you see how a small village of shepherds and farmers rose to tower over the civilized world of its day and left an indelible mark on history.

Rome's story is riveting. Professor Garrett G. 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. You learn about all the famous events and personalities:

  • Horatius at the bridge
  • Hannibal crossing the Alps during Rome's life-or-death war with Carthage
  • Caesar assassinated before a statue of his archrival Pompey
  • Doomed lovers Antony and Cleopatra
  • Mad and venal emperors Nero and Caligula
  • The conversion of Constantine, and more.

From pre-Roman Italy through the long centuries of Republican and then Imperial rule, Professor Fagan interweaves narrative and analysis. Chronologically, the focus is on the years from 200 B.C.E. to 200 A.D., when Roman power was at its height.

The narrative of the rise and fall of Rome is itself compelling, and Professor Fagan's richly detailed and often humorous discussions of Roman life are uniquely memorable. You study women and the family, slaves, cities, religious customs, the ubiquitous and beloved institution of public bathing, the deep cultural impact of Hellenism, and such famous Roman amusements as chariot racing and gladiatorial games.

"Images and themes derived from or rooted in ancient Rome continue to exert an influence on the modern mind," says Professor Fagan. "Unlike many ancient states, Rome changed hugely in many spheres over the course of its 1,500-year history, and thus the history of Rome is an engaging, complex, and challenging subject."

From Village to Monarchy to Republic

The first 10 lectures of this course map the development of a group of preliterate hamlets into the Roman Republic. In them, you learn about:

  • The nature of the historical evidence for antiquity
  • The geopolitical and cultural shape of pre-Roman Italy
  • The foundation legends of Rome itself
  • The cycle of stories that surrounds the kings of Rome
  • The shape of early Roman society
  • The fall of the monarchy at Rome and the foundation, in its wake, of the Republic (traditionally dated to 509 B.C.E.).

These lectures examine two major forces that shaped the early Republic: the Struggle of the Orders and Roman military expansion in Italy. The lectures also explain how the Romans ruled their conquered territories in Italy, setting the foundations for the later acquisition and maintenance of the Empire.

Early Expansion and Rapid Collision

Moving outside of Italy, you next explore the expansion of Roman power in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C.E.

In two lectures Professor Fagan charts the course of the Romans' first two titanic struggles with their archrival in the west, Carthage.

In these wars, the Romans developed a large-scale navy, sent armies overseas, acquired foreign territories, and displayed what was to become one of their chief characteristics: a dogged determination to prevail, even in the face of seemingly impossible odds. This was particularly clear in the Second Punic War, when the gifted Carthaginian general Hannibal roamed freely in Italy, threatening the city of Rome itself.

Greek Influence and Roman Government

In Lectures 16–19, Professor Fagan pauses the narrative to examine the influence of Greek culture on Rome and the nature of the Roman Republican system of government.

This latter system—complex and replete with archaisms and redundancies—has influenced the form of several modern policies, including that of the United States.

Finally, Professor Fagan examines the pressures of empire on Roman society, charting considerable social, economic, and political changes brought about by Rome's overseas expansion. On the rocks of these pressures, the Republic was destined to founder.

The Roman Revolution

Lectures 20–27 follow the course of what modern scholars have termed the "Roman Revolution."

In the century between 133 and 31 B.C.E., the Roman Republic tore itself apart. It is a period of dramatic political and military developments, of ambitious generals challenging the authority of the state, of civil wars and vicious violence, and of some of the first great personalities of European history: Marius, Sulla, Pompey, and Julius Caesar.

The story is intriguing, complicated, and at times horrendous, and it illustrates perfectly the historical principle of contingency. With a few exceptions, each protagonist in the drama of the Revolution acted within the bounds of necessity or precedent, and thereby set new and dangerous precedents for later protagonists to follow.

In this way, the Roman Revolution was not a staged or planned event, but a cumulative snowball of crises that combined to shatter the system of Republican government.

After pausing to examine the social and cultural life of the Late Republic, you return to the last phases of the Revolution and the rise to power of the man who was to become Rome's first emperor, Augustus.

The Roman Empire

Lectures 31–33 examine the long reign of Augustus (31 B.C.E.–14 A.D.) and his new political order, the Principate. The Principate stood for centuries and brought stability and good government in a way that the old Republic could not.

Augustus's solution to the Republic's problems was clever and subtle. It also had a flaw at its core—the issue of succession—and what happened when an emperor died was to prove the single most destabilizing factor in the Principate's existence.

The next three lectures cover the early Imperial period, from the death of Augustus to the instability of the 3rd century. This is the era of such familiar Roman historical figures as Caligula, Claudius, Nero, and Hadrian.

Finally, Professor Fagan shows how the problem of the succession combined with ominous developments among Rome's external enemies in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. to generate a period of great crisis, indeed near-collapse, in the mid-3rd century A.D.

Life in Classical Rome

Leaving the Empire under pressure, Professor Fagan considers life in classical Roman civilization in nine lectures. He explores the broad shape of Roman society, slavery, the Roman family, the role of women in Roman society, urbanism, public leisure and mass entertainment, paganism, and the rise of Christianity.

The End and a New Beginning

To conclude the course, the final three lectures return to the Empire's last centuries. The Empire is restored to order and stability at the end of the 3rd century, but under an increasingly oppressive government.

The institutionalization of Christianity to legitimize Imperial power and a more openly autocratic regime created, in many ways, a Roman Empire closer to medieval Europe than to the Empire of Augustus. As such, the later Empire is treated only in general terms here, since it warrants closer study by itself.

The course ends with one of the great questions in history: Why did the Roman Empire fall? We see how, in the eyes of most modern scholars, the Empire did not fall at all but just changed into something very different, a less urbanized, more rural, early medieval world.

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48 lectures
 |  Average 29 minutes each
  • 1
    Introduction
    What makes ancient Rome so important and fascinating? This lecture describes the thematic, chronological, and geographical parameters of our foray into this engaging, complex, and challenging topic. How does the history of ancient times and peoples differ from "typical" historical study? x
  • 2
    The Sources
    How ought we to assess the sorts of evidence available from the ancient world? What are the strengths—and limitations—of such evidence? x
  • 3
    Pre-Roman Italy and the Etruscans
    In pre-Roman times, the Italian peninsula was inhabited mainly by tribal peoples. The two major exceptions were the Greek colonizers in southern Italy and Sicily, and the Etruscans just north of Rome. Etruscan civilization is thought to be mysterious, but really it's not. Find out why. x
  • 4
    The Foundation of Rome
    Two stories of Rome's founding, of Romulus and Remus, and of Aeneas, are discussed. What does the archaeological evidence say? x
  • 5
    The Kings of Rome
    According to tradition, Rome's early rulers from Romulus to Tarquinius Superbus were kings. How were the slender sources concerning the deeds of these kings later used to explain Rome's early formation? Did the Etruscans "dominate" Rome under the last three kings? x
  • 6
    Regal Society
    What was early Roman society like? Moreover, what were the contours of government and politics on the eve of the Republic's foundation? x
  • 7
    The Beginnings of the Republic
    With the expulsion of the kings in 509 B.C., Rome became a republic. What do modern scholars think about the traditional tale of the Republic's founding? x
  • 8
    The Struggle of the Orders
    This sociopolitical conflict dominated Rome's domestic political life from 494 to 287 B.C. What was at stake in this contest? How did its resolution reshape the Roman Republic? x
  • 9
    Roman Expansion in Italy
    The Roman conquest of Italy was a long and arduous business. We chart the outline of this expansion in three phases that were not without reverses for the Romans. We examine the ramifications of expansion for Roman politics and society. x
  • 10
    The Roman Confederation in Italy
    Did the Romans administer their conquests in Italy? The complex, hierarchical system that they devised goes a long way toward explaining the longevity of the Roman Empire. x
  • 11
    The International Scene on the Eve of Roman Expansion
    What was the geopolitical situation as Rome began building its overseas empire in 264 B.C.? How did the land-based Romans emerge from Italy to defeat formidable maritime rivals? x
  • 12
    Carthage and the First Punic War
    Conflict with sea-going Carthage marked the beginning of Rome's rise to world power. We begin our survey of the first phase of that rise by describing the Carthaginian state. We discuss the course of the First Punic War and the ramifications of Rome's victory for both protagonists. x
  • 13
    The Second Punic (or Hannibalic) War
    We examine the causes, course, and consequences of one of European history's most famous conflicts: the Second Punic, or Hannibalic, War of 218 to 202 B.C. What made this a life-and-death struggle for both belligerents? x
  • 14
    Rome in the Eastern Mediterranean
    Despite having to contend against culturally advanced and formidable rivals with superior resources, Rome became the most powerful state in the entire Mediterranean basin in just the half-century following the Second Punic War. x
  • 15
    Explaining the Rise of the Roman Empire
    The works of Polybius are the oldest historical writings about ancient Rome. Follow in his footsteps by analyzing how the Romans built the biggest and best fighting machine in the ancient world, and by pondering why the Roman march of conquest took place at all. x
  • 16
    “The Captured Conqueror”—Rome and Hellenism
    "Captured Greece," said Horace, "has captured her savage conqueror." How did the rapid Hellenization of the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. affect the Romans? What were its long-term effects on both Roman and European history? x
  • 17
    Governing the Roman Republic, Part I—Senate and Magistrates
    The Roman Republic has been much studied and imitated. What were the key elements and practices of this famous system of government? How did it reflect the dual nature of the Romans, a people at once highly traditional and yet open to innovation? x
  • 18
    Governing the Roman Republic, Part II—Popular Assemblies and Provincial Administration
    Although nominally democratic, the Roman Republic was in fact an oligarchy controlled by a handful of influential families. What accounts for this? How were the popular assemblies constituted and operated? How did the Republic handle the administration of Rome's vast empire? x
  • 19
    The Pressures of Empire
    What pressures did the rapid expansion and great extent of the Empire place on the Republic? How, for instance, did imperial issues contribute to the looming Roman Revolution? x
  • 20
    The Gracchi Brothers
    The Roman Revolution was unplanned but had a definite starting point: the tribunates of Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. The revolution's end left Rome a monarchy once again, but one shrouded in republican vestments. The story of these dramatic and often horrifying events occupies this and the next 12 lectures. x
  • 21
    Marius and Sulla
    Not long after the demise of the Gracchi, C. Marius, an unknown "new man" in the Senate, would rise to power. The animosity between Marius and his rival Sulla would quicken the pace of the revolution. x
  • 22
    "The Royal Rule of Sulla"
    Sulla acquired power by violence and then revived the long-dormant office of dictator. What were the contents and motives of Sulla's dictatorial legislation? What does his career mean in the broader context of the revolution? Why was he doomed to fail? x
  • 23
    Sulla's Reforms Undone
    The years following Sulla's death and the drama of the Republic's collapse saw the emergence of new players: Pompey and Crassus. Using disturbances at home and abroad to advance themselves, these men terminated the remaining threads of the Sullan "Restoration." x
  • 24
    Pompey and Crassus
    As Pompey became a popular hero, a jealous and fearful Crassus began to aid the rise of a little-known noble youth named Julius Caesar. Catiline's desperate coup attempt (63 B.C.) shows how the Republican order was unraveling. x
  • 25
    The First Triumvirate
    This coalition of Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar effectively ended the Republic. Now the three most powerful and ruthless protagonists were playing on the same side, with the Senate and tradition on the other. x
  • 26
    Pompey and Caesar
    After the death of Crassus in 53 B.C., his two imposing colleagues began their fateful rivalry. It would intensify over the next 10 years until full-scale civil war broke out in 49 B.C. x
  • 27
    "The Domination of Caesar"
    How did Caesar gain sole control of the Roman world? How did he reveal the full extent of his genius despite the briefness of his ascendancy? What moved Brutus, Cassius, and their small band of senators to assassinate him? x
  • 28
    Social and Cultural Life in the Late Republic
    Review the age of the poet Catullus, the historian Sallust, and the orator Cicero, the greatest craftsman of the Latin language who ever lived. Look also at the plight of the city's poor during an age of political upheaval. x
  • 29
    Antony and Octavian
    Caesar's murder plunged the Roman world into renewed uncertainty. What were the contours of the struggle between Mark Antony, Caesar's right-hand man, and Octavian, Caesar's 18-year-old grandnephew, adopted son, and designated heir? x
  • 30
    The Second Triumvirate
    Along with Lepidus, Antony and Octavian formed the Second Triumvirate about 20 months after Caesar's assassination. The Triumvirate would dominate Roman politics for the next 10 years, but like its predecessor, it was fraught with tensions. x
  • 31
    Octavian Emerges Supreme
    How did Octavian overcome his initial unpopularity in the west and gain an edge on his rival Antony? How did the power struggle between the two play out, and what did the victorious Octavian do once he became undisputed ruler of the entire Roman world? x
  • 32
    The New Order of Augustus
    Octavian, later known as Caesar Augustus, ruled from 31 B.C. to his death in A.D. 14. How did he manage, during this half-century, to forge a basis for governance that gave Rome's crumbling authority a new lease on life? What did he learn from Caesar's mistakes, and what serious problems did his new "Principate" system leave unsolved? x
  • 33
    The Imperial Succession
    Technically, the Principate was not hereditary. How, then, could Augustus forestall the power struggle that his death might occasion? x
  • 34
    The Julio-Claudian Dynasty
    Thanks to the masterful histories of Tacitus and the racy biographies of Suetonius, the Julio-Claudian (A.D. 14–68) is the best documented of all the Roman imperial dynasties. It has given us these intriguing figures: brooding Tiberius, the mad Caligula, the dithering but wily Claudius, and the megalomaniacal Nero. x
  • 35
    The Emperor in the Roman World
    As the Augustan vision continued to cloud over, the Principate became increasingly autocratic. The uncertainties of succession were dealt with effectively only by chance. Then we ask: How much effect did even the most energetic emperors have on the actual running of the empire? x
  • 36
    The Third-Century Crisis
    Despite the accomplishments of the Antonine Dynasty, the succession problem sparked a major civil war in the A.D. 190s. Then the collapse of the Severan Dynasty in A.D. 235 brought yet another internecine broil, this one lasting 50 years. What were the origins and nature of these crises? What did the combination of external enemies and the internal succession problem mean for the Empire? x
  • 37
    The Shape of Roman Society
    What are the major societal and cultural themes of the "central period" of Roman history (roughly 200 B.C. to A.D. 200)? Why were Romans so preoccupied with status? How did the law reinforce these arrangements? x
  • 38
    Roman Slavery
    Viewing the broad sweep of human history, we cannot ignore the disturbing fact that for most societies most of the time, slavery has been the norm rather than the exception. Roman slavery, however, was rather unusual. What made it so? Was it escapable? Where did the Romans get their slaves? What was a slave's life like? What became of ex-slaves? x
  • 39
    The Family
    The basic unit of Roman society was the family. What did the Romans understand by "family"? How did their understanding differ from the one that we commonly hold today? x
  • 40
    Women in Roman Society
    Despite being officially barred from public life, many Roman women gained power, prestige, and influence, albeit largely through their men. The situation among the lower orders, more difficult to discern, closes out the lecture. x
  • 41
    An Empire of Cities
    Despite the overwhelmingly agricultural nature of most people's lives in the Empire, urbanization is what characterized Roman civilization. In this lecture we look at the Empire's cities: their organization, administration, and physical form. x
  • 42
    Public Entertainment, Part I—The Roman Baths and Chariot Racing
    Among ancient peoples the Romans were the first to develop a genuine culture of public leisure and mass entertainment. The provision of "conveniences" (commoda) for the enjoyment of the masses was seen as a cardinal benefit of the imperial and local administrations. Two such commoda were the public baths and the chariot races. What were these like? x
  • 43
    Public Entertainment, Part II—Gladiatorial Games
    Fighting to the death before huge and bloodthirsty crowds, the Roman gladiator still fascinates us today. Who were the gladiators? How were they selected and trained? How should we understand gladiatorial violence in light of Roman urbanity and sophistication? x
  • 44
    Roman Paganism
    Roman paganism focused heavily on ritual. The state gods were powerful, aloof, and capricious rulers of nature and human life. The chief concerns of the worshipper were to placate and supplicate these deities, and to divine their dispositions. x
  • 45
    The Rise of Christianity
    Within three centuries of its founding, Christianity had survived occasional persecution and prevailed as the Empire's official religion. Within five centuries it had stamped out the age-old pagan rites altogether, and today it remains the single, most direct link to the Roman past. x
  • 46
    The Restoration of Order
    Between 270 and 305, a remarkable series of emperors reversed the Empire's decay. How did Diocletian, the greatest of these, redefine the emperorship and push through other reforms? x
  • 47
    Constantine and the Late Empire
    The Emperor Constantine oversaw the founding of Constantinople and began the institutionalization of Christianity as the Empire's official religion. Events under later and less-visionary emperors are also examined. x
  • 48
    Thoughts on the "Fall" of the Roman Empire
    Why was the world so shocked when the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410? How did barbarians come to settle portions of the Western Empire during the next century? Why is the Empire's "fall" traditionally dated to 476? Is "fall" even the right word? x

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  • 222-page printed course guidebook
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  • 222-page printed course guidebook
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Your professor

Garrett G. Fagan

About Your Professor

Garrett G. Fagan, Ph.D.
The Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Garrett G. Fagan is Professor of Ancient History at The Pennsylvania State University, where he has taught since 1996. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, and educated at Trinity College. He earned his Ph.D. from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, and has held teaching positions at McMaster University, York University (Canada), and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Davidson College. In all of these...
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Reviews

History of Ancient Rome is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 148.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Zard Review of History of Ancient Rome I have decided to study up on ancient Rome so I started with this course. I got everything I wanted out of it. As you can imagine it was an extensive history course because it starts somewhere around 700 BC and ends in 1452 AD but Dr. Fagan kept it all tied together and picked out the relevant parts over such a large expanse of history especially after the 4th century AD. I would start off each new lecture by watching the last quarter section of the previous lecture and that helped me to remember what had just transpired before diving into the new lecture. it took a bit longer but it was more fun and informative. I even replayed certain lectures because they were complicated and key to history such as the rise of Christianity sections. I forgot that I had watched Dr. Fagan's course on Great Battles of the Ancient World, so after completing the Roman History series I re-watched the first two lectures of the Great Battle series (What is War and What Makes it a War?# then I re-watched the lectures pertaining to Rome which was the last part of the series. That added more meat to the Roman History Lectures. I am now watching the "Famous Roman" lectures and then will go onto "Emperors of Rome" and then I have a few more series after that. I am looking forward to the whole the learning process. Bottom line for the Roman History series is that it was: 1. Informative 2. Entertaining and 3. Fun The only negative I would say about Dr. Fagan #not the course) was that I got the feeling that this was a new lecture for him because he kept referring to his notes and it sometimes interrupted the flow of the lecture. I like it when the professors talk in a flowing style because it helps to keep it altogether and you do not get distracted by the style. That being said I still like Dr. Fagan's style of lecture because he has a certain irreverence, gives you the pros and cons of the validity of the data he is presenting and he has a bit of dark humor about him which I like.
Date published: 2014-10-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Good Topic Marred by Poor Delivery I'm fascinated by ancient Rome and the history of ancient Rome and looked forward to this course, especially since I'd viewed courses by the same lecturer. This was a disappointment since the lecturer did not seem in command of his material -- he spoke haltingly, was terribly repetitious, and continually was hesitating and going back to his notes. I cannot recommend this course.
Date published: 2014-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Survey Course on Acient Roman Historoy LECTURER This is my first course given by professor Fagan. I found his teaching style, in general, to be very engaging. It is very evident that he is trying to make the lectures enjoyable by treating them more as a story-telling sessions than as lectures. For the most part, I believe that he succeeds very nicely indeed. He frequently adds a dose of ironic humor to the lectures to make them more fun to listen to. I was particularly amused when he offers the explanation that research of ancient history is rewarding because it pays very nicely. If only I had known when I was planning my career perhaps I would have chosen differently... CONTENT The course covers a HUGE expanse of history - from about 750 BC to about 450 AD - the end of the Western roman Empire. The course covers some of these eras in quite fine detail, while others are touched upon only briefly. THE EARLY MONARCHS: The course starts by describing the different tribes and regions close to the city of Rome at about 750 BC, and how Rome came to conquer them and merge them into an early empire. This is the era of the early kings, and it is touched upon quite briefly in the course, perhaps because the sources are quite lacking in this era. THE EARLY ROMAN REPUBLIC: The heart of the course is dedicated to the era of the Roman republic - starting from 509 BC with the expulsion of the kings. The struggle between - the Plebeians and the Patricians orders is discussed and presented as a catalyst for creating the first house of legislation in the Roman Empire. Professor Fagan dives quite deeply in explaining the republican governance mechanisms that were put in place to administer the ever expanding Roman Empire. The Punic wars are discussed in detail, including Hannibal’s campaign of terror in the North of Italy which I found particularly interesting. Finally, Rome's attitude towards Hellenism, at once conquering the Hellenistic empire while culturally being conquered in some respect by the Hellenistic culture, is discussed at length. THE ROMAN REVOLUTION: the course dives deeply to describe how the Roman revolution came about primarily because of class inequality. A turbulent, violent, and historically fascinating period is to follow, including some of the best known figures of Roman history - Julius Caesar, Pompey, Mark Antony, and Octavian (later Augustus) among others serving as some of the central figures. THE EMPERIAL ORDER: Professor Fagan analyzes the new imperial order prescribed by Augustus in which there is one emperor but there are still many remnants of the republican governance mechanisms, the emperor being the first among equals. The main vulnerability of this order - the question of succession – is also analyzed. The description of the rest of the historical narrative from this point on until the fall of the Western empire is really quite sketchy, and I feel is not really well covered. I understand that Professor Fagan's other course "Emperors of Rome" does cover this period quite well. I will have to check... THEMATIC DESCRIPTIONS: The rest of the lectures except those given to sketchy historical narratives are dedicated to different themes of Roman imperial culture, such as Family life, the role of women, slavery, public entertainment and religion to name just a few. I found these lectures particularly interesting and feel that these topics were covered quite well. Perhaps it would have been a good idea to leave off the historical narrative after the death of Augustus and turn the course into a shorter lecture series. I believe that the periods after the death of Augustus did not get proper coverage and one will have to refer to other courses to get a good understanding of these periods anyway. Other than that - a very fine course....
Date published: 2014-03-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Methods of Historical Inquiry Prof. Fagan's overview of methods of historical inquiry (positivistic, new history and "postmodern") lacks the most basic level of seriousness and accuracy. I didn't purchase this DVD set to watch a comedian deliver tendentious information. Unfortunately, the lecturer's carefully placed smirks only reveal his appalling level of ignorance in this area.
Date published: 2014-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Salted with Wit! Peppered with Great Storytelling! Everyone loves a story, and this course tackles one of the most enduring and fascinating stories in recorded history: the rise and fall of ancient Rome. Professor Garrett G. Fagan traces the origins of Roman civilization from the earliest period of monarchy to the rise-and-fall of the Republic, to the ascension of Augustus as Rome’s first emperor to the enigmatic “fall” of Rome traditionally dated as 476 CE. The course provides especially detailed coverage of the period of the Roman Republic. The lecturer addresses the major social and political developments with clear explanations of Rome’s unwritten constitution, as it evolved over hundreds of years. The period that received the most intensive scrutiny was the crisis that resulted from Rome’s expansion after the Punic Wars, leading to the rise of powerful generals and the ultimate collapse of the Republic. The key players (Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Crassus, Julius Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Mark Antony, and Octavian) are covered in great detail. While the course does not offer indepth analysis of the period of the Roman Empire, Professor Fagan has prepared another Great Course that addresses the Roman emperors. Taken together, the two courses offer a comprehensive introduction to the history of Rome. Professor Fagan frequently refers to the evolution of the Roman Republic as “our story,” and he is a marvelous storyteller indeed. The lectures are always lively and fact-filled. I especially appreciated the detailed Course Guidebook that included thorough outlines, timelines, glossary, and definitions of key terms. The timelines were useful in following the ebb and flow of so much Roman history spanning forty-eight lectures. Above all, each of the printed outlines served as a lucid capsule for the lecture. Toward the end of the course, there was a subset of lectures on thematic issues of Roman society, including slavery, family systems, women, baths, chariot racing, and gladiatorial events. But the course as a whole continually explores the vast array of Roman culture. There emerges a profile of Roman civilization that was virtually unlimited in its scope and ambition. The Romans were skillful at adapting Greek ideas and religion to fit their needs. They were practical and shrewd in matters of administration. They had a genius for problem-solving in monumental architecture, engineering, the uses of concrete and the arch, calendar reform, deadly precision in all things military, and meticulous in city planning. No task was too small or too large for those practical Romans! After completing this course, it is impossible not to get excited about the breadth of learning conveyed in this series. The Romans had an inestimable influence on future ages, including the founding fathers of the American Republic. From these lectures, it becomes apparent how the framers of our Constitution ingeniously modified the Roman system with our three separate branches of government. The creative concept of the joint, bicameral houses of Congress led to a legislative system in the United States that overcame the fatal flaw in the Roman system that placed the Senate in an adversarial relationship with the popular Assembly. Time and again, this course reveals the remarkable parallels with Roman civilization and our own. From politics to the theater, from an addiction to violent sports to tabloid stories of the rich and famous, the world of ancient Rome seems much closer to us than the temporal distance of two thousand years. Much of what owe to the Romans is revealed in surprising ways in these lectures. While providing a brief tour of the great monuments of Washington, D.C., Professor Fagan suddenly exclaims, “Those buildings aren’t Greek; they are Roman!” COURSE GRADE: A
Date published: 2014-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Professor! Wonderful Presentation! Professor Garrett Fagan is a wonderful professor! His oral presentation of the lengthy and complex history of ancient Rome is so very easy to understand and enjoy because it is actually a series of highly entertaining and interesting historical stories, vivid verbal imagery, and fascinating and insightful analysis. Professor Fagan's oral presentation is so articulate and easy to follow that listening to his lectures is almost the same as reading a really good book, yet, at the same time, his oral presentation seems so friendly and accessible that you think how enjoyable it would be to sit down and have a conversation with him in person.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dr. Fagan's lectures are well organized and superbly clear. Sometimes, however, his manner of delivery is a little dry, and his "thematic" lectures (e.g., The Roman Family) are less than stimulating. That said, I learned a lot from Dr. Fagan.
Date published: 2013-10-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Absorbing Favorite AUDIO This is one of my earliest Teaching Company courses, 2001 audio tapes. Professor Fagan and his Irish accent proved a great companion to me originally on many long drives to fishing and hiking destinations. I liked his course so much, I recently upgraded to the CD version so I could extend its usefulness to me. Sure, ‘The History of Ancient Rome’ was issued in 1999 and some might hanker for the latest scholarship, but this course remains a great introduction to the subject. Professor Fagan is a well-organized and careful presenter, keeping his audience in mind throughout, avoiding bogs of detail and honing in on the most important matters. I especially appreciate his treatment of social and cultural history, including slavery, the family, Roman baths, chariot racing, and gladiatorial games (especially interesting and enlightening to me), as well as the expected treatment, for example, of wars, Gracchi brothers, Sulla, Caesar, Augustus, the rise of Christianity, and the “fall” of Rome. Professor Fagan demonstrates throughout that he is a master of the period and ably shares many important insights that, for me, led to a much better understanding of Ancient Rome. The only quibble I have regards the lectures on governing the Republic, which requires really close attention when the various offices, positions, and bodies are described. Maybe it’s just me, but I needed to go back to the course guide several times to be sure I understood how they all fit together (or not). But that’s a really minor issue. If you are interested in learning about ancient Rome, this is the course for you. I give this course two thumbs up as well as five stars!
Date published: 2013-10-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from In search of Pax Romana This is a survey course (audio download) about the (ancient) history of Rome and not intended as an in depth study of all of ancient Rome's very complicated history. Dr Fagan presents a no-nonsense series of lectures that provides the basis for understanding the social, political and military evolution of possibly the most important and successful civilization of the western world. From monarchy to republic to empire the Roman models have been repeated...mostly by the 'bad guys'...in efforts to achieve the glory Rome had attained. And the Romans did indeed know how to be the bad guys. They conquered the world, but did they ever truly conquer themselves...or just survive from one civil war to the next? The US has had but one civil war in our 200+ years, and we continue reliving parts of that tradegy to this day. How must it have been for the Romans? I will not provide here a rehash of the lectures...it has already been done. But what I will provide is a recommendation for these lectures, especially if you can follow along in the notes. The DVD format may be a better choice, if you can afford it. Hope that helps.
Date published: 2013-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Teaching Company at its Best I have listened to or watched over 150 Teaching Company courses, and I have liked many, but disliked many, too (I have noticed a decline in their overall quality in the last five years (pedantic or over-stylized speakers and hastily assembled products)). This course, however, was built to their original standards. The lecture is well delivered--noting that I thought Prof Fagan's Ancient Battles course was superficial and under-researched, I did not have high expectations. I was happily surprised to find a 48 lecture survey course that offered sufficient depth in many interesting facets of ancient Rome. It was well-researched and organized. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Listening to it on my commute to and from work, I frequently did not want to get out of my car when I arrived. I can offer no higher endorsement.
Date published: 2013-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Objective Scholarship; Humble Scholarship I find most of The Great Courses to be outstanding, ranking quality of scholarship and quality of teaching (organization, communication, getting the point across) high. Nevertheless, I almost always find that scholars offered up through The Great Courses have at least one ax to grind that compromises their scholarship to some degree. Typically, what trips up the scholars is animus towards Christianity specifically, and the hold that Christian thought retains on Western thought generally. I think many scholars feel obliged to slam Christianity as a means of demonstrating obeisance to the doggedly secular paradigm in higher education in America, and/or in a real attempt to lend a hand in the total demise of the influence of Christian dogma on Western culture. Now, I have no problem with freedom of thought, and people are free to believe what they like about the gospel, but to allow antipathy toward God to inform one's scholarship is to, by definition, give bias a standing at the lectern. As Professor Garrett G. Fagan points out in Lecture 47 of this course, Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, is arguably the most important, historically, of all the Roman emperors, so Fagan has plenty of opportunity in Lecture 47, and other lectures in this course, to make digs at Christianity, but he does not. He remains objective regarding Christianity and Rome, as he does when covering all the other thematic history of Rome. For this reason alone I am disposed to give Fagan a high mark, but there are other good reasons to score this course highly. I appreciated Fagan's approach to delivering the material - roughly half was presented chronologically, the remainder thematically. Not only did this avert tedium, it make good sense to do so. Fagan made, as far as I'm concerned, wise choices about which material to cover in-depth, and which to skim. It was apparent to me that Fagan is a master of this subject and thus was able to seemingly effortlessly manage the huge volume of material - the master's touch. Yet, despite his mastery, Fagan never comes across as self-satisfied; he seems a humble servant of the truth, as far as he ( or any of us) can know it. I did not watch this course, I listened to the audio download version and I read some complaints that apparently some persons found that in the visual presentation, Fagan came across as, at times, uncertain, or halting. I never had that impression while listening, and perhaps those complaints stem from some physical mannerisms of the professor at the lectern that are distracting. This is, hand's down, one the finest of the Great Courses I have purchased.
Date published: 2013-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Foundational Course Professor Fagan's "History of Ancient Rome" provides and excellent overview of Roman history from pre-Roman times to the putative "fall of Rome" in 476 CE. One finds in this course, not just a mere recitation of facts, but a forceful historical narrative and a "nuts and bolts" look at the machinery, architecture and evolution of Roman law and government through the sprawl of more than 1,000 years of history. The video version includes a profusion of relevant photos and helpful on-screen graphics to facilitate study and retention of the material. For my money, the amount and importance of the graphics is understated in the course description. I notice in fanning through this course and others that a considerable number of earlier TTC "classics" are apparently on the chopping block, being listed as "No longer available." If you are new to TTC or are a seasoned TTC customer who haven't got around to this one yet, you might want to give it a look.
Date published: 2013-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course and Instructor I am stunned after reading some of the negative reviews of this course that complained about the instructor's presentation. Granted, I listened to the audio version and did not see the video, but there was not the slightest hint of uneasiness or nervousness in the audio lectures. The instructor's presentation was excellent, among the best I have heard on any Teaching Company lectures, with just the right amount of humor added in when appropriate.. The content on the lectures was also excellent. Professor Fagan provided different points of view on many of the historical events and encouraged the listener to decide for themselves which is most likely closer to the truth. He also provided a good overview of the different approaches to historical analysis (positivist, post modern, etc), again making sure that listeners knew where he was coming from in his lectures and to be as transparent as possible in his own views. This is very important in Classical historical analysis because of the relatively scant amount of hard evidence available to be examined when trying to determine what happened and why it happened. This course and the instructor are highly recommended.
Date published: 2012-12-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good lecturer in want of an equally good editor A good course, which could have been a great one. The narrative core of the course is comprehensive, interesting and balanced. It does start off awfully slow, with too much time spent apologizing for the poor quality of source material on the founding of the Roman Republic. The thematic sections towards the end don't add enough to the course - some of the material is a rehash of points already made through the narrative, and some is simply unnecessary, like a full lecture on Roman public baths which could have been reduced to a sentence. More time would have been better spent on the final years of the Eastern empire instead. But overall, a worthwhile survey of ancient Roman history.
Date published: 2012-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The most in-depth course that I have yet viewed It is with great regret that I just found myself at the end of lecture 48 and so at the end of what was an excellent, primarily narrative, course on the history of Rome. My interest at the moment is very much on the Classical world and so I have viewed other courses that both pre- and post-date that era, in order to see it in context, and/or are thematic in nature (all of them good). This course is very much a narrative, names-and-dates, comprehensive coverage that focuses on 300BC to 300AD, but is extremely valuable in terms of setting the context for the dramatic changes in the extent and governance of the Roman empire over its life. The 12+ lectures that cover the period of the Roman Revolution from the Gracchi through the First Triumvirate and onto Augustus were particularly well done. I noticed that this series was produced in 1999 so the formatting looks a BIT dated, but this didn't impede my enjoyment. I actually kind of prefer the older format where the lecturer addresses an audience rather than the camera - anyway that's a minor point. I really liked Garrett Fagan's style - he's a bit quirky and has a twinkle in his eye and had me chuckling - he says of things "well, that was very silly" and described crucifixion in the Roman arena as "not exactly a spectator sport". Loved it! Will definitely get his other lectures.
Date published: 2012-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent, scholarly course I've enjoyed Prof Fagan's course immensely. He is extremely knowledgable of his subject and leads his audience through not only the historical narrative but also the methodological issues of interpretation. I find his treatment to be more scholarly and interesting that some other lecturers. I also find that he has a charismatic and engaging lecture style, which I find pleasant. I really don't understand some of the more negative reviews this course has received. Prof Fagan is not an actor, but that doesn't mean that his lectures are not well presented: they are well delivered lectures by a gifted scholar. I thoroughly recommend this course to anyone interested in the subject.
Date published: 2012-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course - Just a few reservations Audio version review. A friend "lent" me his mp3s of this course to try out listening on my hour and half train ride to work. After the first lecture, I purchased my own copy of the course. I've been using this, and other Great Couses, to fill in gaps in my education left from a technical oriented education, where the liberal arts courses were just getting your ticket punched on the way to a technical degree. Keeping in mind that I don't have a deep knowledge, or much to compare it to, I found the course to be good source of information, and got me started on continuing to fill in the holes in my knowledge. Professor Fagan knows his material and delivers it clearly and concisely, and I do want to address his delivery. When I was listening to this course, my mind's eye saw two people sitting in comfortable chairs having an engaging discussion. Dr. Fagan is talking with you, not at you. I didn't hear a stutter [I have a friend who stutters], but a knowledgeable and enthusiastic speaker who occasionally trips over a thought or phrase. It doesn't sound scripted, but it does remeind me of a friend passing on vast amounts of knowledge in a comfortable environment. I was not totally impressed with sections 37 - 43, these sections sounded a bit forced. Good information, however, and I wouldn't avoid the course because of this. I have purchased Dr. Fagan's other two courses, and would hope that TGC will offer additional courses by him. I would add them to my collection.
Date published: 2012-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Gets Better After A Few Lectures. I need to clear up some misunderstanding to those who read my Emperors Of Rome review. That review was not intended to throw this course under the bus. I was into Lecture 7 or 8 in this course while reviewing that course. I stand by what I said in the other review that The Emperors of Rome course is better. Fagan is more high strung on this one, but he gets much better in the later lectures. He is a natural stutterer, but stutters less as the course goes on. I would like to clear up some misconceptions that some of these reviewers have made. Fagan doesn't bumble through the notes. He looks at them, but never turns the page like he's lost. Other reviewers state that he stops talking about Roman history after Augustas. That is also not true. There is just not as much detail on the Emperors because that is a separate course. The Emperors of Rome course does not cover the fall of The Roman Empire, which this one does. Some of the reviews on Fagan are way too harsh. He is a walking encyclopedia of Roman history knowledge. Yes he stutters and was probably camera shy at first. I think this was his first course with The Teaching Company. When reviewing the course on the emperors, I was trying to talk to the 5 to 10% percent of the reviewers who were critical of Fagan based on this course. If you only get 1 of the 2 courses I recommend the other course, but to truly capture the history of Ancient Rome both courses are necessary.
Date published: 2012-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Rise and Fall of the First Reich DVD review. Dr. Fagan's THE HISTORY OF ANCIENT ROME is a fascinating overview of an empire that lasted over a 1000 years, and profoundly influenced the development of Western civilization. Its history can roughly be divided into 3 periods: royalty (6/48 lessons, 753-509 BCE), the republic (12/48 lessons, 509-49 BCE) and empire (17/48 lessons, 27 BCE-476 CE). The small gap between the republic and the empire was covered with a detailed view of the civil war (13/48 lessons). Even so, the bulk of Fagan's course is taken up with political, military and social developments during the 400 years when Rome was at its height: 200 BCE - 200 CE. More specifically, Fagan examines in great detail a couple of institutional "fatal flaws" that successively undermined the republic and then the empire. • The republic was run by landowners wealthy enough to educate and support full-time politicians and military officers who ruled through the Senate and other assemblies. Dictatorships were avoided through set terms and personnel rotation. As long as Rome was small, this worked fine. But as the empire grew, this elite fractured over increased land concentration and its effect on small landholdings where most soldiers originated. The result was increased violence and political paralysis. • The empire's "fatal flaw" was the succession problem. Augustus cobbled together a monarchical system hidden under the trappings of a republic. Some emperors were good, others terrible. Still the system survived on autopilot for centuries. Eventually, the onslaught of border invasions and recurring civil wars every time emperors died fragmented the empire into more manageable pieces. This story is filled with ironies and unintended consequences. Roman soldiers fought for small farms upon retirement, but their very success flooded Italy with slaves and cheap grain from Egypt, two key factors behind the destruction of small farms. Rome's incredible ascent was based on superior military organization and its willingness to co-opt conquered elites by accepting them all as citizens. But as the empire grew and neighbors learned Roman tactics, border defence imposed ever higher taxes and bureaucratic oversight. What started as a source of slaves, wealth and glory for the empire builders, became in later years a drain on state coffers and a source of political instability. And so on and so forth.... Compared to republican politicians, Roman emperors receive less individual attention in this course. TTC clients more interested in emperor biographies should probably focus on Dr Fagan's EMPERORS OF ROME. The parts I enjoyed the most were the "thematic" lessons on slavery, family, city life, public entertainment and so on. His discussion of networking in the forum as an expression of status was particularly enlightening. PRESENTATION was fine. This is an older lesson, but plenty of photos are provided. Dr. Fagan has an Irish accent and his comments are occasionally laced with dry wit. Some commentators complained that he was shy and awkward. I suppose he looks "shy" compared to TTC's music expert, Dr Greenberg, but other than a slight, occasional stutter, I noticed nothing wrong with Dr Fagan. All in all, a fine course on an important subject. Designed primarily for viewers more interested in the evolution of political institutions than in individual biographies.
Date published: 2012-07-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Fine Survey of Roman History I enjoyed this 48-lecture course and learned a great deal of Roman history in the process. Professor Fagan takes you from pre-Roman Italy through the end of the Roman empire. He follows a roughly chronologic course with several side trips to cover social, cultural, and religious issues of the day. There are many place names, dates and people to take in, but a detailed course guidebook with an excellent glossary and bibliography and pertinent biographical notes make it easy to review the factoids you forget. Professor Fagan knows his topic well. I recommend this course to those, like myself, with only a smattering of knowledge about Roman history but interested in a fairly comprehensive survey of the topic. I think I am now somewhat better prepared to eventually tackle some of the “essential readings” of Cicero, Livy, Plutarch, and others.
Date published: 2012-06-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from History of ancient Rome I consider The teaching company courses meant for average people interested in acquiring some knowledge on selected subjects. I am a physician and I had a reasonable humanistic formation (ages ago). So, these courses (I have seen or heard a lot of them) give me an overview on the subject. It is unreasonable to expect that a 36 30 minutes lectures will cover all the content that could be contained in the course title. An it is reasonable that the teacher over expands the particularities in which he is most interested or connaisseur. I really appreciate Mr. Fagan's course. He delivers interesting discussions on different points of view (or hypothesis) and gives an overall vision of the Roman Republic (which seems to be the best known period of the Roman history). We have to get accostumed to his "manners". Mainly, he moves constantly (and on DVD this can be annoying to the observer) - but by no means,I interprete stammering and excess movement as lack of assurance or knowledge or even preparation by the part of this teacher. His review is extraordinary and his commentaries and discussions are always pertinent. I would suggest (for DVD form) the course present with more iconography, as in our modern world we tend to be more visual. I strongly recommend this course for those who want to get a global comprehension of the Roman historyl
Date published: 2012-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Dr. Fagan's course ranks with the best I have had from the Great Courses. It is entertaining and informative, with enough discussion of opposing viewpoints, that I can go on to more detailed writings if I so choose. It has been awhile since I was a Latin major, but I learned so much more from this course than I did in college. I haven't been able to stop listening to it since I got it. My next purchase is the Emperors of Rome by Dr. Fagan.
Date published: 2012-03-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Purchase I have purchased about 2 dozen courses from the teaching company, and this is by far the best one I've heard (I bought the audio version). Professor Fagan is fantastic. He made the subject matter come alive and I couldn't stop listening (I listened to the entire course in under a week). I would highly recommend this course to anyone interested in Ancient Rome.
Date published: 2012-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great course i'd just finished listening to the Middle Age series with Dr. Daileader (which was just fabulous) and decided to get this to flesh out the historical period prior to his course. I'd somewhat stupidly thought this was going to be about the emperors of Rome. In fact, it was about everything about Rome but it wasn't focused on the emperors. However, it didn't take me long to get past my gaffe and really get into the material. It was a great overview, and Dr. Fagan, while starting out almost kind of insecurely (like maybe it was his first course?), really got better after the first couple of discs and it was really riveting. I loved it; I listen in my car, and this didn't fail to keep my interest for a second. HIghly recommended both the material and the professor.
Date published: 2012-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good, thorough introduction to a vast subject This review is for the audio version. This was my first exposure to Professor Fagan, and I now own and treasure three of his Great Courses series of lectures. I've been a student of history almost all my life, and fascinated by ancient Rome since sixth grade. Few modern people outside academia realize how alien a culture (to the modern mind) ancient Rome was. To most of us, the popular notion of Romans as familiar and very similar to us is the norm. Professor Fagan manages to balance their similarities and differences with our world view very nicely. He appreciates the connection between a society and its history, and communicates that very well to his students. This is not a mere recitation of facts, dates, what happened, and who did it, but rather an analysis of why things happened as they did in the context of the society of the time. As I have later come to expect, Professor Fagan's scholarship, intelligence, and insight are of the highest quality. His presentation is dynamic and engaging. If you want to study ancient Rome, start here. If you only want a good general knowledge of ancient Roman history, you can do far worse than this set of lectures—and will be hard put to do better. Thoroughly recommended without reservation. When you've finished this course, be sure to follow up with Professor Fagan's lecture series "Emperors of Rome."
Date published: 2012-01-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Recommended with three serious caveats Prof. Fagan is smart, eloquent, quick-witted - and a quick talker. He knows his subject well and delivers it with panache. As a result these tapes are for the most part very entertaining. There are, however, three serious drawbacks: First, the course does not cover Roman literature and art, which makes the title misleading, to say the least. This not mentioned in the course advertising, by the way. Secondly, the professor tends to get lost in tedious details when the subject really interests him, such as the minutiae of the political structure of the late republic. Thirdly, he handles the rise of Christianity amateurishly; he seems to know little about the subject and comes off almost as an apologist for the Roman persecutions. Nonetheless, these faults are limited in scope and on the whole this is a lively and informative course.
Date published: 2011-12-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Hanging in I've only watched the first 6 lectures and although Fagan is no Bob Brier, he's been giving me lots of interesting information about how historians piece things together amid myths and gaps. I really enjoy that. I am over his stammering. I am interested in the material and he delivers. Teachers are imperfect human beings and we should all be quite used to human imperfection and stop being so critical and judgmental. I bet he fares much better in the classroom where he's more relaxed. I don't like movie stars anyway. I am enjoying it, will watch it all and I am glad I purchased it.
Date published: 2011-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 5 Stars for the Audio Version Being among my first and favorite TC purchases several years ago, I recently repurchased it when it became available as a video download. I can understand why some people are put off by Fagan’s delivery. While he does speak haltingly, I think this seems exaggerated by the fact that he is constantly in motion. When I listened to the same lecture again in audio only, I wasn’t bothered in the least. And though having the maps and terms displayed is helpful, I don’t think the video version is essential for this course. In general, this is an intelligent and clear overview of the period. He hits on all the major concepts and themes. I also enjoy Fagan’s sense of humor. As noted by others, the primary focus is on the Roman Republic in this course. His “Emperors” course is necessary to get a more complete picture.
Date published: 2011-10-22
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Do not buy this course Yes, it is THAT bad and so sad for such an interesting topic as the history of ancient Rome should be. I toured Rome and I thought that this lecture would augment what I had seen and learned first hand. Boy, was I wrong. I am struggling through each lecture and may pick up a scrap of something interesting every so often but it is these types of professors that make students hate history. And it doesn't have to be that way. The guy lives for his notes because every time he walks away from them, his forgets and gets confused as to where he was. The guy just doesn't know how to put a good lecture together or maybe he had a few bad months in preparing and delivering this drivel. I truly hope that TLC can get someone else to present this course in a more palatable manner so others can fall in love with the Rome I did and not start to hate the subject based on someone else's mistakes. Clearly he knows much but if you cannot present it well, it does no good. I think the guy should stick to working in his study and put his skills to cranking out academic papers and the like rather than torture his students from behind the podium. I am only watching this to keep my mother company and even she is having a heck of a time following what he is saying. I'll be glad when this one is behind us. I asked her would she watch it again and she replied 'no' so I suggested she return the set because it would just collect dust here. Amazing the different views on this guy's presentation but having worked in academia, I've seen this countless times over... the divergent opinions despite what seems obvious to one is exactly the opposite to another. I would have walked out of this lecturer's class and dropped the course ASAP.
Date published: 2011-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Superb, once you realize it's part I of II My initial reaction to this was one of, "Gee, this is fantastic as far as it goes, but what about the rest of Roman history?" Then I discovered and listened to Dr. Fagan's "Emperors of Rome" which is at least a companion volume, and to my way of thinking, is Part II. Once that was realized, I was fantastically happy with the combined course, and all of my ratings above are for the 84 lecture combination of the two. When it comes right down to it, I'm glad that TC divided the era, and spent the amount of time they did on each, without combining into one huge expenditure. Dr. Fagan's presentation is good, and his wry sense of humor is always welcome. He is careful to highlight areas of scholarly debate, presenting different perspectives, as well as giving his own opinions and rationale for those opinions. All told, I heartily recommend this course as a meaty introduction to the era....accessable to people new to the topic, but more in depth than most introductions. I have listened to both this course and its companion volume more than once, and can easily see myself returning to them regularly. Bravo!
Date published: 2011-08-09
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