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

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  814 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
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 as
Audio CD
Published 2010 by Great Courses Teaching Company
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Petra X
Dec 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-read
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 earli
Clif Hostetler
Jun 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, lecture
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 ancie
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 incl
Rick Davis
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 liv
Andrej Karpathy
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A comprehensive and rare study of an ordinary human experience through the ages. It's sometimes surprisingly pretty (e.g. ancient romans/greeks in the upper echelons of society seems to have had it quite nice), but most often shockingly not so much.
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 lecture
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Trigger warning: (view spoiler)

3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because there were parts of this that were incredibly fascinating
Feb 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, history, nonfiction
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
Leopold Benedict
Jun 20, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, antiquity
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.
Lucia Bradley
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 trea ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-books
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.
Sep 26, 2014 rated it liked it
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 t ...more
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 inst
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio
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.
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
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.
Loved this history course; listened at 1.5x as otherwise a little slow.
Katriena Knights
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great overview of everyday life from Paleolithic to Medieval times. Very engaging lecturer.
Kevin Hanks
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic "Great Courses" read. The author explains that most of our knowledge and familiarity with history and ancient civilizations is centered around the "elite"; the kings, queens, rulers, aristocrats, and the wealthy. He attempted to give us a bit of background into the "other side" of that history, or in other words, what daily life was like for the common folk. He focused on the peasants, farmers, slaves, servants, i.e., those usually glossed over in normal discussions of history ...more
Jurij Fedorov
May 06, 2017 rated it liked it
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?


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
Simon Eskildsen
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This audiobook took me from neolithic humans to the middle ages. Most of history is about the kings and nobles, about the 0.1%. This book is about the other 99.9%. How did the citizens of ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome? What about the vikings and the normans? It's a fascinating tour through an often ignored side of history; the other side of history, as Garland calls it. What did people do for fun? What did they do if they were sick, someone in their family passed away, or how did they marry? As I' ...more
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a fun look into history's "yous" and "mes" as they went about their daily lives. This is an excellent lecture series.

I wonder what future people will think about our day to day routine 2000 years from now. Do we waste our time with ridiculous ideas? Are we causing irreparable damage to the planet? Are we inventing new technologies to allow for the next evolution of our species?

We are links in a great historical chain of humans. We are distinct from our ancestors, yet we share the same
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have listened to this with my children again and again and again. My kids will often ask if they can listen to certain chapters (ex: Roman Poor, or Roman Soldier), although they've heard them several times before. The way Dr. Garland tells the stories of the "regular" people in history really brings them to life. I always wondered how the merchant, the soldier, the father, the daughter, all lived their daily lives. This book delivers.

This was an audio listen that I purchased on Audible. It's p
Sep 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I really liked the concept and thought the scale of the course was good, but would have rather it been a different scope. "Ancient World" is in the title, but this goes from neanderthal through the high middle ages, a little beyond what I'd call the Ancient World on both ends. I appreciate the chapter on being Persian, but otherwise only covers Western Civilization. I would have appreciated some Chinese or Indian perspective, and maybe even early American. The material is good and engaging, even ...more
Bill Scheidegger
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting look at "The Other Side of History" as the title says. This lecture series focuses on the everyday people and how they lived during some of the most momentous historical times in human history. It is a series of 48 lectures and used it to start my morning commute several days a week for several months. This was mush like auditing a college course just for the sake of knowledge. Not all of the sessions are fully captivating, but definitely more than weren't. I hope the res ...more
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Affable professor takes us on a winding journey from eking a out a short brutish existence with flint tools in the ice age to joining a pilgrimage to Canterbury to see the wonders of a medieval cathedral. It's a long course but served in digestible bits and each one has lots of interesting details. It also serves as a great reminder that even if our ancestors often lead shorter, harsher, existences than we tend to today, they were absolutely every bit as real and alive as all of us no ...more
Mohammad Abu Shaban
Aug 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Diogo Muller
This review is for the audiobook version.

This is a fascinating collection of classes, and easily one of my favorite Great Courses. Lots of info about the daily lives of people in some of the biggest western ancient civilizations, from Greece and Rome, the Egiptians, and barbarian and Middle Ages Europe. Lots of interesting infos about many facets of life back then, analysing point like class divisions, day to day life, religion and culture in general.
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Dr. Robert S.J. Garland is the Roy D. and Margaret B. Wooster Professor of the Classics at Colgate University. He earned his B.A. in Classics from Manchester University, his M.A. in Classics from McMaster University, and his Ph.D. in Ancient History from University College London.

A former Fulbright Scholar and recipient of the George Grote Ancient History Prize, Professor Garland has educated stud