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Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire

(The Great Courses)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  192 ratings  ·  23 reviews
18 hours 29 mins

Alexander the Great - one of the most renowned figures in antiquity - has inspired everything from medieval romances to blockbuster movies, and military leaders from Julius Caesar to Napoleon to the U.S. general Norman Schwarzkopf. But who was this great king of Macedon? And why is he so legendary?

Go beyond the myth and learn about the man who changed the f
Audible Audio, 19 pages
Published July 8th 2013 by The Great Courses / The Teaching Company (first published 2011)
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Jun 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: alexander
I really liked this for the most part. It's very comprehensive, beginning with a few lectures on Macedon, Greece, Persia, and Phillip II; then Alexander; then a few lectures covering the war of succession and the Macedonian Empire in partition. As a good overview to Alexander, especially if you know nothing, this is really good and well-organized, as well as entertaining (Harl has an extremely dry humor that I loved).

Harl REALLY likes Alexander, though. There seems to be no happy medium between
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, tgc
This is my second time through these audio lectures (36 30 minute lectures), (for those considering purchasing you might consider the video version since the accompanying text/pdf version is dismally inadequate...or you can supplement with internet research). My first time through the lectures I had not had the benefit of the background or context provided by courses like the GREEK and PERSIAN WARS and the PELOPONESIAN WAR.
There are many fine reviews included here on the Great Courses web page,
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
This is a history of Phillip II, Alexander and the Succession States that follow. I especially like the parts on Phillip and Alexander in the East.

Harl is my favorite lecturer in the Great Courses series and he doesn't disappoint in this one. These lectures are well laid out, argued and discussed. He acknowledges and states his own biases and give other arguments and how he believes they are mistaken. If you at all interested in Alexander these lectures will give you a good base to dive in to th
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
One of the better Great Courses series, despite Harl's insane pronunciation of "allies" as "al-LIES." He gives a thorough overview of both Philip II's and Alexander's conquests. The course does cover the Wars of the Diadochi, but in such a rushed manner that I found it difficult to follow. Considering how much time is given to the 11 years of Alexander's conquests, you'd think they'd take more care covering the following 40+. ...more
Jan 12, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Thorough and extensive. For anyone who wants a college level course on Alexander this is a great place to start.
Aaron Kimpton
Jun 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Finished this yesterday. It rounded out my Helen and Hellenistic history. On to Rome! It is fascinating history.
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-courses
Harl is one of the finest professors that the Great Courses have in their stable. This course is less social history and more military campaign oriented.
May 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
This is a course in an audiobook format but I will review it as an audiobook because it's Goodreads but that might be unfair so take care.

I had many problems with this audiobook. For one, it's boring like an actual university course. He rushes through the topics and I feel some sequences deserve more details. Each chapter is 30 minutes long (like a lecture) so he can't spend too long on one topic.

He doesn't explain the events like a story as much as I like. For example, he doesn't care about spo
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I mostly liked this audiobook. The lectures are very densely packed with information, so if your attention wanders for a few seconds you might miss something. So this audiobook requires your full attention. As for Alexander himself, there is no doubt that he was a military genius. He was a megalomaniac and a nut, but unlike most people who fall into those categories, he actually pulled off his conquests. Harl was mostly pro-Alexander, but he did mention that other historians have a more critical ...more
Joe Stevens
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A tour de force through the legend of Alexander by a fine teacher who clearly enjoys his subject. This is one for history buffs who like to go a bit deeper than overview courses. I thought I understood Al and his world moderately well until I took this lecture series. I learned a ton about the world before and after Al and especially about his campaigns to pacify eastern Persia and invade India.
If you aren't really a history fan, this is likely more depth than you want. For people who think hist
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am a huge fan of Harl, and this is one of his best. It falls off a bit for the final 6 lectures, but the first 30 are riveting insightful, and critically important for understanding the ancient world. I especially appreciate the time devoted to Philip. I was fairly familiar with Greece through the Peloponnesian War and then a bit with Alexander, but I was missing the intervening history, which this covered beautifully.
Joshua Dew
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
A well-organized lecture series which was fascinating from start to finish although hard to follow in spots, particularly when dealing with the plethora of generals, rivals, successors, etc. I also had difficulty following descriptions of the various battles, though I'm admittedly inept at battlefield visualization. ...more
Kristi Richardson
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed learning about the Macedonian Empire. The story of Alexander is just a small part of these lectures.
His legacy were his generals that continued to rule the world until the Romans took over.
Even the Romans incorporated the Hellenic beliefs into their empire.
A very good lecturer and I learned a lot.
Romantical Skeptic
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked every part of it that dealt directly with Alexander himself and the beginning bit about his father Phillip and the last part about the breakup of Alexander's empire I was just less interested in...such is the charisma of Alex even over the span of millenia! ...more
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed learning about Alexander the Great!
Loren Shultz
Jan 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting presentation as a series of lectures. Good info but a bit too academic at times.
Lenny Isf
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great but misses a bit of detail I think at times. Companion PDF is excellent.
Avis Black
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is the dryest of the lectures I've heard by Kenneth Harl. Like another reviewer, I have to agree that the series could have been condensed down and summarized with no harm. Ultimately, although Alexander is an interesting subject, I'd have to say I found too much of this series to be lacking in human focus, and Harl is not much on dramatizing battles. He's more interested in the sociological perspective, and frankly, with a subject like Alexander, that's not a particularly rewarding viewpoi ...more
William Winkle
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Exhaustive and intriguing, Harl hits every base on the subject of Alexander plus several more. He spends extensive time on Alexanders root's (both familial and cultural), the campaign, and both the aftermath and lasting significance of that campaign. Harl is informative and engaging, and I like his presentation. If you want a deep dive on Alexander in audio format, this is the best I've found. My only criticism is that it can go on exploring tangents for too long. It was 18 discs that I wish had ...more
I've enjoyed other courses by Harl, but this one I found to be extraordinarily dry and based solely on military campaigns. It's too many dates and places thrown out there without enough to remember what's going on. Unusually for these courses, I was anxious for it to be over. ...more
Max Skidmore
Aug 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is really a series of 36, 30 minute lectures and I enjoyed them very much. Alexander the Great began his conquests at the age of 23 and died at the age of 33. His military accomplishments were staggering. I wish I had paid more attention when we studied his life at West Point.
Kevin Manzel
Oct 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Outstanding content, but just too much of it. Should have been 24 not 36 lectures.
Knut Sigurd
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Veldig spennande stoff formidla med stort engasjement av ein historikar med imponerande oversikt over materien.
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Jan 20, 2021
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Jul 30, 2018
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Sep 12, 2019
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Dr. Kenneth W. Harl is Professor of Classical and Byzantine History at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he teaches courses in Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader history. He earned his B.A. from Trinity College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Recognized as an outstanding lecturer, Professor Harl has received numerous teaching awards at Tulane, including the coveted Sheldon H.

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