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

Take this chance to get beyond the abstract dates and figures, kings and queens, and battles and wars that make up so many historical accounts in The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World . In 48 richly detailed lectures, Professor Robert Garland of Colgate University 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 in this ambitious course, as Professor Garland takes a series of imaginative leaps to put you inside the world of history's anonymous citizens, providing you with a fuller understanding of the distant past.
Average Customer Rating:
4.423 out of 5
4.4
 out of 
5
(71 Reviews) 68
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Rating Snapshot (71 reviews)
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"61 of 71(86%)reviewers would recommend the course to a friend."
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Customer Reviews for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Review 1 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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Location:Dallas, Texas
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN *RELIGION* GET THIS.
Date:July 21, 2014
"My primary interests are religion and science. I bought this course because I am interested in anthropology.
This course covers MANY cultures and talks about each one's religious beliefs and practices. It definitely will appeal to people interested in Judaism, and in many cases Christianity.
I've been reading rather than listening to the lectures, although I listened to a few and the professor is an excellent speaker.
As I'm going through it I can't help thinking this REALLY shows HOW different Jewish culture, religious values, etc., were from other ancient cultures. Unfortunately, Judaism and ancient Israel/Judah are NOT discussed. I think the main reason for that is that Prof. Garland says the situation of "the common man" in ancient cultures is normally NOT mentioned -- but the Hebrew Bible often DOES discuss such material.
This course will definitely interest people interested in religion. I do need to point out that it does also cover a good deal of non-religious cultural topics. But a lot of the "cultural" topics are issues commonly addressed by modern religion, such as treatment of women, treatment of the poor, the elderly, etc."
+1point
1out of 1found this review helpful.
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Comments (1)
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RickR
Dallas, Texas
Top 250 Contributor
A clarafication
Posted July 24, 2014
I just want to point out that the reason I read instead of watching the lecture is that I was reading at lunch (Subway and similar places). After reading about two chapters, when I went back to the lectures I found out they covered the same material.
0points
0out of 0found this comment helpful.
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Review 2 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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3 out of 5
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3 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Location:Denver, CO
Boring
Date:July 6, 2014
"The professor does a competent job of giving a wealth of detail about the daily life of the typical person in the street. However, it is apparent that these people "on the other side of history" do nothing to move history along. The movers and shakers are all educated, or at least self educated, leaders, inventors, teachers, artists, etcetera.
I have watched over 90 great courses and give most of them a better rating than this. These ordinary people led lives that were occasionally punctuated by catastrophe, but were otherwise boring."
-3points
2out of 7found this review helpful.
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Vinny
NY
Intresting Comment
Posted July 19, 2014
I found your comment in the first paragraph interesting. Apply that comment to what's happening today in the land of progressivism. Nobody needs to work hard, everybody gets a trophy, no incentive to excel and invent, everyone should get paid above their contributary level. So in your eyes, and mine, history stops "Progressing", a countries best years become what was not what's next. We are the Progressive experiment and we're failing miserably as this particular experiment always has. I personally hate being the petri dish of failure.
-1point
0out of 1found this comment helpful.
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Review 3 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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The Other Side
Date:May 17, 2014
"It is wonderfully refreshing to explore aspects of history other than dates, wars, and governments. What fun it is to learn about the lives of ancient peoples.
If I have a problem with any aspect of the course, it is with the 'stage set'. It is uncomfortably dark and polished, and it makes the professor appear to be all alone in a big box. The bright, original room in the early Courses with its lectern and/or table for the professor seemed a lot more comfortable.
"
+6points
6out of 6found this review helpful.
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Review 4 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
Location:Medord, Oregon
Comprehensive overview
Date:May 12, 2014
"Garland's well presented overview of ancient history up to the middle ages offers a great deal of information to satisfy those who only wants interesting basics and is comprehensive enough to use as preparation for areas to dig deeper.
There was useful information on my focus of Jewish-Roman history,
"
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
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Review 5 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Kansas
A Different Way of Studyign History
Date:April 23, 2014
"I love the history courses and this course is one of the best. I liked it because of the different perspective. It was fun and enlightening to imagine myself in the shoes of these various people throughout history. The detail was wonderful and I learned things not found in some of the other, more traditional, classes. For some reason I got a litle tired of being a Greek-whatever, I didn't have the same feeling about being a Roman-whatever, or the medieval lectures. I would have enjoyed some additional lectures on the Vikings, but perhaps there is just not enough material to work with."
+7points
7out of 7found this review helpful.
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Review 6 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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3 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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Location:East TN
Good stuff
Date:April 14, 2014
"I own quite a few of the Great Courses and really enjoyed listening to this one. I have a long commute and so this is just what the doctor ordered. The only thing that some people might find off-putting is that the professor tends. to. separate. his. words. like. this. And on several occasions he says "wreck havoc" rather than "wreak havoc". Other than that it was brilliant!"
+4points
6out of 8found this review helpful.
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Review 7 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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Location:Phoenix, Az
Amazing
Date:April 4, 2014
"I love history and though I have a foundational knowledge this took my understanding to another level. The presentation is engaging and Mr. Garland is a wonderful story teller. I highly recommend this series to anyone interested in history."
+6points
6out of 6found this review helpful.
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Review 8 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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4 out of 5
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Location:Washington, DC
Why wasn't history this interesting in school?
Date:March 30, 2014
"I probably would have paid more attention in my history classes if I had a lecturer like Professor Garland. This was a very unique history course that looked at the events of time but through the eyes of the average citizen. In 48 lectures the listener travels from the Paleolithic period to medieval times. I particularly enjoyed the five lectures dedicated to Egyptian history and was enraged during the lectures on the many plights that women had to endure. They says that history is told by the conquerors but to see it through the eyes of the average person made it more impactful and memorable. Professor Garland’s passion for the topic was very evident and I’m embarrassed to say that I actually had watery eyes during the last lecture. I recommend this course to those who want to take a mini mental vacation through history."
+10points
10out of 10found this review helpful.
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Review 9 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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Location:New York Area
Everyday life in several ancient cultures
Date:March 29, 2014
"It took me a little bit of time to become accustomed to Prof. Garland's style, but after a while, the fascinating content drew me in. Eventually I came to appreciate Prof. Garland's presentation, including his somewhat quirky sense of humor. I recommend this course to anyone who wants an overview of the fabric of ancient societies."
+4points
4out of 4found this review helpful.
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Review 10 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
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Location:Vermont
Women deserve better
Date:March 24, 2014
"I really commend Prof. Garland for his interest in ordinary people. I never liked history in school when it was mostly about kings, presidents and wars, but since getting out of school I have tried to learn it on my own, and this course was very helpful. I just have two criticisms: one is that although Garland makes an effort to deplore the poor treatment of women, he could have done more to illuminate their situation. He fails to mention some instances where they had some power and equality but it was taken away - as in Greece and Ireland. I would have liked to hear more about women's roles as herbal healers -- roles later associated with witchcraft as male physicians took over medicine. Garland does the philosopher Hypatia a disservice, mentioning that she was "hot," but not that she was dismembered and burned. He could have said more about Theodora's work to pass laws protecting women and actors instead of emphasizing, in 2 different lectures, the profane performances of her early life. I'm sure these #wink-wink# references get a laugh out of his students in the classroom, but I don't need them.
My second criticism is about the very end of the last lecture, a quote from Faulkner, who said, "The past is never dead; it's not even past." Garland said "The past is never past. It's not even dead." Who let this get by? Can't you redo the last minute of the DVD?"
+1point
7out of 13found this review helpful.
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Review 11 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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Best Course
Date:March 2, 2014
"I have now experienced something like 15 of your courses and this may well be my favorite. Professor Garland's teaching style and presentation skills, along with the excellent content combine to make this course an exciting learning experience. My study group and I are looking forward to seeing his course on Rome and Greece as well. Thank you, Professor Garland!"
+5points
6out of 7found this review helpful.
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Review 12 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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The Other Side of History
Date:February 25, 2014
"My wife and I have been frequent customers of The Great Courses for many, many years, and have ordered everything from Art to Zoology. This, however, is, without a doubt, the very best course we've ever purchased. We can truly say: "If you could purchase only one course from The Learning Company, this should be it." Outstanding!"
+13points
13out of 13found this review helpful.
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Review 13 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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Location:Port Ludlow, WA
A Wonderfully Engaging Course
Date:February 15, 2014
"This 48 lesson course brought to our attention a historical perspective that one normally doesn't find. The instructor is engaging, the material most interesting and was well worth our time in every respect."
+8points
8out of 8found this review helpful.
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Review 14 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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Geat course material and professor
Date:December 18, 2013
"My wife gave this to me on my birthday. It has been entertaining and enlightening. Professor Garland does an excellent job of presenting the material. I'd recommend this course to anyone interested in history or who just wants to have something to enjoy and to learn from."
+16points
20out of 24found this review helpful.
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Review 15 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Boulder, CO
Interesting and Well Presented History
Date:December 5, 2013
"When traveling in areas that are historically significant, many times I look at an old ruin where a house used to be and wonder what is was like to actually live in that house. What was an ordinary day like for someone like me? This course attempts to answer that question over different cultures and time periods and does a very good job, considering the evidence is pretty spotty in some areas.
Makes me appreciate a good dentist!"
+14points
17out of 20found this review helpful.
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Review 16 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Portland, OR
The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancie
Date:November 29, 2013
"Thorough. Engrossing. Compelling. Authentic. An absolute must have for any true history lover!"
+11points
13out of 15found this review helpful.
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Review 17 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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Location:Boston
Superb and enlightening
Date:November 2, 2013
"What a pleasure to listen to such a knowledgeable and passionate scholar.
Professor Garland delivers an exquisite course on what he calls " The other side of History" , the ordinary people who made history. I was always curious about why so much attention and glory is reserved for presidents , generals, etc.. And so little for the people who really fought those wars or made immense sacrifices and went unnoticed. Mr Garland corrects this bias and gives you a much broader perspective on history with lots of passion and as others mentioned an excellent sense of humor.
In sum, both mind opening and entertaining.
Thanks a lot Professor Garland!!
"
+21points
30out of 39found this review helpful.
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Review 18 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
Location:Cleveland, OH
Entertaining, Informative, Educational
Date:September 21, 2013
"This course was very entertaining and informative; it brings history down to a personal level.
I was surprised by professor Garland’s statement: "people in antiquity never developed a social conscience" and then "social conscience was a 19th century endeavor". I cannot say that I disagree entirely, but it would be interesting to hear professor Garland's opinion about populists like the Gracchus brothers, in 163 BC - 162 BC Rome. At any rate, I am giving the course five stars. The presentation is excellent, and the contents enticing and educational. Good course all around. I got the audio versión.
"
+21points
22out of 23found this review helpful.
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Review 19 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
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5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Nanaimo, BC, Canada
A Non-traditional Perspective on History
Date:September 20, 2013
"Most history I had learned formerly was mostly based on what powerful individuals or persons of leisure had recorded for posterity. I was skeptical that Professor Garland was going to be able to deliver on his promise to reveal what life long ago must have been like for the poor, the weak, the marginalized, and the very ordinary members of societies. Deliver he did, however, and gave me, convincingly, a fascinating and non-traditional perspective on the human past."
+17points
22out of 27found this review helpful.
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Review 20 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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3 out of 5
3 out of 5
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4 out of 5
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4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Pittsburgh, PA
So-So, Could Have Been Better
Date:September 12, 2013
"Those who trash the course as terrible or praise it to the skies as the best course ever are both off the mark. There are both strengths and weaknesses. I'll start with the weaknesses.
1. Despite the course's promise to treat us to daily life, Professor Garland sometimes veers into narrative history, which I love in other contexts, but not here. He tends to do this the most in the last quarter of the series, on life in medieval Britain. That is no surprise because that last quarter is the weakest, probably because he is outside his area of expertise. The device of referencing Chaucer's Canterbury Tales with its varied characters is somewhat entertaining, but unnecessary given the vast and growing historical literature on medieval life. We hear about being the Viking raids, the Norman Conquest and the Crusades instead of topics better suited to this course, like being a medieval Jew, a town craftsman, or a merchant. There is some discussion about being a peasant or a monk/nun, but each deserved a lecture of his/her own. There wasn't much about the medieval household and how it would have differed from life in Rome or even Roman Britain. I also don't think he discussed village or town life.
2. I would really like to have seen more images and discussion of everyday household objects, which were especially lacking in the last quarter. Didn't the medieval English have cosmetics, tools, and toys? Surely he could have shared such things with us rather than ask us to imagine it all in our heads.
3. Lectures 2 Being Paleolithic and 3 Living in Mesopotamia, and 21 Being Persian didn't do much for the course and could have been omitted.
On the positive side, Garland knows his stuff about classical Greece and Rome, so his discussion of daily life there is strong enough to make the course worth buying, fit to set alongside his Integrated History of Greece and Rome. He is quite clear, for example, about the differing treatment of slaves and women in those two civilizations, and about the terrible living conditions and fine amenities in the city of Rome. His five lectures on Egypt aren't as thorough, but they're not bad. So if you buy this course, you're getting a so-so 48-lecture course instead of what would have been an excellent 30-lecture course."
+65points
71out of 77found this review helpful.
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