Top Rated Product

Product Reviews

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

<p>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 <strong>The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World</strong>. 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. </p>
Average Customer Rating:
4.456 out of 5
4.5
 out of 
5
(79 Reviews) 76
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (79 reviews)
5 stars
57
4 stars
10
3 stars
6
2 stars
3
1 star
3
"68 of 79(86%)reviewers would recommend the course to a friend."
Customer Questions & Answers:
3 Questions | 5 Answers
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
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Joplin, MO
An interesting and different focus on history
Date:October 24, 2014
"Having a number of Great Courses on the ancient world I was not sure how much I would get out of this course but I found it quite enjoyable. The presenter has an interesting manner of presentation (I had already watched his course on the Integrated History of Greece and Rome) and he managed to hold my attention well. From the earliest days of mankind (and its predecessors) through the middle ages he looks at history from the eyes of the ordinary person rather than historical figures and while I had my doubts about the approach I did find the course very worthwhile. One aspect I thought of particular interest was how and why Christianity spread through the polytheistic pagan world. I thought he made a persuasive case. While the course focuses not on the great figures of history they are not ignored, nor can they be as they affected the daily life of the average (or above or below average) person. So in one sense this course is something of an overview of western civilization through the middle ages. And it is western civilization that is the focus of the course, not the far east although the middle east comes in for its share of discussion. Whether you have watched a number of the Great Courses on the ancient world or this is one of your first this course and its approach is very worthwhile and I can recommend it.
Many of the Great Courses work best in video and while there are graphics and maps and other visuals included in the course it would likely work well in audio only if you happen to be one who likes listening to these courses when traveling or commuting."
+11points
11out of 11found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 2 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:St. Louis, MO
Possibly my favorite
Date:October 17, 2014
"We really enjoyed this course. It is, of course, hard to compare this to, say, the course we took on geology which we really loved or the one on the history of architecture, since the content of each is quite different, but this course was really most interesting. Two things mark a truly great Great Course for my hub and me. One is that we find ourselves saying, "I didn't know that!" a lot and the other is a really good prof.
Dr. Garland's presentation is well organized, thorough, interesting, easy to follow and clearly reflects his passion for his subject. He has a nice sense of humor and a good "presence" in addition to a clear mastery of his topic.
There is nothing I love more in a course or a book or in our travels than the opportunity to understand how life was in other times and places. This course was perfect for me. Thank you, Dr. Garland and Great Courses! This was one of my faves."
+6points
6out of 6found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 3 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Absolutely excellent.
Date:October 7, 2014
"This course is absolutely excellent.
I was hesitant to order it after reading some of the reviews on it, but decided to order it anyway. I am so glad that I did! The course is fascinating and filled with a wealth of detail about the various periods that Professor Garland covers. My only reservation about the entire experience is that there are times when the professor does stop after every word (as other reviewers have commented), but there were just a few times when it was quite distracting.
Other than that very small criticism, I would have nothing at all to complain about in this course! It was really wonderful!
"
+2points
2out of 2found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 4 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Course Content
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Professor Presentation
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Course Value
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Too many judgment calls
Date:September 3, 2014
"Though I thought the content covered in the course was decent, I didn't feel it was presented in an objective manor. Many times, the professor says things like "it must have been" or "they must have felt" when we really have no basis for any of that. How we feel about certain daily things depends greatly on the normalcy of them. For example, if I, as a western 21st century woman, were to travel back to ancient Greece, I would find it very oppressive. But there is no way to know if the women of the time felt that way.
Also, the professor can sound quite preachy at times. I'm not sure who he's preaching to, as I'm pretty sure most people who buy this course already agree that slavery is bad and women's rights are good. So rather than trying to degrade the people of the times for not agreeing with us, the professor could look at things as they were without the delusion of the superiority of modernity.
In short, the professor could have done a much better job in setting aside modern thought processes and focusing less on judging people of the past as if we in the modern age have all the answers."
+20points
21out of 22found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Customer Avatar
AnneBK
St. Louis, MO
Top 1000 Contributor
Surprised
Posted October 19, 2014
I am actually very surprised to read this criticism. I thought the professor was absolutely clear in drawing a distinction between what was simple fact and what impressions he had or reactions he had to the nature of life in each of the cultures he discussed. I'll concede that he rather took for granted that his audience would, for example, view the life of the slaves and pretty awful, but when he described the life of the slaves, they *were* pretty awful. I had no difficulty at all understanding the difference between when he was discussing fact and when he was discussing reactions based on our modern standards. As there is no "objective" right or wrong way for humans to live, he seemed to make very clear where the differences lie and that they were judged on standards that are most assuredly subjective.
+5points
5out of 5found this comment helpful.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Review 5 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:El Dorado Hills, CA
A different view of history
Date:September 3, 2014
"This is a remarkable course which is extremely well researched and presented by Robert Garland. The time span covered, and the fact that he focuses on the normally forgotten and unknown members of society lets us compare their lives and ours and understand the similarities and differences that exist.
All presented with panache and humor.
Highly recommended.
"
+6points
6out of 6found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 6 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Cincinnati OH
Engaging Look at Ordinary People
Date:August 22, 2014
"Prof. Garland is a lot of fun -- he presents the material with a twinkle in his eye, and really makes the ancient world come alive! Starting in ancient Mesopotamia and going through medieval Britain, he goes through the lives of the ordinary, non-famous people. I appreciated that he did not overlook women, disadvantaged groups, children, etc."
+5points
5out of 5found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 7 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Roswell, GA
Great overview of Daily Life
Date:August 14, 2014
"This course is grand in scope - covering human Prehistory all the way to the Christian Reformation - but incredibly intimate at the same time. You are asked to imagine that you live in the shoes of a Roman, an Egyptian, or Celtic Briton as you travel through history. I found myself connecting to history in a way I didn't think possible. A course like this has the risk of relying overly on speculation. Dr. Garland is careful to not make that mistake. A little bit of speculation is of course required but Dr. Garland is careful to let you know what is his speculation and what speculations are coming from other sources.
Overall, this is a fascinating look at a subject which is often missed in most historical analysis. This is a journey I would readily take again."
 
My Product Recommendations
 
+8points
8out of 8found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 8 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Alabama
Informative Course, Compassionate Instructor
Date:August 7, 2014
"***AUDIO VERSION*** I thoroughly enjoyed this course, and I did not feel that I missed anything by listening to the audio version. There were no significant reference to images that I could not see. The professor is excellent, and the content is well-selected to give an overview of each culture and each subject he addresses. Many of the complaints I read regarding this course were centered on content the reviewer felt was missing. This is an OVERVIEW of many thousands of years of history. There is also a certain amount of supposition ("suppose you were a slave in..."). I do not regard these as issues.
If you lack imagination or lack the willingness to let go of hard facts in order to explore the possibilities of largely undocumented lives, this is not the course for you. If you are willing to understand that the professor is dealing with a lot of conjecture based on current archeological evidence, and if you are willing to understand that the professor participates in his lectures by adding his own feelings on various topics, you will enjoy the class immensely. Some complain that the professor is too modernist in his approach because he finds disturbing the things that were commonplace in the ancient world. Personally, I felt that he was trying to clearly contrast current and past social norms without being deadly dull about it.
I loved this course, and I thoroughly enjoyed the professor's approach. I will listen to it again, and I will recommend it to friends and family."
+17points
18out of 19found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 9 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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."
+13points
13out of 13found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Customer Avatar
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.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Review 10 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Course Content
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Professor Presentation
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Course Value
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."
-5points
6out of 17found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Customer Avatar
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
9out of 17found this comment helpful.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Review 11 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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.
"
+11points
11out of 11found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Customer Avatar
Rudy2d
Pinehurst NC
Face Front Videos
Posted September 24, 2014
Spot, you are not the only one who sees a problem with many of the presenters doing stand-up-walk-left-walk-right-for-the-camera lectures. TGC may feel the need to offer video versions of just about everything but I avoid that format whenever I can.
0points
0out of 0found this comment helpful.
Comments (1)
Comments (1)
Review 12 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
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.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 13 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Course Value
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."
+9points
9out of 9found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 14 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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!"
+5points
7out of 9found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 15 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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."
+7points
7out of 7found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 16 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Course Content
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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."
+13points
13out of 13found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 17 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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."
+8points
8out of 8found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 18 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Course Content
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Professor Presentation
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Course Value
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
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?"
+4points
11out of 18found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 19 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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!"
+7points
8out of 9found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
Review 20 for The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World
Overall Rating
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Content
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Professor Presentation
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Course Value
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
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!"
+18points
18out of 18found this review helpful.
Thank you! You have successfully submitted a comment for this review.
1 2 3 4 next>>