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

I bought this audiobook from Audible and listened to it using the Audible app on my iPhone.

I was looking for something non-fiction and stumbled upon The Great Courses on Audible. After browsing around a bit I found The Great Courses: Ancient History which led to "The Other Side of History." I was intrigued by the idea of learning about the lives of everyday people in medieval times.

This audiobook consists of 48 half-hour lectures given by Professor Robert Garland in a classroom environment. He does a fantastic job conveying the material to the listener with a voice that really resonated with me; he comes across as a professor I would enjoy learning history from.

One of the highlights of the book are the examples professor Garland provides of what we don’t know due to the lack of surviving records and the ideas and beliefs that have changed in recent years due to new discoveries. What we know of ancient history is always changing due to new findings and re-interpretations, but not all professors or historians will openly acknowledge that as readily as professor Garland does.

From the publisher:

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 you take a series of imaginative leaps into the world of history’s anonymous citizens, people such as a Greek soldier marching into battle in the front row of a phalanx; an Egyptian woman putting on makeup before attending an evening party with her husband; a Greek citizen relaxing at a drinking party with the likes of Socrates; a Roman slave captured in war and sent to work in the mines; and a Celtic monk scurrying away with the Book of Kells during a Viking invasion.

Put yourself in the sandals of ordinary people and discover what it was like to be among history’s 99%. What did these everyday people do for a living? What was their home like? What did they eat? What did they wear? What did they do to relax? What were their beliefs about marriage? Religion? The afterlife?

This extraordinary journey takes you across space and time in an effort to be another person – someone with whom you might not think you have anything at all in common – and come away with an incredible sense of interconnectedness. You’ll see the range of possibilities of what it means to be human, making this a journey very much worth taking.

©2012 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2012 The Great Courses

I rate this audiobook a 9 out of 10 and recommend it highly to anyone interested in learning more about medieval history.

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