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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Daily Life in the Ancient World for
describing what daily life was like for the regular people in ancient
civilizations. It was often like ours, but it wasn't always pretty.

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

Daily Life in the Ancient World (2012) - 48 lectures, 24 hours
Daily Life in the Ancient World at TheGreatCourses.com

Imagine you’re a Greek soldier marching into battle in the front row of a phalanx. Or an Egyptian woman putting on makeup before attending an evening party with your husband. Or a Celtic monk scurrying away with the Book of Kells during a Viking invasion. Welcome to the other side of history, the 99% of ordinary people whose names don’t make it into the history books - but whose lives are no less fascinating than the great leaders whose names we all know. Here you’ll encounter such diverse individuals as

  • a Mesopotamian hunter-gatherer making a living in one of the world’s earliest permanent settlements;
  • an Egyptian craftsman decorating the pharaoh’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings;
  • a Minoan fleeing the island of Santorini during a volcanic eruption;
  • 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 medieval pilgrim on the road to Canterbury.

The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World is your chance to get 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 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. You’ll gain new insights into what daily life was like - what the world actually looked, smelled, and felt like in Neanderthal caves, ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, and medieval Britain.

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. You’ll see what daily life was like for workers, the poor, the elderly, the sick, the disabled, refugees, women, children, slaves, and soldiers. Through the professor’s engaging stories and with the aid of dazzling graphics, you’ll experience the texture of daily life in these civilizations like never before - and you’ll be delighted by the ways you’ll identify and empathize with people from another world.

Put Yourself in the Sandals of Ordinary People

The 19th-century historian Thomas Carlyle wrote, “The history of the world is but the biography of great men.” There’s no doubt that most histories take the conventional approach of introducing us to the major figures and important dates. But The Other Side of History stimulates your imagination by providing you a vivid glimpse into the real world of the past:

  • Go back to the Neanderthal caves, where evidence suggests that although life was dominated by the environment, Neanderthals took care to bury their dead - honoring them just as we do today.
  • Experience the rhythms of the Nile, whose predictable rise and fall created a sense of security and tranquility for its inhabitants for 2,000 years.
  • Take a harrowing trip as a Greek refugee as you strike out to create a new settlement, but be forewarned: There’s no turning back. Herodotus tells the story of refugees who, after failing to find a suitable land to colonize, tried to return home - only to be pelted with missiles by their fellow countrymen.
  • Imagine you’re a poor Roman living under the eaves in the upper floors of a leaky, cramped, rat-infested housing complex. Navigating 200 stairs with a chamber pot was bad enough, but the threat of fire from oil lamps and the rampant spread of disease only added to your vulnerability.
  • Contrast the lot of the poor with life as a Roman celebrity. From gladiators who were household names to famous wives such as Theodora, the Roman world of entertainment, sport, and celebrity culture was remarkably similar to that of the 21st century.

The true joy of this course lies in seeing what life was like for ordinary people - and therefore what life would have been like for most of us if we had been born in a different era. Through archaeological evidence and literary records, you’ll connect with a wide range of people over the ages and experience life from their perspectives. This imaginative leap is why we study the humanities - to expand our circle of empathy, compassion, and open-mindedness about the world.

Professor Robert Garland is the Roy D. and Margaret B. Wooster Professor of the Classics at Colgate University. He is the author of 11 books, the most recent of which is Hannibal, a study of the Carthaginian general that attempts to illuminate the psychology of the great military strategist. Dr. Garland has been a Fulbright Scholar, and his expertise has been featured in The History Channel's The True Story of Troy.

48 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: Taking on the Other Side of History 25: Being a Roman Soldier
2: Being Paleolithic 26: Being a Roman Woman
3: Living in Mesopotamia 27: Being a Poor Roman
4: Being Egyptian 28: Being a Rich Roman
5: Belonging to an Egyptian Family 29: Being a Roman Celebrity
6: Practicing Egyptian Religion 30: Being a Roman Criminal
7: Being a Dead Egyptian 31: Relaxing Roman Style
8: Being an Egyptian Worker 32: Practicing Roman Religion
9: Being Minoan and Mycenaean 33: Being Jewish under Roman Rule
10: Being Greek 34: Being Christian under Roman Rule
11: Growing Up Greek 35: Being a Celt in Ancient Britain
12: Being a Greek Slave 36: Being a Roman Briton
13: Being a Greek Soldier or Sailor 37: Being Anglo-Saxon
14: Being a Greek Woman 38: Being a Viking Raider
15: Relaxing Greek Style 39: Living under Norman Rule
16: Being a Greek Refugee 40: Being Medieval
17: Being a Sick or Disabled Greek 41: Being Poor in the Middle Ages
18: Practicing Greek Religion 42: Being a Medieval Woman
19: Being an Old Greek 43: Being a Medieval Christian or Heretic
20: Being a Dead Greek 44: Being a Medieval Knight
21: Being Persian 45: Being a Crusader
22: Living in Hellenistic Egypt 46: Being a Pilgrim
23: Being Roman 47: Relaxing Medieval Style
24: Being a Roman Slave 48: Daily Life Matters


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

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Daily Life in the Ancient World for
describing what daily life was like for the regular people in ancient
civilizations. It was often like ours, but it wasn't always pretty.