The History of Ancient Rome [TTC Video]

The History of Ancient Rome [TTC Video]
The History of Ancient Rome [TTC Video] by Garrett G Fagan
Course No 340 | AVI, XviD, 640x472 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 48x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 9.3GB

There are many reasons to study ancient Rome. Rome's span was vast. In the regional, restless, and shifting history of continental Europe, the Roman Empire stands as a towering monument to scale and stability. At its height, the Roman Empire, unified in politics and law, stretched from the sands of Syria to the moors of Scotland, and it stood for almost 700 years.

Rome's influence is indelible. Europe and the world owe a huge cultural debt to Rome in so many fields of human endeavor, such as art, architecture, engineering, language, literature, law, and religion. In this course you see how a small village of shepherds and farmers rose to tower over the civilized world of its day and left an indelible mark on history.

Rome's story is riveting. Professor Garrett G. Fagan draws on a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including recent historical and archaeological scholarship, to introduce the fascinating tale of Rome's rise and decline. You learn about all the famous events and personalities:

  • Horatius at the bridge
  • Hannibal crossing the Alps during Rome's life-or-death war with Carthage
  • Caesar assassinated before a statue of his archrival Pompey
  • Doomed lovers Antony and Cleopatra
  • Mad and venal emperors Nero and Caligula
  • The conversion of Constantine, and more.

From pre-Roman Italy through the long centuries of Republican and then Imperial rule, Professor Fagan interweaves narrative and analysis. Chronologically, the focus is on the years from 200 B.C.E. to 200 A.D., when Roman power was at its height.

The narrative of the rise and fall of Rome is itself compelling, and Professor Fagan's richly detailed and often humorous discussions of Roman life are uniquely memorable. You study women and the family, slaves, cities, religious customs, the ubiquitous and beloved institution of public bathing, the deep cultural impact of Hellenism, and such famous Roman amusements as chariot racing and gladiatorial games.

"Images and themes derived from or rooted in ancient Rome continue to exert an influence on the modern mind," says Professor Fagan. "Unlike many ancient states, Rome changed hugely in many spheres over the course of its 1,500-year history, and thus the history of Rome is an engaging, complex, and challenging subject."

From Village to Monarchy to Republic

The first 10 lectures of this course map the development of a group of preliterate hamlets into the Roman Republic. In them, you learn about:

  • The nature of the historical evidence for antiquity
  • The geopolitical and cultural shape of pre-Roman Italy
  • The foundation legends of Rome itself
  • The cycle of stories that surrounds the kings of Rome
  • The shape of early Roman society
  • The fall of the monarchy at Rome and the foundation, in its wake, of the Republic (traditionally dated to 509 B.C.E.).

These lectures examine two major forces that shaped the early Republic: the Struggle of the Orders and Roman military expansion in Italy. The lectures also explain how the Romans ruled their conquered territories in Italy, setting the foundations for the later acquisition and maintenance of the Empire.

Early Expansion and Rapid Collision

Moving outside of Italy, you next explore the expansion of Roman power in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C.E.

In two lectures Professor Fagan charts the course of the Romans' first two titanic struggles with their archrival in the west, Carthage.

In these wars, the Romans developed a large-scale navy, sent armies overseas, acquired foreign territories, and displayed what was to become one of their chief characteristics: a dogged determination to prevail, even in the face of seemingly impossible odds. This was particularly clear in the Second Punic War, when the gifted Carthaginian general Hannibal roamed freely in Italy, threatening the city of Rome itself.

Greek Influence and Roman Government

In Lectures 16–19, Professor Fagan pauses the narrative to examine the influence of Greek culture on Rome and the nature of the Roman Republican system of government.

This latter system—complex and replete with archaisms and redundancies—has influenced the form of several modern policies, including that of the United States.

Finally, Professor Fagan examines the pressures of empire on Roman society, charting considerable social, economic, and political changes brought about by Rome's overseas expansion. On the rocks of these pressures, the Republic was destined to founder.

The Roman Revolution

Lectures 20–27 follow the course of what modern scholars have termed the "Roman Revolution."

In the century between 133 and 31 B.C.E., the Roman Republic tore itself apart. It is a period of dramatic political and military developments, of ambitious generals challenging the authority of the state, of civil wars and vicious violence, and of some of the first great personalities of European history: Marius, Sulla, Pompey, and Julius Caesar.

The story is intriguing, complicated, and at times horrendous, and it illustrates perfectly the historical principle of contingency. With a few exceptions, each protagonist in the drama of the Revolution acted within the bounds of necessity or precedent, and thereby set new and dangerous precedents for later protagonists to follow.

In this way, the Roman Revolution was not a staged or planned event, but a cumulative snowball of crises that combined to shatter the system of Republican government.

After pausing to examine the social and cultural life of the Late Republic, you return to the last phases of the Revolution and the rise to power of the man who was to become Rome's first emperor, Augustus.

The Roman Empire

Lectures 31–33 examine the long reign of Augustus (31 B.C.E.–14 A.D.) and his new political order, the Principate. The Principate stood for centuries and brought stability and good government in a way that the old Republic could not.

Augustus's solution to the Republic's problems was clever and subtle. It also had a flaw at its core—the issue of succession—and what happened when an emperor died was to prove the single most destabilizing factor in the Principate's existence.

The next three lectures cover the early Imperial period, from the death of Augustus to the instability of the 3rd century. This is the era of such familiar Roman historical figures as Caligula, Claudius, Nero, and Hadrian.

Finally, Professor Fagan shows how the problem of the succession combined with ominous developments among Rome's external enemies in the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. to generate a period of great crisis, indeed near-collapse, in the mid-3rd century A.D.

Life in Classical Rome

Leaving the Empire under pressure, Professor Fagan considers life in classical Roman civilization in nine lectures. He explores the broad shape of Roman society, slavery, the Roman family, the role of women in Roman society, urbanism, public leisure and mass entertainment, paganism, and the rise of Christianity.

The End and a New Beginning

To conclude the course, the final three lectures return to the Empire's last centuries. The Empire is restored to order and stability at the end of the 3rd century, but under an increasingly oppressive government.

The institutionalization of Christianity to legitimize Imperial power and a more openly autocratic regime created, in many ways, a Roman Empire closer to medieval Europe than to the Empire of Augustus. As such, the later Empire is treated only in general terms here, since it warrants closer study by itself.

The course ends with one of the great questions in history: Why did the Roman Empire fall? We see how, in the eyes of most modern scholars, the Empire did not fall at all but just changed into something very different, a less urbanized, more rural, early medieval world.

The History of Ancient Rome [TTC Video]

Understanding the Fundamentals of Music [TTC Video]

Understanding the Fundamentals of Music [TTC Video]
Understanding the Fundamentals of Music [TTC Video] by Robert Greenberg
Course No 7261 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 16x45 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.43GB

We all know that beneath the surface of music, beyond the joy or excitement or even heartache that this beautiful language of sound can stir within us, lies the often mysterious realm of music theory—a complex syntax of structural and instrumental resources that composers may draw on.

No matter what kind of music we listen to—symphony or string quartet, saxophone solo or vocal ballad, hip hop or Gregorian chant—we feel the impact of that music and have done so all our lives, even though we may not know how such impact is achieved, or understand the fundamental processes of musical composition.

But what if we did understand how certain musical effects were achieved? What if we could learn to follow the often-intimidating language of key signatures, pitch, mode, melody, meter, and other parts of musical structure used by composers? What if we could recognize these various components at work as we listened to our favorite music? What if we could "speak" the language of Western music?

It's a language that Professor Robert Greenberg calls rich, varied, and magnificent, and he has little doubt about the rewards of even a beginning level of fluency.

"It's a language that pays us back tenfold—a hundredfold—for every detail we come to recognize and perceive! And it's a language that will only get richer and more varied, as our increasingly global culture contributes ever more vocabulary to it."

Learn the Basics of Music Theory without Knowing How to Read Music!

In this course, Professor Greenberg offers a spirited introduction to this magnificent language—nimbly avoiding what for many of us has long been the principal roadblock, the need to read music.

For anyone wanting to master music's language, being able to read musical notation is a necessity. But this course, as Professor Greenberg notes, is a basic course, designed to introduce you to music's language in a way that is similar to the way you learned your own native language, by "discovering and exploring musical syntax through our ears—by learning what the parts of musical speech sound like—rather than what they look like on paper."

By sidestepping the necessity to read music, these lectures represent an extremely rare opportunity in musical education—an opportunity to experience a solid introduction to music theory's basics in a way that is not technically intimidating, yet provides a substantial grounding in the fundamentals. As such, Professor Greenberg has devised a highly individualized approach to music theory. There is simply little or no literature in this field that can teach as much without recourse to music notation. Thus, it can appeal to those who are not learning, or even planning to learn, to play a musical instrument or to compose. It can even be beneficial to musicians who do not play a keyboard instrument and may have had difficulty grasping some of the more abstract concepts of music. As much as anything else, the course is designed to help deepen and intensify the experience of Professor Greenberg's other Teaching Company Courses, currently 21 in number.

Professor Greenberg has made use of a variety of tools, including thoughtfully chosen recorded examples, his own demonstrations at the piano, and helpful diagrams. One of those diagrams—a reproduction of a piano keyboard, with its keys identified—frees the student from needing access to a piano or any other keyboard instrument, a traditional demand of most music theory courses. It's of tremendous help in visualizing many of the course's most important concepts, such as how "pitch collections" are built, and it opens up the benefits of this course to anyone without access to a piano or keyboard instrument.

The extent of those benefits becomes clear the moment you start to apply the basic knowledge taught in this course. You'll listen to music with new levels of understanding and appreciation, not only when you find yourself at the concert hall, but also at home with your stereo, and when you're listening to your favorite music in the car or on a portable player.

Listen Over and Over and Learn More Each Time!

Each time you listen to this course—and Professor Greenberg has designed it to be listened to again and again—you increase your music-listening skills and come to appreciate what a complex and rewarding study music theory can be.

These are lectures that will prepare you, in Professor Greenberg's words, to "hear and identify those aspects of the musical language that are, collectively, the means to comprehending, on an intimate level, the music of the Western repertoire and, to a significant degree, the music of many other world cultures as well."

It's difficult to imagine a teacher more qualified to help you reach that goal. Professor Greenberg is one of The Teaching Company's most highly regarded, popular, and prolific teachers—as well as an award-winning composer in his own right. He has produced more than 500 lectures for The Teaching Company on a range of composers and genres, each marked by his characteristic knowledge, enthusiasm, humor, and, most important, unique ability to teach the technicalities of music to nontechnical audiences. A love of music and a desire to understand it are the only prerequisites you need.

All these skills are on constant display throughout the lectures, as Professor Greenberg takes you step by step through the material, laying a firm foundation before introducing the next concept. He begins by introducing you to the instrumental families of the orchestra and their characteristics, before moving on to subjects that might seem intimidating in a classroom: pulse and meter; sound, pitch, and pitch collections; melody and texture; tonality and tonal harmony. Professor Greenberg's lectures are clear and purposeful.

Learn about the People behind the Music

Along the way, you'll learn the human side of music—about the men and women who write and play it—and discover, for example, that:

  • When violinists or other string players use the bow over the fingerboard, or neck, of their instruments, a lovely, flutelike sound is produced, similar to the effect of clamping a comb-shaped muting device to the instrument's bridge. The technique is called sul tasto. Even though it is an effect that can be achieved instantly, without having to pause to clamp on a mute, string players generally dislike it. That's because the rosin they use on the hair of their bows to make the hair grip the strings gets on a part of the strings that may come into contact with the players' fingers—an unwelcome experience for string players. Not wishing to incur the wrath of the string section, experienced composers have thus learned to avoid using sul tasto unless absolutely necessary.
  • The piccolo has so much power that its piercingly brilliant sound can be painful, so piccolo players wear earplugs when they practice to protect themselves from their own instruments.
  • The extraordinary two-and-a-half octave upward slide—or glissando—that begins George Gershwin's 1924 Rhapsody in Blue has become the most famous clarinet glissando in all of music. Gershwin did not write it that way; he indicated a simple ascending scale. But Gershwin's original score was written for piano and then orchestrated by Ferde Grofé. Grofé knew that Russ Gorman, who would play clarinet in the Rhapsody's premiere, was extraordinarily gifted at playing glissandi. Grofé thus scored the opening of Rhapsody as a glissando, and the rest is musical history.
  • Hector Berlioz was rare among major composers for barely being able to play any individual musical instrument. The "instrument" he could play was the orchestra. Considered the most original, adventurous, and innovative orchestrator that had yet come along, his "Treatise on Orchestration" has been a must-read for composers and conductors since its publication in 1843.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Music is as rich in musical lore as it is in technical knowledge. It will reward you many times over, not only as you listen and relisten to the lectures, gaining a new understanding each time, but also as you listen to different varieties of music and find yourself enjoying a much deeper understanding of their compositional structures.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Music [TTC Video]

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals [TTC Video]

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals [TTC Video]
The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals [TTC Video] by Hannah B Harvey
Course No 9313 | WMV, WMV3, 640x480 | WMA, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins + PDF Guidebook | 10.9GB

The gift of storytelling may be one of life's most powerful—and envied—skills. A story well told can make us laugh, weep, swell with pride, or rise with indignation. A story poorly told can be not just boring or uncomfortable, but positively painful to experience. Humans seem to be fundamentally hard-wired for stories—they’re how we record both the monumental events of life and the small, everyday moments.

The oral storytelling tradition is as old as language itself. Throughout history, stories have primarily existed in the verbal realm, preserving and passing knowledge across generations before being canonized in print. This was true of the ancient epics, and it’s true today. Your family history, your company’s history, the stories you tell that define and shape your identity—these are all stored in your mind and shared through your actions and words.

And being a gifted storyteller has its advantages: A well-crafted narrative can keep the people, values, and life lessons you hold dear alive and give you the power to influence your children, your employees, and others.

There are many reasons we relate and respond to stories. We’re often drawn to

  • what or whom the story represents;
  • how the story reflects a core part of who we are (or who we want to be); and
  • what the story could be—because we don’t like the reality of what the story is.

So how do you tell stories that stick—in your own mind and in the minds of your family, friends, colleagues, and clients?

That’s precisely what you’ll learn in The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals, an enthralling course that reveals the tried-and-true methods experienced storytellers use to develop and tell engaging, entertaining, and memorable tales. In 24 lectures, Professor Hannah B. Harvey demonstrates how to master the art form’s basic principles with the same witty, dynamic energy that has made her an internationally recognized professional storyteller and award-winning educator.

Even if you never plan to set foot on a stage, knowing what a professional storyteller does in the process of crafting and delivering a tale allows you to enhance the stories you tell everyday—to your children at bedtime, in your conversational anecdotes, and in your presentations at work. Teachers, lawyers, clergy, coaches, parents, and anyone who wants to understand the power of stories to capture hearts and minds will benefit from the lessons presented in this course.

Find Your Own Story

Professor Harvey calls the act of creating a story performance an “alchemical process” that involves an interconnected cycle of talking, writing, imaging, playing, and rehearsing.

You’ll begin your exploration of this layered chain of events by breaking down storytelling’s secret underpinnings and examining the dynamic relationship between you, the story, and the audience, known as “the storytelling triangle.”

This course introduces you to practical methods for building dynamic tension and capturing—then maintaining—your audience’s attention. You’ll acquire tips and techniques for finding, selecting, and preparing stories, whether they’re based on your own experiences, time-honored folk tales, or beloved family yarns.

You may be surprised to discover how many small, virtually imperceptible decisions go into the telling of a good story, right down to the way you emphasize certain words. For example, a far richer picture is painted when you say “the door creeeeeeeeaked open,” instead of stating “the door creaked open.” That’s because the former enhances “sensorium,” allowing the audience to fully visualize what you’re describing.

You’ll also learn to

  • choose expressive language;
  • craft compelling characters;
  • refine your narrator’s point of view;
  • shape your story’s plot, structure, and emotional arc;
  • develop imagery, vocal cues, and intonation; and
  • use body language to connect with your audience.

And there’s so much more. Professor Harvey instructs you on ways to make the past feel present, to take “on and off ramps” to gracefully enter and exit stories, and to employ devices such as repetition and audience participation to lure back listeners you’ve started to lose.

Beyond Happily Ever After

Part how-to workshop, part intellectual study of the history of narrative, The Art of Storytelling investigates the hidden meanings of various genres from the hero’s journey to the fairy tale. You’ll examine classic story structures, archetypal characters, and why certain stories, such as Cinderella, have endured across time and cultures.

In studying the psychology of fairy tales you’ll discover that, although they were never intended for children, their characters and situations serve as a mirror in which children see themselves reflected. As you dissect the familiar story of Little Red Riding Hood to examine the themes of temptation, heroism, good, and evil, you’ll realize how real the fantasy world can seem for children and the many ways fairy tales fulfill children’s needs.

Fairy tales offer children reassurance that

  • their feelings are valid;
  • although they struggle with contradictory desires, it will all turn out OK in the end; and
  • if they “enter the woods,” they can overcome the temptations that the woods represents.

Practice Makes (Almost) Perfect

Many lectures feature exercises that literally get you moving to develop your stories and make them more enjoyable for you to tell and your audience to hear. Although journaling and scripting are part of the process, at no point will you be expected to memorize your stories word for word. The professor’s interactive activities and “side coaching” sessions are designed to make you comfortable enough with your story to tell it naturally and make impromptu changes as needed.

For the uninitiated, some exercises may seem outside your comfort zone, but you’ll soon find that Professor Harvey’s warm-ups, activities, and rehearsal ideas are an effective way to harness performance anxiety and get prepared to be playful and spontaneous.

While you may not do this preliminary work when telling stories at a party, doing the exercises ahead of time will help tremendously when you’re thinking on your feet.

In taking this course, you’ll learn that storytelling is less about the telling than it is about listening to what your particular audience needs, and reacting in the moment by adapting your language, body gestures, and voice to accommodate the changing dynamics and atmosphere.

You’ll even learn what to do if the unexpected occurs while telling a story to a roomful of kids or giving a presentation (such as sirens blaring outside). Lectures addressing the practical considerations of using props, PowerPoint, and microphones in various scenarios are as informative for performers as they are for business professionals.

An Unforgettable Experience

An absolute treat for the heart and mind, this course is complemented by clips of accomplished storytellers practicing their craft at festivals, as well as Professor Harvey’s own personal tales about growing up in Appalachia, which range from the heartfelt to the downright hilarious.

An exceptionally captivating lecturer, she brings her unique perspective as a scholar-artist to this endeavor, grabbing hold of your attention from the start and never letting go—which is exactly what you’ll learn to do with your own audience by the end of this course.

Whether you seek to sharpen your abilities in the boardroom, the classroom, or simply around the water cooler, The Art of Storytelling has the answer. The context may change, but the methods remain the same.

The Art of Storytelling: From Parents to Professionals [TTC Video]

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