Greece and Rome: An Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean [TTC Video]
19 September 2016, 13:10
Course No 3300 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 36x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 6.16GB
In the 1st century B.C., Rome's matchless armies consolidated control over the entire Mediterranean world, and Greece lay vanquished along with scores of other formerly independent lands—yet the Roman poet Horace saw something special in Greece when he wrote "Greece, the captive, made her savage victor captive."
What did Horace mean by this paradoxical quote?
What did Greek culture symbolize to the militarily successful Romans?
How did the Greeks, in turn, view their Latin-speaking rulers?
How did these two independent branches of ancient civilization develop and then become inextricably entwined, with implications for all of subsequent Western culture?
The answers to these and other intriguing questions require an understanding not just of Rome but of Greece as well. Integrated approaches to teaching Greek and Roman history, however, are a rarity in academia. Most scholars are historians of either Greek or Roman history and perform research solely in that specific field, an approach that author and award-winning Professor Robert Garland considers questionable.
"It's only by studying the two cultures in connection with each other that we can come to an understanding of that unique cultural entity that is 'Greco-Roman,'" he notes.
Greece and Rome: An Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean is an impressive and rare opportunity to understand the two dominant cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world in relation to one another. Over the course of 36 lectures, Professor Garland explores the many ways in which these two very different cultures intersected, coincided, and at times collided.
Explore Greco-Roman Culture
The relationship between the Greeks and the Romans has virtually no parallel in world history. Greece and Rome's relationship resembled a marriage: two distinct personalities competing in some areas, sharing in others, and sometimes creating an entirely new synthesis of the two civilizations.
This synthesis created the extraordinary culture that we call Greco-Roman: a unique fusion of civilizations that encompasses statecraft, mythology, language, philosophy, fine arts, architecture, science, and much else. "The term suggests there was an unbreakable tie between the two cultures," says Professor Garland. "And indeed there was. What would Rome have been without the imprint of the Greeks, and what would we know about the Greeks were it not for the Romans?"
Professor Garland cites three critical reasons why an understanding of the Greco-Roman world is so important to us here in the 21st century:
- The connections between the two civilizations remind us that culture is not created and owned by a single people, but is enriched through the contributions of others.
- The relationship between the Greeks and Romans is somewhat analogous to the relationship between the British and the Americans.
- An integrated study of the Greeks and Romans helps us understand how each profoundly influenced the other.
Follow Twin Historical Paths
Greece and Rome begins by asking who the Greeks and Romans were, what their images of themselves were, and how they organized their societies. From there, you explore their first historical interactions through trade and, inevitably, war, as Roman influence began to spread into the eastern Mediterranean.
The world of the Greeks that the Romans encountered during the 3rd to 1st centuries B.C. was the spectacular Hellenistic civilization created by the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was a unified Greek culture with stunning artistic and intellectual achievements that thoroughly captivated the Romans.
Roman political interactions with the Greeks, however, were another matter.
You follow the long series of wars in which the Romans at first preserved Greek independence and then, having grown impatient with Greek ingratitude, duplicity, and infighting, eventually resorted to the efficient brutality for which Rome's legions were renowned. In 30 B.C., with the death of Cleopatra, the last of the Ptolemaic Greek rulers, Rome had conquered not only every Greek land but the entire Mediterranean world.
A Rich Cultural Partnership
For the next half millennium, Greece and Rome were inseparable. "There's never been anything quite like it," Professor Garland says. "Greece and Rome are two cultures joined at the hip, arguably the most special and the most important cultural relationship in all of history."
Greece and Rome goes beyond the political and military stories and immerses you in the details of life in Classical antiquity. You investigate Greek and Roman approaches to human universals such as death, leisure, and sex. You also witness the emergence and development of an integrated Greco-Roman culture as reflected in religion, art, architecture, medicine, science, technology, literature, education, and philosophy.
- Much of what we think of today as Classical Greek art is, in fact, copies commissioned by wealthy Roman connoisseurs.
- Romans displayed a love-hate relationship with Greece, epitomized by the Roman politician Cato the Elder, who was deeply immersed in Greek culture but who publicly denounced its corrupting influence.
- Educated Romans were predominantly bilingual, speaking also Greek.
- The prolific writer Plutarch recognized the value of examining the Greeks and Romans alongside one another without prejudice and wrote a celebrated set of parallel biographies of famous Greeks and Romans.
Despite all their similarities, Greeks and Romans were different enough that each engaged in cultural stereotyping of the other, which amounted to latent nationalism. Throughout the lectures, you explore some of their more substantive cultural differences, including:
- Religion: Greek religion was anthropomorphic, with deities displaying human form and manner. Early Romans did not believe in deities but rather in numina—divine powers that had precise functions but no physical identity.
- Views of foreigners: Romans were far more diverse in origin than the Greeks, which made them more open to foreigners. This had profound effects, as the Romans used grants of citizenship as a political tool to cement and expand the Roman Empire.
- Construction: The largest structures in the Greek world were theaters, some of which could hold 20,000 to 40,000 people. The Romans had a more grandiose concept of public space, as seen in the Circus Maximus, in which 250,000 spectators could assemble to watch a chariot race.
- Thinking: The Greeks delighted in analyzing the world and asking questions about the nature of existence, the constitution of the ideal state, and the definition of virtue. For their part, the Romans, though they also studied philosophy, were content to run the world.
An Expert in the Classical World
Professor Garland has spent his entire career immersed in classical studies and in the worlds of ancient Greece and Rome.
His academic research focuses on the cultural, religious, social, and political histories of these two civilizations. He has written numerous books on subjects ranging from the politics of Athenian religion and disability in the Greco-Roman world to daily life in ancient Greece and the idea of celebrity in antiquity.
Delight in the wide variety of sources—literature, archaeology, the visual arts, coinage, inscriptions—that he draws upon in order to assemble a fascinating and complex picture of these two great civilizations. Value his mastery of detail on his subject, as he helps you to reach important conclusions from an analysis of the shared cultural features of Greece and Rome. And appreciate how Dr. Garland always keeps Greece and Rome focused on how this material affects us in the present day.
"I profoundly believe that Greece and Rome are inside us, both as destructive and as creative forces," he says. "They've taught us our ways of being a human being and of seeing the world. We are their heirs and their guardians, a heavy but invigorating challenge."
An Introduction to Formal Logic [TTC Video]
19 September 2016, 12:58
Course No 4215 | M4V, AVC, 720x404 | AAC, 160 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | 2.55GB
Flawed, misleading, and false arguments are everywhere. From advertisers trying to separate you from your money, to politicians trying to sway your vote, to friends who want you to agree with them, your belief structure is constantly under attack.
Logic is intellectual self-defense against such assaults on reason and also a method of quality control for checking the validity of your own views. But beyond these very practical benefits, informal logic—the kind we apply in daily life—is the gateway to an elegant and fascinating branch of philosophy known as formal logic, which is philosophy’s equivalent to calculus. Formal logic is a breathtakingly versatile tool. Much like a Swiss army knife for the incisive mind, it is a powerful mode of inquiry that can lead to surprising and worldview-shifting conclusions.
Award-winning Professor of Philosophy Steven Gimbel of Gettysburg College guides you with wit and charm through the full scope of this immensely rewarding subject in An Introduction to Formal Logic, 24 engaging half-hour lectures that teach you logic from the ground up—from the fallacies of everyday thinking to cutting edge ideas on the frontiers of the discipline. Professor Gimbel’s research explores the nature of scientific reasoning and the ways in which science and culture interact, which positions him perfectly to make advanced abstract concepts clear and concrete.
Packed with real-world examples and thought-provoking exercises, this course is suitable for everyone from beginners to veteran logicians. Plentiful on-screen graphics, together with abundant explanations of symbols and proofs, make the concepts crystal clear.
For the Logician in All of Us
You will find that the same rational skills that help you spot the weaknesses in a sales pitch or your child’s excuse for skipping homework will also put you on the road to some of the most profound discoveries of our times, such as Kurt Gödel’s incompleteness theorems, which shook the foundations of philosophy and mathematics in the 20th century and can only be compared to revolutions in thought such as quantum mechanics. But Gödel didn’t need a lab to make his discovery—only logic.
A course with a surprising breadth and depth of applications, An Introduction to Formal Logic will appeal to:
- critical thinkers who aspire to make better decisions, whether as doctors, lawyers, investors, managers, or others faced with the task of weighing conflicting options
- lovers of intellectual history, who wish to trace one of the most influential and underappreciated currents of thought from antiquity to the present day
- students of philosophy, for whom logic is the gold standard for evaluating philosophical arguments and a required course for mastery of the discipline
- students of mathematics, who want to understand the foundations of their field and glimpse the machinery that drives every mathematical equation ever written
- anyone curious about how computers work, for programs know nothing about words, sentences, or even numbers—they only comprehend logic
- those fascinated with language, the brain, and other topics in cognitive science, since logic models grammar, meaning, and thought better than any other tool
Logic Is Your Ally
Professor Gimbel begins by noting that humans are wired to accept false beliefs. For example, we have a strong compulsion to change our view to match the opinion of a group, particularly if we are the lone holdout—even if we feel certain that we are right. From these and other cases of cognitive bias where our instincts work against sound reasoning, you begin to see how logic is a marvelous corrective that protects us from ourselves. With this intriguing start, An Introduction to Formal Logic unfolds as follows:
- Logical concepts: You are introduced to deductive and inductive arguments and the criteria used to assess them—validity and well-groundedness. Then you learn that arguments have two parts: conclusions (that which is being argued for) and premises (the support given for the conclusion).
- Informal logic: Often called critical thinking, this type of logical analysis looks at features other than the form of an argument—hence “informal.” Here, you focus on establishing the truth of the premises, as well as spotting standard rhetorical tricks and logical fallacies.
- Inductive reasoning: Next you learn to assess the validity of an argument using induction, which examines different cases and then forms a general conclusion. Inductive arguments are typical of science, taking what we already know and giving us logical permission to believe something new.
- Formal symbolic deductive logic: Known as “formal” logic because it focuses on the form of arguments, this family of techniques uses symbolic language to assess the validity of a wide range of deductive arguments, which infer particulars from general laws or principles.
- Modal logic: After an intensive exploration of formal logic, you venture into modal logic, learning to handle sentences that deal with possibility and necessity—called modalities. Modal logic has been very influential in the philosophy of ethics.
- Current advances: You close the course by looking at recent developments, such as three-valued logical systems and fuzzy logic, which extend our ability to reason by denying what seems to be the basis of all logic—that sentences must be either true or false.
Learn the Language of Logic
For many people, one of the most daunting aspects of formal logic is its use of symbols. You may have seen logical arguments expressed with these arrows, v’s, backwards E’s, upside down A’s, and other inscrutable signs, which can seem as bewildering as higher math or an ancient language. But An Introduction to Formal Logic shows that the symbols convey simple ideas compactly and become second nature with use. In case after case, Professor Gimbel explains how to analyze an ambiguous sentence in English into its component propositions, expressed in symbols. This makes what is being asserted transparently clear.
Consider these two sentences: (1) “A dog is a man’s best friend.” (2) “A dog is in the front yard.” Initially, they look very similar. Both say “A dog is x” and seem to differ only in the property ascribed to the dog. However, the noun phrase “a dog” means two completely different things in these two cases. In the first, it means dogs in general. In the second, it denotes a specific dog. These contrasting ideas are symbolized like so:
You will discover that many consequential arguments in daily life hinge on a similar ambiguity, which dissolves away when translated into the clear language of logic.
Professor Gimbel notes that logical thinking is like riding a bicycle; it takes skill and practice, and once you learn you can really go places! Logic is the key to philosophy, mathematics, and science. Without it, there would be no electronic computers or data processing. In social science, it identifies patterns of behavior and uncovers societal blind spots—assumptions we all make that are completely false. Logic can help you win an argument, run a meeting, draft a contract, raise a child, be a juror, or buy a shirt and keep from losing it at a casino. Logic says that you should take this course.
Ancient Greek Civilization [TTC Video]
19 September 2016, 12:52
Course No 323 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.66GB
Why do the ancient Greeks occupy such a prominent place in conceptions of Western culture and identity? What about them made generations of influential scholars and writers view Hellenic culture as the uniquely essential starting point for understanding the art and reflection that define the West? Does this view tell the whole story?
The Ancestors of Us All
Clearly, the Greeks are a source of much that we esteem in our own culture: democracy, philosophy, tragedy, epic and lyric poetry, history-writing, our aesthetic sensibilities and ideals of athletic competition, and more. Blazoned above the portal of Apollo's temple at Delphi were the words, "Know thyself." For us, this injunction to self-awareness also commands knowledge of the Greeks.
With Professor Jeremy McInerney as your teacher, you'll come away with fresh knowledge on one of humanity's most golden ages. A native Australian, Professor McInerney is Associate Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He also serves on the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. He has excavated Greek sites in Israel, at Corinth, and on Crete.
Our customers are very enthusiastic about Professor McInerney. "The quality of the course is so high, I hate to see it end," writes one. Another says, "Professor McInerney's lectures are among the finest I have ever heard. He is articulate, thoughtful, and engaging. I learned more from this course than from any book I have read on the subject."
Our Mediterranean Origins
Spanning roughly 1,000 years, from 1500–400 B.C.E., this course covers the Late Bronze Age to the time of Philip II of Macedon and his son Alexander the Great in the late 4th century B.C.E. Professor McInerney traces the complex web of links between our present and its Mediterranean origins. With him, you explore ancient Greek civilization in the light shed by the newest and best research and criticism. The course expands understanding of history, literature, art, philosophy, religion, and more.
The lectures pay special attention to the two crucial centuries from 600–400 B.C.E.—the era of the Persian and Peloponnesian wars and of classical Athens as described in the histories of Herodotus and Thucydides and the philosophic dialogues of Plato.
Magnificent Minoan Crete and Mycenae
The first 12 lectures introduce you to Greek civilization from its earliest discernible beginnings up to the Persian War. In them, you learn to see ancient Greece split in two: a period of magnificent achievement that plunged to darkness, and a second flowering of that civilization that is the foundation of our own.
Minoan civilization on the island of Crete and Mycenaen civilization on the mainland were the two great Greek civilizations of the Bronze Age. They left behind magnificent ruins, art, and artifacts, but no written histories. In Lectures 1–8 you:
- Explore these extraordinarily advanced cultures
- Learn why their collapse around 1200 B.C.E. puzzles scholars to this day
- Hear the full story of Heinrich Schliemann, who found Mycenae by following clues in Homer's poems
- Review the finding made only in the 1950s that showed us that Mycenae was, in fact, Greek
- See how a new and distinct Archaic culture—one that revered Homer's epics—arose in the Age of Heroes after the collapse of Crete and Mycenae
- Discover how much the Greeks gained from their contacts with other ancient societies (the alphabet, among other things, came from the Semitic peoples of Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean)
- Understand how Spartan warrior culture was forced on the Spartans because they enslaved a nearby region
- Explore the causes and effects of Greek colonization from France to the Ukraine
- See how a uniquely "Greek" identity was based in part on the Oracle at Delphi and the Olympic Games; non-Greeks were not admitted to either.
The first section of the course examines the origins of democracy, which grew out of authoritarian government. And you see here how much of our freedom we owe to Cleisthenes, who created the democratic government under which Athens flourished for two centuries—and how he ingeniously designed it to undermine established power and allegiance.
The Persians, the Peloponnesian War, and the Arrival of the Macedonians
The course's second 12 lectures include the compelling histories of the Persian War (490–479 B.C.E.) and the Peloponnesian War (431–404 B.C.E.).
First united by their common enemy in Persia, Professor McInerney explains how much the Persian War came to define the Greeks—and us. The notion of freedom they developed in response to Persian power is one we inherit. After the Persian War, the Greeks developed their sense of identity as the antagonists of the Eastern world, a tension to which the West has been heir ever since.
After the defeat of the Persians, Athens rose to hegemony over the Greek world. You see how the Athenians' trade and power were developed and imposed on the Mediterranean. And you learn some surprising facts about this Golden Age:
- Greek tragedy began as a religious ritual to purge the audience of "uncivilized" emotions.
- Greek art was often an intensely and explicitly competitive enterprise.
- Athenian culture depended heavily on slavery. Professor McInerney addresses the charge that Athens only prospered because it had slaves under its heel.
Two lectures are devoted to the clash between Athens and Sparta in the Peloponnesian War. Socrates served as a soldier in that struggle.
After Athens was defeated, its philosophers rose to their full achievement in the work and lives of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, reinforcing the old axiom that defeat is the greatest muse for political philosophy. Professor McInerney delivers a provocative interpretation of the trial of Socrates.
In its postwar "decline," Athens defined the contours of philosophy and science for more than 1,000 years and produced great drama, art, and literature.
Toward the end of the 4th century B.C.E., Macedonian kings dominated Greece. Philip and his son, Alexander (who was tutored by Aristotle), created a Pan-Hellenic culture again to unite the Greeks against their common enemy—Persia.
In short decades, Greek power would extend from Egypt to the Hindu Kush.
Differences and Affinities
Just as the divide between East and West still exists, so does one separating our world from that of the ancients. We must remember that the Hellenic world had many values, beliefs, and mores at odds with our own. In ancient Greece:
- Slavery was common
- Women suffered complete exclusion from public life
- Homosexuality was an accepted aristocratic practice in Athens, Sparta, and other city-states.
As Professor McInerney shows, such differences do not imply that the culture of ancient Greece holds no meaning for us. Rather, it should spur us to deepen our engagement with the Greeks, for their differences can teach us as much as our affinities with them.