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36 Revolutionary Figures of History

Learn more about the revolutionary individuals who have transformed our world in ways that still resonate today.
36 Revolutionary Figures of History is rated 3.1 out of 5 by 12.
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Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really Just an Advertisement Since each lecture comes from a different course, their quality varies, but, overall they're pretty good. This course is, however, really just an advertisement for your other courses. It should be free.
Date published: 2022-09-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Very diverse listening! This is a sampling of 36 lectures from 36 courses - obviously, you'll like some and not others. Compared to other Great Courses, this feels less like a cohesive course (because it isn't). I treated it more like a very well-researched podcast, and took each lecture as a separate episode. This worked great to break things up when I was getting bogged down in other courses!
Date published: 2022-03-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from learning company should be ashamed terrible - a hodge podge of odds & ends, put together for no fathomable reason other than to lure loyal customers into wasting time & money. After a few to several minutes, had to skip over several lectures because too boring, hard to follow, doubtfully on point. #3 on Socrates was barely on him - it was more on Aristotle. Many other short comings.
Date published: 2021-07-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Deserves Better Ratings I put off this course for years because of low ratings and 50% negative reviews. I found it valuable... you pay a few bucks to get side-by-side professor comparison and historical continuity: from very early history through Margaret Thatcher. Some might be momentarily disoriented if without ANY knowledge of a lecture's subject, but this is not a major problem. As far as "incompleteness and transitions", if one critically assesses academics, there is really no hard cut-off for any course. As there is no guidebook, I took notes - like I often do anyway. ON THE FUN SIDE: L28/29: Lincoln's comment on meeting Harriet Beecher Stowe: "So...you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this Great War." Churchill's characterization of the animal kingdom: "Dogs look up to us, cats look down on us, and pigs see us as equals". L36: Margaret Thatcher was a Chemistry major thus explaining her ability to rapidly solve problems that posturing politicians couldn't/wouldn't. Her quote on the French Revolution was priceless. PRO: Almost every lecture is uniquely valuable, but I have little space. L5: After defeating his rebel brother, Artaxerxes II's honorable example is sorely missed today...as is the immaculate word pronunciation of the lecturer. Virgil (L7) was very well done but so deep that I was too lazy to consider her entire course. L18 summed up Galileo's engineering perspective by contrasting his "How things fall" vs. Aristotle's "Why things fall". It was brilliant as was his succinct: "Scriptures are how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go." L20's description of Isaac Newton's methods is excellent. L28: Slave Topsy's "Never had no Father...never had no Mother...was raised by a speculator" was beautifully succinct. L29: When Lincoln’s efforts towards emancipation failed politically, his surprise Proclamation 95 came from his introspection that "God's will is emancipation", stunning everyone especially General McClellan, whose loyalty was already questionable. L32 was disturbing: Hitler's primary campaign argument was his promise of "equality". Today's self-styled "equality" seems identical: "Everything has to look democratic, but everything has to be controlled by us" (TGC-Hx of Eastern Europe). UNCERTAIN: Though few Christians would be offended by the content of L5, every time the Prof said "Jesus" it was in a harsh decrescendo, ending with an unhappy, "spitting" sound. It may be his customary manner but seemed unprofessional. CON: Negatives require more space: [1.] L24 makes much of Kant proposal: "Our brains organize information" vs Aristotle's: "What we know came from the experience of our senses". Savages at the ends of the earth understood BOTH are true (ie. chiefs are born organizers, but need training via their senses) and they looked beyond such trivial dissection to an unseen prime cause. L31 Justifies the savages' pluralistic view over L24’s Kantian dissection, by demonstrating how unsophisticated we remain: "The quantum world 'shifts under our gaze more than we can ever guess, in the butterfly net of our senses." Kant’s "We never really understand physical objects" is a bit deeper, though intuitive to peasant farmers 10,000 years ago (L23). Kant's thought as portrayed L24 is a pretty box without a gift. [2.] The drooling lecture on Marx (L26) is horrible. The Professor notes Marx's "sadness" upon the death of his wife and two of his children. Yet, while the Prof loved Marx's: "From each according to his abilities to each according to his needs", he didn't tell us that Marx SPENT HIS LIFE IN THE LIBRARY while his family starved and froze, before pneumonia took them (TGC Rise of Communism-Liulevicius). His two remaining daughters went insane, as did Russia, Argentina, Portland, and everywhere else he has touched. What about China? Ask any Uighur "organ donor". He incorrectly states that Marx finished and titled "Das Kapital" (his friend Engels did). He neglects mentioning that Marx never found a way to make communism work economically or that he despised the poor (ibid: Rise of Communism). The course ended with a lament that the Berlin Wall had fallen. Maybe, he pines, Marxism will come to this country someday... SUMMARY: Money well spent. I met four more lecturers whom I intend to follow.
Date published: 2021-02-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Rip Off Rehash I am a huge fan of the teaching company, but this was one of the most disappointing courses I have ever taken. It was just individual lectures take out of other courses and repackaged. The problem is that these individual lectures fit within the framework of a complete course that the professor has structured. They were not meant to stand individually and it shows.
Date published: 2020-08-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mishmash This is a collection of lectures from other courses. As a tesult they don't fit together well. Each prof. Has a diffetent approach. Sometimes the "revolutionary figure" is mentioned only briefly. That said, this is a good way to sample the styles of many professors. I very much liked the lecture on Mao, and am interested in that whole course. The Great Courses is an aggressive commercial operation and this course is a reach.
Date published: 2018-08-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Poor Idea for Me I've been enjoying The Great Courses for years now. This particular collection doesn't work well for me. Many of the individual lectures don't stand alone very well. This collection just doesn't flow for me. I can't fault the lecturers because they did each of these as a full lecture series and each lecture flows into the next that way. I'll not buy another "collection".
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Variety of Flavors The course was constructed by taking chapters of thirty-six other courses, each having a figure that can righteously be considered revolutionary, and assembling them into a time ordered sequence. Because it was assembled this way, it lacks the continuity we have come to expect and enjoy in these courses. This only becomes an issue when the lecturer refers to other chapters in the source series, either commenting on topics already mentioned, or advising that some topic will be covered in some future lecture. The individuals featured were well selected. Of the thirty-six, you would know most them as part of the common culture of the western world. A few, Confucius, Gandhi and Mao, for instance, although not “western” as we usually consider it, have still left their marks on western history and some knowledge of their contributions would be expected of anyone who considers themselves historically literate. This is not to say that this material is all “old hat.” I have taken many of the source courses. Some of the lectures were pleasant reminders, but others are people I didn't know, or know well. For instance, I knew of Roger Williams and his contribution to modern American government, but had no idea of the details of his travails. Of Samuel Slater, I knew of his history, but have never known the name of the man. I have enjoyed these professors immensely. Many of them are my favorite lecturers. This series of lectures has given me a determination to go back and repeat a few of the lessons in the various courses and has added at least one course to my list of courses to acquire. It is only available as an audio course. And there is one point that is a minor dissatisfier. It doesn't come with a course guide. Because of the way the course was constructed, it wouldn't have made much sense to paste the corresponding chapters into a common binder, The course guides often reference other chapters in the same course, appendices or timelines, all jarring notes to someone having only sample chapters to read.
Date published: 2015-03-31
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Overview

Alexander the Great. Jesus. Darwin. Churchill. These are just a few of the revolutionary individuals who have transformed our world in ways that still resonate today. 36 Revolutionary Figures of History is a unique collection of 36 lectures from our extensive course catalog—one that takes you across time and around the globe to offer piercing insights into some of history’s most transformative figures.

About

J. Rufus Fears

We are no wiser than the Athenians of the 5th century B.C., no wiser than Sophocles for our science of today has shown us the overwhelming power of genes, of DNA.

INSTITUTION

University of Oklahoma

Dr. J. Rufus Fears was David Ross Boyd Professor of Classics at the University of Oklahoma, where he held the G. T. and Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty. He also served as David and Ann Brown Distinguished Fellow of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs. He earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, Professor Fears was Professor of History and Distinguished Faculty Research Lecturer at Indiana University, and Professor of Classical Studies at Boston University. An acclaimed teacher and scholar with more than 25 awards for teaching excellence, Professor Fears was chosen Professor of the Year on three occasions by students at the University of Oklahoma. His other accolades included the Medal for Excellence in College and University Teaching from the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA) Great Plains Region Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the UCEA's National Award for Teaching Excellence. Professor Fears's books and monographs include The Cult of Jupiter and Roman Imperial Ideology and The Theology of Victory at Rome. He edited a three-volume edition of Selected Writings of Lord Acton. His discussions of the Great Books have appeared in newspapers across the country and have aired on national television and radio programs. Professor Fears passed away in October 2012.

By This Professor

The World Was Never the Same: Events That Changed History
854
The Wisdom of History
854
Books That Have Made History: Books That Can Change Your Life
854
Life Lessons from the Great Myths
854
Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

To study the deepest impulses in human nature, we see the lure of wealth and conquest, the deep-seated urge for fame and glory, the quest for higher ends, a basic human determination.

INSTITUTION

University of Tennessee

Dr. Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius is Lindsay Young Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He earned his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Liulevicius served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University. Professor Liulevicius has won many awards and honors, including the University of Tennessee's Excellence in Teaching Award and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. At the university he teaches courses on modern German history, Western civilization, European diplomatic history, Nazi Germany, World War I, war and culture, 20th-century Europe, nationalism, and utopian thought. Dr. Liulevicius has published numerous articles and two books: War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity, and German Occupation in World War I and The German Myth of the East, 1800 to the Present.

Professor Liulevicius participated in The Great Courses Professor Chat series. Read the chat to learn more about diplomacy and war

By This Professor

Turning Points in Modern History
854
A History of Eastern Europe
854
The Rise of Communism: From Marx to Lenin
854
History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration
854
The Secret World of Espionage
853
Communism in Power: From Stalin to Mao
854
Kenneth W. Harl

We will be looking largely at archeological evidence and analysis done by anthropologists because we are operating largely in a world without writing.

INSTITUTION

Tulane University
Dr. Kenneth W. Harl is Professor of Classical and Byzantine History at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he teaches courses in Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Crusader history. He earned his B.A. from Trinity College and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Yale University. Recognized as an outstanding lecturer, Professor Harl has received numerous teaching awards at Tulane, including the coveted Sheldon H. Hackney Award. He has earned Tulane's annual Student Body Award for Excellence in Teaching nine times and is the recipient of Baylor University's nationwide Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teachers. In 2007, he was the Lewis P. Jones Visiting Professor in History at Wofford College. An expert on classical Anatolia, he has taken students with him into the field on excursions and to assist in excavations of Hellenistic and Roman sites in Turkey. Professor Harl has also published a wide variety of articles and books, including his current work on coins unearthed in an excavation of Gordion, Turkey, and a new book on Rome and her Iranian foes. A fellow and trustee of the American Numismatic Society, Professor Harl is well known for his studies of ancient coinage. He is the author of Civic Coins and Civic Politics in the Roman East, A.D. 180-275 and Coinage in the Roman Economy, 300 B.C. to A.D. 700.

By This Professor

The Ottoman Empire
854
The Barbarian Empires of the Steppes
854
The Vikings
854
The Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity
854
Allen C. Guelzo

For Lincoln, no matter what our political persuasions, moral principle in the end is all that unites us and all that ensures that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and the government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

INSTITUTION

Gettysburg College

Dr. Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania. Among garnering other honors, he has received the Medal of Honor from the Daughters of the American Revolution. He is a member of the National Council on the Humanities. Professor Guelzo is the author of numerous books on American intellectual history, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War era. His publication awards include the Lincoln Prize as well as the Abraham Lincoln Institute Prize for two of his books-Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President and Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America–making him the first double Lincoln laureate in the history of both prizes. His critically acclaimed book, Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates that Defined America, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2008. Professor Guelzo has written for The American Historical Review, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal, and he has been featured on NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, C-SPAN's Booknotes, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

By This Professor

America's Founding Fathers
854
Dorsey Armstrong

Every turning point discussed in these lectures shifted the flow of the river of history, bringing us ever closer to the modern world.

INSTITUTION

Purdue University

Dorsey Armstrong is a Professor of English and Medieval Literature at Purdue University, where she is also the head of the Department of English. She received her PhD in Medieval Literature from Duke University. She is the executive editor of the academic journal Arthuriana, which publishes cutting-edge research on the legend of King Arthur, from its medieval origins to its modern enactments. She is a recipient of the Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award, Purdue’s top undergraduate teaching honor. Her other Great Courses include The Black Death: The World’s Most Devastating Plague and The Medieval World.

By This Professor

King Arthur: History and Legend
854
The Black Death: The World's Most Devastating Plague
854
Years That Changed History: 1215
854
Great Minds of the Medieval World
854
The Black Death: New Lessons from Recent Research
854
La Peste Negra: La Plaga Más Devastadora del Mundo
854
Analysis and Critique: How to Engage and Write about Anything
854
Lawrence Cahoone

The Great Courses deeply challenged my skills in teaching philosophy, while making it fun too.

INSTITUTION

College of the Holy Cross

Dr. Lawrence Cahoone is Professor of Philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA, where he has taught since 2000. He holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. A two-time winner of the Undergraduate Philosophy Association Teaching Award at Boston University who has taught more than 50 different philosophy courses, Professor Cahoone is not only a skilled teacher, but also an author. With a background in recent European, American, and social and political philosophy, as well as interests in postmodernism, metaphysics, and the latter's relation to the natural sciences, he has written:

  • The Orders of Nature
  • Cultural Revolutions: Reason versus Culture in Philosophy, Politics, and Jihad
  • Civil Society: The Conservative Meaning of Liberal Politics
  • The Ends of Philosophy: Pragmatism, Foundationalism, and Postmodernism
  • The Dilemma of Modernity: Philosophy, Culture, and Anti-Culture

He edited From Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology and his play, Wise Guys: A Philosophical Comedy, is available at HeartlandPlays.com

By This Professor

The Modern Political Tradition: Hobbes to Habermas
854
The Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida
854
Patrick N. Allitt

We live in a world that has created many new incentives for us to become lifelong learners. Luckily, lifelong learning is a pleasure.

INSTITUTION

Emory University

Patrick N. Allitt is Cahoon Family Professor of American History at Emory University, where he has taught since 1988. He received his PhD in American History from the University of California, Berkeley, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at Harvard Divinity School and Princeton University. He is a widely published author whose books include A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism; The Conservatives: Ideas and Personalities throughout American History; and Religion in America since 1945: A History.

By This Professor

The Industrial Revolution
854
The Great Tours: England, Scotland, and Wales
854
The American West: History, Myth, and Legacy
854
America after the Cold War: The First 30 Years
854
The Art of Teaching: Best Practices from a Master Educator
854
How Railways Transformed the World
854
Bob Brier

To a great extent, the fun of history is in the details. Knowing what kind of wine Tutankhamen preferred makes him come alive.

INSTITUTION

Long Island University

Dr. Bob Brier is an Egyptologist and Senior Research Fellow at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. He earned his bachelor's degree from Hunter College and Ph.D. in Philosophy from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Professor Brier has twice been selected as a Fulbright Scholar and has received Long Island University's David Newton Award for Teaching Excellence in recognition of his achievements as a lecturer. He has served as Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities' Egyptology Today program. In 1994, Dr. Brier became the first person in 2,000 years to mummify a human cadaver in the ancient Egyptian style. This research was the subject of a National Geographic television special, Mr. Mummy. Dr. Brier is also the host of The Learning Channel's series The Great Egyptians. Professor Brier is the author of Ancient Egyptian Magic (1980), Egyptian Mummies (1994), Encyclopedia of Mummies (1998), The Murder of Tutankhamen: A True Story (1998), Daily Life in Ancient Egypt (1999), and numerous scholarly articles.

By This Professor

Decoding the Secrets of Egyptian Hieroglyphs
854
History of Ancient Egypt
854
Mark W. Muesse

Mindfulness allows us to become keen observers of ourselves and gradually transform the way our minds operate.

INSTITUTION

Rhodes College

Dr. Mark W. Muesse is W. J. Millard Professor of Religious Studies, Director of the Asian Studies Program, and Director of the Life: Then and Now Program at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. He earned a B.A., summa cum laude, in English Literature from Baylor University and a Master of Theological Studies, a Master of Arts, and a Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University. Before taking his position at Rhodes, Professor Muesse held positions at Harvard College, Harvard Divinity School, and the University of Southern Maine, where he served as Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He is a recipient of the 2008 Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching, Rhodes College's highest faculty honor. Known for his experiential teaching style, Professor Muesse was honored for his effective use of imaginative and creative pedagogy as well as his ability to motivate his students toward lifelong study. Professor Muesse has written many articles, papers, and reviews in world religions, spirituality, theology, and gender studies and has coedited a collection of essays titled Redeeming Men: Religion and Masculinities. He is currently compiling an anthology of prayers from around the world. Professor Muesse is a member of the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Indian Philosophy and Religion and has been Visiting Professor at the Tamilnadu Theological Seminary in Madurai, India. He has traveled extensively throughout Asia and has studied at Wat Mahadhatu, Bangkok, Thailand; the Himalayan Yogic Institute, Kathmandu, Nepal; the Subodhi Institute of Integral Education, Sri Lanka; and Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

By This Professor

Practicing Mindfulness: An Introduction to Meditation
854
Great World Religions: Hinduism
854
Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad
854
Steven L. Goldman

After 50 years, I continue to find new depths and fresh excitement in studying the history and philosophy of science.

INSTITUTION

Lehigh University

Dr. Steven L. Goldman is the Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Lehigh University, where he has taught for 30 years. He earned his B.S. in Physics at the Polytechnic University of New York and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Boston University.

Before taking his position at Lehigh, Professor Goldman taught at The Pennsylvania State University, where he was a cofounder of one of the first U.S. academic programs in science, technology, and society studies.

Professor Goldman has received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award from Lehigh University. A prolific author, he has written or edited eight books, including Science, Technology, and Social Progress, and he has an impressive list of scholarly articles and reviews to his credit. He has been a national lecturer for the scientific research society Sigma Xi and a national program consultant for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

By This Professor

Thomas Childers

Facts don't change, but we do, and our perspective on them changes. We learn new things, and as a result of this, it is necessary to reevaluate ... what we have known and how it looks different to us at this particular point.

INSTITUTION

University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Thomas Childers is Sheldon and Lucy Hackney Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has been teaching for over 25 years. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Tennessee and his Ph.D. in History from Harvard University.

Professor Childers has held visiting professorships at Trinity Hall College, Cambridge, Smith College, and Swarthmore College. He is a popular lecturer abroad as well, in London, Oxford, Berlin, and Munich.

Professor Childers has won several teaching awards, including the Ira T. Abrahms Award for Distinguished Teaching and Challenging Teaching in the Arts and Sciences, the Richard S. Dunn Award for Distinguished Teaching in History, and the Senior Class Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.

Professor Childers is the author and editor of several books on modern German history and the Second World War. He is currently completing a trilogy on the Second World War. The first volume, Wings of Morning: The Story of the Last American Bomber Shot Down over Germany in World War II, was praised by Jonathan Yardley in The Washington Post as "a powerful and unselfconsciously beautiful book."

By This Professor

A History of Hitler's Empire, 2nd Edition
854
World War II: A Military and Social History
854
Robert I. Weiner

Understanding the past on some meaningful level can give additional meaning to our lives-a sense of balance and perspective that facilitates civilized behavior, the ability to empathize and not to take ourselves too seriously.

INSTITUTION

Lafayette College
Dr. Robert I. Weiner is the Thomas Roy and Lura Forrest Jones Professor of History at Lafayette College. He earned his B.A. from Temple University and a Hebrew teaching certificate from Gratz Hebrew College. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Since joining the faculty of Lafayette College in 1969, Professor Weiner has taught a wide range of courses in the fields of Modern European History and Modern Jewish History. He also serves as a Jewish chaplain and was Director of Contemporary Civilization at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College for eight years. Dr. Weiner is an award-winning teacher. He received six Student Government Awards for Superior Teaching and several institutional awards for teaching, service, and leadership, including the Lafayette College Marquis Distinguished Teaching Award and the James Lennertz Award for Teaching and Mentoring. Professor Weiner has published a number of articles and commentaries on both Modern European History and Modern Jewish History.

By This Professor

Seth Lerer

Anyone who comes to know English as a child in school, or as an adult who speaks another language, is invariably confronted by the strangeness of its spelling.

INSTITUTION

University of California, San Diego

Dr. Seth Lerer is the Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University of California, San Diego. Before taking this position, he was the Avalon Foundation Professor in Humanities and Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University. He also taught at Princeton University, Cambridge University, and Washington University in St. Louis. Professor Lerer earned his B.A. from Wesleyan University, a second B.A. from Oxford University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Professor Lerer's research interests include medieval and Renaissance studies, early Tudor literary culture, textual criticism, Old and Middle English literature, and children's literature. He has published 10 books, including Chaucer and His Readers and Inventing English: A Portable History of the Language. Professor Lerer won the 2010 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in Memory of Newton Arvin for his book Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter. The book also won the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of more than 100 scholarly articles and reviews. Professor Lerer received many awards for his scholarship and teaching, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation, the Beatrice White Prize of the English Association of Great Britain (for Chaucer and His Readers), and the Hoagland Prize for Undergraduate Teaching at Stanford.

By This Professor

Grant Hardy

Religion offers a window on the world. It's not the only window, but it's a large one, which provides a grand vista of much of human life in both the past and the present.

INSTITUTION

University of North Carolina, Asheville
Dr. Grant Hardy is Professor of History and Religious Studies and Director of the Humanities Program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He earned his B.A. in Ancient Greek from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. in Chinese Language and Literature from Yale University. Professor Hardy has received a wealth of awards and accolades for both his teaching and his scholarship. At the University of North Carolina, he won the 2002 Distinguished Teacher Award for the Arts and Humanities Faculty, and he was named to a Ruth and Leon Feldman Professorship for 2009 to 2010. He also received a research grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he participated in scholarly symposia at prestigious universities around the world, including Harvard University and the University of Heidelberg. Professor Hardy has written, cowritten, or edited six books, including Worlds of Bronze and Bamboo: Sima Qian's Conquest of History; The Establishment of the Han Empire and Imperial China; and the first volume of the Oxford History of Historical Writing. In addition, he has written or revised a majority of the articles on imperial China for the World Book Encyclopedia.

By This Professor

Sacred Texts of the World
854
Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition
854
Richard Baum

Modern China has been a source of endless fascination, sometimes evoking feelings of profound admiration, while at other times leaving me feeling bitterly frustrated and outraged. One thing that China has never been, is boring.

INSTITUTION

University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Richard Baum was Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he specialized in the study of modern Chinese politics and foreign relations. He earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Baum lived and lectured extensively throughout China and Asia. He served as Visiting Professor or Visiting Scholar at institutions including Peking University, Meiji Gakuin University (Japan), The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Princeton University, and Arizona State University, where he was honored as Distinguished Visiting Scholar for 2008. He was the author/editor of nine books, including Prelude to Revolution: Mao, the Party, and the Peasant Question, 1962-1966; and a personal memoir, China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom. Professor Baum served on the boards of the National Committee on United States-China Relations and the Joint Committee on Contemporary China of the Social Science Research Council. He was a consultant to numerous public and private agencies, including the White House, the United Nations, and the RAND Corporation. He was also a frequent commentator on Chinese and East Asian affairs for the BBC World Service, CNN International, and National Public Radio. Professor Baum passed away in December 2012.

By This Professor

Edward T. O'Donnell

One central idea I try to communicate in my courses is that history is the study of choices. It follows no predetermined script. History is determined by the choices made by people both famous and unknown.

INSTITUTION

College of the Holy Cross

Dr. Edward T. O'Donnell is Associate Professor of History at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. He earned his Ph.D. in American History from Columbia University. Since 2002 Professor O'Donnell has worked extensively with the federal U.S. Department of Education program Teaching American History. He has served as the lead historian for several grants and has led hundreds of workshops and seminars and delivered multimedia lectures designed to help teachers devise innovative methods for teaching American history. Active in the field of public history, Professor O'Donnell has curated major museum exhibits on American history and has appeared in several historical documentaries. He has also provided historical commentary and insight for The History Channel, ABC, PBS, the BBC, and the Discovery Channel. A popular public speaker, he has delivered more than 100 invited talks and conducted more than 2,000 walking tours of various historical American neighborhoods. Professor O'Donnell is the author and coauthor of several works dealing with a broad range of American history, including Visions of America: A History of the United States and 1001 Things Everyone Should Know about Irish American History.

By This Professor

America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era
854
Frederick Gregory

History of science has taught me that scientists remain very human as they strive to be objective. Overcoming personal differences, so vital to our ultimate survival, is as much a challenge for them as it is in politics or religion.

INSTITUTION

University of Florida

Dr. Frederick Gregory is Professor of History of Science at the University of Florida, where he has taught for 30 years. He holds a B.S. in Mathematics from Wheaton College in Illinois, a B.D. (Bachelor of Divinity) from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, an M.A. in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in the History of Science from Harvard University. Professor Gregory has received numerous grants for research in his field, including an Alexander von Humboldt grant from the German government and a fellowship from the Dibner Institute for the History of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was awarded the 2009 Joseph H. Hazen Education Prize for excellence in education from the History of Science Society. He also won the University of Florida's John Mahon Teaching Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching, as well as the Norman Wilensky Graduate Teaching Award. He has provided commentary for the American production of the television series The Day the Universe Changed. Professor Gregory's research interests have focused on German science in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly as it reflects the larger cultural setting in which it is embedded. His two-volume undergraduate textbook, Natural Science in Western History, was published in 2008.

By This Professor

John L. Esposito

Once I began to study Islam, I discovered a religious tradition with close affinities to Judaism and Christianity, with a rich religious, historical, and civilizational legacy that I had never been told about before.

INSTITUTION

Georgetown University

Dr. John L. Esposito is University Professor, Professor of Religion and International Affairs, and Professor of Islamic Studies at Georgetown University. He earned his B.A. at St. Anthony College, his M.A. at St. John's University, and his Ph.D. at Temple University. Professor Esposito is Founding Director of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding: History and International Affairs in the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. He has served as President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, and the American Council for the Study of Islamic Societies. A specialist in Islam, political Islam, and the impact of Islamic movements from North Africa to Southeast Asia, Dr. Esposito serves as a consultant to the Department of State as well as multinational corporations, governments, universities, and the media worldwide. In 2005, Professor Esposito won the American Academy of Religion's prestigious Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion. This award honors a scholar who has been exemplary in promoting the public understanding of religion. A prolific writer, Professor Esposito is the author of over 25 books, including What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam, The Islamic Threat: Myth or Reality?, and Unholy War: Terror in the Name of Islam. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, The Oxford History of Islam, and The Oxford Dictionary of Islam.

By This Professor

Great World Religions: Islam
854
Lawrence M. Principe

One of the best things about history, to my mind, is that it gives us a sense of perspective-a perspective that often reveals how strange and atypical our times are in relation to the past.

INSTITUTION

Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Lawrence M. Principe is Drew Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University. Professor Principe earned a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Liberal Studies from the University of Delaware. He also holds two doctorates: a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Ph.D. in the History of Science from Johns Hopkins University. In 1999, the Carnegie Foundation chose Professor Principe as the Maryland Professor of the Year, and in 1998 he received the Templeton Foundation's award for courses dealing with science and religion. Johns Hopkins has repeatedly recognized Professor Principe's teaching achievements. He has won its Distinguished Faculty Award, the Excellence in Teaching Award, and the George Owen Teaching Award. In 2004, Professor Principe was awarded the first Francis Bacon Prize by the California Institute of Technology, awarded to an outstanding scholar whose work has had substantial impact on the history of science, the history of technology, or historically-engaged philosophy of science. Professor Principe has published numerous papers and is the author or coauthor of three books, including The Aspiring Adept: Robert Boyle and His Alchemical Quest.

By This Professor

Robert C. Bartlett

INSTITUTION

Boston College

Robert C. Bartlett is the first Behrakis Professor of Hellenic Political Studies at Boston College. His principal area of research is classical political philosophy, with particular attention to the thinkers of ancient Hellas, including Thucydides, Plato, Xenophon, and Aristotle. He has published articles in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Politics, Journal of Politics, Review of Politics, and other leading scholarly journals. He is the author or editor of eight books, including The Idea of Enlightenment, Plato's Protagoras and Meno, and Xenophon's The Shorter Socratic Writings. He is also the co-translator of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (University of Chicago Press, 2011), the author of Sophistry and Political Philosophy: Protagoras' Challenge to Socrates (Chicago, 2012), and a new edition of Aristotle's Art of Rhetoric (Chicago, 2019).

Before coming to Boston College, Robert Bartlett served as the Arthur M. Blank/National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Teaching Professor at Emory University.

By This Professor

Phillip Cary

In many ways, Plato was the founding figure of Western philosophy; although there were philosophers before him, his writings were the first that founded a lasting Western philosophy.

INSTITUTION

Eastern University

Dr. Phillip Cary is Professor of Philosophy at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania, where he is also Scholar-in-Residence at the Templeton Honors College. After receiving his B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis, Professor Cary earned his M.A. in Philosophy and Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Yale University. Professor Cary is a recent winner of the Lindback Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching at Eastern University. He has also taught at Yale University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Hartford. As the Arthur J. Ennis Post-Doctoral Fellow at Villanova University, he taught the nationally recognized undergraduate Core Humanities seminars on ancient, medieval, Renaissance, and modern thought. As a scholar, Professor Cary's specialty is the thought of Augustine, but he has also published scholarly articles on Luther, the doctrine of the Trinity, and personal knowledge. His most recent books include two on Augustine, Inner Grace and Outward Signs, both published by Oxford University Press in 2008, as well as a commentary on the book of Jonah, also in 2008, published by Brazos Press.

By This Professor

The History of Christian Theology
854
Elizabeth Vandiver

I think many of the stories that we tell ourselves as a society–the stories that encode our hopes, aspirations, and fears–preserve the traces of classical culture and myth and are part of our classical legacy.

INSTITUTION

Whitman College

Dr. Elizabeth Vandiver is Professor of Classics and Clement Biddle Penrose Professor of Latin at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. She was formerly Director of the Honors Humanities program at the University of Maryland at College Park, where she also taught in the Department of Classics. She completed her undergraduate work at Shimer College and went on to earn her MA and PhD from The University of Texas at Austin.

Prior to taking her position at Maryland, she held visiting professorships at Northwestern University, the University of Georgia, the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, Loyola University of New Orleans, and Utah State University.

In 1998, The American Philological Association recognized her achievements as a lecturer with its Excellence in Teaching Award, the most prestigious teaching prize given to American classicists. In 2013 she received Whitman College's G. Thomas Edwards Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship. Her other awards include the Northwestern University Department of Classics Excellence in Teaching Award and two University of Georgia Outstanding Honors Professor Awards.

Professor Vandiver is the author of Stand in the Trench, Achilles: Classical Receptions in British Poetry of the Great War and Heroes in Herodotus: The Interaction of Myth and History. She has also written numerous articles and has delivered many papers at national and international conferences.

By This Professor

Classical Mythology
854
John W. I. Lee

The Persian Empire is a great case study in the lifecycle of ancient empires. By studying it, we can really see how the right conditions and the right leaders can drive rapid historical change.

INSTITUTION

University of California, Santa Barbara

Professor John W. I. Lee is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He grew up in Southeast Asia and Hawaii. After studying history at the University of Washington, he earned his Ph.D. in History from Cornell University. Professor Lee's research specialty is the history of warfare in the ancient world. He has published on ancient mercenary soldiers, Greek and Persian armies, women in ancient war, the origins of military autobiography, and urban combat in antiquity. He is the author of A Greek Army on the March: Soldiers and Survival in Xenophon's Anabasis, published by Cambridge University Press. Professor Lee has won a UC Santa Barbara Academic Senate Distinguished Teaching Award for 2003-2004 and the University's Harold J. Plous Award for 2005-2006, which is given to the outstanding Assistant Professor for performance and promise as measured by creative action and contribution to the intellectual life of the college community. Professor Lee has conducted field research and has led travel-study groups in Greece and Turkey. He is currently director of the Ancient Mediterranean Studies program at UC Santa Barbara and co-organizer of the University of California Multi-Campus Research Group on Ancient Borderlands.

By This Professor

The Persian Empire
854
Garrett G. Fagan

To learn about the people of antiquity is to examine the foundations of how we live today. They are at once alien and familiar, an image of ourselves glimpsed in a distant mirror.

INSTITUTION

The Pennsylvania State University
Garrett G. Fagan (1963–2017) was a Professor of Ancient History at Pennsylvania State University. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, and was educated at Trinity College. He earned his PhD from McMaster University and held teaching positions at McMaster University, York University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also gave many public lectures to audiences of all ages. Professor Fagan had an extensive research record in Roman history and held a prestigious Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship at the University of Cologne. He published numerous articles in international journals, and he wrote Bathing in Public in the Roman World. He also edited a volume on the phenomenon of pseudoarcheology.

By This Professor

Dennis Dalton

There is such athing as unity of being, and that the highest truth is when we manage,as individuals, to perceive oneself in all being.  Once that is achieved, once the separateness is overcome,then illusions will be overwhelmed as well.

INSTITUTION

Barnard College, Columbia University

Dr. Dennis Dalton is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University. He earned his B.A. from Rutgers University, his M.A. in Political Science from the University of Chicago, and his Ph.D. in Political Theory from the University of London.

Professor Dalton has edited and contributed to more than a dozen publications and has written numerous articles. He is the author of Indian Idea of Freedom and Mahatma Gandhi: Nonviolent Power in Action. His fields of interests include classical and modern, Western, and Asian political theory; politics of South Asia, particularly the Indian nationalist movement; nonviolence and violence in society; and ideologies of modern political movements in Europe, India, China, and Africa.

Dr. Dalton served as a review editor for the Journal of Developmental Studies (London) and as a U.S. correspondent for the South Asian Review (London). He is a member of both the American Political Science Association and the Association for Asian Studies.

Professor Dalton has been honored with numerous teaching awards, scholarships, and grants, including the Barnard College Margaret Mead Award 2009 for Distinguished Teaching, the 2008 Barnard Commendation for Excellence in Teaching, a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies, a senior fellowship with the American Institute of Indian Studies, and a Gandhi Peace Foundation Grant.

Don Howard

INSTITUTION

University of Notre Dame

Dr. Don Howard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Director of Notre Dame's Graduate Program in History and Philosophy of Science. A graduate of Michigan State University's Honors College and its Lyman Briggs College with a B.Sc. in Physical Science, he earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in Philosophy with a specialization in the philosophy of science from Boston University. Professor Howard has served as an assistant editor and a contributing editor for the Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, and he is a founding coeditor of the Einstein Studies series. The author of many papers exploring diverse aspects of Einstein's philosophy of science and his physics, he is preparing a book on Einstein for Blackwell's Great Minds series, designed to explain Einstein's ideas to the general reader. Among his many honors, Professor Howard is a recipient of Notre Dame's Kaneb Teaching Award, recognizing faculty who have consistently demonstrated outstanding teaching. He is now a Fellow of the Center for Einstein Studies at Boston University; a Reilly Fellow in Notre Dame's Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values; and a Faculty Fellow in Notre Dame's Nanovic Institute for European Studies. In 2007, Professor Howard was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Jeremy Adams

Epictetus believed that the only things in our power are our will and our body. Our will is always free, and we must keep both it and our body untainted; and in that way, we will avoid pain, which is merely external to us.

INSTITUTION

Southern Methodist University

Dr. Jeremy Adams is Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor of History at Southern Methodist University. He earned his A.B., A.M., and Ph.D. in History at Harvard University. Prior to taking his post at SMU, Professor Adams taught medieval European history and served in the interdisciplinary History, Arts, and Letters program at Yale University. He has taught frequently in SMU programs in Europe at Madrid, Toledo, and Paris, as well as at University College, Oxford. For his teaching and scholarship, Professor Adams received the DeVane Medal from the Phi Beta Kappa Chapter of Yale, the Perrine Prize from the Phi Beta Kappa Chapter of SMU, and the Danforth Foundation's E. Harris Harbison Award. The student body of SMU has several times honored him as one of the Outstanding Professors on campus. Dr. Adams has published on a wide range of topics, including pre-modern European landscape history. His publications include Patterns of Medieval Society and The Populus of Augustine and Jerome: A Study in the Patristic Sense of Community, winner of the National Catholic Book Award for Scholarship in 1972.

Jonathan Steinberg

Nothing I have done has reached so many people as my European History and European Lives: 1715 to 1914. A long-distance truck driver e-mailed me that he listened to the biographies as he drove. Bismarck on Route 66!

INSTITUTION

University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Jonathan Steinberg is the Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Modern European History at the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his undergraduate work at Harvard University. He earned his Ph.D. from Cambridge University and served for 30 years as University Lecturer in European History, Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and Vice-Master. Professor Steinberg served as an expert witness in the Commonwealth of Australia War Crimes prosecution and was also appointed to the Historical Commission of the Deutsche Bank A.G. Frankfurt am Mein to examine bank activity under the Nazis. Professor Steinberg is the author of Yesterday's Deterrent: Tirpitz and the Birth of the German Battle Fleet, Why Switzerland?, and All or Nothing: The Axis and the Holocaust. His reviews have appeared in The London Review of Books, The Evening Standard, The Financial Times, and The Times Literary Supplement. Professor Steinberg has written many radio and TV documentaries, including the BBC Radio Four's salute to the U.S. Constitution, Secure in their Persons. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of Franklin College in Lugano, Switzerland, and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Holocaust Assets.

Sherwin B. Nuland

The underlying philosophy of the Hippocratic physicians was that disease involves a patient’s entire body and mind, so therapy must be directed to the whole context of the patient’s life situation rather than a small part of it.

INSTITUTION

Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland (1930-2014) was Clinical Professor of Surgery at the Yale School of Medicine and Fellow of the university's Institution for Social and Policy Studies. He served on the executive committees of Yale's Whitney Humanities Center and its Interdisciplinary Bioethics Project. Professor Nuland was a graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, New York University, and the Yale School of Medicine, from which he earned his M.D. After training in surgery at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, he practiced and taught there for three decades. He considered the bedside and operative care of over 10,000 patients to be the most rewarding work of his career. He taught bioethics and medical history to undergraduates and medical students. Dr. Nuland is the author of eight books, including Doctors: The Biography of Medicine and The Wisdom of the Body. He is also the author of How We Die, a reflection on the modern way of death, which was on the New York Times best-seller list for 34 weeks. This book won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the 1995 Pulitzer Prize and the Book Critics Circle Award. Dr. Nuland has written dozens of articles for magazines and periodicals, including The New Yorker, Time, Life, National Geographic, Discover, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.

Peter C. Mancall

The revolution left posterity with the transforming idea that the people are sovereigns, at least in America, and as sovereigns, each has the responsibility to participate in and shape public life in the United States.

INSTITUTION

University of Southern California

Dr. Peter C. Mancall is Professor of History and Anthropology at the University of Southern California and Director of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute. He earned his A.B. from Oberlin College and his master's degree and Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before taking his position at USC, he held teaching positions at the University of Kansas, the University College Galway in Ireland, and Harvard University. Professor Mancall received two teaching excellence awards at the University of Kansas and in 2004 was named a Gamma Sigma Alpha Professor of the Year by the University of Southern California. Professor Mancall is the author of four books and editor of Volume I of the Encyclopedia of American History, chosen as a best reference book series by Booklist, Library Journal, and Choice magazine. Dr. Mancall's work has been featured on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and in the Chronicle of Higher Education. His research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, and the American Philosophical Society.

Peter Conn

By looking carefully at these texts, many of them still popular, we can gain valuable insights into our national history and culture. We will also have occasion to speculate on American values and the changing nature of American society.

INSTITUTION

University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Peter Conn holds the Vartan Gregorian Chair in English at the University of Pennsylvania, where he has a secondary appointment in the Graduate School of Education. Since 1993, he has served as a visiting professor at the University of Nanjing. Professor Conn earned his Ph.D. from Yale University. Professor Conn is the author of numerous works on American literature and culture, including The American 1930s: A Literary History; Literature in America; and Pearl S. Buck: A Cultural Biography, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has lent his expertise as a literary consultant on numerous television projects, including the Emmy Award winning series The American Short Story. In 2004, he served as principal literary advisor to Oprah's Book Club for The Good Earth. A John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow, Professor Conn has directed National Endowment for the Humanities seminars for college and high-school teachers and was the recipient of an NEH Humanities Focus grant. Throughout his career, he has won numerous teaching awards, including the University of Pennsylvania's prestigious senior teaching prize, the Lindback Award.

36 Revolutionary Figures of History

Trailer

King Narmer—The Unification of Egypt

01: King Narmer—The Unification of Egypt

(from Great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, Lecture 1) How did ancient Egypt come to dominate the Near East for over 3,000 years? Find out in this exploration of the life and work of King Narmer: the revolutionary conqueror responsible for unifying Upper and Lower Egypt, and for establishing a political schema that created the world’s first true nation.

31 min
Confucius—In Praise of Sage-Kings

02: Confucius—In Praise of Sage-Kings

(from Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition, Lecture 6) Examine the rich intellectual tradition of China’s first philosopher, Confucius. As you’ll learn, this sage’s collected sayings (the Analects) became the most influential book ever written in the Chinese language, and laid down a comprehensive worldview that guided students in East Asia for 2,500 years.

33 min
Socrates—A Revolution in Thought

03: Socrates—A Revolution in Thought

(from Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, Lecture 2) Without a doubt, Socrates is one of the most revolutionary figures in Western philosophy. How did people live in a “pre-Socratic” world? Why was Socrates’s shift to moral-political questions so groundbreaking? And what can an ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes reveal about this great mind’s influence?

30 min
Hippocrates and the Origins of Western Medicine

04: Hippocrates and the Origins of Western Medicine

(from Doctors: The History of Scientific Medicine Revealed Through Biography, Lecture 1) Meet Hippocrates: the veritable father of modern scientific medicine, whose radical views dramatically altered how we think about illness—and how doctors treat their patients. Discover how this ancient doctor abandoned superstition in favor of groundbreaking medical concepts, skills, and ethics still in use today.

31 min
Artaxerxes II—The Longest-Ruling King

05: Artaxerxes II—The Longest-Ruling King

(from The Persian Empire, Lecture 21) Artaxerxes II was the longest-ruling king of the entire Achaemenid Dynasty. So why is one of Persia’s most important kings one of its least appreciated? Rediscover the dramatic impact of a king who defeated revolts, negotiated peace with the Spartans, and stabilized an empire’s hold on the ancient world.

30 min
Alexander the Great and the Shadow of Rome

06: Alexander the Great and the Shadow of Rome

(from Alexander the Great and the Macedonian Empire, Lecture 36) Almost every revolutionary figure in history is indebted to Alexander the Great. In this lecture, get a fascinating assessment of Alexander’s contribution to military history. Also, take a closer look at just how much the Macedonian king’s career influenced later generations of conquerors and leaders.

30 min
Virgil—Rome’s Epic Historian

07: Virgil—Rome’s Epic Historian

(from Great Authors of the Western Literary Tradition, 2nd Edition, Lecture 19) With the Aeneid, Virgil created one of the most influential texts in ancient Rome—and all of Western civilization. Here, read between the lines of Virgil’s psychologically complex epic poem (inspired by the works of Homer) and get a better sense of its critical role in our literary tradition.

32 min
Caesar and the Conquest of Gaul

08: Caesar and the Conquest of Gaul

(from Famous Romans, Lecture 9) Where can one find the roots of what made Julius Caesar one of ancient Rome’s most revolutionary figures? Join an award-winning historian as he recreates the story of Caesar’s career and his dramatic conquest of Gaul—which would transform both the future of Rome and western Europe.

31 min
The First Emperor—Augustus

09: The First Emperor—Augustus

(from Emperors of Rome, Lecture 4) Fascinating, intriguing, opaque—Augustus is arguably the single most important figure in all of Roman history, and a giant in the history of Europe. In this lecture, delve into Augustus’s evolution from avenging revolutionary to senior statesman who ushered in the glory and grandeur of the Augustan Age.

30 min
Jesus and the Kingdom of God

10: Jesus and the Kingdom of God

(from Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad, Lecture 21) Why were Jesus’s ideas about God’s kingdom as an earthly reality so groundbreaking? How did his parables and miracles disrupt the apparent order of the world and spark a movement that would become one of the greatest religions in human history? Find out in this insightful, illuminating lecture.

33 min
The Christian Emperor—Constantine

11: The Christian Emperor—Constantine

(from Emperors of Rome, Lecture 35) If the transition between the ancient and medieval worlds had a spark, it would undoubtedly be the reign of Constantine. The effects of his achievements would cascade into future ages, influencing events from the Great Schism to the Crusades. But this lecture asks an intriguing question: How much of Constantine’s conversion can be attributed to religious principle and how much to political expedience?

29 min
Muhammad—Prophet and Statesman

12: Muhammad—Prophet and Statesman

(from Great World Religions: Islam, Lecture 3) Muhammad’s dual role as God’s messenger and a living model of the Quran’s teachings had a major influence on religious history and international politics for more than 14 centuries. Learn how Islam’s central figure guided the military, political, and social development of the new Muslim community.

31 min
William the Conqueror—England Transformed

13: William the Conqueror—England Transformed

(from Turning Points in Medieval History, Lecture 9) Few turning points in history are as immediately transformative as the Battle of Hastings—a clash that dramatically altered the future of Europe on a single day in 1066. In this lecture, you’ll hear a blow-by-blow account of the battle and meet the conqueror whose power, ambition, and will sparked this definitive moment in the history of the Middle Ages.

29 min
Thomas Aquinas—Christian Aristotelianism

14: Thomas Aquinas—Christian Aristotelianism

(from Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition, Lecture 3) Western thought would be radically different without Thomas Aquinas, who adapted Aristotelian thought (including logic, epistemology, and teleology) to the specific needs of Christian questions. What did this mean for the future of philosophy and theology? Grasp Aquinas’s significance in his time—and ours.

31 min
Geoffrey Chaucer—Cosmopolitan Poet

15: Geoffrey Chaucer—Cosmopolitan Poet

(from History of the English Language, 2nd Edition, Lecture 10) The English language as we know it is forever indebted to Geoffrey Chaucer. More than just the author of The Canterbury Tales, Chaucer brought together Latin, French, and English into a fascinating synthesis of regional dialects. Learn how this medieval poet deployed new words, rhythms, and attitudes in his writing that would forever alter communication in an increasingly interconnected Europe.

30 min
Martin Luther and Modernity

16: Martin Luther and Modernity

(from Luther: Gospel, Law, and Reformation, Lecture 24) Many scholars attribute the start of the modern era to the dramatic split in Christendom that began with Martin Luther. Luther and the Protestant Reformation he inspired shook the religious landscape of medieval Europe. But what do his ideas and legacy mean for us today?

31 min
Nicolaus Copernicus and the Moving Earth

17: Nicolaus Copernicus and the Moving Earth

(from Great Scientific Ideas That Changed the World, Lecture 12) History’s greatest scientists are forever indebted to the radical reconceptualization of Earth’s place in the cosmos formulated in the 16th century by Nicolaus Copernicus. In this lecture, you’ll explore the Earth-centered beliefs of Copernicus’s time, consider some of the issues behind his theory of a moving Earth, and see how his followers dramatically transformed this theory in the century after his death.

30 min
Galileo Galilei—The New Physics

18: Galileo Galilei—The New Physics

(from History of Science: Antiquity to 1700, Lecture 29) The early 17th century was a fertile—and tumultuous—period in the history of physics and astronomy. And the contributions of Galileo helped to undermine preconceived notions of how the physical world behaved. In this lecture, take a look at Galileo’s groundbreaking discoveries about motion. Then, experience one of the most intense moments in the conflict between science and faith: Galileo’s confrontations with the Catholic Church.

32 min
Freedom of Worship—Roger Williams

19: Freedom of Worship—Roger Williams

(from Turning Points in American History, Lecture 3) The concept of religious liberty is at the core of what made the United States of America such a radical political experiment. But few people know the name of the man who first codified religious freedom in the American colonies: Roger Williams. Learn how this man’s ideas brought about an explosion of religious diversity in America and influenced the Founders in creating the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

32 min
The Force of Isaac Newton

20: The Force of Isaac Newton

(from History of Science: Antiquity to 1700, Lecture 34) Isaac Newton is the culmination of the Scientific Revolution and the prototype of the modern scientist. Strengthen your appreciation of this brilliant mind and the way he drew together several strands of science (physics, mathematics, cosmology, and astronomy) to create the “Newtonian synthesis.”

32 min
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek—Microscopic World

21: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek—Microscopic World

(from Turning Points in Modern History, Lecture 7) Although microscopes had been in existence for decades, in 1676, the Dutch merchant Antonie van Leeuwenhoek used them to see, for the first time, the microorganisms teeming all around us. His discovery of a world invisible to the naked eye was, in many ways, a moment in history on par with the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus. Meet the man who revealed to modern science the fascinating world of blood cells, bacteria, mold spores, and other microbes by the score.

31 min
Thomas Paine and Common Sense

22: Thomas Paine and Common Sense

(from Origins and Ideologies of the American Revolution, Lecture 23) Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, published in 1776, was a veritable blueprint for the American Revolution and the subsequent creation of the United States of America. Get the full story behind this iconic work’s key arguments—and the master propagandist who wrote them and inspired one of history’s greatest revolutions.

32 min
Samuel Slater and the Industrial Revolution

23: Samuel Slater and the Industrial Revolution

(from Turning Points in American History, Lecture 11) America’s Industrial Revolution had a vast impact on the nation and, indeed, the world. It shaped everything from agriculture and gender roles to public education and entertainment. And it all started with Samuel Slater. How did his textile manufacturing establishment unleash such a tidal wave of progress?

33 min
Immanuel Kant’s Copernican Revolution

24: Immanuel Kant’s Copernican Revolution

(from Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida, Lecture 8) Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason radically altered how Western philosophers approached the theory of knowledge. Look at Kant’s revolutionary ideas as laid down in this profound intellectual work. How can one know necessary truths about reality? It’s a mind-boggling question, to which Kant, reacting to the work of his predecessors, would provide a novel response.

31 min
Napoleon—Rise and Fall of an Emperor

25: Napoleon—Rise and Fall of an Emperor

(from Long 19th Century: European History from 1789 to 1917, Lecture 5) Any consideration of the world’s revolutionary figures would have to include Napoleon Bonaparte: the adventurer, the general, the conqueror, the egomaniac. Follow the story of the rise and fall of this captivating individual, whose marred legacy dominates European history like almost no other.

30 min
Karl Marx on Alienation

26: Karl Marx on Alienation

(from Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition, 3rd Edition, Lecture 55) Communism, one of the defining ideologies of the 20th century, stems from the ideas and writings of Karl Marx. And the root of his views was a pervasive sense of alienation from the economic and political systems of his time. From his connections with Sigmund Freud to his creation of The Communist Manifesto, survey the intellectual development of one of modern philosophy’s boldest, most influential minds—the man who would go on to inspire future generations of radicals and revolutionaries.

31 min
Charles Darwin and Natural Selection

27: Charles Darwin and Natural Selection

(from Darwinian Revolution, Lecture 24) The revolution sparked by the work of Charles Darwin had powerful, far-reaching implications for science, philosophy, and religion. Here, take stock of the Darwinian Revolution by focusing on its interaction with religion and its repercussions for science in the 21st century (specifically evolutionary theory).

29 min
Harriet Beecher Stowe—Galvanizing a Nation

28: Harriet Beecher Stowe—Galvanizing a Nation

(from Great American Bestsellers: The Books That Shaped America, Lecture 5) Can a single book reshape an entire nation’s attitudes? Find out in this lecture on American author Harriet Beecher Stowe and her book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. You’ll learn how this bestseller drew America’s attention to the injustices of slavery and how (more than 150 years later), it still provokes debate.

32 min
Abraham Lincoln—The Emancipation Moment

29: Abraham Lincoln—The Emancipation Moment

(from Mr. Lincoln: The Life of Abraham Lincoln, Lecture 9) Revisit one of the most pivotal and revolutionary moments of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency: the linking of the Civil War to the ending of slavery. You’ll focus on Lincoln’s relationship with the strategically lethargic General George McClellan and the development of the Emancipation Proclamation.

32 min
Queen Victoria—“We Are Not Amused”

30: Queen Victoria—“We Are Not Amused”

(from European History and European Lives: 1715 to 1914, Lecture 31) Queen Victoria’s role as head of the British monarchy was so influential that an entire era of history was named after her. Get insights into her life and her history-defining reign, which included radical transformations in the British political system and an ever-expanding empire that stretched around the globe.

31 min
Albert Einstein and Special Relativity

31: Albert Einstein and Special Relativity

(from Albert Einstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian, Lecture 5) Go inside Albert Einstein’s radical special theory of relatively, which changed how we see the world (and also gave us the signature equation, E=mc2). No other single contribution to physics, before or since, would be as important (or as culturally celebrated) as this one.

31 min
Hitler’s Foreign Policy

32: Hitler’s Foreign Policy

(from History of Hitler’s Empire, 2nd Edition, Lecture 8) Even history’s greatest monsters can be recognized as among its most revolutionary figures. A case in point is Adolf Hitler, who would plunge the nations of the world into total war and give modern history a new definition of evil. Learn why Hitler’s aims were about more than just world domination, and how they pushed nations toward a cataclysmic conflict.

32 min
The Legacy of Churchill

33: The Legacy of Churchill

(from Churchill, Lecture 12) Great statesmen like Winston Churchill are a rarity, which makes it essential to truly consider what made this man so indispensable to the course of human events during World War II. Take a closer look at Churchill’s political career, including his principles, his views on liberty and democracy, and more.

31 min
Mohandas Gandhi—Soul Force

34: Mohandas Gandhi—Soul Force

(from Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition, Lecture 31) Nonviolent resistance and peaceful protest have been instrumental in civil rights moments around the world, and Mohandas Gandhi was first to use these strategies in the modern era to capture the world’s attention. Delve into the story of this revolutionary thinker, getting at the roots of the ideas that would helped win India its independence—and go went on to inspire civic leaders from Martin Luther King, Jr., to Nelson Mandela.

32 min
An Appraisal of Mao Zedong

35: An Appraisal of Mao Zedong

(from Fall and Rise of China, Lecture 28) How do we make sense of Mao Zedong, the complex (and contradictory) revolutionary who was a brilliant statesman and strategist—but also a ruthless man who enacted incredible damage on the people of China? Here, attempt to appraise Mao’s historical legacy by reintegrating these two divergent views.

30 min
Margaret Thatcher’s Counterrevolution

36: Margaret Thatcher’s Counterrevolution

(from The Conservative Tradition, Lecture 30) Follow the unlikely journey of Margaret Thatcher from shopkeeper’s daughter to the “Iron Lady” of Britain’s Conservative Party. It’s an engaging look at a recent revolutionary figure; a provocative examination of the first female prime minister in British history; and a fitting conclusion to this collection.

31 min

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