(24 lectures, 30 minutes/lecture)
Taught by J. Rufus Fears
University of Oklahoma
Ph.D., Harvard University
In this companion course to Famous Greeks, Professor J. Rufus Fears retells the lives of the remarkable individuals—the statesmen, thinkers, warriors, and writers—who shaped the history of the Roman Empire and, by extension, our own history and culture.
Like the authors who serve as sources for this course—Livy, Polybius, Suetonius, Tacitus, and above all, Plutarch—Professor Fears believes that individuals, not organizations or social movements, are the primary forces that make history.
Hannibal, he points out, caused the Second Punic War personally, much as Adolf Hitler caused World War II.
All of history would be different if Pompey had been as aggressive as Julius Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalus.
Augustus—beginning at the age of just 19—resolved upon and brilliantly followed a doctrine of ruthless expediency in order to rescue Rome from a century of civil war.
Marcus Aurelius, that most noble and philosophic of rulers, may have hastened the Empire's decline by tolerating the wicked cruelty of his heir.
Professor Fears divides his presentation into three "turning point" epochs in Roman history: Rome's great war with Hannibal (the Second Punic War); Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic; and the imperial era between Augustus and Marcus Aurelius. As he presents the great figures of each period, he makes them seem personal and immediate.
For example, he introduces you to the heroes of the early Republic through an imaginary tour of the Forum as it appeared in 218 B.C. In his discussions on Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general who taught Rome more about warfare than any other enemy, Professor Fears puts you right in the heart of the action. You feel as if you are there, struggling with Hannibal and his war elephants as they force a path through the snowbound Alps in the autumn of 218 B.C.
Roman Versions of the Kennedys and Winston Churchill
In these lectures you will meet or gain greater insight into a succession of individuals who can be considered great and famous not only in Roman history, but in all of history. They include:
- The Roman "Duke of Wellington." Like the Duke of Wellington and U.S. Grant, Publius Cornelius Scipio the Elder (236-183 B.C.) is among the great generals in history. His victory over Hannibal at the North African town of Zama in August, 202 B.C.one of the most decisive battles in history—earned him the title "Africanus," or Conqueror of Africa.
- The Roman "John and Robert Kennedy." Tiberius (163-133 B.C.) and Gaius Gracchus (153-121 B.C.) were both strongly influenced by Stoic philosophy and its teaching that all men are created equal. Each tried to initiate bold reforms designed to counter corruption that resulted from the Roman Republic's growing wealth and power. Like the Kennedys of the 1960s, both were murdered, and their efforts initiated forces that would ultimately end the Republic.
- The Roman "Winston Churchill." First regarded as a "shady" politician, and known as a drinker and womanizer, Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) is perhaps the greatest evidence that individuals make and change history. He proved himself both a military genius—along with Alexander the Great one of the two greatest generals in history—and a man of political vision in his understanding that Rome needed to expand its reach beyond the Mediterranean world. Like Churchill, he was a brilliant writer: his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars is one of antiquity's greatest works of history.
- The greatest statesman in history. The adopted heir of Julius Caesar, Gaius Octavius (63 B.C.-14 A.D.), known to history as Augustus ("The Messiah") rose from a little-known youth of no discernable ability to an unequaled political leader who would best the likes of Cicero, Brutus, and Marc Antony. He saved and regenerated Rome, received the title "Father of His Country" ("Pater Patriae") in 2 B.C., and died at 77, having outlived almost all his contemporaries and detractors.
- A teacher to equal Socrates and Jesus. Stoicism was a philosophy based on the Greek thinkers Zeno and Socrates. It was one of the great intellectual currents of the 2nd century A.D., and Epictetus (c. 50-120 A.D.), the son of a slave, was one of its greatest teachers. He taught that "all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Thomas Jefferson ranked Epictetus with the New Testament as a source of moral inspiration.
Enduring Lessons About Life and Liberty, Character and Virtue
As you study these and many other significant Romans, Professors Fears uses their stories to probe fundamental questions about the political and cultural history of Rome. What was the impact of Greek civilization on the Romans? Why did the Roman people, at the height of military, political, and economic power, abandon their republican liberty for the dictatorship of Caesar and his successors?
What made the 2nd century A.D. one the most creative periods in world history, worthy of comparison with the Athens of Pericles, Plato, and Sophocles? And why did the central figures of Roman history hold so much appeal for the Founding Fathers of the United States?
Before concluding the course with Marcus Aurelius, whose private Meditations are a wellspring of honesty and humanity but whose standing as a ruler is another story, Professor Fears pays homage to his masters, the great biographers and analysts of vice and virtue Suetonius, Tacitus, and, above all, Plutarch.
Who were they? What did they write, and to what end? Why are their works so inspiring and worthy of study by any people or individuals who wish to preserve liberty and virtue for themselves, their society, and ages yet to come?
This course will teach you specific lessons about life, character, and politics, drawn from the examples of the famous Romans. Professor Fears has his favorite, and will tell you who it is in the last lecture.
http://rapidshare.de/files/27615258/Famous_Romans.part1.rar 38.15 MB
http://rapidshare.de/files/27615288/Famous_Romans.part2.rar 38.15 MB
http://rapidshare.de/files/27630418/Famous_Romans.part3.rar 38.15 MB
http://rapidshare.de/files/27631624/Famous_Romans.part4.rar 38.15 MB
http://rapidshare.de/files/27632962/Famous_Romans.part5.rar 38.15 MB
http://rapidshare.de/files/27633708/Famous_Romans.part6.rar 19.01 MB
Pass: Mao Zedong