1hfa4: The Ancient World

slider4-300x166The Ancient Background is the fourth installment in the acclaimed A First History for Adults™ program.  It will give you an unparalleled context of knowledge to understand the terms “democracy” and “republic” and appreciate the work of America’s Founding Fathers in full historical context.


Course Summary


The Ancient Background is the final installment of the A First History for Adults™ program, designed to help adults learn history. It is a 20 lecture course on the history of the Ancient world, which focuses on four key stories: Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia & Persia, Greece, and Rome. The course begins with a discussion of the birth of Egyptology, and the incredible advances in our knowledge of the distant past over the past 200 years. The cyclical pattern of Ancient Egyptian history over nearly 3000 years is then examined. The relatively stable pattern of life in the land that Herodotus called “the gift of the Nile” is contrasted with the volatile developments in Babylonia over the same period. The forms of writing, architecture, religion are all compared. Then the story turns to Greece, where the progress of the various city-states (especially Athens and Sparta) is tracked, and we witness the birth of science, philosophy, and democracy. The Greco-Persian Wars are next, followed by the Pelopponesian Wars, and meteoric career of Alexander the Great. Greece, however, ultimately gives way to Rome–the ascendant power of the Western Mediterranean. The story of Rome’s rise is attended by the struggle to maintain its unique government while expanding. And expand it does…at the expense of first Carthage and Greece, then Egypt, Britain, and still more people, until it encompasses the Mediterranean and much of Europe. As Rome shifts from republic to empire, its culture declines, however, rendering it susceptible to penetration by the ideas of Christianity and by barbarian hordes. The story ends with the “Fall of the Roman Empire,” but also the promise of a new development.


Program Features and Details


  • 20 lectures, each 1.5 hours, for a total of 30 hours of instruction
  • Lectures available exclusively as digital recordings in MP3 format.
    • Listen anytime, and as many times as you like!
  • Yahoo! Group forum available for registered students.
  • “Facts practice sheets” that summarize the history of each major period
  • Tips and unique exercises to help you integrate and retain the material



    • What does Napoleon have to do with Ancient History? Find out at Powell History Recommends, the Blog, as part of the lead-up to the The Ancient Background. Read up on some of the key developments that have shaped our knowledge of the distant past. It’s a great way to prepare for the course!

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Mr. Powell is a true innovator in the teaching of history. From his course, I am learning history for the first time.

        -Jason Crawford, Seattle, WA

An outstanding course! This is the history course that we all should have had in school. Scott crafts the facts of western history into a narrative story in which every event leads compellingly (and causally) to the next. History is finally making sense to me.

        -Rob Stevens, Toronto, ON



Save even more when you bundle this course with other Asian history courses! Find out more here.

$349 (SUMMER SALE: $249)
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