History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Multiple purchases The subject and presenter are both fascinating. The subject is well thought out and presented in a straight forward and understandable way. Had a delivery issue and the staff took immediate action and resolved the problem.
Date published: 2019-12-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Authoritative and fun This is the first course I have actually managed to get through. The professor was excellent, and kept the subject matter light while still bringing insight and experience to each lecture.I enjoyed the side trips down other alleys that some seem to think detracts from the experience, but I still think this is one of the best.
Date published: 2019-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A fun listen I picked up this set because the price was right and it sounded as though it might be a fun series. I was right on both counts. Some of those who gave this course a poorer ranking complained that there were times when the focus was on trivia rather than the history of exploration. Yet it was these bits of relevant trivia that tied the accounts together and which made them so interesting. I have been through the vast majority of the Great Courses in the area of History. This ranks as one that is better than most, not necessarily because of its depth, but simply because it was a "fun listen."
Date published: 2019-08-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Too much trivia and digressions While my opinion is clearly in the minority, I cannot recommend this course. The problem , that many of Professor Liulevicius’s courses share, is that his lectures ramble. Much of his lectures are filled with obvious or irrelevant material. In this course, for example he digresses into an explanation of Christianity as if his students were a group of isolated Tibetan monks who happen not to have read anything about one of the world’s most prevalent religions. In his lecture on Humboldt he discusses Humboldt’s sexual preference as if this was relevant while ignoring many of Humboldt’s discoveries such as the Humboldt current. We hear about Edith Pfeiffer’s life before her travels, a subject that doesn’t seem in any way relevant or even interesting. On the way Professor Liulevicius does convey some useful information on well known expeditions and does lecture on some lesser known adventures. It is a shame that more time isn’t spent on these subjects and less on trivia. His overall theory that mankind has some innate drive to explore is really questionable. While a few individuals explored the world, once humanity had spread, the vast majority of humans never left their own settlements or regular areas of seasonal migrations. Perhaps my own view is somewhat distorted by having viewed or listened to numerous Great Courses that also cover the history of many explorations discussed by Professor Liulevicius. I can recommend his courses on WWI and Eastern Europe that are not duplicated by other courses and do utilize Professor Liulevicius’s special areas of expertise.
Date published: 2019-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wealth of Primary Sources I bought this almost a year ago and just finished it. I learned so much about the exploration of our planet. The photographs and quotes were meaningful and enlightening and the professor was eloquent and interesting. He posed questions to make me think and referred to previous lectures to compare and contrast motivations and experiences of the explorers. Several books were recommended and I can't wait to read them. What a great way to spend my precious time!!
Date published: 2019-05-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Course Presentation This course was a very enjoyable overview of historical exploration. It was extremely well presented by Professor Liulevicius. Having viewed many Great Courses, this was truly a favorite.
Date published: 2019-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Of 65 courses, one I watch 8 episodes in 1 sitting Why is that? At 70+, I need a computer to keep track of all the courses & lectures I've heard in my life. I've been formally trained (and tested) in the 4 quadrants of brain psychology. This course is definitely a WHOLE-brained course - as opposed to spouting a list of boring FACTS which is prevalent with most monotone lecturers. Besides the facts, the good professor also hits on the MOTIVATION and personal feelings of those explorers. Yes, it takes real teaching skill to ALSO present the human aspect of putting us in their shoes to experience their joy, anguish, sorrows and exhilaration of their notable feats. I call this the "empathy teaching skill" as demonstrated by the frequent phrase "so what do you think about…" and "can you imagine…" Also rare (for a professor) is to tell the good, bad and the ugly side of a subject. Of the TGC courses I've bought on history, religion, politics or philosophy, I applaud this professor that has a teaching ability (that few have) who dares to dab their toe into - revealing the IMPACT (or effects) of those exploration (or philosophical) goals on the masses of people. Granted, some of that may be subjective - but I value their opinion (when stated as such). On that point (of their personal subjectivity) - there seems to be NO restraint when it comes to political bias - but totally TABOO (and ostracized) if it goes against their "herd mentality". For example, the course I bought on Power Over People; the professor talks about what the philosophers taught - but never talked about the IMPACT of those philosophies on the millions (or billions) of people of the world; and their good-bad RESULTS. Without stressing the IMPACT, I might as well listen to a lecture on "the anatomy of brass doorknobs versus bronze doorknobs". So what? The upper-left brainers interested in quarks, bosons & superstrings would likely prefer an endless list of boring historical facts in this course (of which they probably would remember 10%). If so, this course is NOT for you. However, if your passion is exploration (upper-right & lower-right brain), then likely this course IS for you. For sport, I was a world-class underwater videographer so I can relate to their exploratory passion: yes, those places become a "part" of the explorer that can't be explained adequately to others. Well done doc! Now I'm listening to the TGC course "Introduction to Nanotechnology". MY! What a surprise to see "voyages of exploration" in the most unexpected places.
Date published: 2019-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Age of exploration! Great course for those who are interested or need to understand the Golden Age of Exploration and the impact on U.S. and World history.
Date published: 2019-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Hard-Working, Romantic Soul Teaches History I always look forward to a Liulevicius course. He loves the humanity of history. His soul is romantic and his associational cortex is a wonder of the world. Who else, in the first minutes of an introductory lecture is capable of correlating history, DNA, and philosophy with global GDP? Liulevicius works hard to find insight in unexpected places. For example, in L2, he brings to our attention another ancient eastern African coast expedition after Hatshepsut’s 15th century BC expedition along the mid eastern African coast. This was a 7th century BC fleet that went south from the Arabian Gulf to circumnavigate Africa. He disagrees with doubters about the expedition (like Herodotus) because of the expedition’s observation that, after sailing far enough south and turning west, the sun was on their right. Since, that’s astronomically correct, Liulevicius convincingly raises the possibility of a continuum of Egyptian-African interaction. There are so many stories, excellently told. The story of Pytheas the Greek traveling (~330 BC) to the end of known trade routes to Land’s End, Cornwall is simply fun. Next he traveled north ending up in the Scottish Orkneys watching strange unearthly 50-foot tides, unexplainable before moon-gravitational tides were understood. For Sci-Fi fans, the scene brought to mind a British otherworldly "Dr. Who" style adventure. And so it goes. From unexpected explanations of the term “monster”; to the integration of Buddhist texts by Xuanzang during his the amazing 15,000 mile journey; the origin of the term "viking" as an adverb and its motivations by the Norse concept of “man's threefold nature"; the cranberries of Vinland; the amazing 75,000 mile trek of the 14th century Islamic judge Ibn Battututa from the safety of the vast ummah of Dar al-Islam (the “house of Islam”) extending from Spain, Africa, India and Chinese ports) to much of the rest of the known world. There are more serious topics. One helped me come to grips with the religious aggressiveness of the Spanish New World explorers. Liulevicius (L8) shows us that long before 1492, an Islamic conquest of the Iberian Peninsula occurred in the 8th century. The Reconquista finally shook off the Moors 700 years later in, yes, 1492 - possibly explaining why Columbus himself (L9) was motivated to fight the Antichrist he identified with Islam. The Spanish had long experienced the Islamic choice of conversion or life in highly taxed “no future” work. On entering the New World (L11), the conquistadors gave natives the choice of Christianity or slavery: demands closely paralleling those made on their Iberian forefathers but sharpened by 700 years of anguish. There is so much more. L13 nicely illustrates the intersection of Europeans with Native Americans led to an intellectual shift cause by the discovery of cultural relativism. L15’s exposition of natural complexity theory by the polymath Alexander von Humboldt is a welcome reminder that later “specialization" has sadly shelved Humboldt's non-linear integrative methods with binary age linear showmanship. Carefully read, L20’s late 1900s dates of encroachment of Europeans into central Africa upend years of misdirected racial disharmony. L20’s Mary Kingsley's story is simply a hoot for adventure freaks. There is much more here that can be read on many levels. Liulevicius is one of the few lecturers who can match entertainment with depth in a way helpful to nearly everyone.
Date published: 2019-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An excellently presented history course Professor Liulevicius is very well organized and his courses well researched. I have enjoyed several he has with The Great Courses. In fact, I bought it partly because he was giving the course. He is not too wordy, but not dull either. And his voice is also well modulated. I have reached the age where someone whose voice drops off is a problem for me to hear.
Date published: 2019-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Creative, informative, and very well done This is a creative, interesting, and relevant course—one of the handful my wife and I have watched that are not simply competent presentations of straightforward, usual subjects, but rather the stitching together of multiple topics and historical events into an innovative and highly original synthesis. [The others would include, for example, Wysession’s “Greatest Geological Wonders” (1712), Albala’s “Cultural Culinary History” (9180), Shippey’s “Heroes and Legends: (2192), and Ressler’s “Everyday Engineering” (1116).] Liulevicius is an exceptionally effective presenter: poised, articulate, knowledgeable, interesting both to watch and to listen to, and devoid of distracting mannerisms or eccentricities. Included are many of the “voyages” ones one would expect (e.g., Columbus, Magellan, Cook), but he also adds a number of surprises (e.g., Marco Polo, the Jesuits, Lewis & Clark, Ida Pfeiffer, and Japan’s 1870s Iwakura mission to the West), that were either not exactly “voyages” or were at least unknown to me. He also includes great explorations originating in Asia (Xuanzang) and the Middle East (Ibn Battuta), plus the first “voyages” to the polar regions, the deepest sea, and space. Very enjoyable, and I learned a lot.
Date published: 2018-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from must listen for Audible history Great Courses fan This was absolutely enthralling and I can't imagine a Great Courses history lover who wouldn't enjoy this. The professor is an enjoyable and animated lecturer. The most compelling part was the material - the choice of stories, the progression of exploration, the different types of explorers considered, and the balanced view of the choices and consequences. Just fascinating. The other aspect I enjoyed was that each lecture was fairly self-contained, so if you are listening while commuting, before bed, etc. you can hear a complete story and not be too bothered by interruptions. This would also be a fun one to listen to on a long trip, imagining yourself as a modern explorer.
Date published: 2018-12-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super fun Broadened my understanding of how exploration is the basis of history - very well presented - highly recommend
Date published: 2018-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent I loved the presenter's enthusiam and ability to create the backdrop of these fantastic explorations. The presenter is great and the stories very compelling. Well worth it!
Date published: 2018-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting Information I was transported to the different places that the professor described in detail! I enjoyed this course very much and the professor reveals his knowledge and love of this subject of exploration!
Date published: 2018-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun Journey Just finished the last session last night and have enjoyed the entire course. The lectures were informative and well presented. There was enough use of images and maps that kept my attention. The lecturer had well laid out thoughts and I enjoyed his presentation style. Would recommend
Date published: 2018-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from informative Such an enjoyable class. I find myself sharing things I've learned from it for fun. and a great teacher!
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from like taking the trips yourself This course is a true delight. The professor is an incredible story teller who makes history come alive. You feel like you are right there in the most exotic places, with fearless explorers and adventures. I also adore the professor´s other courses and am hoping for more to come!
Date published: 2018-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enthralling! This was our 10th Great Courses and we liked the best of all! Covered so many voyages and explorers we had never heard of in school. The professor goes into great detail, so we almost felt like we were on the voyage ourselves, especially the arctic and antarctic voyages. We could almost feel the cold and sense the despair and danger the men were in. A wealth of material was included. It must have taken him a very long time to research and write it. We loved how he also included art, literature, poetry, and quotes from historians and the explorers themselves. Professor is passionate about the topic and is an excellent story-teller.He spoke of the 1960's space race with the excitement we who were alive then felt at the time, even though he probably had not been born yet. Highly recommend this course!
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Storytelling! In this long series of 24 lectures, Professor Viejas Liulevicius presents various voyages of discovery, ranging from those to prehistoric Polynesia to recent ones to outer space. His approach is that of eager description, usually geared no doubt for an audience of undergraduates. He assumes little a priori knowledge on their part and deems it pertinent to point out for instance that the Buddha means the “Enlightened One” or that the prefix “von” signals nobility. He feigns to be totally uncritical of his sources and seems for example to take the assertions of Herodotus as fact. He throws in legendary elements, identified as such, as well as pointless references to hoaxes such as the discovery of “Phoenician” tablets in Tennessee. Voyages are presented in a general chronological order. There is no other apparent organization of the material and no links between voyages, except for a “teaser” at the end of each lecture regarding the next one. The only analytical conclusions border on platitudes, such as “new discoveries generate further exploration”. Though the series is light on analysis and short on hard facts, it is saved to some extent by its entertainment value and Professor’s Liulevicius’ juvenile enthusiasm.
Date published: 2018-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding Presentation I have long had an interest in the famous explorers (e.g., Magellan, Columbus, Balboa, de Gama, Hudson, etc.) but only knew the basics as taught in elementary school and high school. This course presented a much more inclusive and more fascinating picture of mankind's quest to seek new places and cross over known boundaries.
Date published: 2018-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So good I don't want it to end! This is the second course I have bought that is taught by Professor Liulevicius (I'll call him Prof L from here on), and I got it because the first was so good (History of Eastern Europe). This one certainly hasn't disappointed. Some of the voyages have been familiar, but most of them haven't. What I most love about Prof L's approach is the rich new depths of historical understanding he imparts in a manner that he makes look easy. He's an engaging lecturer, and as soon as I finish this course, I'm going to look for other courses he has produced. How can I praise the diversity enough? Yesterday I learned about a little old Victorian Viennese woman's style of confronting cannibals and winning them over; today I learned about how the Japanese visited all the great imperial cultures in the late 19th century to (successfully) decide how to avoid the fate of the rest of the colonized world. I see that Prof L is planning to end the course with "The Race to Outer Space." I don't want to end! I hope some others of you will love this as much as I do!
Date published: 2017-07-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Venture into the Unknown These rousing stories of heroism and egoism, adventure and peril, greed and disaster at the stuff that I loved reading about as a child. My love affair with the Age of Exploration began in my fifth grade class, where the other students and I dressed up as history’s famous explorers and created a wax museum in our school’s cafeteria. Watching “History’s Greatest Voyages of Exploration” brought me back to when I studying the voyages of Ferdinand Magellan. These figures were not only brave but intelligent men and women who all had a goal and set out to achieve it. There was a good smattering of explorers featured in this course. The best lectures are on the ones that are not as widely known as Columbus or Magellan. Some of the highlight explorers include Alexander von Humboldt, perhaps the greatest scientist explorer of all time; Mary Kingsley, an unconventional Victorian woman who introduced the British to the wonders of Africa, and Ibn Battuta, a North African muslim who traveled all over the known world from Morocco to Persia and India and back again over the course of twenty four years. The Columbus lecture is a very thought-provoking one, because Professor Liulevicius This course works best if your purchase it in the video format. There are many images that are used and the maps are particularly helpful in mapping the journey that the explorers take to reach their goal. Overall, History’s Greatest Voyages of Exploration is a fun an exciting course the shows you that the urge to move and discover is part of what makes us human. We will never cease to explore and this course shows you how and why.
Date published: 2017-05-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very good series Rather than just a chronological history of exploration, this course addresses different kinds of exploration -- not just who explored what, but with what motivation and for what purpose. In some of the earlier lectures in particular, I wondered why this topic or person was included in the series, and I was 5 lectures in before this course really grabbed me. After that I really enjoyed it. The video format was helpful since it provided maps, which the guidebook did not.
Date published: 2017-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Discovering the Discoverers Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius is one of my favorite TGC profs, and he has come through again with a fine example of what I refer to as a TGC “elective” – not a core course, but one that enhances what the student already knows about history. Most of us learned about the great European explorations of the 15th-18th centuries, but didn’t hear about Pytheas the Greek, Xuanzang, Ibn Battuta, or the later pioneers Alexander von Humbolt, John Franklin, or Ida Pfeiffer. Prof. Liulevicius gives us a review of old acquaintances plus many new ones, taking us through the 20th century, as humans broke barriers at the poles, under the sea, and in space. I highly recommend the video version of the course, because of the many illustrations and maps that enhance the lecture content. The handbook provides a good overview of each lecture, with suggestions for further reading. I enjoy the Prof’s easy-going presentation, and his enthusiasm for the subject. He inspired me to do further reading on the subject. (So far I’ve read the accounts of John Mandeville and St. Brendan, and have downloaded a couple more.)
Date published: 2017-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this course I have purchased over 15 courses over the years. Usually I watch a few lectures and then come back to it. This course, I finished all the lectures within about a week because they were so interesting. I loved how the professor highlighted a few lesser known explorers. Highly recommend this course.
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Short on important historical facts I have read many books on a number of the explorations covered in this course, so I know that this professor skipped some very important facts in these chapters. Liulevicius wastes so much time in the lectures reciting poetry and quoting Shakespear, when he should be concentrating on important historical facts. Also, he used very few graphics and maps, and the ones that he did use were really poor! Professor Liulevicius would be better served to teach liberal arts courses instead of history!!! I hate returning merchandise of any kind, but I really feel like I should send this one back for a refund.
Date published: 2016-11-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Presentation of Fascinating Lives This is a fine presentation of many fascinating lives and explorations. Of course not everyone could be discussed, but most of the obvious big names are here, from Leif Eriksson and Marco Polo to Columbus and Dr. Livingstone. I found the two lectures on Arctic and Antarctic explorations to be particularly fascinating, perhaps because I was least familiar with these. I was particularly sorry, however, that the great Chinese admiral Zheng He (a.k.a Cheng Ho) was given short shrift, mentioned in just a few sentences in another's lecture. He richly deserved his own. As others have noted, the level of detail is relatively basic, as is necessary for such a brief overview - 30 minutes per explorer or region. If you are quite familiar with an individual or period, you may learn little new. But for most of us, I think, the course will be informative and interesting. Prof. Liulevicius does an excellent job in most of the lectures. He is enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and organized. I do wish he had avoided simplistic assessments and facile pronouncements, however. In most lectures these are only occasional, but they fill the final lecture (e.g. "To explore by choice is a great gift of freedom and answers some deep call within human nature"), making it the only one which I found pretty much worthless. The visuals on the DVD were quite interesting, but little information would be lost taking the audio. The Course Guidebook is adequate, with a brief, and briefly annotated, bibliography, but (of course) contains no timeline, glossary, or index, and very few illustrations. So - I recommend this course to all with an interest in the area, with the understanding that the subjects are chosen somewhat arbitrarily, and the level of detail and analysis is not profound.
Date published: 2016-10-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a fun way to explore history through the journeys presented in these lectures.
Date published: 2016-10-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great topic; poorly presented We were excited to begin this course, looking forward to detailed information about fascinating explorers. The detail was wonderful, but the lecturer's style detracted significantly from our experience. His expression, his over-emoting made this seem too much a performance. The information was valuable, but if this were a college lecture, I would have left the class and looked at someone else's notes.
Date published: 2016-10-02
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History's Greatest Voyages of Exploration
Course Trailer
The Earliest Explorers
1: The Earliest Explorers

Begin your study journey with the Vivaldi brothers' ill-fated journey to India. What drove the brothers-or drives any explorer-to take a risk and venture into the unknown? Consider that question as you look at theories on how the Pacific islands became populated starting with an epic movement 7,000 years ago.

32 min
The Scientific Voyage of Pytheas the Greek
2: The Scientific Voyage of Pytheas the Greek

Meet the originator of scientific exploration, who trekked to the edge of the world so that he could see for himself what was there. Put Pytheas the Greek in the context of his time and place, sketching the Mediterranean as a cradle of civilization and examining how word of his voyage influenced later exploration.

31 min
St. Brendan-The Travels of an Irish Monk
3: St. Brendan-The Travels of an Irish Monk

Consider religious motivations for exploration. Men like the Irish monk St. Brendan-who sailed the Atlantic in a tiny leather boat-sought God and fled the world's corruptions, some searching for paradise and some merely for seclusion. Examine how legendary re-workings of such real adventures left a surprising legacy that would affect later exploration.

29 min
Xuanzang's Journey to the West
4: Xuanzang's Journey to the West

Alarmed at inconsistencies in the Buddhist texts available to him, Xuanzang embarked on an illegal holy pilgrimage to acquire authoritative teachings. See how, in the process of the monk's travels, he brought Buddhist traditions to the Confucian Chinese, achieved celebrity status, and became the central character in the greatest classical Chinese novel.

30 min
Leif Eriksson the Lucky
5: Leif Eriksson the Lucky

While the story of Leif Eriksson and the Vikings is relatively well known, Professor Liulevicius takes you deeper into the question of why the Vikings, or Norsemen, explored, as evidenced by their broader culture of adventure and values that pressed them onwards in often violent ways.

31 min
Marco Polo and Sir John Mandeville
6: Marco Polo and Sir John Mandeville

Although traders had traveled the Silk Road since the Roman Empire, there was little awareness of what existed at the other end-until Marco Polo's accounts of China opened Europeans' eyes to a mysterious, advanced civilization. Start with background on the medieval world, then look closely at Polo's travels and legacy.

31 min
Ibn Battuta-Never the Same Route Twice
7: Ibn Battuta-Never the Same Route Twice

Examine the life and legacy of Ibn Battuta, who left Morocco in 1325 to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca, but discovered a craving for spiritual travel and returned home 24 years later after covering 75,000 miles in the network woven by Muslim civilization.

30 min
Portugal's Great Leap Forward
8: Portugal's Great Leap Forward

How and why did tiny Portugal, a poor country, take to the seas, round the continent of Africa, hijack the Indian Ocean, and create a global empire? Find out here, with a look at Portugal's rise to superpower status, from Prince Henry the Navigator's call for exploration to Vasco da Gama's successful voyage to Asia.

31 min
The Enigmatic Christopher Columbus
9: The Enigmatic Christopher Columbus

Understand the complexities of Christopher Columbus who, in stumbling upon the Americas while attempting to reach Asia by heading West, touched off the massive Columbian Exchange of peoples, plants, commodities, and diseases. Dispel enduring myths, and explore Columbus's religious motives for launching what he called "The Enterprise of the Indies."

30 min
Magellan and the Advent of Globalization
10: Magellan and the Advent of Globalization

Follow the path of Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, whose expedition in service of Spain became the first to circumnavigate the world, inaugurating our ability to think globally and accomplishing what Columbus had promised to do-reaching Asia by sailing west from Europe. See how his journey bound together the world economy, creating consequences down to our own times.

30 min
The Ruthless Ambition of the Conquistadors
11: The Ruthless Ambition of the Conquistadors

Consider the most brutal of explorers, the conquistadors-Spanish military entrepreneurs including Cortés, Pizarro, and de Soto, who were not directly controlled by the monarchy, but royally sanctioned to seize wealth and lands in the New World. How did they topple civilizations using only a handful of men? What impact did they have on native societies? Find out here.

29 min
Henry Hudson-Death on the Ice
12: Henry Hudson-Death on the Ice

Switch gears from voyages of fruitful discovery to a tragic failure ending in mutiny, murder, and a mystery that endures to this day: Henry Hudson's 1610 voyage in search of the Northwest Passage to Asia, funded by two of the first multinational corporations.

30 min
The Jesuits on a Global Mission
13: The Jesuits on a Global Mission

Founded in 1540, the order of the Jesuits used global cultural exploration as a means to proselytize to local cultures across the world, from India and China to the Americas. Examine their controversial method of inculturation, and place the Jesuit project in the context of a larger intellectual shift towards cultural relativism.

30 min
Captain Cook Maps the World
14: Captain Cook Maps the World

Look closely at Captain Cook, an explorer who in many ways epitomized the age of scientific discovery, which lauded exploration for the sake of knowledge. See how his methods and voyages embodied new attitudes toward foreign peoples, and why it's what Cook didn't find that helped give us the complete world picture we have today.

30 min
Alexander von Humboldt-Explorer Genius
15: Alexander von Humboldt-Explorer Genius

Learn how the scientific explorer Alexander von Humboldt-sometimes called a "second Columbus"-taught us to see the world as an interrelated ecological unit. Trace his five-year exploration of the Americas with French botanist Aimé Bonpland, in which they covered 5,950 miles and catalogued 6,300 species of plants and animals.

30 min
Jefferson Dispatches Lewis and Clark
16: Jefferson Dispatches Lewis and Clark

On President Jefferson's (originally secret) orders, the U.S. Corps of Discovery led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set out to chart the new territories gained by the Louisiana Purchase, while recording its people, flora, and fauna. How did they cross Native American-occupied lands peacefully? What was the expedition's political significance? Find out here.

29 min
Sir John Franklin's Epic Disaster
17: Sir John Franklin's Epic Disaster

Consider a tragic episode: the doomed expedition of Sir John Franklin, who disappeared in 1845 along with his crew while searching for the Northwest Passage. Compare theories on the fate of the men, and see how the mystery captured the imagination of Franklin's contemporaries, helping to create a culture of adventure.

30 min
Ida Pfeiffer-Victorian Extreme Traveler
18: Ida Pfeiffer-Victorian Extreme Traveler

Meet Ida Pfeiffer, a Victorian women who defied expectations by traveling around the world twice and becoming a best-selling author describing her experiences. Follow her extraordinary journeys to exotic locales and learn how she deftly escaped some perilous situations-including cannibalistic Batak warriors in the jungles of Sumatra.

30 min
Japan Discovers the West
19: Japan Discovers the West

Faced with Western imperialism after 200 years of self containment, Japan discovered the West through a series of exploratory diplomatic missions abroad to America and Europe towards the end of the 19th century. Which features of Western culture did they find worth emulating? Which unfamiliar Western practices did they reject?

30 min
Dr. Livingstone and Mary Kingsley in Africa
20: Dr. Livingstone and Mary Kingsley in Africa

First, consider how the most famous PR stunt in the history of exploration-journalist Henry Stanley finding ailing Scottish explorer Dr. Livingstone in a remote town in Africa-reveals how Africa long remained the "Dark Continent" to the outside world. Then, turn to Mary Kingsley, an Englishwoman whose writing revealed West Africa to a European audience.

30 min
Arctic Feats and Fates
21: Arctic Feats and Fates

Who was first to make it to the North Pole? Wade into the debate while examining the fascinating but lesser-known moments and figures of the race, including pilot Umberto Nobile flying a hydrogen-filled semi-rigid airship over the Pole in 1926, then crashing on a second trip, unleashing an international rescue operation.

29 min
Antarctic Rivalries
22: Antarctic Rivalries

Now, focus on the race to the South Pole and the bitter rivalries surrounding it. Witness how Norwegian Roald Amundsen outdistanced his rival, English explorer Captain Robert Scott, whose return voyage took a tragic turn. Then, follow the hardships of British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose expedition to cross the punishing Antarctic also met disaster.

30 min
A Deep-Sea Dive into the Mariana Trench
23: A Deep-Sea Dive into the Mariana Trench

Take a breathtaking look at a historic descent into the deepest place on earth-the Mariana Trench in the Pacific-by Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh. But first, discover some of the highlights of ocean exploration in the centuries before this 1960 expedition.

30 min
The Race to Outer Space
24: The Race to Outer Space

Why have humans ventured beyond Earth? Does the future of space exploration lie with commercial interests? Is humanity's future in space? Consider these questions as you consider the past, present, and future of space exploration, starting with the moment Apollo 8's astronauts first witnessed earthrise on Christmas Eve 1968.

31 min
Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

Modernity is a notoriously slippery concept, because, obviously, what is modern now will soon become the past, as time marches relentlessly forward.


University of Pennsylvania


University of Tennessee

About Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius

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

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