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The Graeco-Roman city of Paestum
What can archaeological remains tell us about early cities and the people who lived in them? This album examines the important remains of one city, Poseidonia in Italy, founded towards the end of the 7th century BCE by colonists from the Greek city of Sybaris. Although only twenty-five per cent of the site has been excavated to date, much of its history and culture can be traced through its buildings, inscriptions, and decoration. After it became a colony of Rome in 273 BCE, it became known a
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Buildings of ancient Rome
Rome: a majestic city with a rich past, spanning over two and a half thousand years. What remains to be seen of ancient Rome? As the heart of the Roman Empire, ancient Rome’s archaeological remains have been studied and admired for centuries, many being well-preserved due to their incorporation into newer structures. This album explores the sites of some of the republican temples in Rome’s Campus Martius, and relates them to the men who built them. The Roman Forum, centre of political and so
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Re-assessing the Marquis de Sade
Donatien Alphonse François, better known as The Marquis de Sade, is infamous throughout literature and popular culture for a life and body of work that pushed boundaries. Literally synonymous with sexual and violent excess, his reputation as a writer is often clouded by the extreme nature of his work. In a series of lively and engaging discussions, Alex Barber, Angelica Goodden and Timo Airaksinen re-assess both the man and his writing in social, historical and literary contexts, providing an i
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Analysing European Romanticism
The principal tenets of the movement known as Romanticism first began in Germany and England, with the former pioneering the moral and philosophical beliefs and the latter producing the first Romantic artists and poets. This album concentrates on the development and spread of Romanticism in mainland Europe, analysing in clear, concise terms the metaphysical questions and beliefs that engendered the movement, along with the cultural and historical contexts that encouraged its development. The alb
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Wordsworth re-visited
Renowned as one the key figures of Romanticism, William Wordsworth broke through poetic traditions and barriers to produce verse that redefined the principles underlying the writing of poetry, placing the poet's emotions and interaction with a natural, pastoral world at the centre of poetic philosophy. Wordsworth's influences are a topic of immense academic debate, and this album provides a concise and distinct introduction to the many literary, political and cultural shifts that informed and in
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Roman funerary monuments
How and what can we learn from fragments? Thousands of fragmented inscriptions survive from the ancient city of Rome, the majority of which are funerary inscriptions or epitaphs from tombs. This album looks at the impact of funerary monuments. From the Mausoleum of Emperor Augustus, to the more humble tombs of freed slaves, these monuments reveal a great deal about the people and families commemorated. Examining the type, scale, location, decoration, and epitaph of each tomb allows us to bu
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Power and people in ancient Rome
The ancient Romans constructed some of the first ever purpose-built venues for mass-entertainment. How do these structures enhance the audience’s experience of the spectacle? This album looks at famous Roman buildings like the Colosseum, a venue designed to impress, where vast numbers of people congregated for gladiatorial combat, chariot-racing and theatrical shows. Structures such as the Circus Maximus and even the Baths were designed as striking symbols of civic pride, glorifying the po
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Start writing essays
Returning to study or starting it for the first time can be daunting. Many students are frightened of writing essays, but it’s a craft that can be learnt. This album will help you to build confidence in all areas of essay writing. A student discusses with two tutors her writing methods and how she adapts her techniques for exams and assignments. With tips shared from Professor Richard Dawkins, TV personality Matthew Kelly, former MP Brian Walden, Baroness Helena Kennedy, journalist John Pilgne
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The Arts Past and Present: Mosaics
How can we read an image to tell us more about its ancient maker? In this album a mosaic artist, Catherine Parkinson, visits the splendidly-preserved ancient Roman mosaics at Brading Villa on the Isle of Wight. With the help of two archaeologists she discovers that the iconography reveals important clues about the villa inhabitants' world view, taste, and aspirations. Their leisure pursuits, the value placed on learning, and their views on men and women are just some of the themes revealed in
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The Arts Past and Present: Ireland
Do we use our buildings to declare who we are? How far does our heritage influence our collective identity? This insightful album reveals Ireland's shifting attitudes towards its cultural heritage. In 1922 when it broke free of British rule to become an independent nation state, the Irish nationalists abandoned high-profile buildings like Dublin Castle as it was symbolic of their British oppressors, and it fell into ruin. Yet they proudly restored older sites like Cashel and New Grange, which i
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Exploring History: Medieval to Modern 1400 - 1900
Ever wanted to understand the key themes driving over five hundred years of European history? In this album, architecture reveals the social, religious and economic fortunes of some of the most influential people between 1400 and 1900. By the end of the 19th century Queen Victoria presided over the vast British Empire. She looked out from London, the heart of her empire, with its buildings echoing Imperial Rome. Brussels’ architecture, like London’s, was also designed to show the world the
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Norma Waterson: English Folk Singing
Song, in its many forms, surrounds us - and may have been a feature of life since the very beginnings of human history. It is practiced in every society in the world, its importance undiminished in modern times. The tracks on this album focus on English Folk singing, the traditions behind the songs, and the stories behind the traditions. Performances from folk singer Norma Waterson complete the fascinating journey through English folk heritage. This material is drawn from The Open University cou
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The Italian Cantastorie
Italians are world renowned as passionate people, and their passion feeds through to their music and story telling. This album explores the tradition of the Cantastorie - the Italian Storyteller. Cantastorie Mauro Geraci explains the intricacies of the music, the paintings, the instruments and the drama of the performance. This material is drawn from The Open University course AA317, Words and music.Author(s): The iTunes U team

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Thought and Experience
This album contains fascinating and engrossing interviews with several leading philosophers concerning, primarily, the exploration of four topics: emotion; thought and language; imagination and creativity; consciousness. The interviews contain lively debates from differing philosophical viewpoints, discussions about theoretical thought experiments and the examination of theories developed by philosophers such as Aristotle, Decartes, Galileo, and Hume as well as predictions regarding the future
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The Arts Past and Present: Diva
How do you get to be one of the great operatic divas? Catherine Rogers might just have what it takes to be a famous opera singer, but she still has lots of work to do. This album gives us an insight into the immense effort it requires to become a musical performer. As well as singing, acting, language, and stage skills all need to be honed. Catherine tackles the tragic aria of the Countess in Mozart's Marriage of Figaro and is praised by her tutors. In the audio track Elaine Moohan from the Musi
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Textiles in Ghana
In Ghana, types of cloth and the design of textiles are about more than just fashion. Woven Kente cloth is a great status symbol, marking wealth and, in the past, office - something to be worn on important occasions and by important people. Adinkra is a printed fabric, hand-made and worn mainly for funerals, which are very important celebrations in Ghana. The tracks on this album introduce the Kente weavers and Adinkra workers, show the creative processes behind the textiles they make, and revea
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Religion Today
Religion is a powerful force in today’s world, as almost any newspaper or news broadcast will make clear. Inextricably linked with nationalism, popular culture, social norms and the lives of individuals, it touches almost every area of public and private life. This course examines many of the most exciting and controversial issues in religion today, including the impact of globalisation/Evangelicalism, feminism and environmentalism, and whether secularisation might mean the eventual death of r
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Welsh history and its sources
This free course, Welsh history and its sources, is a teaching and learning resource for anyone interested in Welsh history. It contains study materials, links to some of the most important institutions that contribute to our understanding of the history of Wales, and a pool of resources that can help you understand Welsh history and the way it is studied. Included in the material is a taster of the Open University course Small country, big history: themes in the history of Wales (A182).
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Pygmalion meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The popular American TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" spanned seven seasons and gained a cult following. But how is it linked to the culture of ancient Greece and Rome? On closer inspection, its characters and narratives are revealed to be new incarnations of ancient classical myths that have filtered down into modern media. This album explores one episode, "I Was Made to Love You", in which Warren creates an artificial perfect girlfriend, just as Pygmalion sculpts an ivory statue to be his
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James Berry: Windrush songs
How does a poet represent two distinctly different cultures in their work? How did James Berry interpret his experience and those of other Jamaican’s that migrated to England in the late 1940’s into his writing? James Berry was born in Jamaica in 1924, but moved to England during the wave of immigration from the West Indies led by the Empire Windrush. From a young age Berry had an interest in language, and showed an aptitude for spoken word and through writing soon realised he could explore
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