• Naked Statues, Fat Gladiators, and War Elephants

  • Frequently Asked Questions About the Ancient Greeks and Romans
  • By: Garrett Ryan
  • Narrated by: Stephen Graybill
  • Length: 7 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (171 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Why didn't the ancient Greeks or Romans wear pants? How did they shave? How likely were they to drink fine wine, use birth control, or survive surgery?

In a series of short and humorous essays, Naked Statues, Fat Gladiators, and War Elephants explores some of the questions about the Greeks and Romans that ancient historian Garrett Ryan has answered in the classroom and online. Unlike most books on the classical world, the focus is not on famous figures or events, but on the fascinating details of daily life.

Learn the answers to questions such as: How tall were the ancient Greeks and Romans?; how long did they live?; what kind of pets did they have?; how dangerous were their cities?; did they believe their myths?; did they believe in ghosts, monsters, and/or aliens?; did they jog or lift weights?; how did they capture animals for the Colosseum?; were there secret police, spies, or assassins?; what happened to the city of Rome after the Empire collapsed?; and can any families trace their ancestry back to the Greeks or Romans?

©2021 Garrett Ryan (P)2021 Tantor
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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What listeners say about Naked Statues, Fat Gladiators, and War Elephants

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Garret Ryan delivers an accessible and thoroughly entertaining deep dive

I’m a fan of Garret Ryan and his work on YouTube. While I’m busy on the go, my time to read books is a little limited these days. I’m very happy to say that this audiobook was an intriguing yet comprehensive version of a casual Q&A with a historian. While not informal, it is written in a way that is more conversational rather than rigidly academic.

The narration was good, but Garret has his own YouTube channel (Over 100K subscribers +) and would have been much better had he been able to do it. I would rather enjoy if a rerelease allowed this in the future, no disrespect to the current narrator.

An easy listen that will teach you a thing or two and allow a greater sense of understanding of these two Titans of civilizations. Highly recommend.

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FANTASTIC WRITING, Mediocre Narration

This book is best enjoyed like an encyclopediac FAQ, where you can pick and choose whichever chapters you would like to listen to to satisfy your curiosity.

The writing is extremely accessible as well as entertaining, it really condenses ancient history into a pithy, yet substantial, guide. I loved the author’s YouTube videos and the same goes for his writing.

Nevertheless, I did NOT enjoy the dry narration, often punctuated by mispronunciation, and either read too quickly or too slowly at any given time.

If you can get past the listening experience to the subject matter, you will have a good time. On the whole, I wish I’d read this rather than listened to it.

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A Fantastic Look into odd Roman History

Really great - excited for the audiobook. I read the physical copy and it was a fun read that explored some fun topics that aren’t normally discussed. I highly recommend the book to any fan of history!

2 people found this helpful

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Great first outing for Garrett Ryan

The subject matter here is fascinating, expanding on concepts developed in Ryan’s youtube channel, toldinstone. If you’re interested in this, check that out first. You’ll definitely want to come back for this.

One small complaint, though I didn’t mind Stephen Graybill’s narration, I had gotten used to Ryan’s delivery in his videos, so it would have been nice for him to do the narration for this piece as well. Maybe they can do that for his next book.

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Great book on Roman history.

Well composed and digestible, while being historically accurate. The author shares fascinating quirks of the ancient Romans world and their sphere of influence to entertain, and educate modern audiences. The juxtaposition of his contemporary commentary on the often abhorrent ancient world compelled me to consider our modern times. Would highly recommend to any history fan, many notable tropes of history started during this empire. Skilled reader makes for easy listening.

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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Ancient World

I enjoyed every single page of this book. Brought to you by the esteemed creator of toldinstone on YouTube. Dr. Garrett Ryan takes you along a cultural, political, and social tour of Ancient Greece and Rome. Everything from food to clothes, warfare, sports, myths, daily activities, daily worship, colloquialisms and life in general is covered in this. I've watched his channel for a while on YouTube but didn't pick this up until the other day. Favorite fact: Marcus Aurelius liked to box in his spare time. There's just something about a Philosopher boxing that just makes me happy inside. I highly reccomend this!

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So Engaging

I heard of Dr. Ryan’s book from his YouTube channel, toldinstone. After a few months of ravenously consuming every video he’s posted, I decided to jump into his book and it could not have been better. The narrator is excellent, and Dr. Ryan’s writing is engaging and fun and full of character. I have always been interested in the day-to-day existence of ancient people, and this inside look at the minutiae of the way the world operated was beyond satisfying to that itch for information.

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  • C.
  • 08-12-22

The author himself should of read it.

Great history book for the masses.
Well and passionately written.
Considering the author's Yotube channel (Toldinstone), he is best fitted to have read the book.
This said, the current narrator's skill is good in itself but not quite suited.

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A fun look back

If you're coming here after listening to Garrett Ryan's YouTube channel, toldinstone, don't hesitate to pick up this book. I love hearing short snippets about what life was really like in ancient times, and this book did not disappoint.

My only gripe, and it is minor, is that the narration is a bit dry. I think I would've preferred it be read by the author, but it's still pretty good.

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fantastic listen

I really enjoyed this audiobook, both the writing and the performance. I found the stories incredibly fascinating and memorable, and the variety of topics covered always kept my interest. Some passages paint incredible pictures of day to day life, like the gymnasium or natural disasters chapter. Other chapters summarize centuries of history with engaging anecdotes. I really loved the military/elephant sections of this book. Great Listen!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-29-22

Great, compact, easy!

Loved it. Easy listening. Good for 8-80+ His YouTube channel is AMAZING! Only thing would have been better is if the author had read it!

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  • CoolGeorge
  • 04-14-22

Great book

Narration is best on 1.10x speed but otherwise great book full of interesting stuff

1 person found this helpful

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  • Daniel
  • 08-07-22

Ancient Rome & Greece in a nutshell.

Excellent for anyone keen to learn about the world of ancient Greece & the Roman empire.
Contains a series of short chapters on all manner of things you can easily jump between, highly enjoyable listening for both the unacknowledged and those well versed on the ancient history of the medditeranean world.
Highly recommend this title. Also worth checking out is the author's YouTube Channel, ToldInStone.

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  • Jonathan
  • 02-03-22

Excellent Humanization if the Classical World

A wonderful way of exploring the classical World. The author brings together multiple sources that do a fine job of taking the listener through a Greek and Roman journey rich in detail and interest. Top notch narration too.

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  • L. Darragh
  • 01-22-22

good primer on Greeks and Roman's

this book was quite interesting, I became aware of its existence from the writers youtube channel. this is a great book for people who want a primer on the ancient Roman and Greek world. I did not have any trouble finishing this book and I recommend. the only thing that threw me was the narrator was different to who narrates his youtube videos.