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These notes began as lectures that I intended to deliver in Edinburgh in April, 1999. Unfortunately I was not able to leave Australia at the time. Since then there has been progress on many of the topics, some of which is reported here, and I have added another lecture, on uniformly bounded representations, so that these notes are expanded on the original version in several ways. I have tried to make these notes an understandable introduction to the subject for mathematicians with little experience of analysis on Lie groups or Lie theory. I aimed to present a wide panorama of different aspects of harmonic analysis on semisimple groups and symmetric spaces, and to try to illuminate some of the links between these aspects; I may well not have succeeded in this aim. Many readers will find much of what is written here to be elementary, and others may well disagree with my perspective. I apologise in advance to both the neophytes for whom my outline is too sketchy and to the experts for whom these notes are worthless. I had hoped to produce an extensive bibliography, but I have not found the time to do so. Consequently I must bear the responsibility for the many omissions of important references in the subject. Whoever wishes to delve into this subject more deeply will need a more complete introduction. There are many possibilities; the books of S. Helgason [59, 60, 62] and of A.W. Knapp  come to mind immediately as essential reading.