Every Thursday at 4pm, Prof Michael Scott takes part in a live Facebook Q&A session, answering questions on all things Classics and Ancient History. Send your own questions #askprofmcscott via Facebook, and see below for an archive of past and present videos.The friendly and welcoming style of these videos make them an excellent teaching resource, while the videos also include information on upcoming events.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 22/11/18
Q&A: Who decided what the seven wonders of the world were? And if you had to pick something to add to the list what would it/they be? I would very much appreciate if you give us some insights on Amphipolis! There's no further info since it's been discovered; In your opinion, how should we remember great and popular historical figures (e.g. Alexander the Great, Caesar)? In popular culture, they’re rarely criticised, often praised and portrayed as heroes. They are responsible for the death of many. Are we too kind to them? Or does context justify it all? I would love to hear your thoughts! How has the economic downturn affected the funding of recent archaeological digs/sites? What impact do you think Greek Art has on modern day art? To what degree does the Spartan mirage hold true? I will be visiting the British Museum, what is your preferred spot there and why?
IN THE NEWS: Rich, Ancient City Is Unearthed in Greece - Archaeologists exploring Tenea, which is thought to have been founded by the Trojans, have discovered tombs, coins and urns, among other items, in and around the site.
WHAT’S ON? Winckelmann Masterpieces throughout the Vatican Museums (9th Nov 2018 – 9th March 2019, Vatican Museums) - "A “journey within the journey” along the entire Vatican Museums tour itinerary, a “dispersed” exhibition that from 9 November will open its doors to celebrate the great German scholar Johann Joachim Winckelmann, father of modern archaeology and precursor of today’s art historians."; LSA Classics: Roman Art beyond the Roman Empire - Dr Peter Stewart (tonight (22nd Nov), 6.15pm – 8.30pm, AKS Lytham) - Dr Stewart will focus on examples from China and Gandhara (ancient Pakistan) following his work with Gandhara Connections, a project which aims to stimulate new insights into Gandharan art and its links to Greece and Rome."
Warwick Classics Network’s new online video resource coming in December 2018. #AskAnAcademic – academic staff will be talking about their research and answering questions on the Classics curriculum. There are also lots of teaching resources already available on the WCN website.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 15/11/18
Q&A: On ancient stone or bronze statues, why are men's willies really small? Was it not a sign of virility and manhood? Was there a "dark age" between Minoan and Greek classical periods? Have you ever felt when your visiting historic places that you are able to psychically connect with the people who ones or lived in the buildings? And have you ever seen any ghosts? I’ll be in Thessaloniki (near Aristotle Square) for two days next May before starting a guided tour of Greece. What would be the best use of my time in those first two days in Thessaloniki? I saw your post about the eyes from the Greek statue... was it common for the ancient Greek statues have eyes? Having lectured in countries as diverse as the US and China what are the key differences in the way country's approach the same history? In reference to the recent uproar in Egypt for letting out the Karnak Temple complex for a wedding reception. As an archaeologist and historian do you think it is wise to let these sites be used as venues for such even? If yes, then what basic preventive measures would you suggest, and if not then why? Given the astonishing possibilities of VR shown in your Invisible Cities series, how long do you think it will be before visitors to major archaeological sites will be able to use VR headsets to walk around these sites and 'see' them in their full original glory. It seems inevitable but is the technology mature enough yet?
IN THE NEWS: Dozens of cat mummies and a rare collection of mummified scarab beetles have been discovered in seven sarcophagi, some dating back more than 6,000 years, at a site on the edge of the pyramid complex in Saqqara, south of Cairo; Missing Piece of Antikythera Mechanism Found on Aegean Seabed. More than 2,200 years after it sank beneath the waves, diving archaeologists have possibly found a missing piece of the Antikythera Mechanism, the fantastically complicated, advanced analogue "computer" found in a shipwreck off a Greek island.
WHAT’S ON?: Inside Louvre Abu Dhabi's new 'Roads of Arabia' exhibition (8th November 2018 – 16 Feb 2019). the new exhibition seeks to broaden our understanding of a region long viewed through the reductive prism of oil; BMCA Texts and Topics Conference 2019 (Saturday 9th March 2019, 09:30-13:15) - The Birmingham and West Midlands Schools Classics Hub, in collaboration with the Department of Classics, Ancient History, and Archaeology and the Birmingham and Midlands Classical Association, are delighted to announce the details of the annual Texts and Topics Conference for 2019.
The Texts and Topics Conference 2019 will support A Level study for Ancient History, Latin, and Classical Civilisation. The event is free for all state school students, and there is a fee of £10 for students from independent schools, payable on the day.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 08/11/18
Q&A: Could you comment on how important comedy was for the ancient Greeks- particularly Athenians? Have you ever cried or got emotional over the discovery of significant objects/ buildings/ evidence? Which is your top favourite building/ monument and why? When looking to buy a text in translation, there are different versions available which vary according to the agenda of the translator; Do you have any recommendations when it comes to Greek tragedy for study purposes? I noticed that in Ancient Greece: The Greatest Show on Earth, you refer to what appears to be the Loeb texts and translations of the plays; is this because they are still the best versions to read, or are they simply old favourites that you have collected throughout your career? Can you recommend any books on roman recipes or cooking?
IN THE NEWS: National Geographic: Massive Roman Mosaic Unearthed in England: This colourful Roman mosaic has been unearthed in Boxford, England. It’s over 19 feet long and has characters and beasts from ancient Roman myths. Archaeologists speculate that one scene depicts Hercules fighting a centaur. The mosaic is a well-preserved piece of art that reveals clues about ancient life; Mycenaean Linear B language - People are now talking in Mycenaean Linear B language – written language used by the Mycenaean civilisations of Crete and mainland Greece in the era of the Trojan war. A character has been identified in the Linear B which transliterates as da-mo – a direct link through back to Greek demos (the people).
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 01/11/18
Q&A: Can you tell me the location of the car park [in Athens]? I'd like to see it for myself; Big question, probably hard to answer. Hellenistic kingdoms, Carthage. Why did they all fall to Rome? If they joined up, could they have won? Maybe it was chance; How did ancient civilisations store (and index) data? Did those people essentially act as a computer? How did they know where things were / where data was stored? What was classified as cutting-edge technology in the ancient world? What do you think would happen if we provided a laptop or tablet to an ancient civilisation - how do you think they would react? If a member of an ancient civilisation had a question or needed help where did they go in the absence of web search engines or service desk / contact centres? If ancient civilisations had access to the technology we have today, how do you think we would have evolved as a global civilisation through to the present day - where would we be now, and do you think that there is anything from our history that would not have happened as a result? Can you give some information on the role of women in Ancient Greek society? What was the political and social context women of the time lived in? For example, I really loved Hypatia as a historical figure but she had such a tragic and unjust end. Love to hear your comments. I've been thinking since your sample lecture on the wider Ancient World last week - I know that it's a new course that you're teaching and you mentioned only recently studying the relations 'further out' from Ancient Greece, so I was wondering what you personally found most surprising/fascinating/weird and wonderful when looking further into the topic? I’m really intrigued by the collision of ancient cultures and the resulting indelible impressions this left on both sides. One obvious example is the Chinese and Roman cultures overlapping at through trade. What are you favourite examples of this type of interaction in the ancient world? Consequentially, what can this overlap due to trade and ebb and flow expansion of different cultures teach us today as we enter into an age of polarization and cultural conflict.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 25/10/18
Q&A: We are due to visit Naples next Spring. We are visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum but we have 2 more days on our agenda free. After watching your programme on Naples with so much to see - what would you recommend we see? What do you think Ambrosia actually was? And similarly, what's the general opinion on what Greek Fire was made from? What do you make of the new date found regarding the eruption of Vesuvius? It seems we praise ancient Athens for being the centre of ancient Greek art, and the implication is that the arts flourished in Athens because it was democratic (hence the frequent comparison to "artless" Sparta). Do you think that's correct, however? The majority of famous Greek artists were not Athenians, and many of them may have never completed any works in Athens. Shouldn't we throw more praise towards Sicyon, a city-state which was ruled by tyrants during the period of its (and Greece's) greatest artistic output? If you had to choose between wearing Ancient Greek or Roman military uniform and weapons in battle, which would you choose and why? Have you ever found a tintinnabulum in your excavations? Terracotta toys with a ball inside that moves shaking the object. Have you ever seen the HBO series Rome? What are your thoughts on how TV/film accurately portrays the ancient roman world? If you had the chance to live a year in modern Rome or modern Athens which would you choose, and why? How do you think Ancient Greece and their idea of democracy affected or influenced other kingdoms in the ancient world?
IN THE NEWS: What is believed to be the world's oldest intact shipwreck discovered in Black Sea. Archaeologists say the 23-metre vessel has lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years; In the Daily Mail – “Ancient Roman and Greek sculptures were PAINTED in bright colours and not the whitewashed pieces of art that we see in films, books and museums” … we’ve known this for many years, but because we have been trained to think about ancient classical sculpture as white marble we can’t accept this fact and it’s interesting that it keeps coming up as news, even though it’s been known for years!
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 18/10/18
Q&A: I was surprised recently when I read about a full-sized replica of The Parthenon in Nashville, complete with a full scale gilded & painted statue of Athena. Have you been there and what do you think of it? Given that most "democratic" countries employ a republican system rather than Athenian-style direct democracy, what is the real importance/significance of Athenian style democracy in your opinion? Thanks! When writing a book/lecture/documentary - how do you approach subjects that don't fit in with modern values (e.g. slavery, gladiators, infant exposure...) do you think it is important to be neutral in the language you use in order to remain objective or is this not necessary? Does subjectivity prevent/dissuade us understanding historical reasoning and logic? I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on the question of the revised dating of the eruption of Vesuvius. Many thanks and I love everything you are doing promote Classics! About the Areopagus: the location now a hilltop is of slippery stones. What was it at the Classical times, and when St Paul was there?
IN THE NEWS: Some beautifully preserved Roman children’s shoes; London Mithraeum has won the British Archaeological Award for the Best Public Presentation of Archaeology; Evidence for the existence of a temple of Apollo on Bulgaria’s St Ivan Island; Fourni – 58 ship wrecks discovered, ranging in age from Roman through to the 20th century, thought to be the largest concentration of ancient wrecks ever found in the Aegean and possibly the whole of the Mediterranean.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 11/10/18
Q&A: What is the most important lesson that history teaches us? What’s the most surprising thing you have learnt from the places you have visited? In your opinion which ancient Greek play (comedy or drama) best represents/portrays the ancient Greek world, be it in terms of mentality, reality of life, or what-have-you? With the constant development and advances in technology and what is able to be achieved with it (your series for example). Do you think in the future there will still be a need to ‘dig’ sites? In Italy's Invisible Cities Naples underground was it a little chilling reading the words ‘we live’?
IN THE NEWS: Pompeii – incredible garden space has been discovered with beautiful wall paintings in rich colours even though they are 2000 years old; Nemea – one of the four sites of the ancient games (Olympia, Delphi, Isthmia and Nenea) … just discovered an unplundered Mycenaean tomb; Salisbury – late 3rd century Roman coin hoard just been found, will be going on display for the first time at Salisbury Museum.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 04/10/18
Q&A: Who is your favourite Roman emperor and why? What is your view on fiction as a means of getting people into ancient history? What would the Romans would have made of all this social media?! What would Latin text speak would look like? A lot of historians have been revisiting the idea of whether Alexander the Great was really 'Great' and prefer to see Philip as the architect of the Macedonian Empire. What is your opinion on this debate? Why are the noses of all old sculptures of ancient sites always broken compared to other parts of the body? What is your opinion about Christian churches architecture? If you could ask a question to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi ... what would it be?
IN THE NEWS: Work resumes on Sanctuary of the Great Gods in Samothrace after 22-year hiatus; £2 million Heritage Lottery funding to protect Hadrian’s Wall and the Antonine Wall; Roman grave uncovered during A66 roadworks in Cumbria.
Prof. Michael Scott – Live Q&A - 27/09/18
Q&A: There are many texts from Ancient Greece and Rome that we know were written, but either do not exist for us to read or are fragmentary. If you could choose one to be discovered in its entirety, what would it be? Have you ever been denied access to something you would have liked to film in ancient visible cities? Which is best to visit Pompeii or Herculaneum, or both? What is your favourite ancient Landmark?
IN THE NEWS: Massive ancient building discovered by archaeologists in the town of Mit Rahina, 12 miles (20km) south of the capital, Cairo; Vindolanda 2019 Young Person Bursary; An ornately painted tomb has been discovered in Cumae, near Naples.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 21/09/18
Q&A: The 3D scans are mesmerising - what do you see is their purpose, i.e. how will they impact upon future learning and research? Why was Djoser’s pyramid step-shaped rather than pointed like the Great Pyramid – did technology or skills improve in the 80 years in between or was the Great Pyramid just a new design to look more important? When filming in Athens in the underground caves/waterways you were in some pretty tight spaces. Did you feel claustrophobic or worried about being confined in such small spaces? What was it like? The practicalities of getting through the narrow spaces in the silver mines and the tunnels. What surprised you the most when filming the series? Does your BBC series differ from the PBS version presented by Darius Arya? Were there any scenes that you had to cut?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 13/09/18
Q&A: Who do you think is the greatest epic hero out of Odysseus and Aeneas and why? Do you think that Alexander the Great would actually have achieved that much more or had he peaked when he died? When is the first written mention by the ancient Greeks of Britain? Assuming they never travelled there, were they even aware of its existence? Would your research ever cover ancient Indo-Greek history? Ancient Greek, Rome and Egypt, all had class difference but which one was much flexible in terms of other two civilizations? What is written on the Spartan shields at the Attalos museum?
IN THE NEWS: Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook CEO) has revealed his love for (and implicitly comparing himself to) the first Emperor of Rome Augustus; 11th September was Claudia Severa’s birthday – as per the famous invitation uncovered at Vindolanda.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 06/09/18
Q&A: If you could jump into a Time Machine and travel to anywhere, any period in time, in Ancient Greece where would he go and who would he like to meet and why? Raki or Ouzo? … or Tsipouro or Meloraki? Would you, like me, love to go back in time to really experience the ancient roman or Greek work as it was and if so which particular time in this period would you like to experience. Or would you prefer to keep discovering it at arms’ length? Do you have any advice for adult learners of Ancient Greek? Just some general advice for Classics students embarking on their degrees please. Study tips (particularly for languages) and what we need to succeed! In an age of populist politics, what can we learn from populism and its fate in the classical past? Lots of fantastic suggestions for ‘where would you scan?’ Is it true that The Hydra has one immortal head and 7 mortal heads? I’ve read conflicting myths on this. Who do you consider to have been the most influential woman in the ancient world? Which ancient woman has had the most influence on the modern world/psyche?
IN THE NEWS: Vindolanda discovery – 2000-year-old horse manure, still smells, still fresh! Complete with stable flies and bits of grain that the animals had eaten; Underwater archaeology – around the Egadi Islands off Sicily, famous battle in 241BC, finding massive number of bronze ram heads that used to be on the ships’ prows, plus helmets of warriors who were on board when the ships sank; Fire at the National Museum in Brazil.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 30/08/18
Q&A: What do you think the theatre of Dionysus in Athens looked like in the 5th century BC during the golden age? In the photo of you with the ancient Greek shield, why do you have no shoes on?! Just exactly how many black linen shirts and cream chinos do you take in your suitcase when you’re filming? If history only remembered one ancient Greek or Roman who should it be and why? Will you be doing any more public lectures at Warwick? Do you think classical civilisation studies still have a place in our education system? Hannibal – a hero or a villain? Do you have any advice for getting kids interested in the Classics? What got you interested in Classics? Which is your favourite Greek God, and why? Which is your favourite museum to visit, and why? There’s so much more to be uncovered in Greece, do you think there’s an opportunity more digs for example Knossos? If you were asked to write a screenplay to be made into a feature film, what important event or person in the Classical World would you choose to make a film about and why? Do you think there is/are anything that the ancients did better in their day than we do in the modern world?