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 - 28/03/19
Q&A: In the first episode of "Sicily, the Wonder of the Mediterranean", you were talking to a female archaeologist on Motya island, about little children put to death as sacrifice by the Carthaginians. As evidence she showed an amphora with children burned ashes. Is this gruesome sacrifice act an overwhelming indisputable fact for all the Carthage civilization or a piece of Greek and Roman propaganda? I’m interested in the Etruscans. Do you think as they claim, Greeks settled in Etruia and produced the vases that were found or were they were bought from Greece itself? What effect will the internet and Facebook have on future historians? With all daily occurrences broadcast for all to see, will we need archaeologists and historians in the future? And if so, what aspect of life today do you think these future historians will be puzzling over?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 21/03/19
Q&A: Did young Roman women leave a doll at the family shrine before they got married to indicate a transition to adulthood? I write children’s stories and also like to read fairy stories from all cultures, I've read Baltic and Russian traditional children's stories and am wondering, what children's stories (if any) were around in the classical era? In the past historic accounts from antiquity have been questioned due to it not matching popular academic narratives. Are there growing concerns in the academic community regarding long held beliefs that more and more are being proven false? Why are so many Ancient Egyptian statues (also the Sphinx) missing their noses? They look as if the nose only has been targeted for removal.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 14/03/19
Q&A: Why should schools teach the classics in this modern age? If you had a choice, what would be your favourite part of history and why? How were language barriers crossed when different civilisations were negotiating treaties, etc? Will your book ‘Ancient Worlds’ be translated in Greek any time soon? Is it true that children in ancient Greece had to destroy their toys as part of a ceremony to become adults? Was there anything else they had to do to demonstrate that they were now grown-ups?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 07/03/19
Q&A: What are some of the most egregious interpretations of antiquity for political reasons? Who do you think was the most powerful woman from Ancient Greece or Rome? Does history always have to be written by the sword or the gun? I wasn't as brave as you, so I did end up a lawyer. However, the best saying I collected along the way was Cicero's 'cui bono?' (who benefits?). Obviously useful in the law, but also when listening to fake news. Did the ancient Greeks have a similarly useful saying we could benefit from in modern times? I would like to know about interpretation of dreams in ancient Greece and Rome.
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 28/02/19
Q&A: Are there any examples of 'golden age thinking' in the classical age? What advice would you give to a young person who is so passionate to take up History at Uni, but does not get much support from family due to popular misconceptions, such as ‘not much future potential’, ‘hard to find a job’, ‘a historian does not contribute much to today’s modern world’ etc? Was teaching always your aim? If you could pick one historical event and see how differently the world would have turned out had it not happened...what would you choose and why? Why do you think the Classical world is such an enduring source of entertainment- not just the documentaries etc. but in literature, film, even video games? Do you happen to have a favourite Greek Myth? And why?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 14/02/19
Q&A: What are the origins of Valentine’s Day? Why is it celebrated on February 14th? How did the Ancients think about and understand the concept of love? In Lysistrata, Aristophanes mentions the position "lioness on a cheesegrater" … do we know what this actually refers to? What do we understand of sexual orientation in the ancient Greek world? And did women go through a similar process? How much was attributed to balance of the humours in ancient medicine in relation to love and sexuality?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 07/02/19
Q&A: Can you please provide us with a source or further information regarding the discovery of the remains of faeces from Hannibal's elephants in the alps? Did temples tend to be built on elevated ground or valleys to connect with higher spiritual energies? Were there any rules in the ancient world preventing women entering temples when they were on their periods, like in modern India? If you could visit any ancient site during its heyday, where would you go?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 31/01/19
Q&A: How powerful was Akragas among the cities of Great Greece? How to best keep up to date with recent Classics discoveries and publications? Have they found Cleopatra's burial site? Have you ever considered to write fiction about the classical period? How about organizing an historical re-enactment of the battle of Himera? Concerns regarding mental health are now being taken seriously within our present-day society - following on from your previous Q&A regarding Hector and his strong sense of duty and honour left me with a question: With duty and honour being an important part of ancient Greek society, what impact did this have on their mental health and wellbeing? Could you expand on what tools they may have used to aid their wellbeing, such as Philosophy? Do mental health issues increase with colder climate less daylight & community life?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 24/01/19
Q&A: If you could travel back in time which mystery of antiquity would you wish to unravel? Are you going to do any more audio books? Is it true the Romans ate lying down? Did Romans only drink wine? Why were the Oracles always women? I mean, it's great that we women got to be in charge for once, but why were they always women? Didn't the priests of Apollo get to inhale? Did they expect a better response from the Oracle if it was a full moon, for instance? How does Delphi compare to oracles like Sibellyne? Delphi - was it a live queue and could anyone get a consultation and was it free? What exactly did the Romans invent that we still see in ‘present day’? Did the Romans make statues using their cement?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 17/01/19
Q&A: It has been said that Pythagoras had an enormous influence on the Oracle of Delphi. If so, can you tell something about this? Do you prefer Achilles or Hector in the Iliad? Who would a Greek boy at the time have identified with more? Achilleus or Hector? Was Cleopatra Greek or part Egyptian?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 10/01/19
Q&A: What was a woman's place in social ranking and what freedom and rights did they enjoy in ancient Rome compared to that of a woman of our time? I am quite intrigued about the Delphi oracle and its being centre of Ancient Greece; love to hear your briefing on this subject; Is it known whether the oracular pilgrims could ever have encountered weather like this? Or whether there was a pilgrimage season as with Canterbury? Was there a special amulet worm by Roman women? Did the Romans use specific herbs in their gardens? How far was women’s influence in the world of ludus/gladiators? What’s your own view on Clytemnestra? Do you think she was justified in her revenge on Agamemnon? Have you ever tasted the Roman fish paste that was part of the diary in Pompeii? Where can I get some to taste?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 03/01/19
Q&A: In Episode 1 of “Sicily: The Wonder of the Med…” why do they allow people to walk on that amazing roman floor mosaic? Or were you afforded special dispensation? Seems that it would get damaged if shoe protection not worn? My Christmas present is a trip to Athens to see the Acropolis. Can you recommend the best tour/ sights/ cafe/ restaurant/ bars to visit on a (girls) weekend away? I’ve never been before. We are planning to go Friday pm and return Sun pm. I've just seen on Viasat History the documentary about Italian Ancient Cities. I was amazed by the beautiful statues and mosaics found in the sea at Baia. Is there a possibility that these statues and mosaics could be taken from the sea and displayed in a museum? The Romans ruled a vast empire both directly through Governors and indirectly through client kings. Could you comment on how the civil governance was maintained notwithstanding the often Imperial turmoils in Rome? How does Roman bias colour our view of Carthage?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 20/12/18
Q&A: How did the Early Christians celebrate Christmas in Greece and Rome? What archaeological evidence do we have for these celebrations?
What influence do you think Mithraism had on Christmas? Who would you rate as the greatest military leader in Classical Greece? Perikles? Epaminondas?* Why were the marvellous monuments in Egypt, such as the temples at Karnak and Luxor (and the avenue of sphinxes), were buried so deeply in sand and forgotten for many years? Why weren’t the local people living on the edge of the Nile River and aware of such incredibly large structures? How were they buried so deeply for so long? And what else is buried beneath the sand of Egypt? Can we expect any TV programmes from you in 2019? If you could choose a time period and place you could travel to and live in, what it would be and why?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 06/12/18
Q&A: Ancient languages leave their trace in languages today. What is your favourite translation of an ancient saying that is similar to modern day? Which do you think tells us more about ancient Athenians – tragic plays or comic plays? What’s your favourite classics meme? There are many everyday ancient objects decorated with satyrs and racy images - do you think that is due to being openly liberal in ancient society or a type of bawdiness? What kind of public social service did the Athenians have? Who’s the best Homeric character in your opinion?
Prof. Michael Scott - Live Q&A - 29/11/18
Q&A: In the Athens episode, during the wonderful recreation of the Erechtheion in the green room, you were able to step up on to a seemingly solid wall to stand beside the caryatids. How was this possible when Matt Shaw was still standing on the lower level of the floor? I have to say that all the scanned recreations are fantastic, but this one was really incredible. These programmes are truly amazing. Who do you think is the most undervalued person from the Ancient world? In your opinion, which female figure of the Ancient World should we know about and why? Did the of the ancient peoples celebrate a Thanksgiving holiday? Why did Constantine The Great who was a Roman Emperor want to move the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium (then named Constantinople) and as a result cause hatred between Constantinople and the Roman Empire?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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’?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?