In a new series premiering on Tuesday 31 January at 9.00pm on BBC-2 historian Michael Scott journeys through Sicily, the Mediterranean’s largest island, to find out how 3,000 years of conquest and settlement have shaped the identity of the island we see today.
Scott begins his journey through Sicily on the slopes of Mt.Etna, Europe’s largest active volcano. For the Ancient Greeks the island was a land of gods and monsters – a dangerous and unpredictable world.
Michael discovers how 3,000 years ago the Greeks began to settle on Sicily’s east coast, planting their olives and vines and building great city states that soon came to rival even Athens itself. He learns how great battles were fought between the Greeks and the Carthaginians for control of the island and how the Romans made it their first foreign colony, stripping Sicily of its forests to plant vast fields of grain.
When Rome fell waves of Barbarian invasions followed, before Sicily was conquered by the Byzantines – the Eastern Roman Empire.
How have those early invaders helped to shape the character of the island we see today? And what lessons have Sicilians learnt from their turbulent past?
Sicily: The Wonder Of The Mediterranean Episode 1 (of 2) airs on Tuesday 31 January 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on BBC Two.