Winchester History Weekend: 5 minutes with Michael Scott

History – and particularly ancient history – is so often studied through an isolated focus on particular time periods or places. But so much of these cultures depended on the interaction they had with one another. At our Winchester History Weekend this October, Michael Scott will examine ancient global history, focusing around three key moments in which politics, warfare and religion helped forge a connected ancient world…

Ahead of his talk, ‘Ancient Worlds: Linking East and West’, we caught up with Michael to find out more and to learn about his passion for history…
Q: How and when did you first realise you had a passion for history?
A: When I was 17 I went to Greece on a school trip and had my 17th birthday at the ancient site of Olympia. Seeing the ancient world before my eyes and walking through the ancient sites just brought it all alive for me and made me want to understand it better.
Q: Why do you love your period of history?
A: I love the fact that we can know so much about a period so long ago, and that it still has a massive impact on the way our world works today. It’s not bad either that these civilisations occupied the Mediterranean; so going on a research trip is never a bad experience!
Q: Which other historical areas fascinate you and why?
A: Perhaps surprisingly, much more modern history of the 20th century, particularly international politics and diplomacy.
Q: Which history books are you reading at the moment?
A: I’ve just finished reading John Julius Norwich’s Sicily: A Short History from the Ancient Greeks to Cosa Nostra, which is rich and interesting, full of Sicilian colour and shade. [John Julius Norwich will be speaking at our York History Weekend on Sunday 20 November]. 
I’m currently in the middle of reading Richard Stoneman’s Xerxes: A Persian Life – a fascinating attempt to understand a ruler best known in the west for failing to conquer Greece during the Persian Wars.
Q: Are there any developments in your field that are really exciting you at the moment?
A: I recently saw in the news that a huge monument has just been uncovered in Petra, Jordan. That looks amazing! 
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the Winchester History Weekend? 
A: I’m looking forward to a great fun discussion with such an involved audience.
Michael Scott is the author of several books on ancient Greek and Roman society and has presented numerous TV documentaries on ancient history. You can find out more about our Winchester History Weekend and Michael’s talk, ‘Ancient Worlds: Linking East and West’, here.