Sicily: Wonder of the Mediterranean

2 x 60mins - BBC2

"I came away duly enlightened and endowed with a 3,000-year perspective on the current migration crisis"  The Independent               

"A terrific two-part meander around Sicily by the historian Michael Scott"  The Guardian

Series Producer, Director, Writer, Camera

Both Episodes of this series were entirely self-shot on Sony FS5

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. 

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. They in turn were swept aside by a Muslim Arab invasion from North Africa.

He learns how the island’s new Muslim rulers didn’t force Christians and Jews to convert, and how new trade networks and agricultural techniques transformed Sicily.

When Sicily was later conquered by the Normans, it entered a golden age and all religions and cultures were granted equal rights. The later arrival of the Spanish Inquisition brought an end to that tolerance.

In the 19th century, Sicily was unified with Italy - and Sicilians were finally in charge of their own destiny. As Michael discovers, the greatest threat then came from within: the rise of the Mafia.

Now as Sicily emerges from the Mafia’s shadow it faces a new challenge. The island is on the frontline of Europe’s migrant crisis. But the Sicilian response, formed in part by their own turbulent history, may well surprise many North Europeans.

 

 

Production Company: BBC Studios

Presenter: Michael Scott

Composer: Ty Unwin

Sound: Tim Watts

Editor: Ivan Probert

Executive Producer: Aaqil Ahmed

Commissioning Editor: Tom McDonald