Friday, 28 June 2013
Who were the Greeks? Unsatisfactory title, unsatisfactory programme
Above is the first part in a two-part series presented by classicist Michael Scott that started showing on the BBC last night, called Who were the Greeks? It’s not great, but not awful either and I suppose the most noteworthy thing about it is that it went out on BBC Two in prime time (9:00 pm), indicating a continuing public appetite for Greek history and culture.
Indeed, after watching the programme, because its main focus of attention was almost exclusively on the practices of the Athenians – and, in fact, the practices of the Athenians in the fifth century BC – which Scott unjustifiably conflates with the entire Hellenic world, over centuries, making no distinction, for example, between the practices of the Athenians in the fifty century BC with the Ionians of the 6th century BC or the Macedonians of the 4th century BC or the Alexandrians of the 3rd century BC and so on – then the title of the show should really have been ‘Who were the Athenians in the fifth century BC?’