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Connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa, the Mediterranean Sea has been for millennia the place where religions, economies, and political systems met, clashed, influenced and absorbed one another. In this brilliant and expansive book, David Abulafia offers a fresh perspective by focusing on the sea itself: its practical importance for transport and sustenance; its dynamic role in the rise and fall of empires; and the remarkable cast of characters-sailors, merchants, migrants, pirates, pilgrims-who have crossed and re-crossed it.
Ranging from prehistory to the 21st century, The Great Sea is above all a history of human interaction. Interweaving major political and naval developments with the ebb and flow of trade, Abulafia explores how commercial competition in the Mediterranean created both rivalries and partnerships, with merchants acting as intermediaries between cultures, trading goods that were as exotic on one side of the sea as they were commonplace on the other. He stresses the remarkable ability of Mediterranean cultures to uphold the civilizing ideal of convivencia, "living together."
Now available in paperback, The Great Sea is the definitive account of perhaps the most vibrant theater of human interaction in history.
David Abulafia is Professor of Mediterranean History at Cambridge University and the author of The Mediterranean in History.
Table of Contents
Part 1: THE FIRST MEDITERRANEAN 1: Isolation and insulation: Island Communities before Metal 2: Copper and Bronze 3: Merchants and Heroes 4: Sea Peoples and Land Peoples
Part 2: THE SECOND MEDITERRANEAN 1: The Purple Traders 2: The Heirs of Odysseus 3: The Triumph of the Tyrrhenians 4: Towards the Garden of the Hesperides 5: Thalassocracies 6: The Lighthouse of the Mediterranean 7: 'Carthage must be destroyed' 8: 'Our Sea' 9: Old and new faiths 10: Dis-Integration
Part 3: THE THIRD MEDITERRANEAN 1: Mediterranean Troughs 2: Crossing the Boundaries 3: The Great Sea-Change 4: 'The profit that God shall give' 5: Ways across the Sea 6: The fall and rise of empires 7: Merchants, Mercenaries and Missionaries 8: Serrata - Closing
Part 4: THE FOURTH MEDITERRANEAN 1. Would-be Roman emperors 2. Transformations in the West 3: Holy Leagues and Unholy Alliances 4: Akdeniz - The Battle for the White Sea 5: Interlopers in the Mediterranean 6: Diasporas in despair 7: Encouragement to Others 8: Views through the Russian Prism 9: Deys, Beys and Bashaws
Part 5: THE FIFTH MEDITERRANEAN 1: Ever the Twain Shall Meet 2: The Greek and the unGreek 3: Ottoman exit 4: A tale of four and a half cities 5: Mare Nostrum - again 6: A Fragmented Mediterranean 7: The Last Mediterranean Appendix: The physical Mediterranean