The Great Sea by David Abulafia – review. David Abulafia’s history of the Mediterranean takes in ancient empires and modern tourists. For over three thousand years, the Mediterranean Sea has been one of the great centres of civilization. David Abulafia’s The Great Sea is the first complete. The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean is an award-winning book by the British historian David Abulafia. First published in , it is a history of.

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Readers will learn nothing, for example, of the overland routes that connected ancient Syro-Palestine to Mesopotamia and Arabia, and hence will miss the central cultural contribution of the middle east not only to the eastern seaboard but also thereby to Greek mythology, and hence to the western tradition as a whole.

It is both negative — you can’t grow things on it, or build on it — and positive: The fall and rise of empires 7: He clearly just prefers that usage. Each section is amazing in its breadth and not only includes information from the most recent archeological finds, but also details how these finds relate to each other, to other lands and peoples around the Mediterranean, and to the past and possible future of the Sea. There is very little here about Mediterranean ecology, which has loomed large in previous accounts.

The collapse of the Roman Empire and the end of Mare Nostrum did reduce the shipping in the western half, but the Eastern Roman Empire survived.

It is strange to read such an expansive history book and realise there is no real theme to the book. It’s only with the modern rise of tourism and the reinvention of much of the Mediterranean coast as a tourism and retirement destination that the old melting pot has returned, though now at great environmental and quality-of-life cost.

The Great Sea by David Abulafia: review

The author’s interpretation of this as a “failure” makes no cultural sense! Political initiative, rather than resistless fate, the present writer suggests, determined not just the importance of Mediterranean cities and settlements but their actual locations.

And although not short of conventional narrative — ancient empires, ambitious medieval city states, modern nations, the lingering end of colonialism, the arrival of refugees and tourists — this is first and foremost a story about trade.


This book painted a new picture of traders and even sometimes “tourists” travelling all over the Sea. It was the development of reliable marine shipping, probably by the Cretan Minoans qbulafia in the second millennium BC, that allowed for the Mediterranean’s centrality davud the western world.

Ocassionally, theres even a whole few pages of coherent information about something that I actually greta – technology, language, trade, physical conditions of slaves, etc. Even the Romans, effective enough elsewhere, had trouble with pirates in the Adriatic, whose descendants, the Uskoks, popped up with such devastating impact during the s that the Venetians tried unsuccessfully to finish them off with a shipload of poisoned wine. I’m already looking forward to rereading it in a few years.

This was an eminently Christian vision of the world, as the appearance at the map’s apex of a benignly presiding Christ clearly signals. Unlike Mansel, who is hard to turn away from, this history took me a while to read, yet it’s certainly worth the time and patience.

The Great Sea – Hardcover – David Abulafia – Oxford University Press

Jun 07, Grof rated it liked it. It was, however, designed not for geographical abuulafia but as a statement of ideology, expressing a contrast between the centre of the world, civilised and ordered, and the untamed, fabulous peripheries.

Petain’s Jewish Children Daniel Lee. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded.

The Great Sea by David Abulafia: review – Telegraph

Jun 01, James Kane rated it really liked it. In one way putting the stage on the Mediterranean the author put himself both in advantage and disadvantage, since he couldn’t explain why some events led to the occurrences he mentions in his book in the first place.

No trivia or quizzes yet. Akdeniz – the battle for the White Sea 5: Abulafia does, however, have a phenomenal knowledge of Jewish history – and the many successes and tragedies that history entails.

History’s usual roll-call of tyrants and plutocrats are here, but alongside them are men and they are almost always men of modest means, shaping the world as we know it by accident rather than design.

I found “The Great Sea” to be an extremely enjoyable and informative book. Based entirely on the information I’d have given this four stars, and I really liked reading the book when I could pay attention to it.


Abulafia exhibits the command and discipline required to reign in his history, event though even after the reigning in, it is still a sprawling beast of a book. The book never felt long, and virtually every page is evidence of the author’s deep knowledge about, and deep love for, the sea.

You don’t put failures there, not when you’re going to be judged by Anubis as to whether dvid deserve eternal life! My only complaint is that someone could have done a better job with the maps, although the illustrations are both lavish and helpful.

Order by newest oldest recommendations. A Christian request to Roger I, Norman count of Sicily in the 11th century, to move against the Tunisian port of Mahdia, was met by Roger lifting up his thigh and letting out “a great fart”.

From the humble beginnings of Stone Age travelers living hand to mouth to the Phoenician traders that first exploited the predictable currents and winds, the quest for life by and on the Mediterranean tne millennia ago.

Nov 22, Tamara added it Shelves: Anyway, not really recommended. Show 25 25 50 All. Deys, beys and bashaws Part 5: David Abulafia is an accomplished expert in the field, having spent over a decade as Professor of Mediterranean History at the University of Cambridge Destined to replace all other books on the subject, this book will stand out as the definitive history of the Mediterranean.

While the book is fairly long, it is very well written and is structured in short, highly accessible sections that pull you from one topic to the next.

sez Aggiungo che Abulafia critica l’intoccabile Braudel e la sua visione geografica della storia che relega in un angolino i fatterelli umani vedendoli come puri “eventi” privi di importanza: