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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It was the development of reliable marine shipping, probably by the Cretan Minoans early in the second millennium BC, that allowed for the Mediterranean’s centrality to the western world.

The first Neanderthal bones were actually found much earlier than the ones in the Neander Valley; “Neanderthal Man” should really be called “Gibraltar Woman”. Jul 05, Jared rated it really tne it. Many parts are familiar to those familiar with history, but along the way there are plenty of new things to see.

The Great Sea by David Abulafia – review | Books | The Guardian

Events like the battles of Lepanto and Navarino or the burning of Salonika in and Smyrna in are given due weight and Abulafia th with genuine admiration of intrepid wanderers like Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, the Dominican friar Felix Fabri and Anselmo Turmeda, a Majorcan Christian who, having investigated the tenets of Islam, sought conversion in Tunis and became a noted Muslim scholar.

There is xbulafia much here that you risk brain overload. Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. I started it last Friday and could not put it down!

It was a rather interesting story. The purple traders 2: Too big and disjointed to be all that interesting. True to its title, The Great Sea really is a “human” history of the Mediterranean, full of fascinating details and entertaining anecdotes about the cultural, religious, commercial, intellectual, political and military activities of countless people over the centuries.


Order by newest oldest recommendations. Perhaps it is the fate of all histories to be judged as much by what they omit as what they include. I stand in total awe.

The Great Sea by David Abulafia – review

It avoids seeking patterns. Abulafia’s almost panoptic account of the Mediterranean from 22, BC down to the present day is bewildering in the breadth of its content, and at times it suffers from the inherent difficulty presented by any diachronic narrative so vast in its geographical remit.

If it was a work gteat fiction, or if it was more mythically inclined, I would even venture to call it an epic. Science and nature books reviews. The role of merchants, pirates, and intellectual wanderers are well developed to agulafia how they made the Mediterranean into an integrated area rather than just an array of kingdoms and states. Once the book reaches the classical world, however, it really comes alive, at least for my tastes. My three-star rating isn’t strictly fair to the content of The Great Seawhich is very good, but rather with the difficulty I had in reading it.

Copper and Bronze 3: Sep 16, Brian rated it liked it Shelves: The Black Death allows for Atlantic merchant powers like the Dutch and the British to find a foothold in Mediterranean trade. David Abulafia’s history is epic in both design and scope. I have virtually nothing to which I can compare it.

Of most interest to me was the role of the Mediterranean in trade. Old and new faiths Everything the author writes is probably academically sound, but it’s incredibly dull reading. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded.


The Great Sea by David Abulafia: review

It’s not entirely terrible – theres lots of interesting episodes, anecdotes and details that are fun. A massive study but at the same time a joy to read.

I could do that safe in the knowledge that I am not missing any arguments by doing so. Refresh and try again. That Abulafia finds room for such an episode in a book of such ambitious scope shows how impressive his achievement is.

Venice itself is dying under the flood of touristsa sad fate for what was one of the most powerful cities in the Mediterranean only a few centuries ago. I found his explanation of why he insisted on using BC and AD weak. The whole medieval section is taken up by Italian trading cities, and most of the narrative is told from the point of view of Europeans.

While the author is very learned, he is also very wise and strikes a good balance between detail and general themes. What facts become important, which aspects of human civilisation will feature, and why? Warriors, traders, slaves, merchants, philosophers, crusaders, preachers, sailors and ambassadors all play a part in this sweeping story.

Can its positive energies ever be recaptured? Simply by reporting on the peoples and events that shaped the lands around the Mediterranean over thousands of years, Abulafia shows that people are people regardless of the time in which they live. Open Preview See a Problem?

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