By W. V. Harris

ISBN-10: 0199207720

ISBN-13: 9780199207725

ISBN-10: 0199265453

ISBN-13: 9780199265459

ISBN-10: 1423788672

ISBN-13: 9781423788676

During this selection of essays, a global staff of well known students try and determine the theoretical foundation for learning the traditional and medieval background of the Mediterranean Sea and the lands round it. In so doing they vary a ways afield to different Mediterraneans, genuine and imaginary, as far away as Brazil and Japan. Their paintings is a necessary software for figuring out the Mediterranean, pre-modern and glossy alike. It speaks to historic and medieval historians, to archaeologists, anthropologists and all historians with environmental pursuits, and never least to classicists.

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What kinds of people were so drawn to the sea that they overcame the fear of pirates and lived by the shore? Who knew the risks and opportunities? Was there a smallislander mentalite´? (The questions quickly proliferate). And let our answers not be too Greek; ancient near-eastern texts would need to be constantly in our hands. And what did the illiterate ship-hand think, or the peasant who might or might not migrate, or that favourite of Braudel, also of Horden and Purcell, the coastal trader, the caboteur?

For the view that civilization centres around the Mediterranean see Strabo ii. 122. The Mediterranean and Ancient History 17 an attitude’ towards ecology, Rackham understandably replied ‘I do not know’,45 and proceeded to point out the methodological difficulties. For the Roman period, there is at least a competent study by P. 46 But the main question to start from, I suppose, is how people treated the natural world when the available technology provided them with choices, or seemed to do so. It is hardly surprising that the inhabitants of the Roman Empire cut down immense numbers of trees (the effects are hotly disputed), but it is surprising to a certain degree that the government of Tiberius once planned to make the River Chiana flow northwards into the Arno instead of southwards into the Tiber, in order to lessen flooding in the capital (Tac.

W. Dilke, ‘Graeco-Roman Perception of the Mediterranean’, in M. Galley and L. ), L’Homme me´diterrane´en et la mer (Tunis, 1985), 53–9, does not live up to its title. On the other hand V. Burr, Nostrum Mare. Ursprung und Geschichte der Namen des Mittelmeeres und seiner Teilmeere im Altertum (Stuttgart, 1932), is still very useful. He reviewed the ancient names for no fewer than 27 component parts of the Mediterranean as well as for the sea itself. 41 CS 10–11. 42 Burr, Nostrum Mare, 89 n. 50. 43 There is no need to discuss here whether these expressions were really as old as Hecataeus.

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Rethinking the Mediterranean by W. V. Harris


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