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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The Great Sea

A fragmented Mediterranean 7: These traders, however, had sinister doubles in the pirates and corsairs who are equally preponderant in these pages. The marble female head from Keros in the Cycladic islands, from the first half of the third millennium BC, is the most astonishingly beautiful piece of sculpture you will ever see, and makes every sculpture made afterwards seem redundantly and vulgarly over-detailed.

The problem is that i Good grief finally done. Mar 18, Riku Sayuj rated it really liked it Shelves: The third and second-to-last chapters are depressing, as they cover the destruction of several multicultural communities in the lead up to WWI through the aftermath of WWII.

Views through the Russian prism 9: He challenges the orthodoxy established half a century ago by Fernand Braudel in his monumental multi-volume work on the same subject. Their rivalries with more land-based European monarchies, first Spanish, then French, then Austrian, would shape centuries of Mediterranean history, nearly right down to the current day in the grand scheme of a year narrative.

I saw that this had received a favorable review in the Economist so I got a copy, but was hesitant to plunge in – it is a rather long volume. Events like the battles of Lepanto and Navarino or the burning of Salonika in and Smyrna in are given due weight and Abulafia writes 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.


Lists with This Book. Its cargoes included silk and wrought bronze from Byzantium, pepper and gold from Egypt, and when Amalfitan merchants were seen off by fleets from Genoa, Pisa and Venice, they offered their sophisticated accounting techniques to the Norman kings of Sicily, laying the foundations of modern book-keeping.

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

The great Asian and African civilisations of the early bronze age had been largely confined to the alluvial river valleys created hhe the wake of the ice age: Despite the quality of the information I had a hard time sticking with it for an extended period of time. In Pictures – the story of love and romance: Jan 17, Graham Crawford rated it liked it. Loading comments… Trouble loading? Abulafia purposefully tries to limit the scope of his book by sticking to subjects that impinge directly on the Mediterranean as a whole; the communities on its shores, the trade that crosses its surface, the rivalries and the piracy.

The heirs of Odysseus 3: To give you some idea: Academic Skip to main content. Holy Leagues and unholy alliances 4: I would’ve loved for there to be more discussion of culture – how ideas and beliefs and art crossed the seas and mixed with other cultures. It tells a coherent and entertaining story of five different seas that seems on target, provides a believable overall narrative, and yet includes all sorts of tidbits about people, places, and odd facts that makes book This is a “human” history of the Mediterranean Sea, from over 10, years ago to Just a ripping great read, Professor Abulafia manages to weave a seamless portrait of the Mediterranean in human history from prehistoric times up to the events of I stand in total awe.

Sep 15, Aristotle Tziampiris rated it it was amazing.

The Great Sea by David Abulafia: review – Telegraph

As the book approaches modern times and written records become more plentiful and trustworthy, Abulafia occasionally details the life of a specific individual as a way of illustrating larger trends. 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”. Merchants and Heroes 4: Aggiungo che Abulafia critica l’intoccabile Braudel e la sua visione geografica della storia geat relega in un angolino i fatterelli umani vedendoli come puri “eventi” privi di importanza: It was very well-written and well-researched and there’s a lot of great stuff in there.


The impacts might be large or small, agulafia even marginal, but that would be a more useful or thought-provoking book than a constrained history of Europe, especially since the constraints do not really work in abylafia continent like Europe where the interactions between various countries were too central to the flow of history.

Abulafia seems to admire most the pioneering sailors of the pre-industrial age who risked their lives for profit or curiosity, whether Greeks, Phoenicians, Genoese, Pisans, Jews, Muslims or Turks.

The book might be more entertaining in later periods when it is based on written history rather than archeology, but I have lost confidence in the authors ability to entertain ,and life is just too short to force myself thr The first 80 pages has been a chore to read.

The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean

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.

Jun 01, James Kane rated it really liked it. The first 80 pages has been a chore to read. Which is ok, I don’t think it had to, but the book is kind of stuck in limbo of being both too big and not big enough.

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