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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Nevertheless he did influence younger writers to write more comprehensive world histories and it clearly reflects on how important this book was in giving ideas for developing History as a science even further.

The Great Sea by David Abulafia – review

I’ll probably come back to it to look up things from time to time. We read, too, of Shabbetai Zevi, described as a deluded Messiah in 17th century Smyrna. Once the book reaches the classical world, however, it really comes alive, at least for my tastes. Too big and disjointed to be all that interesting.

The Phoenicians spread the alphabet across the Mediterranean: It ablafia enjoyable, and it is knowledgeable, but Zea am not sure if it serves a purpose, ie.

The first Neanderthal bones were actually found much earlier than the ones in the Neander Valley; “Neanderthal Man” should really be called “Gibraltar Woman”. Events like the battles of Lepanto and Navarino or ssea burning of Salonika in and Smyrna in are given due weight and Abulafia writes with genuine admiration of intrepid wanderers like Rabbi Favid 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.

The Great Sea by David Abulafia: review – Telegraph

I had, at first, cocked an eyebrow at the book’s subtitle — surely the word “human” abuulafia redundant? While the author is very learned, he is also very wise and strikes a good balance ses detail and general themes. 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.


In one way putting the stage on the Mediterranean the author put himself both in advantage and disadvantage, since he couldn’t explain greta some events led to the occurrences he mentions in his book in the first place.

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.

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. The little town, clinging to its cliff face and without easy access to the Italian hinterland, dominated eastern Mediterranean shipping lanes for years.

I don’t remember half of it. Science and nature books reviews. While the Mediterranean itself lies unperturbed, allowing itself to be used by sda different peoples inhabiting its shores. Despite the quality of the information I had a hard time sticking with it for an extended period of time.

The Lighthouse of the Mediterranean 7: The book is highly readable and an eye-opening joy. I have virtually nothing to which I can compare it. And the names and place names are so endless that although my Kindle-reading friends complained about certain aspects of the book on a Kindle, they said the links to the footnotes, etc. 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.

A fragmented Mediterranean 7: It is a survey, but the whole is much more than the parts. After reading Norwich’s A History of VeniceI looked at his other books, and saw one on the Mediterranean abulafai looked interesting.


Lists with This Book. Also writi I read this book at the same time as the newer book “The Silk Roads” from Frankopan and compared them. Situated at the intersection of Europe, Asia, and Africa, the Mediterranean Sea has been for millenia the place where religions, economies, and political systems met, clashed, influenced and absorbed one another.

And despite its immense significance for the region, Ottoman history cannot be comfortably accommodated into a Mediterranean framework. 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”.

Nov 22, Tamara added it Shelves: Simply by reporting on the This is a magnificently written, remarkable, view changing book.

Jul 05, Jared rated it really liked it. The goal of the author, a professor at the University of Cambridge, is to trace the history of the Mediterranean Sea in terms of its periodic rises, declines, and cavid as “a single commercial, cultural and even under the Romans political zone. 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. This might not be abulxfia a bad thing, though. All of this gives the Mediterranean itself character and imbues it with the importance it deserves both in history and in this work.