• Title: The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean
  • Author: John Julius Norwich
  • ISBN: 9780701176082
  • Page: 377
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Middle Sea A History of the Mediterranean A one volume narrative history of the Mediterranean from Ancient Egypt to Written in the racy readable prose for which the author is famous this is colourful character driven history at its mo
    A one volume narrative history of the Mediterranean from Ancient Egypt to 1919 Written in the racy, readable prose for which the author is famous, this is colourful, character driven history at its most enjoyable.This magnificent undertaking tackles a vast subject vast in time from the oldest surviving pyramid to the First World War vast in geography from GibraltarA one volume narrative history of the Mediterranean from Ancient Egypt to 1919 Written in the racy, readable prose for which the author is famous, this is colourful, character driven history at its most enjoyable.This magnificent undertaking tackles a vast subject vast in time from the oldest surviving pyramid to the First World War vast in geography from Gibraltar to Jerusalem and vast in culture, including as it does the civilizations of the Phoenicians, the Ancient Egyptians, Greece, Carthage, Rome, Byzantium, as well as the Borgias and the Medicis, Mohammed and El Cid, Napoleon and Nelson, Moslems, Jews and Christians.The Middle Sea is not a dry record of facts it is a rackety read about historical figures dissolute Popes and wily Emperors, noble hearted Generals and beautiful Princesses But his greatest strength is naval and military history from the Crusades to the expulsion of the Moors from Spain from Trafalgar to Gallipoli Towns are besieged and sacked, Kingdoms are won and lost The narrative covers the glories of Constantinople and Venice, and the stirring history of the islands of the Mediterranean Malta, Sicily, Crete and Cyprus.The Middle Sea is the culmination of John Julius Norwich s long and distinguished career as one of the greatest enthusiasts for anecdotal history, and the highways and byways of scholarship.

    One Reply to “The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean”

    1. This book is reminiscent of one of those tours where today you visit the Eiffel tower, tomorrow you rush through the treasures of the Hermitage Museum and the following day you find yourself in the outer Hebrides. Having time travelled through several centuries on a whirlwind tour of the history of the Mediterranean, I am now suffering from a severe case of information overload. Don't get me wrong; this book is excellent, but there is a lot of information to process. In places I became more conf [...]

    2. I reviewed this for someone, maybe the Spectator, a few years ago - like this:‘Its character is complex, awkward, and unique,’ wrote the French historian Fernand Braudel, in the preface to the First Edition of his The Med and the Med World in the Age of Philip II. ‘No simple biography beginning with date of birth can be written of this sea; no simple narrative of how things happened would be appropriate to its history.’ But then, no French historian could reckon on JJN, either. Historian [...]

    3. Sve u svemu, zgodna sinteza povijesti mediterana, od Minojaca do završetka prvog svjetskog rata. malo eurocentrična, ali puna zanimljivih anegdota i faktoida koji se ne uče u školi.

    4. I found this book an entertaining read which filled in a few gaps in my knowledge within its stated remit. A more thoroughly educated student of history would probably regard it as review material only, but as a lay reader catching up on the history he never learned at school I found it a pleasant and fairly thorough introduction to the political history of the governments of the states on the Mediterranean littoral. If you are also a lay reader of history for enjoyment, this book may be for you [...]

    5. This was a disappointing book. I was really looking forward to a history of the Mediterranean which included both shores and a history of the maritime and geographical impact of the sea on the peoples living around it and really it was little more than an historical travelogue. The work focused on more traditional histories of the people on the Med and offers nothing new. If you are unfamiliar with Southern European history this is a good intro. But, if you are interested in a comprehensive hist [...]

    6. A monumental undertaking, written with all the style and verve one has come to expect of Norwich. From ancient Hellas to the blood-sodden field of the First World War is quite a journey- yet the knowledge acquired upon the way is worth the travail- The Middle Sea is an investment above all else.

    7. John Julius Norwich, radio and television host and prolific author, has written his most expansive work yet. His past works have focussed primarily on historical Britain or particular areas/periods/civilizations around the Mediterranean; this work weaves together chronologically the rich history of that Middle Sea, focussed on the several great civilizations over the centuries and millennia, but supplemented with the comings and goings of many, many other small and middle powers, leaders, and pe [...]

    8. I read this one little by little, savoring John Julius Norwich's fluent prose and lively commentary on European history as it impinged on those countries in Europe, Asia, and Africa bordering on the Mediterranean, the "middle sea." I had previously read his long narrative history of the The Normans in Sicily: The Normans in the South 1016-1130 and the Kingdom in the Sun 1130-1194, but he is probably best known for his histories of Byzantium and of Venice. All of these specialties of his got thei [...]

    9. هو اعظم بحيره طبيعية ومركز التاريخ الروحي وملتقي الحضارات الاعظم في التاريخ علي ضفاف نشأت ونمت الاديان الثلاثة ,يتوسطت تلاث قارات كبري علي ضفافة وفي جزرة تصارعت امبراطوريات وممالك وسلاطين فهو البحر الملكي والسلطاني والامبراطوري تعددت ادوارة ليكون مهدا ولحدا وجسرا وعائقا [...]

    10. مجرد كومة كبيرة من المعلومات والاحداث بدون محاولة لايجاد اطار تفسيري او مجرد عملية ربط بسيطة كتاب تاريخ مجرد سرد لهواة جمع المعلومات

    11. Comme objet historique, la mer Méditerranée ne peut être regardée sans un certain respect par les historiens français depuis que Fernand Braudel est passé par là. En distinguant des évolutions aux temps différenciés, soulignant ainsi les structures diachroniques de l’espace méditerranéen et dépassant le cadre chronologique initial de son sujet (le règne de Philippe II), l’historien posait les jalons d’une nouvelle approche de l’histoire. Depuis, rares sont ceux qui ont tent [...]

    12. This book was as good as could be expected for such an broad title. While I was very skeptical of a history book without any conventional constraints on its subject I was persuaded by my previous experience with Norwich. I thoroughly enjoyed his book on the history of the papacy (Absolute Monarchs: A History of the Papacy). All in all this book ended up being a typical old-fashioned Euro-centric "World" history books, starting with Egypt going to Greece then Rome, the Middle Ages, Renaissance an [...]

    13. رحلة مشوقة عن العالم القديم تأخذنا على سفينة تجول بنا فى مجاهل تاريخ البحر المتوسط و كيف كان شاهدا ومشاركا فى تشكيل ورسم خريطة وحياة البشر على شواطئه و فى جزره و قيام وأفول ممالك و امبراطوريات.لنا ان نتخيل كيف كان تاريخ شعوب المتوسط مليئا بالمآسى و مكتوبا بالكثير من الدماء، ت [...]

    14. This was an intensely educational book that hit all the missing elements of my own spotty understanding of european history starting so very far back with Greece, then Rome, then the Crusades, then the Popes, then WWI. It is rich and amusing territory for storytelling, though in this multi-national and multi-century account a bit overwhelming with breeziness--it is broad in scope and yet minuscule in detail, and all this told in perfect dactyls, or are those iambs, or pentameter?: that rhythm th [...]

    15. I think the best way to read this book is to start with the Greeks and Romans and then skip ahead to the 18th century or so. (Page 400) The Middle Ages are middling. I think part of my disappointment lies in I was hoping for a more expansive history that would cover a wider scope than royal succession, pathetic palace intrigues, and the military battles. (Spoiler alert: Every siege is hot and ends in dysentery) I would have been interested in more on commerce, medicine, art etc but the man had a [...]

    16. Norwich is a charming writer and a master of the material, especially the complicated dynastic ins and outs and all the national catastrophes that start when some feckless imbecile inherits a throne. Nevertheless, the book is somewhat of a disappointment overall. It does not integrate the various stories into a history of the Mediterranean as a whole. Rather, it gives accounts (well-written ones, to be sure) of various more or less well-known Mediterranean episodes in the histories of the surrou [...]

    17. This is a good--but not great--history of the Mediterranean. Historians tend to be less than concise, and this book reminded me of why 600-page history books better be really, really good.Aside from whining about the length, this was an interesting, mostly enjoyable read. As opposed to Davies' Europe, The Great Upheaval, Hobsbawn's History of Civilization, A Peace to End All Peace, The Arms of Krupp, etc this did not provide an interesting new lens through which to view a geographical area, epoc [...]

    18. This is an ambitious single volume romp through 5,000 years of Mediterranean history. I found the first half of the book most entertaining; where we galloped through pen portraits of great civilisations and leaders, interspersed with engaging anecdotes and titbits of contemporary gossip.I got bogged down a little in the last quarter of the history, where I rather lost track of the dizzingly complex dynasties and regents jostling for position in the area. That's not to say it's not an interesting [...]

    19. An exhaustive (if not exhausting) history of the Mediterranean Sea and the lands on its shores, although the author's prose style keeps it always interesting. Much of the history of what we now call the Greek Islands was new to me and the constant warfare among the Byantines, the Ottoman Turks, and the Venetians was grim in the extreme. The seige of Malta by being a particularly grisly example, even though not even a Greek island. It does give one a greater understanding of some of the intractib [...]

    20. Brilliant history of the mediterranean region. A little brief in its look at classical civilizations but excellent on dark ages and medieval italy, and superb for renaissance through napoleonic times. I particularly enjoyed the sections on the Risorgemento in Italy and the Carlist wars in Spain events which I knew very little about before reading this book.I felt he was harsh on the crusaders and a little soft on churchill but all in all excellent. I've also read his byzantium book which I now i [...]

    21. Writing a history of the Mediterranean and squeezing it into a singe volume had to be an enormous undertaking. This is a very commendable effort and added considerable value of my appreciation of the lands ringing the Middle Sea. It is refreshing to read such an unsterilised account of history which, as such, goes so much further in revealing human nature along with the formative events and players underpinning much of what we see today. My only criticisms are minor and have to do mainly with th [...]

    22. When you approach a topic as broad as this, and when your history necessarily covers millennia, and most of the history of the Western world, then the book is going to be extremely large and lacking in cohesiveness. Nonetheless, Norwich is an enjoyable writer, and there were many episodes in this history that were very engaging: the Siege of Gibraltar, the Fall of Constantinople, the tragedy of the Fourth Crusade, etc. The book rather arbitrarily ends at the end of WW1. So I don't say to rush ou [...]

    23. Overall, I enjoyed this readable history of the Mediterranean Sea which starts with Rome and ends with WWI. Occasionally, I would be distracted by the eurocentric perspective (e.g. portrayal of the Arabs, Turks). Also, it goes into a great deal of detail of battles which for me is yawn territory. And no maps!!!! Sometimes I got confused or couldn't understand the geopolitical issues because of the lack of maps. For example, I am pretty ignorant of southeastern Europe geography so discussions of [...]

    24. Seems like I need a geo/political lesson to help remember all the significant events of the late middle ages into formation of seperate European governments. Allegiances still fluid and unpredictable as some populations do not ascribe to any one authority or rule. Up 1825 and the savagery involoved toward Greek independence. Yikes! The names, but will remember Lord Byron and his Newfoundlander dog. Doubt if I read the coverage for WWI; eager to move on to easy reading like another murder mystery [...]

    25. A wonderfully written book by one of my favorite writers. This tome is a history of "most" countries that live in the Mediterranean Sea. Not dry, not "academic", but excellent research. Four stars rather than five as I had hoped for more info as to the actual Sea. Tides, currents, impact of winds, some devastating storms. But, the author explains in the introduction that such will be not discussed. Despite being warned, I opted to read all 600 pages and it was well worth the timedGREAT MAPS!

    26. A good history of the Middle Sea, from the Phoenicians through to World War One. Though epic in scope it does a good job of keeping to the basic themes and describing the various conflicts and changes as part of the rhythms of history. John Julius Norwich is a great writer, the well told and very readable chapter covering the Carlist Wars of Spain, one of the more complicated and tangled tales of the 19th century, attests to his ability. I am definitely ready for an extended sightseeing tour thr [...]

    27. A concise history of the Middle Sea, still counting 666 pages. The book covers a wide range of people (Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans,), events (Malta, Lepanto, Gallipoli,) and different dynasties (Bourbons, Hohenstaufen,). I am not sure I have captured every detail, but it is good to know that I can fall back on it when I lack the level of detail to understand specific historical topics related to the Medittereanan Sea.

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