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The Mediterranean World

, 352 pages

68 b&w photos, 4 b&w illus.

April 2016


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The Mediterranean World

From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Napoleon


Located at the intersection of Asia, Africa, and Europe, the Mediterranean has connected societies for millennia, creating a shared space of intense economic, cultural, and political interaction. Greek temples in Sicily, Roman ruins in North Africa, and Ottoman fortifications in Greece serve as reminders that the Mediterranean has no fixed national boundaries or stable ethnic and religious identities.

In The Mediterranean World, Monique O’Connell and Eric R Dursteler examine the history of this contested region from the medieval to the early modern era, beginning with the fall of Rome around 500 CE and closing with Napoleon’s attempted conquest of Egypt in 1798. Arguing convincingly that the Mediterranean should be studied as a singular unit, the authors explore the centuries when no lone power dominated the Mediterranean Sea and invaders brought their own unique languages and cultures to the region.

Structured around four interlocking themes—mobility, state development, commerce, and frontiers—this beautifully illustrated book brings new dimensions to the concepts of Mediterranean nationality and identity.

Monique O’Connell is an associate professor of history at Wake Forest University and the author of Men of Empire: Power and Negotiation in Venice’s Maritime State. Eric R Dursteler is a professor of history at Brigham Young University and the author of Renegade Women: Gender, Identity, and Boundaries in the Early Modern Mediterranean.

"O'Connell & Dursteler's Mediterranean World is a judicious blend of narrative and thematic discussion. The themes and the period covered are well-chosen. The Middle Ages and early modernity fully show the ways in which Mediterranean history has combined political fragmentation with the blurring of cultural boundaries. This book provides a comprehensive and accessible introduction to the best of recent scholarship."

"A magisterial book. The breadth of the narrative, its ability to digest and make sensible a vast interdisciplinary literature, and its original structure will make this book the standard introduction to the history of the Mediterranean for years to come."

"Finally, a Mediterranean history that both students and faculty will savor. O’Connell and Dursteler’s ability to weave historiographical depth and engaging vignettes into a lucid chronological narrative makes this textbook an excellent introduction to a world region and a phase of our entangled global past that are still deeply misrepresented."

"A refreshing new examination of the Mediterranean world from the 'fall' of the Roman Empire to the Napoleonic adventure in Egypt and the Levant."

"... handy..."

"The Mediterranean World succeeds as an accessible, up-to-date synthesis of recent interpretations of the Mediterranean for students and general readers. Specialists will undoubtedly be familiar with many of its interpretive points, and the book focuses more on stressing the consistent permeability of Mediterranean borders and boundaries than it does on defending a single overarching thesis. But this stress on synthesizing recent trends, coupled with the book’s enviable readability, will make it an excellent classroom text for undergraduates or even beginning graduate students. It is a book that defies assumptions about a Mediterranean splintered by religion, politics and culture and instead presents a nuanced view of a geographical body where divisions coexisted with deep connections that often traversed differences."

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