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The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History [Illustrated] [Paperback]

Peregrine Horden , Nicholas Purcell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 7 2000 0631218904 978-0631218906
The Corrupting Sea is a history of the relationship between people and their environments in the Mediterranean region over some 3,000 years. It offers a novel analysis of this relationship in terms of microecologies and the often extensive networks to which they belong.

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Review

"The Corrupting Sea is a book that all classicists should read." Classical Review <!--end-->

"In their book The Corrupting Sea, Horden and Purcell have engaged in one of the most relentless intellectual reassessments to have been undertaken in recent times of the history of the pre-industrial Mediterranean. One seldom emerges from a book as rich as this, having had so many firmly-held notions shaken out of one's mind and having glimpsed so many enthralling new vistas on a once-familiar past." Professor Peter Brown, Princeton University

"To bring together the economic and social history of so many periods and places within the great story of the Mediterranean is a remarkable achievement and Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell should be congratulated upon it." Professor Colin Renfrew, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge

"In recreating the Mediterranean for the new millennium, the authors offer a substantial achievement that challenges many long-held assumptions not only about the Mediterranean, but also about human relations with the environment and even the very nature of historical writing. It certainly deserves to provoke discussion among scholars from fields as broad as its own grand scope." Times Higher Education Supplement

"The Corrupting Sea is a book of magisterial synthesis and scholarship - a huge multi-disciplinary literature turned into a narrative that is at once comprehensive, enjoyable, quirky and thought-provoking." Antiquity

"This book will be indispensable for the serious student of the Mediterranean past and present." CHOICE

"This is an important book that presents a powerful and original model of Mediterranean history that will be used, debated, and criticized by historians of all periods for years to come." English Historical Review

"Horden and Purcell's new Mediterranean panorama, which will take a generation of historians to digest and implement, forms one of those manifest watersheds in the study of antiquity." Journal of Roman Archaeology

"This book amounts to an often fascinating, and unerringly useful, compendium." International History Review

"Here a generation of ecological historians ... has led the way. Horden and Purcell have synthesized that literature, extended its reach into the Middle Ages, and made it accessible to the general medievalist." Speculum

"This impressive work synthesizes a vast amount of historical, geographical, archaelogical, and ethnographic knowledge about the Mediterranean region." Historical Geography

From the Back Cover

The Corrupting Sea is a history of the relationship between people and their environments in the Mediterranean region over some 3,000 years. It advocates a novel analysis of this relationship in terms of microecologies and the often extensive networks to which they belong. This is the first major work since Braudel's The Mediterranean to address the problems of studying the area as a whole and on a long time-scale.

The authors emphasize the value of comparison between prehistory, Antiquity and the Middle Ages. They draw on an exceptionally wide range of evidence - literary works, documents, archaeology, scientific reports and social anthropology.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The subject of this work is the human history of the Mediterranean Sea and its coastlands over some three millennia. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Mediterranean microecological connectivity Dec 2 2002
Format:Paperback
Mediterranean microecological connectivity
I like reading history. I enjoy with it. I am not a professional historian. In the last few years I have tried and read books offering a broad scope and general overviews of history such as this one.

In this work, the authors intend to study Mediterranean history as a whole, the history of the region. For them, the Mediterranean is only loosely defined, distinguishable from its neighbours to degrees that vary with time, geographical direction and topic. Its boundaries are not the sort to be drawn easily on a map. Its continuities are best thought of continuities of form or pattern, within which all is mutability.
In that sense, the distinctiveness of Mediterranean history results (they propose) from the paradoxical coexistence of a milieu of relatively easy seaborne communications with a quite unusually fragmented topography of microregions in the sea's coastlands and islands. The different chapters of the book are aimed to impressionistically show some of the prime ingredients in the normal variability and connectivity of Mediterranean microregions: the shifting along a spectrum of possibilities; the fluctuating relations between pastoralism and agriculture; the manipulative state with its taxes and symbols; the mobility of people both voluntarily -economic migration- and compulsory -military service- (not necessarily very distinct); a history of Mediterranean redistribution as inseparable from that of the people (who are often profoundly mobile) who produce, store, process, transport and consume.
The authors also warn that several central topics have been reserved for a Volume 2 to come in the future: climate, disease, demography and the relations between the Mediterranean and other major areas of the globe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A prequel of Braudel March 3 2001
Format:Paperback
Horden and Purcell have produced in The Corrupting Sea a comprehensive overview of the ancient Mediterranean world in the annaliste tradition of Braudel's Mediterranee et le monde mediterraneen a l'epoque de Philippe II. A historian of medicine (Horden) and a classicist (Purcell), the authors develop the thesis that one must examine the microenvironments of the Mediterranean in order to understand the broad trends of the region's culture and history.
This work is a must read for everyone who is interested in the Mediterranean --classicists and medievalists in particular. Every public library in the world would be well advised to purchase a copy. In addition to the narrative that is replete with extensive commentary, the volume has a very useful set of bibliographical essays as well as the normal scholarly apparatus.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mediterranean microecological connectivity Dec 2 2002
By Cesar Gonzalez Rouco - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Mediterranean microecological connectivity
I like reading history. I enjoy with it. I am not a professional historian. In the last few years I have tried and read books offering a broad scope and general overviews of history such as this one.

In this work, the authors intend to study Mediterranean history as a whole, the history of the region. For them, the Mediterranean is only loosely defined, distinguishable from its neighbours to degrees that vary with time, geographical direction and topic. Its boundaries are not the sort to be drawn easily on a map. Its continuities are best thought of continuities of form or pattern, within which all is mutability.
In that sense, the distinctiveness of Mediterranean history results (they propose) from the paradoxical coexistence of a milieu of relatively easy seaborne communications with a quite unusually fragmented topography of microregions in the sea's coastlands and islands. The different chapters of the book are aimed to impressionistically show some of the prime ingredients in the normal variability and connectivity of Mediterranean microregions: the shifting along a spectrum of possibilities; the fluctuating relations between pastoralism and agriculture; the manipulative state with its taxes and symbols; the mobility of people both voluntarily -economic migration- and compulsory -military service- (not necessarily very distinct); a history of Mediterranean redistribution as inseparable from that of the people (who are often profoundly mobile) who produce, store, process, transport and consume.
The authors also warn that several central topics have been reserved for a Volume 2 to come in the future: climate, disease, demography and the relations between the Mediterranean and other major areas of the globe.
I have rated it four starts. Considering its content, I think it should be five; considering its readability, three (sometimes falling to two, sometimes raising to four).
Other books of "global history" I would recommend to read are "The Rise of the West" by William H. McNeill, "World History. A new perspective" by Clive Ponting, "The Great Divergence", by Kenneth Pomeranz, "The Dynamics of Global Dominance. European Overseas Empires 1415-1980", by David Abernethy and "The History of Government", by S.E. Finer.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A prequel of Braudel March 3 2001
By Prof. Murray McClellan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Horden and Purcell have produced in The Corrupting Sea a comprehensive overview of the ancient Mediterranean world in the annaliste tradition of Braudel's Mediterranee et le monde mediterraneen a l'epoque de Philippe II. A historian of medicine (Horden) and a classicist (Purcell), the authors develop the thesis that one must examine the microenvironments of the Mediterranean in order to understand the broad trends of the region's culture and history.
This work is a must read for everyone who is interested in the Mediterranean --classicists and medievalists in particular. Every public library in the world would be well advised to purchase a copy. In addition to the narrative that is replete with extensive commentary, the volume has a very useful set of bibliographical essays as well as the normal scholarly apparatus.
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource for Mediterranean Studies Scholars Dec 3 2009
By Ivan Vassallo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An extremely well written book. Rich content in an easily assimilated style. A must for anyone enquiring into the history of the Mediterranean region.
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