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The Western Mediterranean and the World: 400 CE to the Present



The Western Mediterranean and the World: 400 CE to the Present

Teofilo F. Ruiz

ISBN: 978-1-118-87143-0 September 2017 Wiley-Blackwell 384 Pages



From the Straits of Gibraltar to Sicily, the European northern Mediterranean nations to the shores of North Africa, the western Mediterranean is a unique cultural and sociopolitical entity which has had a singular role in shaping today’s global society. The Western Mediterranean and the World is the fascinating story of the rise of that peculiar world and of its evolution from the end of the Western Roman Empire to the present. Uniquely, rather than present the history of the region as a strict chronological progression, the author takes a thematic approach, telling his story through a series of vignettes, case studies, and original accounts so as to provide a more immediate sense of what life in and around the Mediterranean was like from the end of the Roman Empire in the West to the present immigration crisis now unfolding in Mediterranean waters. Emphasizing the development of religion and language and the enduring synergies and struggles between Christian, Jews, and Muslims on both shores of the western sea, Dr. Ruiz connects the region to the larger world and locates the development of Mediterranean societies within a global context.

  • Describes the move from religious and linguistic unity under Roman rule to the fragmented cultural landscape of today
  • Explores the relationship of language, culture, and geography, focusing on the role of language formation and linguistic identity in the emergence of national communities
  • Traces the movements of peoples across regions and their encounters with new geographical, cultural, and political realities
  • Addresses the emergence of various political identities and how they developed into set patterns of political organization
  • Emphasizes the theme of encounters as seen from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish perspectives

While it is sure to become a definitive text for university courses on Mediterranean history, The Western Mediterranean and the World will also have great appeal among scholars of the Mediterranean as well as general readers of history.

Series Editor’s Preface ix

Acknowledgments xiii

1 The Western Mediterranean: Sites of Encounter and Cultural Production 1

Part I Geography, History, and Cultural Contexts 17

2 The Imperatives of Geography and Climate: Sea and Land in the Western Mediterranean 19

3 History in the Mediterranean: From Unity to Fragmentation, circa 450 CE until the Early Modern World 47

4 History in the Mediterranean: The Making of the Modern World 75

5 Religions of the Western Mediterranean: Unity and Fragmentation in the Religious History of the Sea 105

6 Religions of the Western Mediterranean: Conversos and Renegades 125

7 Language, Culture, and Community in the Western Mediterranean 145

Part II Mediterranean Encounters 169

8 Encounters I: Traveling in the Western Mediterranean 171

9 Encounters II: The Mediterranean as a Site of Conflict, Movement, and Encounter 197

10 Between Two Worlds: Iberia, Sicily, Tunis, Algiers, and Marseille 227

11 On the Waters of the Western Mediterranean: Islands and Towns 265

12 Epilogue: The Western Mediterranean and the World 297

Bibliography 323

Index 335