The Mediterranean region was a significant place in ancient times, it was the usual route for voyagers and traveling tradesmen, and the site served as a common place for trade exchanges and cultural exposure between emerging peoples around the surrounding regions. The Mediterranean Sea waters join the Atlantic Ocean with the Gibraltar Straits. It is nearly surrounded by land; countries along the coast include Morocco, Spain, Egypt, and Greece. On the North area, we find Europe and Anatolia, on the South area is North Africa. The East area is surrounded by Levant.
Climate is mild at normal occasions but slight variation is observed from country to country. The seas would be one of the busiest in the world as it is strategically situated geographically (accessible to Asia, Europe, Africa, etc.). The area is definitely appealing to tourists, beautiful scenic spots and resorts are found within the region. Go from coast to coast and you definitely would be exposed to different sights and wonders all around: Ottoman art, and the Land of Anatolia in Turkey; cave paintings, Renaissance and Baroque palaces, and Romanesque churches in Spain; ancient cathedrals, palaces, monuments, and caves in Paris; the Roman forum, Colosseum, and Pantheon of Rome; the Erechtheum, the temple of Apollo, the Parthenon, the Propylaea, and add to that, the Temple of Athena Nike of Greece.
In history, the Mediterranean was literally the middle ground for all ancient people then, whether Egyptian, Phoenician, Mesopotamian, Macedonian, Greek, Carthaginian, Iberian, Levantine, Thracian, Roman, Arabic, Albanian, Roman, Slavic, or Turkish. Hence, ‘Mediterranean’ (means middle or inland) was the name given. A deeper look into the Mediterranean world will have you observing one thing, the origins of numerous modern societies traceable to the region. At the center of world history is the Mediterranean Sea, its common ground.
It is believed that the first civilization appeared in Mesopotamia (4th millennium), after which, civilization can be seen spreading throughout the Fertile Crescent and Levant, which caused Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, and Israel to be part of the emerging civilization.
History records that a great earthquake in the Gibraltar divided lands around the European and African continents. From that disaster, the largest waterfall was created and the Atlantic Ocean waters now connect to the Mediterranean region via the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean owns over 6,000 miles of coastline with hundreds of islands and harbors scattered around the region. Ii is undeniably an ideal environment for trade, migration, and communication to develop and flourish.
Ancient Egypt was the first culture to be birthed. Egyptians were the first of peoples to have become a nation and state. Their government lasted about 3,000 years and the historical accounts show tremendous cooperation and enduring unity among the people. Culture or things descriptive of the era would be the mummies, Tutankhamun’s death mask, the Pyramids (part of the Seven Wonders of the World), and the Valley of the Kings.
Mycenae can be seen emerging during the second millennium BC. It is southwest of Athens, north of Peloponnese. It was bent on dominating worldwide, spreading its influence from Greece to Naples. It is worth noting that the tales of Agamemnon and that of the Trojan War is rooted in Mycenae.
Greek civilization and culture is one that is very fascinating to explore. Its history is very colorful. The timeline would include the rise of Corinth, the fall of Sicily, the jewel of Magna Graecia, and the birth of Rome. Alexander the Great is a well-known figure of the time. Greek culture has greatly influenced and developed almost every aspect of world culture: art and literature, architecture, politics, economy, science and technology. The achievements are worth mentioning here, the first maps and gear technology are all Greek innovations.
The Rise of Rome is a major part of Mediterranean history. Rome’s domination spread far and wide, conquering Syria, Egypt, France, and Spain, Greece, and Carthage. Known as the great builder, Rome remained on top of world domination and was center of the world between years 201 B.C. to 330 A.D. The first Christian Emperor, Constantine is a popular figure of the time.
Byzantium, a place in ancient Greek, was where Constantine the Great established and declared his capital- Constantinople. For 1,123 years it thrived and dominated, and was a strong military, cultural, and economic force around the Mediterranean region. Constantine’s empire was the representation of Christianity against Islamic forces. Descriptive and related to the time are the Crusaders, and the erection of exquisitely beautiful buildings, which are considered some of the best architectural pieces in the world to date.
The barbarians of northern Europe enter the historical picture next, conquering and defeating the reigning empire. The Vandals of Africa, Goths of Spain and Italy, Franks in Gaul, and the Angles and Saxons (Britain), these jointly forged the 5th century “Barbarian Kingdom”. Islam regained influence and spread from 7th century. The Venetian Empire and the Norman Kingdom of Sicily were birthed during this time. The Kingdom of Sicily became a state in 1130 and remained so until the Holy Roman Empire absorbed it in 1194. The Norman Kingdom formed a joint society of different peoples and a culture of brilliant diversity and unity was cultivated during that time.
Near the end of the 7th century began the rise of the Venetian Republic. Its reign endured till 1797 A.D. The republic is also called ‘La Serenissima’ or the ‘Most Serene’. As the republic focused on the enlargement and (maintenance) of territories in the area of trade and commerce, the empire stretched overseas. The drive and focus was to expand economic influence and to dominate business across countries.
Many scholars describe Mediterranean history as a past filled with dirty politics, antagonism, war, and greed for money, world power, and domination. A number of other scholars hold to an idealistic description of cultural convergence and unity. Either way the historical accounts are viewed, Ancient Mediterranean events are very colorful. Mediterranean history gave significance and steered the world (and its culture mix) into the kind it has today.