The Mediterranean

A professor at Cambridge, David Abulafia leads a team of eight historians in The Mediterranean in History, an engaging, richly illustrated overview of the civilizations, societies and grand themes in the history of this great sea at the heart of Europe. Published in conjunction with the J. Paul Getty Museum, the book features 150 well-integrated color and 150 black-and-white illustrations.

With chapters on the physical setting; the rivalry between Carthaginians, Greeks and Etruscans for control of sea routes; unification under Rome and the subsequent breakup into Western Christendom, Byzantium and Islam; the Crusades; commerce in medieval times; the Ottoman resurgence; the rivalry of European powers from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries; and the globalization of the region in the last century. Just out in a paperback edition, the book does a masterful job of highlighting the strategic importance of the Mediterranean from the significance of far-flung Greece and Roman outposts in ancient times to today's tumult in vitally important Libya.