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David Abulafia is Emeritus Professor of Mediterranean History at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Gonville and Caius College and a former Chairman of the Cambridge History Faculty. His previous books include Frederick II, The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms and The Great Sea, which has been translated into a dozen languages. He is a member of the Academia Europaea, and in 2003 was made Commendatore dell'Ordine della Stella della Solidarieta Italiana in recognition of his work on Italian and Mediterranean history.
For most of human history, the seas have been the main means of long-distance trade and communication between peoples – for the spread of ideas and religion as well as commerce. This tremendous book begins with the earliest seafaring societies – the Polynesians of the Pacific, possessors of intuitive navigational skills long before the invention of the compass – and ends with the giant liners and container ships of today, which still conduct 80% of world trade by sea. In between, David Abulafia follows merchants, explorers, pirates, cartographers and travellers in their quests for spices, gold, ivory, slaves, lands for settlement and knowledge of what lay beyond. Avoiding as far as possible a Eurocentric approach, the book deals with the Atlantic waters before Columbus and shows how lucrative trade routes were created that carried goods and ideas along the ‘Silk Route of the Sea’ well before the Europeans burst into the Indian Ocean around 1500. In an extraordinary narrative of humanity and the oceans, Abulafia shows how maritime networks grew from many separate localities to form a continuum of interconnection across the globe. This is history of the grandest scale, and from a bracingly different perspective.
WINNER OF THE WOLFSON HISTORY PRIZE 2020 A SUNDAY TIMES, FINANCIAL TIMES, THE TIMES AND BBC HISTORY MAGAZINE BOOK OF THE YEAR For most of human history, the seas and oceans have been the main means of long-distance trade and communication between peoples - for the spread of ideas and religion as well as commerce. This book traces the history of human movement and interaction around and across the world's greatest bodies of water, charting our relationship with the oceans from the time of the first voyagers. David Abulafia begins with the earliest of seafaring societies - the Polynesians of the Pacific, the possessors of intuitive navigational skills long before the invention of the compass, who by the first century were trading between their far-flung islands. By the seventh century, trading routes stretched from the coasts of Arabia and Africa to southern China and Japan, bringing together the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific and linking half the world through the international spice trade. In the Atlantic, centuries before the little kingdom of Portugal carved out its powerful, seaborne empire, many peoples sought new lands across the sea - the Bretons, the Frisians and, most notably, the Vikings, now known to be the first Europeans to reach North America. As Portuguese supremacy dwindled in the late sixteenth century, the Spanish, the Dutch and then the British each successively ruled the waves. Following merchants, explorers, pirates, cartographers and travellers in their quests for spices, gold, ivory, slaves, lands for settlement and knowledge of what lay beyond, Abulafia has created an extraordinary narrative of humanity and the oceans. From the earliest forays of peoples in hand-hewn canoes through uncharted waters to the routes now taken daily by supertankers in their thousands, The Boundless Sea shows how maritime networks came to form a continuum of interaction and interconnection across the globe: 90 per cent of global trade is still conducted by sea. This is history of the grandest scale and scope, and from a bracingly different perspective - not, as in most global histories, from the land, but from the boundless seas.
For over four thousand years the Mediterranean was the centre of Western civilization. Geographically, it is a whole world in miniature, an inland sea whose shores encompass every type of terrain and climate. Historically, it has been the meeting-place of the cultures of Europe, Asia and Africa, the battleground of races and nations and the focus of three great religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. David Abulafia, doyen of Mediterranean scholars, has brought together a team of leading specialists from many countries to tell this enthralling and complex story as a connected narrative: from the physical setting, the prehistoric traders and the struggle between Phoenicians, Greeks and Etruscans ending in Roman victory, to the post-Roman nations, the Christian and Islamic powers, domination by England and France, and finally the twentieth century, divided between war and mass tourism. This study covers all of recorded history, incorporating recent research and tools ranging from linguistics to underwater archaeology, accompanied by spectacular illustrations. Here is the only complete and up-to-date overview of one of the great themes of world history.
For over three thousand years, the Mediterranean Sea has been one of the great centres of civilization. David Abulafia's The Great Sea is the first complete history of the Mediterranean, from the erection of temples on Malta around 3500 BC to modern tourism. Ranging across time and the whole extraordinary space of the Mediterranean from Gibraltar to Jaffa, Genoa to Tunis, and bringing to life pilgrims, pirates, sultans and naval commanders, this is the story of the sea that has shaped much of world history.
Das aufsehenerregende Standardwerk in opulenter Ausstattung - reich bebildert im Groformat. Die Geschichte eines einzigartigen Kulturraums neu erzahlt.Uber 3000 Jahre war das Mittelmeer eines der groen Zentren der Zivilisation. Seine gesamte Geschichte wird hier von dem groen Historiker David Abulafia brillant erzahlt, von der Errichtung der ersten geheimnisvollen Tempel auf Malta 3500 v. Chr. bis zu den heutigen Zielen des Massentourismus. Farbig lasst er die Geschichte der groen Hafenstadte - Alexandria, Saloniki, Triest - wiederauferstehen, berichtet von deren Einwohnern, dem Warenaustausch und den Handelswegen, die das groe Meer durchzogen. Eine unglaubliche Vielfalt an Religionen, Bevolkerungen, Sprachen und Kulturen verbindet er so zu einer der ganz groen Geschichtserzahlungen.
This volume of essays is intended as a tribute to the distinguished medieval historian Christopher Brooke. It addresses new questions in areas of medieval history which Professor Brooke has made his own: urban life and religious life. The fourteen essays explore the coexistence of religious ideas and ecclesiastical institutions with urban practices and townspeople. They span five hundred years of the history of western Christendom, ranging from Magdeburg to Majorca, and from Cambridge to Cluny. The essays break new ground in a number of areas in medieval history: in economic history, the history of ideas, and the history of religious institutions. The contributors have been attuned throughout to the complex interactions of groups and ideas within urban space. The book also contains a bibliography of Christopher Brooke's writings and an appreciation of his work.
In recent years, the 'medieval frontier' has been the subject of extensive research. But the term has been understood in many different ways: political boundaries; fuzzy lines across which trade, religions and ideas cross; attitudes to other peoples and their customs. This book draws attention to the differences between the medieval and modern understanding of frontiers, questioning the traditional use of the concepts of 'frontier' and 'frontier society'. It contributes to the understanding of physical boundaries as well as metaphorical and ideological frontiers, thus providing a background to present-day issues of political and cultural delimitation. In a major introduction, David Abulafia analyses these various ambiguous meanings of the term 'frontier', in political, cultural and religious settings. The articles that follow span Europe from the Baltic to Iberia, from the Canary Islands to central Europe, Byzantium and the Crusader states. The authors ask what was perceived as a frontier during the Middle Ages? What was not seen as a frontier, despite the usage in modern scholarship? The articles focus on a number of themes to elucidate these two main questions. One is medieval ideology. This includes the analysis of medieval formulations of what frontiers should be and how rulers had a duty to defend and/or extend the frontiers; how frontiers were defined (often in a different way in rhetorical-ideological formulations than in practice); and how in certain areas frontier ideologies were created. The other main topic is the emergence of frontiers, how medieval people created frontiers to delimit areas, how they understood and described frontiers. The third theme is that of encounters, and a questioning of medieval attitudes to such encounters. To what extent did medieval observers see a frontier between themselves and other groups, and how does real interaction compare with ideological or narrative formulations of such interaction?
Frederick II of Hohenstaufen (1194-1250) - King of Sicily, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Jerusalem, expert ornithologist, Wonder of the World - has long been considered the first Renaissance ruler - a visionary autocrat who embraced the religious divisions within his empire to challenge the armies and oppressive limitations of the medieval church. He has aslo been denounced as the Antichrist, a heretic and a heathen, who died condemned by the papacy to eternal damnation. David Abulafia's masterly biography overturns the myths and reveals Frederick as neither the Beast of the Apocalypse nor the Universal Hero adopted by pre-Nazi Germany. Instead we are shown a man very much of his time, an emperor whose reign coincided with the great turning-points of the high Middle Ages.
The French invasion of Italy under Charles VIII in 1494-95 has long been seen as inaugurating a new and wretched era in Italian history. The present volume, the work of an international team of contributors, seeks to question that assumption by focusing anew on the intricate politics of Renaissance Italy and the long history of Angevin attempts to impose their rule in southern Italy. It was later invasions, it is argued, that did most to reshape the politics of the Italian peninsula. These studies also look at social and economic effects of the French invasion, as well as its cultural aspects, not least the impact of Renaissance culture in France itself. Combining survey papers and research articles, this volume presents a new introduction to the history of late 15th-century Italy. The appendix, listing the Ilardi collection of microfilms, will also provide an invaluable guide to the diplomatic history of the era.
From the 12th century onwards merchants from the north Italian and southern French towns were able to take advantage of Christian conquests in southern Italy, Sicily and the Levant to penetrate and dominate the markets of these regions and of North Africa. The articles collected in this volume examine the economic, social and religious impact of this combination of trade and conquest . They include studies of the survival of Jews and Muslims in Sicily, of the debate about the 'under-development' of medieval southern Italy, Sicily and Sardinia, of relations between the rulers of those regions and the merchants, and of mercantile penetration into the kingdom of Jerusalem, Cyprus and Tunis in the wake of Crusaders and Sicilian kings. A partir du 12e siecle, les marchands venant des villes du Nord de l'Italie et du Sud de la France etaient devenus A mAme de tirer avantage des conquAtes chretiennes en Italie du Sud, en Sicile et dans le Levant et de penetrer, ainsi que de dominer les marches de ces differentes regions et de l'Afrique du Nord. Les articles rassembles dans ce volume examinent l'impact economique, social et religieux de cette association entre la conquAte et le commerce. Le recueil comprend des etudes sur la survie des Juifs et des Musulmans en Sicile, sur le debat A propos du 'sous-developpement' de l'Italie meridionale, de la Sicile et de la Sardaigne au Moyen Age, sur les rapports entre les dirigeants de ces regions et les marchands, ainsi que sur la penetration mercantile du royaume de Jerusalem, de Chypre et de Tunis, dans le sillon des Croises et des rois de Sicile.