This essay focuses on the political, economic, and cultural history of the principal Mediterranean empires during the past four millennia. It is based on four lectures that I prepared for a Stanford program in the eastern Mediterranean region in 2009.
I look first at the political bases of Minoan Crete (1950-1200 BCE) and Mycenean Greece (1600-1200 BCE), how conflict usurped wealth in Classical Greece (500-338 BCE), and how the Macedonians conquered Greece (338-146 BCE). I next examine how the Romans built their empire (509 BCE-110 CE), how they created wealth (27 BCE-476 CE), and why the western Roman Empire fell (5th century CE). I move on to the Byzantine Empire (330-1453) and investigate its sources of wealth and how foreign invasions (by Arabs, Crusaders, and Turks) led to its fall. I conclude with an analysis of the Ottoman Empire (1300-1923), showing how the Ottoman Turks formed a heartland inAnatolia and the Balkans (1300-1500), how they generated enormous wealth, and why the Ottoman Empire became a European pawn in the 19th century. A time line, bibliography, and description of the sites that I visited in the Mediterranean region are appended at the end of the essay.
The World, Residences At Sea, Istanbul, Turkey, Nessebar, Bulgaria, Sochi, Russia, Novorossijsk, Russia, Yalta, Ukraine, Sevastopol, Ukraine, Odessa, Ukraine, Constanta, Romania, Aboard the Corinthian II, Athens and Mycenae, Greece, Ephesus and Kusadasi, Turkey, Thera (Santorini), Cycladic Islands, Greece, Knossos and Rethymnon, Crete, Olympia and Katakolon, Peloponnese, Taormina and Messina, Sicily, Italy, Pompei and Salerno, Rome and Civitavecchia, Aboard the Silver Whisper, Livorno and Lucca, Italy, Sorrento, Rhodes, Naufplion, Rome, Palma de Mallorca,