The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean

The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean

John Julius Norwich

Language: English

Pages: 720

ISBN: 1400034280

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This lively and dramatic book brings roaring to life the grand sweep of 5,000 years of history in the cradle of civilization.A wonderfullyillustrated account of the civilizations that rose and fell on the lands bordering the Mediterranean, The Middle Sea represents the culmination of a great historian’s unparalleled art and scholarship. John Julius Norwich provides brilliant portraits of the Phoenicians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Byzantines, the Arabs, the French, the Venetians, the Popes, and the pirates of the Gulf. Above all, he deftly traces the intermingling of ancient conflicts and modern sensibilities that shapes life today on the shores of the Middle Sea.

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performance was very little better. It was lucky for Greece that the Powers intervened when they did and forced the belligerents to agree to an armistice. All Greek combatants were withdrawn from Crete, which was to be policed by an international force. Greece–already nearly bankrupt–had to pay a heavy indemnity to the Sultan; on the other hand, Abdul-Hamid was finally obliged to fulfil his twenty-year-old promise by the formal cession of Thessaly. Only then did the Powers make a serious effort

Naples in 1495–quite possibly poisoned by Pope Alexander VI, with the connivance of his brother the Sultan. Return to text. 133 ‘Extremely melancholic, superstitious and obstinate’. Return to text. 134 As always, numbers given by contemporary chroniclers at this period must be taken with a pinch of salt. Return to text. 135 Pope Leo X had died at the end of 1521. His successor, Adrian VI–a Dutchman from Utrecht and the last non-Italian Pope until John Paul II–lasted less than two years

diplomas with his usual largesse. In mid-November he arrived in Rome, and on the 22nd Pope Honorius III laid the imperial crown on his head. Just sixty-five years before, his grandfather Barbarossa had been obliged to undergo a hole-and-corner coronation which had been followed by something not far short of a massacre.86 Those days, however, were long past; this time Rome was at peace–Frederick’s boundless generosity had seen to that–and the ceremony was perhaps the most splendid that had ever

briefly in Cyprus, the Emperor reached Brindisi on 10 June. He found his kingdom in a state of helpless confusion. His old enemy Gregory IX had taken advantage of his absence to launch what almost amounted to a Crusade against him, writing to the princes and churches of Western Europe demanding men and money for an all-out attack on Frederick’s position both in Germany and in Italy. In Germany the Pope’s attempts to establish a rival Emperor in the person of Otto of Brunswick had had little

emirs with him; as soon as they were a safe distance from the camp, Baibars approached him silently from behind and ran him through with his sword. Although he now had the blood of two sultans on his hands, no one dared to question Baibars’s right to succeed. He was to reign for the next seventeen years: physically a giant, cruel and treacherous, devoid of pity or any finer feelings, but by a very long way the ablest of all the Mameluke rulers. Ain Jalud had not altogether put an end to Mongol

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