The lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea have produced sophisticated societies for thousands of years; their stories, arts, faiths, technologies and architecture have had enduring influence. This course is a cultural history of the last 2,500 years of the Mediterranean experience. We will examine its geography, commerce, cultural interchanges, religious interactions, military clashes and ethnological distinctives. We will consider whether unity or diversity is the hallmark of this experience and whether “civilization” is a useful category for understanding cultures over time. We will meet pirates, philosophers, poets, plague victims and saints; caliphs, peasants, warrior slaves and prophets; we will learn how much of our own world is the heir of the Mediterranean peoples and their lives.
Required course for all students (either section 1 or section 2). NO ASSOCIATED FIELD LAB.