chapter  12
12 Pages

The Circum-Mediterranean: From Clashing Civilizations to Transnational Arbitration

If there is a Mediterranean vortex into which navies and merchant mariners have sailed over the centuries, it is culture - not a single culture, but the interstices and fringes of the many cultures which render the Medi­ terranean the crossroads of civilizations. In this semi-enclosed transit basin, sea travel has enabled dominant and appurtenant cultures to penetrate and influence many indigenous peoples. Distinct populations and cultures became proximous through travel, trade and war. This has long had implications for strategy, policy and commerce. If cleavages among civilizations represent flash points, they have actually clashed in few arenas so circumscribed as the limited and intense space of the Mediterranean.