» » Memory and the Mediterranean

Free eBook Memory and the Mediterranean download

by Fernand Braudel

Free eBook Memory and the Mediterranean download ISBN: 0375703993
Author: Fernand Braudel
Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (December 3, 2002)
Language: English
Pages: 432
Category: Historical
Subcategory: World
Size MP3: 1585 mb
Size FLAC: 1515 mb
Rating: 4.8
Format: azw doc docx lrf

Fernand Braudel (French: ; 24 August 1902 – 27 November 1985) was a French historian and a leader of the Annales School

Fernand Braudel (French: ; 24 August 1902 – 27 November 1985) was a French historian and a leader of the Annales School.

Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books.

Braudel's concerns are not the usual turning points such as battles and political upheaval.

Fernand Braudel was born in 1902 in Lumeville, north-western Lorraine .

Fernand Braudel was born in 1902 in Lumeville, north-western Lorraine, France. The son of a teacher, he took his degree in history at the Sorbonne in 1923.

Braudel read the book in 1924. As usual his approach was cautious: it was three years before he began to write to Febvre, and their close personal friendship did not begin for another ten years.

A grand sweep of history by the late Fernand Braudel–one of the twentieth century’s most influential historians–Memory and the Mediterranean chronicles the Mediterranean’s immeasurably rich past during the foundational period from prehistory to classical antiquity, illuminating nothing less than the bedrock of our civilization and the very origins of Western culture.Essential for historians, yet written explicitly for the general reader, this magnificent account of the ebb and flow of cultures shaped by the Mediterranean takes us from the great sea’s geologic beginnings through the ancient civilizations that flourished along its shores. Moving with ease from Mesopotamia and Egypt to the flowering of Crete and the early Aegean peoples, and culminating in the prodigious achievements of ancient Greece and Rome, Braudel conveys in absorbing detail the geography and climate of the region over the course of millennia while brilliantly explaining the larger forces that gave rise to agriculture, writing, sea travel, trade, and, ultimately, the emergence of empires. Impressive in scope and gracefully written, Memory and the Mediterranean is an endlessly enriching work of history by a legend in the field.
User reviews
Vital Beast
Stuck in the winter from hell, I am diving into my Mediterranean shelf as I can't afford to be there.

Braudel is most widely known for expanding how historians practice their craft. He considers three times in his work: geologic, social, individual.

Greece and Rome don't enter the picture until the last two chapters. Most of the text is devoted to the preceding 15,000, or so, years.

He does an excellent job of tying Greece's emergence as a power in the Middle Sea environs to its geography and how that shaped the evolution of its colonizing city states. He does the same for the other groups around the Middle Sea during the eras covered.

His command of social events and trends helps integrate the geologic and individual times. He's able to surmise much of individual life from social events, including the emergence of powerful scribes with introduction of the alphabet technology.

One thing that greatly impresses me is how slowly things developed. Trends that now take years to develop globally, if that, took centuries to unfold.

This was originally published in the late '60s after he'd set the manuscript aside to work on other books. Despite its brevity and innovation, it has proved a slow read for me, probably because of difficulty I have with ancient history.

But, it is well worth the effort and the best volume on ancient history in my limited reading experience in the field.
_Memory and the Mediterranean_ is a previously unpublished book by French historian Fernand Braudel, one written in the 1960s and originally intended to be part of a larger series. Set aside with the death of the author's longtime friend and editor, Albert Skira and the collapse of the project, the book was only published for the first time in 1998, well after the author's death in 1985.

In the book's introduction, written by Oswyn Murray, we learn something of the history of the book and the series it was supposed to be a part of, as well as the life of Braudel himself. Braudel was an interesting man; he invented microfilm, copying thousands of historical texts for study prior to accepting a position at a Brazilian university, and his most famous work, _The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II_, he wrote during four years of captivity in a POW camp in France, aided by a few books, but "using mainly his prodigious memory of his prewar researches," writing the great treatise out by hand in exercise books on a small plank in a room shared with twenty other prisoners.

As there have been some advances in archaeology as well as changes in historical thinking, endnotes accompanied the text, with experts Jean Guilaine covering prehistory and Pierre Rouillard on history. I was surprised how few endnotes there were, as substantially much of what Braudel written is still current. Many of the notes referred to different dates for events and in particular artifacts - not surprising, as Braudel himself noted in the text how advances were continually being made in scientific dating methods - and in a few other areas, notably thoughts on prehistoric megalithic culture in the Mediterranean and on the crisis of the twelfth century B.C (both of which he seemed to have largely gotten wrong, not that either formed a very large part of the book's content).

Overall I found the book quite broad in scope, dealing mainly with regions, empires, movements, and the "longue duree," which is often translated as "the long perspective." Except for the last chapters on Greece and Rome, named individuals are rarely discussed. Much of the book dealt with the rise and fall of empires, the advancement and consequences of the mastery of new technologies such as pottery and weaving, as well as the continuing evolution of others, such as metalworking (tracing the advent of bronze, then iron), language (the development of an alphabet was to have profound consequences) and seafaring (his sections on the continuing evolution of ship technology were interesting and well-illustrated with contemporary art), and the development of trade and long-distance exchange in the Mediterranean as a whole and separately in the eastern and western portions. While it was good to have such a broad perspective that transcended local dynasties and city-states, sometimes it made for somewhat dry reading.

The book was epic in scope, covering the Mediterranean from prehistoric times to the founding of what would come to be the Byzantine Empire. The ancient Jews and Christians didn't get a lot of coverage but some other Mediterranean civilizations - notably the Phoenicians, Minoans, Carthaginians, and the Etruscans - are covered in detail. Indeed Braudel's work contained the most information on the Etruscans that I have personally ever read.

One of things that Braudel did that I liked the most was to make comparisons of ancient Mediterranean countries, entities, and movements with more recent counterparts. He compared the scribes of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia to the mandarin class of China, as it took years to master early writing and number systems, restricting writing and calculating to a privileged and talented elite. Continuing the China analogy, Egypt thanks to its rich harvest of grain and large amounts of Nubian gold (Nubia means "land of gold") was for centuries economically dominant and self-sufficient, extremely confident and self-centered. Much as Spain once was made rich and become dependent upon New World silver, so too did the Phoenicians and later the Carthaginians become rich and dependent upon rich silver mines in Spain. Carthage itself was a new city that sprouted from nothing like an American town according to Braudel, for a time a materialistic, fast-moving, dynamic melting pot of a civilization.

One thing about the work that I both liked a lot and disliked was the fact that Braudel would bring up a fascinating point and then pretty much drop it. He speculated on why the "Macedonian Wunderkind" (a.k.a. Alexander the Great) didn't turn his great drive to the west rather than the east, conquering Carthage (something the Carthaginians greatly feared) and turning the entire Mediterranean into a Greek lake. He raised this point, discussed a little what might have happened, and then dropped the point in about three pages. Similarly he mused on the vast difference between Greek science and philosophy and the actual urge to apply these thoughts and ideas to mechanical experiments and practical tools, why there was no full-scale industrial revolution in Rome, and why when there were Romans who had produced steam-powered toys but had not then sought to apply this to a wide range of applications. He dismissed the standard answer to the question - that the existence of slavery killed any drive to produce labor saving devices - by noting that among other things that the workers in the early English and then the European industrial revolution hardly had a good standard of living and he seemed to imply that they were little better than slaves themselves (perhaps in fairness no one has the answer here). Braudel also briefly discussed whether or not conflict between Carthage and Rome was inevitable, a section that I thought ended just as it was getting interesting (as for a time the Etruscans, Greeks, and Phoenicians/Carthaginians shared the same sea).

An interesting book, one worthwhile I think to the serious student of ancient Mediterranean history but not exactly light reading at times.
Special level of detail and gems of lapidary phrasing
As a cofounder of the Annales school of history (which included such scholars as Marc Bloch, Georges Duby, and Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie), Braudel helped to define and popularize economic and social history, often relegating political events and intellectual developments--"the actions of a few princes and rich men [who] were more acted upon than actors"--to lesser status in the march of history. So this posthumously published survey of Mediterranean history is something of a surprise. While its pages contain expected, brilliant analyses of the geographic factors, commercial considerations, and technological advances that eventually created a politically cohesive if culturally splintered Mediterranean civilization, its final chapters allot noticeable space to the importance of statesmen, philosophers, and artists.
Braudel's broad coverage is understandable, given the original design and purpose of the book. Written in the late 1960s, the manuscript was meant as a general survey, the first volume in a cancelled series of illustrated books on the history of the Mediterranean. What's remarkable is how well the book has stood up over time. (A small number of notes correct suppositions since proved inaccurate or incomplete.) What's missing, however, is an appropriate selection of illustrations--and the text was clearly meant to accompany them. Although this edition includes 32 (quite striking) full-color pages of photographs, they are not keyed to the text and many have only tangential connections.
"Memory and the Mediterranean" begins with the archaeological discoveries that inform what we know about the Paleolithic era and the Neolithic civilizations (such as Catal Hoyuk) in the Fertile Cresent. Subsequent chapters discuss Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Crete, before turning to the relatively "dark ages" of the twelfth through eighth centuries B.C. By incorporating North African and Asian influences, Braudel deliberately moves the center of Mediterranean culture from Europe to where it belongs: in the center of the Mediterranean.
Before tackling the Greek "miracle" and the Roman empire, Braudel examines the Phoenicians, the Etruscans, and Greek colonization in what is unquestionably the best argued, most informative chapter of the book. He ably shows how historical trends--geography, natural disasters, migrations, commerce, maritime advances, science and technology, writing--led to the dominance enjoyed by the Romans in the coastal lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea.
Yet this dominance was neither inevitable or preordained. While "the destiny of Rome is devastatingly simple. . . , people, events and details complicated the story." Braudel balances his own brand of geographic determinism with an acknowledgment of the muscle of Roman imperialism: "the very fact that the Mediterranean, while in thrall to Rome, was still a living entity with a healthy pulse of its own, meant that all its cultural goods continued to circulate, mingling ideas and beliefs, and bring about a uniformity in material civilization that has left traces still visible today." The result is a new way of thinking about a Mediterranean culture whose echoes are still seen everywhere.