Saturday, February 25, 2006 02/27/06-the Mediterranean

In today's excerpt, the ancient mediterranean sea:

"Small compared to the great oceans of the world, the Mediterranean contains a greater range of peoples, cultures, and meteorolgical differences than any other comparable area.

...the western Mediterranean, the area from Gibraltar to Malta to Sicily, is separated from the the eastern by a submerged ridge on which the Maltese islands stand. This now hidden land once joined Europe to North Africa, and on either side of it--long after the ocean Tethys had receded--there probably lay two great lakes. some unknown point in time (but one which has persisted in man's memory), the land bridge which connected Africa with Spain at the Strait of Gibraltar was broken through and the ocean roared in, flooding first the western lake, then overrunning the land between Sicily and North Africa (marooning small islands like Levanzo, Malta, and Gozo), and finally uniting the western lake with the eastern to form what is now the Mediterranean Sea. This event, so momentous to the human race, is remembered in the Greek legend of Deucalion and possibly in the story of Noah in the Bible: 'All the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.' "

Ernle Bradford, Mediterranean, Penguin Press, 1971, pp. 28-9


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