Edition: 2023
Pages: 576
Series: IR/L
ISBN: 9788858148341

History of the Sea

Alessandro Vanoli


Shanghai Culture (Chinese Simpl.); Atico des los livros (world Spanish); Passes Composes (French)



An encyclopaedia of the sea in a single volume: a powerful millenial history that holds everything together, humans and animals.

The history of the sea begins in the infinite past, four billion of years ago, recounting an ancient geology and the beginnings of life; and then the dinosaurs and primitive fishes, disappearing seas and the great catastrophes. Then the environments, those that constitute the space in which humans moved throughout history and that still accompanies us today: winds, currents, waves and the basis of life. And then down into the abyss, to re-emerge, among coral walls, marshy areas, reefs or sandy beaches. In all that, our history. That of the first colonisations, of the ancient boats to face the sea and the birth of ports. The history of the great myths, the biblical and the Homeric ones. And then the civilisations: the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans; and around this the routes of the merchants, the stories of amphorae, byssus, coral and how Islam discovered the sea; the stories of pilgrims and Vikings in America and the Chinese in the Indian Ocean. A history made up also of the most familiar objects and people: the compass, maps, pilot books, galleys, caravels, Christopher Columbus, Magellan, Vespucci and the pirates of the Caribbean. But never forgetting that all this also has to do with whales and sharks, hidden treasures, the legends of the kraken, the malestrom, the Flying Dutchman and everything else that has fuelled our imagination for centuries. Up to the present: migrants, containers, holidays by the sea... up to the inevitable counterpart of this story: the one that talks about the environmental crisis today, pollution and microplastics, overheating and melting ice. A sprawling and spectacular, incredibly rich book that brings back our deepest dreams and reminds us that in the end we are just one species among others.

The author

Alessandro Vanoli

Alessandro Vanoli, historian, writer and populariser, is an expert on Mediterranean history. He has taught at the University of Bologna and at the University of of Milan, dealing with the history of the Mediterranean and the Islamic presence in Spain and Sicily.

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