Map of the Roman Empire - Mediterranean Sea

Mediterranean Sea
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Mediterranean Sea Great Sea, Mare Nostrum

The Bible. In the Bible, it was primarily known as the "Great Sea" (Num. 34:6,7; Josh. 1:4, 9:1, 15:47; Ezek. 47:10,15,20), or simply "The Sea" (1 Kings 5:9; comp. 1 Macc. 14:34, 15:11); however, it has also been called the "Hinder Sea", due to its location on the west coast of the Holy Land, and therefore behind a person facing the east, as referenced in the Old Testament, sometimes translated as "Western Sea", (Deut. 11:24; Joel 2:20). Another name was the "Sea of the Philistines" (Exod. 23:31), from the people occupying a large portion of its shores near the Israelites.

The Roman Empire. When Augustus founded the Roman Empire, the Mediterranean sea began to be called Mare Nostrum (literally: "Our Sea") by the Romans. Their empire was centered on this sea and all the area was full of commerce and naval development. For the first time in history an entire sea (the Mediterranean) was free of piracy. For several centuries the Mediterranean was a "Roman Lake", surrounded on all sides by the empire. One portion of the empire was Judea, and in time, a religion founded in that region, Christianity, spread throughout the empire and eventually became its official faith. The empire began to crumble, however, in the fifth century and Rome collapsed after 476 AD. Temporarily the east was again dominant as the Byzantine Empire formed from the eastern half of the Roman one. The western part of the empire, Gaul, Iberia, and the Maghreb were invaded by nomadic horse peoples from the Eurasian steppe. These conquerors soon became settled, and adopted many of the local customs, forming many small and warring kingdoms. - Wikipedia

Map of the Roman Empire - Ancient Cities, Rivers, and Mountains during the first century A.D.

Burdigala Douro River Hispania Tagus River Tarraconensis Emerita Augusta Valentia Balearic Islands Guadalquivir River Baetica Ebro River Tarraco Sardinia Corsica Guadiana River Gades Malta Syracuse Sicilia Messana Panormus Agrigentum Thapsus Numidia Carthage Utica Hippo Reglus Sahara Desert Mauritania Caesariensis Mauritania Tingitana Sabratha Oea Africa Lepis Magna Lesser Syritis Greater Syrtis Pyrenees Cyrene Cyrenaica Phoenix Creta Fair Havens Lasea Salmone Mediterranean Sea Paphos Aegyptus Memphis Heliopolis Nile River Alexandria Naucratis Canopus Sais Pelusium Gaza Sinus Arabicus Arabian Desert Mount Sinai Petra Alla Jerusalem Joppa Samaria Nabataean Kingdom Nabataean Kingdom Judaea Caesarea Tiberias Ptolemais Tyre Sidon Berytus Tripolis Syria Jordan River Damascus Caesarea Philippi Emesa Palmyra Epiphania Apamea Antioch Orontes River Salamis Carchemish Zeugma Tarsus Euphrates River Nicephorium Haran Samosata Edessa Lycia Derbe Cappadocia Lystra Cilicia Myra Antioch Perga Rhodes Halicarnassus Attalia Iconium Mazaca Ancyra Comana Side Trapezus Amisus Amasea Galatia Taurus Mountains Gordium Pessinus Gangra Heraclea Byzantium Cnidus Patara Patmos Sparta Colossae Laodicea Philadelphia Prusa Sinope Amastris Nicaea Thayatira Pergamum Smyrna Abydos Cyzicus Sardis Miletus Magnesia Ephesus Aegean Sea Troas Adramyttium Athens Thebes Thrace Larissa Achaea Delphi Corinth Actium Nicopolis Apollonia Cenchreae Macedonia Rhodes Apollonia Dyrrhachium Beroea Amphipolis Thessalonica Philippi Neapolis Kure Mountains Pontus Euxinus Heraclea Messembria Istros Odessus Dacia Moesia Philippopolis Tomi Nicomedia Chios Scodra Salonae Sea of Adria Ancona Italia Illyricum Pannonia Siscia Rome Antiium Terracini 3-Taverns Forum Appius Paestum Capri Puteoli Pompeii Neapolis Pola Ravenna Po River Arretium Florentia Tiber River Appennines Luca Porta Veneris Genua Massilia Nemausus Sarmatia Prut River Driester River Scythians Danube River Danube River Danube River Germania Seine River Gallia Garonne River Lugdunensis Belgica Free Germania Narbonensis Saonne River Lusitania Corduba Hispalis The Alps Bononia Oceanus Atlanticus Enlarged Clickable Map of the Roman Empire with Provinces and Placenames About 14 A.D. Asia - The Roman Province of Asia

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Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant. The sea is technically a part of the Atlantic Ocean, although it is usually identified as a completely separate body of water.

The name Mediterranean is derived from the Latin mediterraneus, meaning "inland" or "in the middle of the earth" (from medius, "middle" and terra, "earth"). It covers an approximate area of 2.5 million km˛ (965,000 sq mi), but its connection to the Atlantic (the Strait of Gibraltar) is only 14 km (8.7 mi) wide. In oceanography, it is sometimes called the Eurafrican Mediterranean Sea or the European Mediterranean Sea to distinguish it from mediterranean seas elsewhere.[1][2]

The Mediterranean Sea has an average depth of 1,500 m (4,900 ft) and the deepest recorded point is 5,267 m (17,280 ft) in the Calypso Deep in the Ionian Sea.

It was an important route for merchants and travelers of ancient times that allowed for trade and cultural exchange between emergent peoples of the region — the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Iberian, Greek, Macedonian, Illyrian, Thracian, Levantine, Gallic, Roman, Albanian, Armenian, Arabic, Berber, Jewish, Slavic and Turkish cultures. The history of the Mediterranean region is crucial to understanding the origins and development of many modern societies. "For the three quarters of the globe, the Mediterranean Sea is similarly the uniting element and the centre of World History."[3]

Name
The term Mediterranean derives from the Latin word mediterraneus, meaning "in the middle of earth" or "between lands" (medius, "middle, between" + terra, "land, earth"). This is on account of the sea's intermediary position between the continents of Africa and Europe. The Greek name Mesogeios (Μεσόγειος), is similarly from μέσο, "middle" + γη, "land, earth").[4] The Mediterranean Sea has been known by a number of alternative names throughout human history. For example the Romans commonly called it Mare Nostrum (Latin, "Our Sea"). Occasionally it was known as Mare Internum by (Sallust, Jug. 17). In the Bible, it was primarily known as the "Great Sea" (Num. 34:6,7; Josh. 1:4, 9:1, 15:47; Ezek. 47:10,15,20), or simply "The Sea" (1 Kings 5:9; comp. 1 Macc. 14:34, 15:11); however, it has also been called the "Hinder Sea", due to its location on the west coast of the Holy Land, and therefore behind a person facing the east, as referenced in the Old Testament, sometimes translated as "Western Sea", (Deut. 11:24; Joel 2:20). Another name was the "Sea of the Philistines" (Exod. 23:31), from the people occupying a large portion of its shores near the Israelites. In Modern Hebrew, it has been called HaYyam HaTtikhon (הַיָּם הַתִּיכוֹן), "the middle sea", a literal adaptation of the German equivalent Mittelmeer. In Turkish, it is known as Akdeniz, "the white sea". In modern Arabic, it is known as al-Baḥr al-Abyaḍ al-Mutawassiṭ (البحر الأبيض المتوسط), "the White Middle Sea," while in Islamic and older Arabic literature, it was referenced as Baḥr al-Rūm (بحر الروم), or "the Roman/Byzantine Sea."

History
Main article: History of the Mediterranean region
As a sea around which some of the most ancient human civilizations were arranged, it has had a major influence on the history and ways of life of these cultures. It provided a way of trade, colonization and war, and was the basis of life (via fishing and the gathering of other seafood) for numerous communities throughout the ages. The combination of similarly shared climate, geology and access to a common sea has led to numerous historical and cultural connections between the ancient and modern societies around the Mediterranean

History of the Mediterranean region
The history of the Mediterranean region is the history of the interaction of the cultures and people of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea —the central superhighway of transport, trade and cultural exchange between diverse peoples. Its history is important to understanding the origin and development of the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Persian, Canaanites, Jewish, Greek, Roman, Carthaginian and Islamic cultures.

Dawn of civilization
Two of the first commonly noted human civilizations began near the eastern Mediterranean sea. Common rhetoric suggests that Civilization first developed in Mesopotamia beginning with Sumer in the 4th millennium BC. Soon after, the Nile River valley of ancient Egypt was unified under the Pharaohs in the 4th millennium BC, and civilization quickly spread through the Fertile Crescent to the east coast of the sea and throughout the Levant, which happens to make the Mediterranean countries of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel part of the cradle of civilization. These areas shared similar climates and geographies, but it was more difficult to spread technologies and crops, such as flax, lentil, peas, barley, and cotton to other portions of the Mediterranean basin. In time, large empires developed in Asia Minor, such as the Hittites. The main expansion was delayed until ships sturdy enough to cross the sea were developed. Cyprus and the other islands developed, and the Minoan civilization flourished on the island of Crete. While the river valley civilizations always had larger populations, the trading societies on the coast of the sea soon became the most prosperous, and rose to power.

Classical antiquity
Two of the most notable Mediterranean civilizations in classical antiquity were the Greek city states and the Phoenicians. The Greeks expanded throughout the Black Sea and south through the Red Sea. The Phoenicians spread through the western Mediterranean reaching North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. They often provided the naval forces of the Achaemenid Persian Empire and their heartland in the Levant was still dominated by powers rooted east in Mesopotamia or Persia.

Hellenistic period
In the northern-most part of ancient Greece, in the ancient kingdom of Macedonia, technological and organizational skills were forged with a long history of cavalry warfare. The hetairoi (Companion cavalry) was considered the strongest of their time.[1] Under Alexander the Great, this force turned east, and in a series of three decisive battles, routed the Persian forces and took their empire, which included Egypt and the Phoenician lands. The major centres of the Mediterranean at the time became part of Alexander's empire as a result. His empire quickly disintegrated, and the Middle East, Egypt, and Greece were soon again independent. Alexander's conquests spread Greek knowledge and ideas throughout the region.

Roman-Carthaginian rivalry
These eastern powers soon began to be overshadowed by those further west. In North Africa the former Phoenician colony of Carthage rose to dominate its surroundings with an empire that contained many of the former Phoenician holdings. However, it was a city on the Italian Peninsula, Rome, that would eventually dominate the entire Mediterranean basin. Spreading first through Italy, Rome defeated Carthage in the Punic Wars, despite Hannibal's famous efforts against Rome in the Second Punic War. After the Third Punic War, Rome then became the leading force in the Mediterranean region. The Romans soon spread east taking Greece, and the Greek heritage played an important role in the Roman Empire. By this point the coastal trading cultures were thoroughly dominant over the inland river valleys that had once been the heart of the great powers. Egyptian power moved from the Nile cities to the coastal ones, especially Alexandria. Mesopotamia became a fringe border region between the Roman Empire and the Persians.

Roman Lake
When Augustus founded the Roman Empire, the Mediterranean sea began to be called Mare Nostrum (literally: "Our Sea") by the Romans. Their empire was centered on this sea and all the area was full of commerce and naval development. For the first time in history an entire sea (the Mediterranean) was free of piracy. For several centuries the Mediterranean was a "Roman Lake", surrounded on all sides by the empire. One portion of the empire was Judea, and in time, a religion founded in that region, Christianity, spread throughout the empire and eventually became its official faith. The empire began to crumble, however, in the fifth century and Rome collapsed after 476 AD. Temporarily the east was again dominant as the Byzantine Empire formed from the eastern half of the Roman one. The western part of the empire, Gaul, Iberia, and the Maghreb were invaded by nomadic horse peoples from the Eurasian steppe. These conquerors soon became settled, and adopted many of the local customs, forming many small and warring kingdoms. - Wikipedia

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