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Mediterranean Sea

From dKosopedia

The Mediterranean Sea is a large body of water that is between Europe, Africa and Asia.

Ancient Mediterrean Civilizations

The ancient civilizations of Egypt 3300 BCE-30 BCE, the Hebrews 1300 BCE-43 BCE, Greece 1200 BCE-146 BCE, Rome 753 BCE-476 CE, Byzantium 284 CE-1453 CE (initially as a province of Rome), and the ancient Arabian Empire 629 CE-874 CE (followed by decentralization into smaller political units) all developed around the Mediterrean Sea (ending dates for pre-Roman civilizations reflect the approximate dates they were conquered by Rome, whether or not the civilization itself persisted).

Religious Makeup and Historical Basis For This Religious Makeup

Today, all of the countries on the South and East shores of the Mediterrean Sea are predominantly Muslim countries as far North as Turkey, with the exception of Israel which has a predominantly Jewish population outside of the Palestinian Territories. The countries along the Northern Coast of the Mediterrean Sea are predominantly Catholic from Spain to Croatia, and are a mix of Muslim and Orthodox Christian further East.

The Catholic nations are a legacy of the Roman Empire which adopted Christianity as its official religion during the reign of Emperor Constantine (who ruled from 306-337). The Orthodox Christian nations owe their religion to the Roman Empire's adoption of Christianity as a state religion followed by the split in 1054 of the Western Church that became the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Church, which became the Orthodox Churches. Prior to Constantine, all of the people in the vicinity of the Mediterrean Sea, except the Jews (and perhaps one or two other small exceptions), adhered to polytheistic religious traditions often called in modern parlance as pagan religions. Christianity persisted even when the Roman empire collapsed.

The Muslim nations along the Mediterrean can trace their religious heritage to the expansion of the Arabian Empire.

The Jewish presence in the Mediterrean originally predated that of the Greek Empire, but the Jewish community was scattered after the Jewish Temple was destroyed about 70 CE in an experience referred to as the Jewish Diaspora that spread Jews around the world with communities spread from Spain to India to Germany and elsewhere. Jewish immigration to Israel commenced again in the late 1800s after centuries of Roman rule followed by roughly a millenia of Islamic rule, and increased greatly when Britian took the land in 1917 in the wake of World War I which defeated the Ottoman Empire, particularly as conditions worsened in Weimar Germany prior to World War II and has continued ever since in several major waves of immigration. The ideology that calls for Jews to relocate to Israel is called Zionism.

Many debates over who should be members of the European Union "coincidentally" coincide with the religious divisions described above.

Neighboring Seas

The Mediterrean Sea meets the Black Sea in the East and the Atlantic Ocean in the West. It is connected by the Suez Canal to the Red Sea, and envelopes the Tyrrhenian Sea on the West Coast of Italy, the Adriatic Sea on the East Coast of Italy, the Aegean Sea and Sea of Crete between Greece and Turkey, and the Ionean Sea off the boot of Italy. The phrase the "seven seas" refer to the seas in and around the Mediterrean Sea.

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This page was last modified 22:06, 13 June 2005 by Andrew Oh-Willeke. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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