02/27/06 - the mediterranean

In today's excerpt - the ancient Mediterranean sea:

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

"... The western Mediterranean, the area from Gibraltar to Malta and Sicily, is separated from 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.

"... At 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: Portrait of a Sea


Hodder and Stoughton Ltd.


Copyright 1971 by Ernle Bradford


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