Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Braudel's The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II

Fernand Braudel (1902-1985)

[About the book: He began in 1923 but he changed his subject from “Philip II and the Mediterranean (policy)” to the “Mediterranean and Philip II” that is from diplomatic history to “Histoire Totale” after meeting Lucien Febvre in a trip to Brazil in the 1930s; the dissertation was finished effectively in the end of the 1930s; the thesis defended only in 1947 dedicated to Febvre; meanwhile Braudel was in a Nazi concentration camp until 1945; first publication in 1949]

To this day they have not discovered at the Indies any mediterranean sea as in Europe, Asia and Affrike
Joseph Acosta The Naturall and Morall Historie of the East and West Indies (translated by E. G.), London, 1604, p. 151.
As if it’s a separate geographical entity: like the seas and continents, mountains and rivers, there are mediterraneans
-“The first part is devoted to a history whose passage is almost imperceptible, that of man in his relationship to the environment, a history in which all change is slow, a history of constant repetition, ever-recurring cycles. I could not neglect this almost timeless history, the story of man’s contact with the inanimate, neither could I be satisfied with the traditional geographic introduction to history that often figures to little purpose at the beginning of so many books, with its descriptions of the mineral deposits, types of agriculture, and typical flora, briefly listed and never mentioned again, as if the flowers did not come back every spring, the flocks of sheep migrate every year, or the ships sail on a real sea that changes with the seasons.” (pp. xxxiv-xxxv).