Publisher: Il Mulino Societa’ Editrice
When Stars Were Our Guide: A Sentimental Journey across the Mediterranean
Quando guidavano le stelle
This book is a voyage across the history of the Mediterranean Sea. A real voyage, involving navigation, supply stops and overnight stays. The Mediterranean comprises an entire world and needs to be treated accordingly. For this reason the book travels from the Aegean Sea to the Maghreb, from the Adriatic Sea to the Middle East. It considers this area as a venue for marine traffic, and therefore travel mostly involves coastlines and ports. The book specifically focuses on four sea-faring enterprises – from the Aegean in the age of Ulysses to the Roman shores of Ostia, from Constantinople to Andalusia, from Ragusa to Cyrus and, finally, from Alexandria of Egypt to Ravenna. And as we travel from one port to another, we will find ourselves in different time frames: Athens in the 5th century B.C.E., Carthage on the eve of the Third Punic War, El Cid’s Valencia, medieval Genoa, Istanbul at the time of the Orient Express, early 20th-century Naples. Each leg of these journeys has its own story, rekindles the memory of major events and evokes a host of secondary, almost forgotten, characters.
Alessandro Vanoli is a medieval historian and an expert in Mediterranean history.