During the period known as the Middle Ages, which lasted over 1000 years,
the Mediterranean Sea witnessed the rise and collapse of several empires and its waters and shores were the stage
of dramatic changes, both technological and ideological.
Several new religions appeared and developed, mirroring new socio-economic
realities and forms of government. Migrations and invasions both from the East and the North pushed frontiers and
populations around, destroyed old values and ways of life, created new ones, and changed worldviews.
Ships and boats reflected all these social, economic, and cultural changes.
Sail shapes, cargo containers, and steering mechanisms changed radically, as did the way in which ships were conceived
and built, reflecting changes in property and labor prices, relations of production, commerce networks and safety.
This course is a necessarily quick overview of these phenomena and intends
to familiarize the students with the peoples, the cultures, the geographical features, and the history of the Mediterranean
Sea, from the Atlantic shores of the North of Africa to Egypt and the Middle East, Asia Minor and the narrow passage
into the Black Sea, Eastern and Western Europe.
It starts with the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in AD 410 and ends in another
symbolic date, that of the fall of Constantinople, in 1453, when Europe is already experiencing the ideological
revolution known as the Renaissance.