Part 1: seeing the sea; the long march to civilization - the lower paleolithic - the first artefacts, the first people, fire, art and magic, the Mediterranean strikes back - the first agrarian civilization, conclusion; a twofold birth - Mesopotamia and Egypt - the beginnings, boats on the rivers, ships on the sea, can the spread of megaliths explain the early history of the Mediterranean?; centuries of unity - the seas of the Levant 2500-1200BC - ever onward and upward?, Crete - a new player in the cosmopolitan civilization of the Mediterranean, accidents, developments and disasters; all change - the 12th to the 8th centuries BC. Part 2: colonization - the discovery of the Mediterranean "far west" in the 10th to 6th centuries BC - the first in the field - probably the Phoenicians, the Etruscans - an unsolved mystery, colonization by the Greeks; the miracle of Greece - Greece - a land of city-states, Alexander's mistake, Greek science and thought (8th to 2nd centuries BC); the Roman takeover of the greater Mediterranean - Roman imperialism, Rome beyond the Mediterranean, a Mediterranean civilization - Rome's real achievement; appendices.
Fernand Braudel was France's foremost post-war historian. He is best known for The Mediterranean in the Age of Philip II, Civilization and Capitalism and The Identity of France. This will be Braudel's final major posthumous publication. Sian Reynolds has translated all the great Braudel books published in English. She is recognised as one of the leading translators of French on either side of the Atlantic.