The mediterranean idea: From the Roman mare nostrum to the book of the sea by Naḥum Slouschz (1948)

Alisa Ginio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The purpose of the present discussion is to recall the somewhat ignored and almost forgotten view of the Mediterranean World, presented by the franco-israeli historian and archaeologist, Naḥum Slouschz (1871–1966), in his work The Book of the Sea. The Conquest of the Seas. An Aspect of the History of Civilization, published by the Israel Maritime League, at Tel Aviv, in the year 1948. Slouschz studied the history and culture of the Canaanites—especially the Phoenicians—and regarded them as the true initiators and promoters of the Mediterranean Unity thanks to their commercial, maritime, and colonizing activities on the shores of the Mediterranean, since the dawn of history until the defeat and fall of Carthage by the Romans in the year 146 B.C. Slouschz believed that mutual ties and even historical and cultural proximity existed between the Biblical Ancient Israelites and their neighbors, often rivals, the Canaanites. He, therefore, encouraged his contemporary fellow Israelis to again become a sea-faring nation. Whereas the role of the Phoenicians as promoters of Mediterranean Unity is beyond doubt, the proximity of the Ancient Israelites with the Canaanites is not indisputable and thus the ties of the former with the idea of Mediterranean Unity is not certain. Notwithstanding this reservation, and without referring to Slouschz and his book, there is now a current tendency in some Israeli social circles to adopt a Mediterranean identity as a means of integration into a pluralistic multi-cultural Mediterranean World.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Book Series
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameUrban Book Series
ISSN (Print)2365-757X
ISSN (Electronic)2365-7588


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