The sea and civilization A maritime history of the world

Lincoln P. Paine

Book - 2013

"A maritime history of the world"--

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New York : Knopf 2013.
First Edition
Physical Description
xxxv, 744 pages, 16 pages of unnumbered plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages [661]-706) and index.
Main Author
Lincoln P. Paine (-)
  • Taking to the water
  • The river and seas of ancient Egypt
  • Bronze Age seafaring
  • Phoenicians, Greeks, and the Mediterranean
  • Carthage, Rome, and the Mediterranean
  • Chasing the monsoons
  • Continent and archipelagoes in the East
  • The Christian and Muslim Mediterranean
  • Northern Europe through the Viking Age
  • The Silk Road of the seas
  • China looks seaward
  • The medieval Mediterranean and Europe
  • The golden age of maritime Asia
  • The world encompassed
  • The birth of global trade
  • State and sea in the age of European expansion
  • Northern Europe ascendant
  • "Annihilation of space and time"
  • Naval power in steam and steel
  • The maritime world since the 1950s.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Sensing that the maritime world is not as prominent in popular consciousness as formerly, Paine presents this ambitiously capacious maritime history of the globe. Visually, it spans from vessels recorded in primitive pictographs to modern photographs, and verbally it addresses every regional arena of mercantile and naval activity as it elevates awareness of seas and rivers as conduits between states and peoples throughout human history. Global in embrace Paine may be, but particular geographical areas, such as the Mediterranean Sea and the seas surrounding Asia, receive his primary attention. Discussing the posture of ancient civilizations such as Egypt and China toward the sea, Paine covers the waxing and waning of empires as evidenced in exchanges of goods and the ships that transported them. The emergence of Europe in global navigation, which Paine prefaces with Viking explorations and medieval commerce in the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas, was a phenomenon that he connects to preexisting Asian trading networks that drew Portugal, then other European nations, into building maritime empires. So comprehensive and knowledgeable a history as Paine's offers a sturdy keel for any maritime history collection. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

In 20 chapters, Paine provides a comprehensive discussion of how the sea and inland waterways transformed long-distance communication and trade, leading to the rise and fall of a myriad of civilizations dependent on waterborne commerce for their economic gain and political control of vast regions of the globe. The author discusses how maritime regions were interlocked by the increasing sophistication of ship construction, navigation over vast ocean expanses, weather patterns, the establishment of ports, and the creation of far-flung markets for goods and services. He devotes six chapters to ancient and medieval Mediterranean civilizations, from Europe to Southwest Asia. Five chapters focus on Asia, stressing the interface of commerce across the Indian Ocean. Three chapters highlight Europe, including a chapter on the Vikings, and one covers Polynesia, North America, the Caribbean, and South America. Two chapters discuss the emergence of a global maritime trade network that emerged after 1492, and the last three chapters bring this maritime history up to the present. This well-researched book (105 pages of footnotes and bibliography) will be used far into the future by students and scholars studying the importance of the oceans and waterways in the development of world civilizations from 5,000 years ago to the present. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries. General Readers; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty. J. B. Richardson III emeritus, University of Pittsburgh Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Even though the Earth's surface is 70% water, historical narratives are usually land-centered. Paine (Ships of the World) shifts emphasis from land to water in order to correct this imbalance, an approach that takes the reader through history via the seas. He devises a chronological spiral around the world, starting with a recounting of ancient times, before covering the same areas in medieval times, and so on up to the modern era. Paine's highly detailed work encompasses a wide array of topics, from trade and the influence of the sea on warfare and political coalitions, to ship building techniques through the ages, to piracy and slavery. Of particular interest are the intricate alliances and shifting loyalties of ancient Mediterranean cultures, the outsized role of the relatively tiny Spice Islands, the impact the Vikings had on cultural exchange across coastal Europe, and the influence of religion on areas as diverse as trade and maritime law. Readers expecting a naval history will receive much more: a thorough history of the people, the ports, and the cultural activity taking place on the water. Paine has compiled an invaluable resource for salty dogs and land-lubbers alike. Photos, illus., & maps. Agent: John Wright, John Wright Literary Agency. (Nov.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A retelling of human history through maritime travel reveals in detail how ancient and modern people migrated by ocean and river and how languages, religions, goods, and cultures subsequently spread along the world's waterways.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An accessible, scholarly retelling of human history through maritime travel reveals in intricate detail how ancient and modern people migrated by ocean and river and how languages, religions, goods and cultures subsequently spread along the world's waterways.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A monumental retelling of world history through the lens of maritime enterprise, revealing in breathtaking depth how people first came into contact with one another by ocean and river, lake and stream, and how goods, languages, religions, and entire cultures spread across and along the world’s waterways, bringing together civilizations and defining what makes us most human.Lincoln Paine takes us back to the origins of long-distance migration by sea with our ancestors’ first forays from Africa and Eurasia to Australia and the Americas. He demonstrates the critical role of maritime trade to the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley. He reacquaints us with the great seafaring cultures of antiquity like those of the Phoenicians and Greeks, as well as those of India and Southeast and East Asia, who parlayed their navigational skills, shipbuilding techniques, and commercial acumen to establish thriving overseas colonies and trade routes in the centuries leading up to the age of European expansion. And finally, his narrative traces how commercial shipping and naval warfare brought about the enormous demographic, cultural, and political changes that have globalized the world throughout the post–Cold War era.This tremendously readable intellectual adventure shows us the world in a new light, in which the sea reigns supreme. We find out how a once-enslaved East African king brought Islam to his people, what the American “sail-around territories” were, and what the Song Dynasty did with twenty-wheel, human-powered paddleboats with twenty paddle wheels and up to three hundred crew. Above all, Paine makes clear how the rise and fall of civilizations can be linked to the sea. An accomplishment of both great sweep and illuminating detail, The Sea and Civilization is a stunning work of history.