By Fernand Braudel
A grand sweep of background through the past due Fernand Braudel–one of the 20 th century’s such a lot influential historians–Memory and the Mediterraneanchronicles the Mediterranean’s immeasurably wealthy previous throughout the foundational interval from prehistory to classical antiquity, illuminating not anything under the bedrock of our civilization and the very origins of Western culture.
Essential for historians, but written explicitly for the final reader, this significant account of the ebb and circulate of cultures formed by way of the Mediterranean takes us from the good sea’s geologic beginnings throughout the historical civilizations that flourished alongside its beaches. relocating conveniently from Mesopotamia and Egypt to the flowering of Crete and the early Aegean peoples, and culminating within the prodigious achievements of historic Greece and Rome, Braudel conveys in soaking up aspect the geography and weather of the zone over the process millennia whereas brilliantly explaining the bigger forces that gave upward thrust to agriculture, writing, sea trip, alternate, and, eventually, the emergence of empires. amazing in scope and gracefully written, Memory and the Mediterraneanis an forever enriching paintings of background by means of a legend within the box.
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Extra resources for Memory and the Mediterranean
The ceremony was highly formalized, with certain animals killed at speciﬁc times and places, and accompanied by music and dance. The day of the funeral was determined by divination. Then, on the fourth day of a seven-day fast, stalks were cast as lots to select the shi (“descendant”), usually a grandson or daughter-in-law of the deceased, who would communicate with the ancestors and perform the burial rites. On this day, the spirit of the deceased was invited, in the person of the shi, to “take some refreshment,” presumably a drink of a fermented beverage.
Soon everyone’s mood is elevated, leading to animated exchanges. Perhaps some people sing and dance. As the day turns into night and the humans keep imbibing, their behavior gets out of hand. Some members of the clan become belligerent, others engage in wild sex, others simply pass out from intoxication. Once having discovered how to make such a beverage, early humans would likely have returned year after year to the wild grapevines, harvesting the fruit at the peak of ripeness and even devising ways to process it— perhaps stomping the grapes with their feet or encouraging better anaerobic fermentation of the juice and pulp by covering the primitive container with a lid.
New modules in the brain, like Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas, may have been integrated into or added on to existing brain centers, leading to the development of emotional responsiveness and consciousness. Broca’s area, for instance, contains what are called mirror neurons, which, as the phrase implies, may record any action that we observe, and then call it up again, like a photograph, to imitate it. This facility could have been essential in coordinating the facial and tongue movements necessary for speech.