An exciting handbook offering a uniquely accessible study of the complex interplay between the environment and the peoples of the Mediterranean from earliest times to the present day. Agriculture in ancient Iraq.... Climate change and the fall of the Roman Empire....Flood control in Egypt from biblical times to the Aswan Dam. This volume charts the environmental challenges that the peoples of the Mediterranean have faced since the dawn of civilization in Egypt and Mesopotamia to the present day. Of interest to students and academics alike, this book covers the key environmental developments in the Mediterranean throughout recorded history. Case studies chart the agricultural problems of ancient Mesopotamia, how climatic change contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire, and the impact of dam building at Aswan on the Nile.
Of particular interest are the book's sections dealing with the impact of human colonization on the flora and fauna of the early Mediterranean and the extinction of creatures such as dwarf elephants and giant shrews. Especially important, given the ongoing conflicts in the region, are the examples cited of the adverse environmental impact of Western colonization and how human exploitation of the earth's natural resources has led to unforeseen disasters.
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J. Donald Hughes is John Evans Distinguished Professor and a professor emeritus of history at the University of Denver. His books include Environmental Problems of the Greeks and Romans, An Environmental History of the World: Humankind's Changing Role in the Community of Life, and What is Environmental History?