The Medieval Mediterranean: Inland Sea or Southern Border?

Das Mittelmeer im Mittelalter: Binnenmeer oder Grenze?

Abstract: Thousands of lives are sacrificed to the EU’s border regime in the Mediterranean every year. As a means of justification serves the reference to the medieval Mediterraneum constructed as the border between a ‘Christian Occident’ and an ‘Islamic Orient’. Historical research knows that this image is wrong, but cannot implement its knowledge in public discourse..
Languages: English, German


Every year, the EU’s border regime in the Mediterranean costs thousands of lives. This massive death toll is justified by referring to the medieval Mediterraneum, construed as a border between a “Christian Occident” and an “Islamic Orient.” Historical research knows that this conception is wrong, but has thus far been unable to implement its knowledge in public discourse.


Shades of Borders

Geographically, the Mediterranean is an inland sea that connects the coasts of the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe. Europe is separated from Asia and Africa only by the narrow straits of the Bosporus and the Strait of Gibraltar, two continents being connected by the Sinai land bridge. The peninsulas of the Peloponnese and Italy as well as the various islands and archipelagos additionally facilitate crossing the Mediterranean. Current policy, however, is dominated by defining the Mediterranean as the southern border of Europe, where the Euro…

Categories: 8 (2020) 2

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