For thousands of years people have sailed, traded, and fought across the waters of the Mediterranean. On its shores and islands they have built cities, colonised, dreamed, conquered and fallen. This sea, which brings together three continents, was the cradle of western civilisation. Ernle Bradford spent almost 30 years sailing into nearly every corner of the Mediterranean and here he tells its fascinating story. Once it was realised that the sea could be a link rather than a barrier, discovery was possible and he follows the explorations of the Egyptians, the Cretans, the Phoenicians, the Greeks and others. The Mediterranean became a Roman and Byzantine sea until displaced by the Arab and Turkish conquests which reached their apogee with the great siege of Malta in 1565; by the 18th century Europe again dominated, with France and England in contention for sovereignty. The author continues his story through the grand sweep of historic events including the Napoleonic wars, the building of the Suez Canal and on to two World Wars ending with the peace of 1945. Into his account of the history of the region, the author weaves a wealth of detail: of flora and fauna, trade and commerce, society and religion, war and peace. The result is a portrait of an enormously vibrant region and its people.