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The corrupting sea: a study of Mediterranean history by Peregrine Horden

By Peregrine Horden

The Corrupting Sea is a background of the connection among humans and their environments within the Mediterranean area over a few 3,000 years. It bargains a singular research of this dating when it comes to microecologies and the usually huge networks to which they belong.

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Extra resources for The corrupting sea: a study of Mediterranean history

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In 589 the Sui dynasty (589–618) brought an end to the four hundred-year division of the country into multiple, competing states, initiating a second resurgence of the centralized, dynastic centre in Chang’an after the first unification of China under the Qin dynasty in 221 bc. The ensuing Tang dynasty (618–907) continued and refined this process. Early Tang leadership was based on Northern Chinese aristocratic clans, whose large land holdings enabled them to dominate society and government. Beginning in the late seventh century, however, a series of challenges to this dominance slowly eroded the authority of the aristocracy and led to its eventual demise.

The historiography written during this long and complex period is closely linked to these changes. Accordingly, this first of two chapters devoted in this volume to Chinese historical writing will begin with a brief overview of China during the first half of this period (618–959). In 589 the Sui dynasty (589–618) brought an end to the four hundred-year division of the country into multiple, competing states, initiating a second resurgence of the centralized, dynastic centre in Chang’an after the first unification of China under the Qin dynasty in 221 bc.

As it evolved from Han exegesis, the notion of ‘praise and blame’ appears, especially in modern hindsight, as a rather blunt, didactic tool with which to polish the ‘mirror’ of history. In actuality, opinions on its theory and praxis differed widely; and discussions about the proper role of ‘praise and blame’ in all kinds of history-writing recur throughout the period. The early Tang historians, fortified by the newness of the dynasty and by aristocratic bonds that linked sovereign and servitor, took quite seriously the underlying notion of using history to speak truth to authority.

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