The Corrupting Sea is a history of the relationship between people and their environments in the Mediterranean region over some 3,000 years. It advocates a novel analysis of this relationship in terms of microecologies and the often extensive networks to which they belong. This is the first major work since Braudel's The Mediterranean to address the problems of studying the area as a whole and on a long time-scale. The authors emphasize the value of comparison between prehistory, Antiquity and the Middle Ages. They draw on an exceptionally wide range of evidence - literary works, documents, archaeology, scientific reports and social anthropology. The themes addressed include past conceptions of the Mediterranean, its historiography, the history of primary production, the rhythms of exchange and communication, the pace of environmental and technological change, the geography of religion, and the contribution of Mediterranean social anthropology to an assessment of the region's unity. The book offers a provocative and innovative approach to the history of the Mediterranean, explaining what has made Mediterranean history distinctive.