The Mediterranean
An Environmental History
by J. Donald Hughes Mark R. Stoll, Series Editor
April 2005, 333pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-57607-810-5
$94, £70, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-1-57607-811-2
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

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.

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.

Part of ABC-CLIO’s Nature and Human Societies series, 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.


  • A chronology covers the key events in the region's environmental history as well as the impact of political and economic developments on the environment
  • Detailed maps illustrate environmental changes throughout the entire period—from Spain to Iraq
J. Donald Hughes, Ph.D., is John Evans Professor of History at the University of Denver, Denver, CO, and is one of the founders of the field of environmental history. His published works include An Environmental History of the World: Humankind's Changing Role in the Community of Life and Pan's Travail: Environmental Problems of the Ancient Greeks and Romans.


"This book presents experts' findings in this remarkable field concerning the region that stretches from southern Europe, to northern Africa, to southwestern Asia. From the rise of agriculture in Mesopotamia, to the environmental fallout of the Persian Gulf wars; from the ancient flooding of the Nile, to the Aswan Dam; the volume charts the different ways human societies in the region have shaped and are shaped by the natural world in which they live."—Abstracts of Public Administration, Development, and the Environment, January 1, 2006

"The straightforward organization and prose as well as the self-contained character of its separate chapters render it extremely useful in the undergraduate classroom, especially as a key text in courses on the Mediterranean Basin."—Sixteenth Century Journal, April 1, 2007
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