The Adriatic, a sea that binds together coasts and peoples, is part of the cradle of European civilization. It is both an organism and a mechanism, as well as a travel route for goods, people, ideas, inventions, languages, and cultures. For Egido Ivetica, the Adriatic Sea is a symbolic space that reflects local and national communities. He treats it as a place of contact between the inland and the coast, East and West, Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and finally Roman and Slavic cultures.
The sea was a natural border of several empires: the Byzantine Empire, Charlemagne’s Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, Napoleon’s Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Therefore, its history is one of Central Europe and the formation of its borders.
Egidio Ivetic got familiar with the Adriatic Sea during his work as a sailor on a warship. The idea to study the history of this area first came to him one harsh winter, during long hours of boring duty. Much later, after many years of work as a scholar and university teacher, he decided to take on the reflection on the Adriatic’s past again. In his comprehensive essay, Ivetic investigates the history of the sea and its surroundings from the discovery of 150,000–200,000-year-old human traces to the 21st century, or to put it differently, from the birth of civilizations, migration, and dispersal to new borders and unification in the European Union.
Combining a broad perspective with micro-history, as well as an outsider’s view with personal experience, “The Adriatic” is a book of extraordinary intellective value.
Translated from Italian by: Joanna Ugniewska, Piotr Salwa, Mateusz Salwa, Marta Duda-Gryc.
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