a project co-funded by the EU promoting Sustainable and Responsible Tourism in Mediterranean countries involving Italy, Lebanon, Spain and Tunisia
“Mediterranean” concept origin
The term Mediterranean was created by the ancient Greeks as Mesogeios (Μεσόγειος) in Greek language, meaning “in the middle of earth" or "between lands”; from the Greek concept, the Romans took their own term “Mediterraneus” (in Latin language, with the same meanings). Also if the Roman sea power was very weak in the most ancient times (before the wars against Carthage) while the Greeks power on the sea (especially that of Athens) was really important, the Romans had also the ethnocentric attitude to call that sea “Mare Nostrum.”
Other cultures in the history called that sea in different manners, but the Western nations took the Greek-Roman concept and used it, spreading off all over the world. For example, the ancient Jewish culture called that sea “Great Sea” (הים הגדול - HaYam HaGadol) or "Hinder Sea" or “Western Sea” or “The Sea of Philistines”, because it is on the west of the Palestinian coast. The Arabic civilization called that sea al-Baḥr [al-Abyaḍ] al-Mutawassiṭ (البحر [الأبيض] المتوسط), "the [White] Medium Sea", or simply “the White Sea”, referring (as the “Red Sea”, the “Black Sea”, the “Blue Sea”/ for Indian Sea) to the mythical colors of all the MiddleEastern-Iranian cultures. But in some old texts of the Islamic civilization the name of the Mediterranean Sea is Baḥr al-Rūm (بحر الروم), the "Roman Sea2, where “Roman” is referred to the name that the Byzantine people gave to themselves. Also in Turkish culture that sea is called Akdeniz, "White Sea"
Really, in different historical periods, for different people and civilizations acting in the Mediterranean area (and/or interacting positively or through conflicts with the people of the Mediterranean area), the Mediterranean sea has played a very different role. For example, while the Mediterranean dimension was the most important for the Syrian-Palestinians (including those called by the Greeks “Phoenicians”) for the Greeks, for the Carthage people, for the Romans from the wars against Carthage, it was not so important for Egyptian civilizations before the Hellenistic period, for Persian civilization and for the North and Centre Europe people before the ending period of the Western Roman Empire. But, from the Prehistory, Mediterranean sea was always the main site of interactions, trades, flows of people , resources, ideas, cultural and religious elements for all the people living around his coasts and also an area connected by caravan and sea-routes with other trade and interaction basins like the Red Sea-Persian Gulf-Indian Seas, the Central Asia and Eastern Asia, the sub-Sahara lands and cultures. Those aspects created important consequences in culture, foods, languages, rites, architecture, religions, symbols, techniques, arts, etc. that have a pivotal role in the tourist attraction, especially for people coming from not-Mediterranean area .
More, we’re accustomed by an euro-centered historical view, heir of the colonial and post-colonial concepts (re-elaborating only the Roman-Greek ones) to consider Europe and Mediterranean history as the most important part of the whole human history, ignoring that in the same ages when the Mediterranean civilizations flourished, China, India, Persia were centers of very relevant civilizations and that, for example, China was the most powerful country in the whole world also until the 16th century. That wrong vision created the false idea that the growing up of the Mediterranean civilizations in the ancient times was an autonomous phenomenon in the Human History, underestimating the role of the connections with other areas of the world too. A Sustainable Tourism in the Mediterranean area cannot be based on that false perception and stereotypes, especially in a period when millions of tourists are coming from the former underestimated countries like China, India, Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa.http://www.google.it/imgres?sa=X&biw=1280&bih=827&tbm=isch&tbnid=YiRckkkhqybdsM:&imgrefurl=http://desktopexplorer.wordpress.com/tag/maps/&docid=nFsgs4jrLm8bbM&imgurl=http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/history/historian/herodotus_world_map.gif&w=1198&h=696&ei=ESm4UbGrGcPmPK3-gRg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=2&vpy=348&dur=2774&hovh=171&hovw=295&tx=145&ty=113&page=2&tbnh=115&tbnw=217&start=30&ndsp=41&ved=1t:429,r:37,s:0,i:200 http://www.google.it/imgres?sa=X&biw=1280&bih=827&tbm=isch&tbnid=I56l8N6GxPqdEM:&imgrefurl=http://oldmp.blogspot.com/&docid=GF3okbeV7zepbM&imgurl=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-1w3SDw8RZ74/UEb4JbAV44I/AAAAAAAAcTI/SivQGKx-h70/s1600/mon_Beatus_map_retouch-lg.jpg&w=700&h=614&ei=ESm4UbGrGcPmPK3-gRg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=629&vpy=174&dur=7021&hovh=210&hovw=240&tx=108&ty=163&page=2&tbnh=147&tbnw=169&start=30&ndsp=41&ved=1t:429,r:34,s:0,i:191 http://www.google.it/imgres?imgurl=http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/27/Piri_Reis_map_of_Europe_and_the_Mediterranean_Sea.jpg&imgrefurl=http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Piri_Reis_map_of_Europe_and_the_Mediterranean_Sea.jpg&h=1375&w=2000&sz=511&tbnid=8mB_XUSGSZWBLM:&tbnh=85&tbnw=124&zoom=1&usg=__9k7pM4EsfFdDXl4y3zlwI4TO3rs=&docid=yyD7QFflfHka_M&sa=X&ei=dii4Uey9BYGDO6aWgPAJ&ved=0CDYQ9QEwAA&dur=1142