Black Sea: The Birthplace of Civilisation and Barbarism


An acclaimed, award-winning book on a fascinating subject, recently revised and updated by the author, with a brand new jacket.

The Black Sea is at once homage to an ocean and its shores, and an amazingly readable meditation on Eurasian history from the earliest times to the present, evoking the culture, history and politics of the volatile region surrounding the Black Sea.

Ascherson recalls the world of Herodotus and Aeschylus; Ovid’s place of exile; the decline and fall of Byzantium; the Christian Goths; the Tatar Khanates; the growth of Russian power and the centuries of war between Ottoman and Russian empires. And, in our own century, the terrors of Stalinism and its fascist enemy, striving for control of these colourful and complex shores.

In this story of Greeks, Scythians, Samatians, Huns, Goths, Turks, Russians and Poles, we come to know and understand the sea where Europe ended and “barbarism” was born.


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