The Complex Mediterranean
Presentation on video: "The Complex Mediterranean. Networks, diffusion and social dynamics in the pre-modern period"
Keynote lecture by Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, given at the Workshop: “Bridging the Gaps: (Ancient) History from the Perspective of Mathematical and Computational Modelling and Network Analysis” (Brno, CZ, November 2015: https://gehir.phil.muni.cz/)
Abstract: “The Complex Mediterranean. Networks, diffusion and social dynamics in the pre-modern period”
Johannes Preiser-Kapeller, Institute for Medieval Research, Division of Byzantine Research, Austrian Academy of Sciences
The “Mediterranean” has become one of the most prominent and most-discussed concepts in historical studies since Braudel´s masterpiece of 1949, more recently followed by studies such as Horden and Purcell´s “Corrupting Sea” (2000), Abulafia´s “Great Sea” (2011) or Broodbanks “Making of the Middle Sea” (2013). Across this scholarship, we encounter various “Mediterraneans”, sometime unified and centres of their own “world systems”, sometimes fragmented into a multitude of “micro-regions” and “micro-ecologies”. In this paper, I will demonstrate how concepts of network analysis and complexity theory can contribute to an integration of these various facets of the “Middle Sea” and a better understanding of the dynamics of its integration and dis-integration during time. Furthermore, phenomena of (cultural, religious, economic or epidemic) diffusion will be discussed against this changing framework and in their interplay with “global”, regional and local networks. In general, the aim is to highlight aspects of social complexity of Mediterranean history beyond metaphors.