Michael Grant describes in his book the Ancient Mediterranean the three great episodes of the ancient world, the first advanced civilisations, as that one of Crete and Egypt of course, after that the great epoche of the Greeks and finally the empire of the Romans, until now the only power ever able to politically unite the Mediterranean.
Next to many interesting and informative chapters about all the different countries, rulers, intellectuals and the myths and wars which set together all of this, there´re some general insights worth the read. As a politically interested person, one gains an understanding of the preconditions for the peoples of the regions, particularly in the Levant, but also in North Africa, that are leading to ever new conflicts in specific areas. Who is more occupied by culture will have a better understanding of the reasons for the ever new inventions in this region and it´s role as a mediator between the empires, carrying goods and ideas from shore to shore and continent to continent. And also in theological questions, through Judaism, Christianity and diverse images of God from Western Asia, this region influenced the world and even more the West.
It´s obvious anyway that the influence of Asia and Africa for Europe was much stronger than that of Europe for Asia of Africa. This is nowadays, after a 500 years phase of european magnificence, often overlooked. But in sight of the dynamics, the ones that pressing our world into the future, this will be remembered soon.
The Mediterranean currently is living through a phase of disturbance, many of it´s bordering states finding themselves in wars or one of the many revolutions. But there´re just as many chances as well. As the trade between Europe and the states of Asia and Africa is growing, the Mediterranean is growing as a place of trade for goods and ideas and is forcing back it´s role as a center of world affairs.