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Time travel

Classical historian Bettany Hughes recounts her favourite Mediterranean journeys

By Bettany Hughes   January 2012

This year we’ve come to associate Mediterranean countries—Greece, Italy, Spain, Egypt, Syria et al with problems; yet civilisation was kick-started in the region when men and women came up with ingenious solutions to the issues of their age. Just look at the classical sites and monuments that ring the “Middle Sea.” Bronze Age harbours in Crete were developed to satisfy international demand for the royal purple dye harvested from the Murex sea snail. The mighty Greek temples overlooking the coast—dedicated to Poseidon at Sounion, Nemesis at Rhamnous, Athena at Syracuse—doubled up as watchtowers and banks. Their guardians kept an eye…

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