The Mediterranean was at the heart of the classical world, physically and emotionally. Goods, ideas and people spread across its waters throughout the first millennium BC and long afterwards. Yet we still tend to ignore large parts of this history or abstract it from the stories of these regions before and after the classical era. Some of the peoples who lived there are either not counted as properly Greek or Roman, or are regarded as strangely unconnected with the modern population.
None of this makes sense. Even when ancient Greece was at its height, with Athens and Sparta vying for supremacy, more ‘Greeks’ lived in cities founded in Italy, Sicily, Spain, southern Gaul and Asia Minor than in Greece itself, though they rarely receive much attention today. Later, when Rome