To the Hebrews the Mediterranean was the sea, as was natural from their situation.

In the New Testament, references to the Mediterranean are common, especially in the accounts of Paul’s voyages, for which see Paul. Jesus once (Mr 7:24 ) came to or near the sea.

The Mediterranean basin was the scene of most ancient civilizations which have greatly influenced that of the western world, except those whose home was in the valleys of the Tigris and the Euphrates; and even these continually thrust themselves into it, so far as they could. As its name implies, it is an inland area, united to the Atlantic only by the narrow Straits of Gibraltar. In comparatively recent geological time it was also joined to the Red Sea, the alluvial deposits of the Nile, which have extended the line of the Delta, having with the aid of drifting desert sands subsequently closed the passage and joined the continents of Asia and Africa. The total length of the Mediterranean is about 2,300 miles, its greatest breadth about 1,080 miles, and its area about 1,000,000 square miles. It falls naturally into the western and eastern (Levant) halves, dividing at the line running from Tunis to Sicily, where it is comparatively shallow; the western end is generally the deeper, reaching depths of nearly 6,000 ft. On the North it is intersected by the Italian and Balkan peninsulas, forming the Gulf of Lyons, the Adriatic and the Aegean. In ancient times these and other divisions of the Mediterranean bore specific names given by the Greeks and Romans, but from the nature of the case their limits were ill defined. The temperature of the Mediterranean is in summer warmer, in winter about the same as that of the Atlantic. Its water has a slightly greater specific gravity, probably because of a larger proportionate evaporation.