MEDITERRANEAN SEA

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MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Nostrum Mare, Internum Mare, with the Romans); the large mass of waters between Europe, Asia and Africa, which receives its name from its inland position, communicating with the great ocean only by the straits of Gibraltar, (q. v.) Its northern shore is irregular, forming large gulfs, which have received separate names ; between the western coast of Italy and the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, it is called the Tuscan, or Tyrrhenian sea (Mare I?iferum); between Italy and Illyria and Dalmatia, the Adriatic, or Gidfof Venice , farther south to the west of Greece, the Ionian sea (the two latter formed the Mare Superum of the Romans); to the northeast of Greece, between Turkey in Europe and Natolia (Asia Minor), the Archipelago, or Mgean sea. Its southern shore is less indented. It receives the waters of the Black sea, by a current which sets constantly through the Dardanelles, and thus mingles the waters of the Danube, the Po, and the Nile, with those of the Dnieper and the Ebro. Its length from east to west is about 2000 miles; its general breadth varies from 7-800 to 4-500 miles; between Genoa and Biserta it is about 375 miles; between the southern part of Italy and cape Bon, not quite 200 miles. The principal islands of the Mediterranean are the Balearic isles, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Elba, the Lipari islands, Malta, the Ionian isles, Candia (Crete) and Cyprus. (*S*ee these articles.) The winds are irregular, the tides variable and slight, rarely exceeding two feet of rise and fall, and the sea is generally short and rough. A strong central current sets into the Atlantic through the straits of Gibraltar; on each shore are superficial counter currents setting from the ocean into the sea; but a rapid under current sets out. In a commercial point of view, the Mediterranean is of the greatest interest; its shores contain numerous celebrated ports, and its waters are covered with the ships of all the western nations. The different maritime powers maintain a naval force in the sea, which till lately has been infested with pirates. Its coasts were the heats of some of the earliest civilized nations, the Egyptians, Phcenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks and ' Romans.See Steel's Chart of the Mediterranean (London, 1823). Mediterranean Pass. In the treaties between England and the Barbary states, it used to be agreed, that the subjects of the former should pass the seas unmolested by the cruisers of those states; and, for better ascertaining what ships and vessels belonged to British subjects, it was provided, that they should produce a pass, under the hand and seal of the lord high admiral, or the lords commissioners of the admiralty. The passes were made out at the admiralty, containing a very few words, written on parchment, with ornaments at the top, through which a scolloped indenture was made; the scolloped tops were sent to Barbary, and being put in possession of their cruisers, the commanders were instructed to suffer all persons to pass who had passes that would fit these scolloped tops.