Crossroads & Cruises is a blog dedicated to the geopolitics of the wider Black Sea region, a historical crossroad of people and cultures as well as a maritime route of discovery, trade, and domination since Iason’s legendary journey to the shores of Colchis.
First, let’s start off with a bit of history: The etymology of the name Black Sea dates back to ancient times. There is speculation that the early Greek toponym akseinos pontos (‘inhospitable sea’) was originally derived from the older, Avestan word αχsaĕna (meaning ‘dark color’). Later on, when Greek settlers began to colonize the shores of the Black Sea, they renamed it eukseinos pontos (‘friendly, hospitable sea’). Or just pontos for short.
The Black Sea — hospitable, inhospitable … or just black?
Did you wonder about the web address for this blog? It is a play on the Epistulae ex Ponto, a collection of elegiac letters addressed by the Roman poet Ovid to N. Claudius Germanicus, among others. Ovid wrote his epistles as he was exiled to the city of Tomis (modern day Constanța) at the Black Sea coast between 12 and 17 CE.
For the time being, you will find here regular updates on foreign and security policy focusing on Georgia, with a specific focus on maritime issues. In future the blog will hopefully grow and feature analyses about anything concerning the Black Sea region more generally. We’re excited that you’re on board, so follow along and leave your comments or write to us.
Featured image: Black sea islands Ivan, Petar and Kirik. Photo by Evgord from bg via Wikimedia Commons.