Do You Know the Seven Seas?
Can you remember when you first heard the phrase ‘seven seas’?
I certainly can’t.
But I know I’ve heard it many times. When I hear the phrase, I think back to hearing it in songs and reading it in books.
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Specifically, I hear the lyric, “Sailed the world and the Seven Seas …” from the song Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics and their fabulous vocalist, Annie Lennox. In particular, musicians have totally embraced the phrase as countless recording artists have been using it in lyrics for decades.
A figure of speech?
Many people think that ‘the seven seas’ is just a figure of speech to those who sailed worldwide. Yet, it is believed that the term was originally coined by poet Rudyard Kipling in 1896, who wrote an anthology of poetry called The Seven Seas.
Another curiosity is why list only ‘seven’ seas?
There are some logical assumptions to that question. To begin with, the number seven has played a significant role in the history of humankind.
The rainbow has seven colors, as identified by Isaac Newton. There are seven days in the week, Seven Wonders of the World, and a seven-day creation of heaven and Earth. But there’s more — there are seven meditation Chakras, seven heavens in Islamic traditions, and seven branches on a Menorah.
Obviously, the number seven has been significant in many elements across human history, religion, and culture.
The actual seven seas
There is some debate as to which are the seven seas — it depends mostly on the time period as well as the location of the world.
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The original seven seas were first identified by sailors who lived in the ancient and medieval world. Therefore, logic would tell us that they must be located near and around the Mediterranean, as that water body was the center of their world. And this is certainly the case.
1) The Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea directly connects to the Atlantic Ocean. Practically every early civilization spawned and developed around this vital body of water. This includes Greece, Egypt, and Rome. This is why the Mediterranean is often called ‘the cradle of civilization.’
2) The Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf is actually part of the Indian Ocean and rests between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Over the years, there has been much dispute regarding its actual name. Some people call it other names like The Gulf, the Arabian Gulf, or The Gulf of Iran, but none of these monikers are internationally recognized.
3) The Arabian Sea
The Arabian Sea is in the northwestern portion of the Indian Ocean. It is located between Saudi Arabia and India. It has been a vital trade route connecting India to the West for many generations — and it still is today.
4) The Red Sea
The Red Sea is a thin strip of water that extends south from Northeast Egypt, connecting the Arabian Sea to the Gulf of Aden. Today, it has been connected to the Mediterranean Sea using the Suez Canal and sees as much sea traffic as any other waterway in the world.
5) The Black Sea
The Black Sea is an inland sea that rests between Asia and Europe. It was called the ‘black’ sea because of its reputation for having difficult waters to navigate and the hostile tribes that lived on its shores. It has also been connected to the Mediterranean Sea, which has opened up many trade routes.
6) The Adriatic Sea
The Adriatic Sea separates the Balkan and Italian peninsulas. This sea has become one of the main attractions for those visiting the Dalmatia region of Croatia. It is also a part of the Mediterranean Sea.
7) The Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea sits on the Eastern edge of Europe and the Western edge of Asia. Oddly enough, the Caspian is technically the largest lake in the world. It was originally identified as a sea because it contains saltwater.
Sporcle.com. (March 15, 2019). What Are the Seven Seas and Where Are They? https://www.sporcle.com/blog/2017/04/what-are-the-seven-seas/
WorldAtlas.com. What And Where Are The Seven Seas? https://www.worldatlas.com/aatlas/infopage/sevensea.htm.