Libyan sea

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Libyan Sea (Mediterranean)
Libyan sea
Libyan sea
The Libyan Sea between Crete and Libya

The Libyan Sea ( Latin Libycum Mare , modern Greek Λιβυκό Πέλαγος Livykó Pélagos ( n. Sg. ), Ancient Greek Λιβυκόν πέλαγος ) is a section of the Mediterranean Sea between Crete and the North African coast off Libya .


Location of Crete and Libya
Different defined southern border of the Ionian Sea (also the northern border of the Libyan Sea)
red: border according to the IHO
yellow: traditional borders

The name of the sea region comes from Roman geography and means the sea behind which the provinces Libya superior and Libya inferior lay.

The International Hydrographic Organization  (IHO) does not use the term marine region, which means that it simply represents the free eastern Mediterranean . The expression is still used today to divide the Mediterranean into regions across the board. How the Libyan Sea is delimited as a submarine depends on different definitions of its more separate neighboring seas:

  • The arch formed by the Greek islands of Kythira , Crete and Karpathos separates the Libyan Sea from the Aegean Sea to the northeast . Also in the minds of seafarers, coming from the north, the Libyan Sea is the "open sea" - in contrast to the Aegean Sea, which is rich in islands.
  • To the east of the Libyan Sea is the Levant Sea , the easternmost part of the Mediterranean Sea. According to a tradition that extends from the names of ancient geographers for the southern Mediterranean to representations in modern travelogues and on newer maps, the Libyan Sea extends far east to Tobruk and Alexandria . Occasionally the line running further west from Cape Ra's al-Hilal on the Libyan coast to the island of Gavdos south of Crete is also given as the border. The IHO does not manage this side sea either.
  • In the west, according to the traditional definition, the Libyan Sea extends to the Kleine Syrte on the east coast of Tunisia. To the north of it is the Strait of Sicily (in the broader sense ancient Sicilian Sea ) between Sicily and Tunisia , where the island group of Malta can be seen as the eastern border .

The also still Roman African Sea (Mare Africum) is outdated for this region . More modern one speaks here simply of the Central Mediterranean .

  • In the northwest of the Libyan Sea lies the Ionian Sea . The IHO defines the southern border of the Ionian Sea as a line from Capo Passero in southern Sicily to Cape Tenaro , the southern tip of the Peloponnese , in the east. There are also maps on which the Sicilian Sea extends so far to the east that it is pushed between the Libyan and Ionian Seas. On another map, the Sicilian Sea ( Mare Siculum ) lies only east of Sicily and south of the Ionian Sea, while the sea area between Sicily and Tunisia on both sides of the Strait of Sicily is referred to as the African Sea (Mare Africum) .

Island world

The largest island in the Libyan Sea is Djerba . Other islands in the Libyan Sea are, depending on their delimitation, the Kerkenna Islands and a few small islands near Crete's south coast; the largest and only permanently inhabited of these is Gavdos .


The Libyan Sea is colder than usual in the eastern Mediterranean, especially on the south side of Crete near the shore. This is due to the deep currents prevailing there.

The water appears in a clearly dark blue shimmering color and looks very clear.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Crete Map , Ed. Eastern Crete Development Organization 2004, Fotis Serfas
  2. ^ George Ripley, Charles Anderson Dana: The New American Cyclopaedia: A Popular Dictionary of General Knowledge . D. Appleton and Co., 1861
  3. Handbook of Ancient Geography . Leipzig 1844, p. 21 ( Google eBook, full view in Google Book Search).
  4. LI´BYCUM MARE . In: William Smith (Ed.): Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography . 1854 ( ).
  5. Sicilian Sea . In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . 6th edition. Volume 18, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1909, p.  515 .
  6. International Hydrographic Organization: Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition, Montecarlo 1953 ( PDF online , 971 kB)
  7. Mer de Sicile on Carte de la Méditerranée du VIIe au Ve siècle av. J.-C. ( htm ,
  8. File: Roman Empire.JPG , Wikimedia Commons
  9. ^ John Bartolomew: Italia . undated ( jpg ,