Years ago I read a series (I think it was a trilogy) where there were users of magic in a civilization in the Mediterranean basin before it became a sea. About all I can remember is that the civilization got wiped out when the barrier between the Mediterranean basin and the Atlantic ocean was breached and the ocean waters rushed in and flooded the basin. I have a vague recollection that the breach wasn't natural, that someone broke the barrier on purpose, but I'm not certain about that.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Can you be a bit more specific about approximately what year you read this? Do you recall the covers of any of the books?
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 9 at 0:35
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    Sounds like Randall Garrett's Gandalara series. The first book was The Steel of Raithskar.
    – FlaStorm32
    Commented Jun 9 at 0:43
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    How many "years ago"? Two or twenty or...?
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 10 at 13:48
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    I know it doesn't fit but this made me think of explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1190:_Time.
    – pigrammer
    Commented Jun 10 at 14:02
  • @DavidW 1980s? Maybe early 1990s? All I can recall of the book covers is earth tones.
    – Traildude
    Commented Jun 12 at 4:04

2 Answers 2


If it's psionics and sufficiently-advanced technology, not really "magic" per se, then Saga of the Pliocene Exile (1981-1984) by Julian May is actually a better fit than the magic world of The Gandalara Cycle. The flooding of the Mediterranean is a major event in the second book, The Golden Torc.

Quoting from the summary on Wikipedia:

The Saga of Pliocene Exile (known as the Saga of the Exiles in some markets) is a narrative of the adventures of a group of late 21st and early 22nd century outcasts who travel through a one-way time-gate to Earth's Pliocene epoch in the hope of finding a simple utopia where they can escape the complexity and politics of the modern post-intervention intergalactic society.

However, the reality the travelers find in Pliocene Europe is far from their expectations. The time travelers of Group Green arrive to discover that the Pliocene is already inhabited by a dimorphic race of aliens ('exotics'), Tanu and Firvulag. The exotics, who have fled their home galaxy because of religious persecution, were marooned on Pliocene Earth when their "living" ship crashed on Earth.

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    I'm in the middle of a re read right now so it's the first thing that came to mind. Too slow to see the question, alas.
    – Shawn
    Commented Jun 9 at 1:23
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    Flooding the Mediterranean basin was indeed deliberate in The Golden Torc, as the OP vaguely recollects.
    – Ben
    Commented Jun 10 at 10:09
  • This sounds a lot closer to what I remember, except that as I recall it the entire civilization was in the Mediterranean basin and when the Gibraltar strait broke it was all destroyed.
    – Traildude
    Commented Jun 12 at 4:23
  • @Traildude The entire civilization didn't live in the Medittanean basin, but the Gibraltar strait was broken during a major event when a huge number of people had travelled there, including most of the top aristocracy. It was pretty cataclysmic, completely changing the status quo for the remaining books. If your memory of the story is vague, I can easily see how it could have ended up as "everything was destroyed by the flood" in your recollection. If you have more specific memories that literally everything was gone, then this might not be it.
    – Ben
    Commented Jun 12 at 5:58

A magic-using civilization in the Mediterranean basin sounds like The Gandalara Cycle by Randall Garrett and Vicki Ann Heydron.

The protagonist, Ricardo Carillo, is a university professor on a cruise when an exploding meteor throws him into another land deep in the past.

It doesn't really match on the flood, though, since that is only threatened in the last book.

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