Do you know, after all, what are the 'seven seas'?

You may have heard the phrase "sailing the seven seas", but do you know what those seas are? The phrase, which has a figurative meaning today, has different meanings that depend on the people who speak it and the historical moment.

First of all we must remember that the number seven is historically, culturally and even religiously a "lucky" number. So much so that various stories or denominations throughout the ages receive this number: seven wonders of the world, seven ages of man, seven capital sins and so on.

Ancient seas

To the Persians, the seven seas are a set of correges that formed the Oxus River, one of the longest rivers in Asia. Ancient Romans used the term septum maria (seven Latin seas) to refer to a group of saltwater lagoons.

The seven Phoenician seas were actually all parts of the Mediterranean Sea (Balearic, Ligurian, Tyrrhenian, Aegean, Adriatic, Alboran, and Ionian). They still had the Arabs, which they defined as those seas that were part of the eastern trade routes.

Do you think it stops there? You're wrong! The seven seas still have a medieval definition, which was created by the Greeks and Romans. At this time, the seas were: Adriatic, Black, Mediterranean, Persian, Caspian, Red and Arabian.

Last but not least is the definition of the Age of Discovery (from 1450 to 1650). In this phase, the navigators called the seven seas the Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.


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The Seven Modern Seas

Although the term is figurative, the current list of "true" seven seas is the most accepted by geographers around the world. Look:

  • North Atlantic Ocean;
  • South Atlantic Ocean;
  • North Pacific Ocean;
  • South Pacific Ocean;
  • Arctic Ocean;
  • Antarctic Ocean;
  • Indian Ocean.