I should have written this introduction with Eugenia Ferragina. She made a huge effort to follow this project until her last supplies of energy finally ebbed away and she succumbed to a cruel illness. She loved her work and the idea of contributing to a better world through research. Her world revolved around the study of the Mediterranean Region: she displayed dedication and enthusiasm possessed by very few, and which even fewer can transmit to others. The editing of this book was largely the result of her efforts and the fulfilment of her passion.