Cities as Palimpsests?: Responses to Antiquity in Eastern Mediterranean Urbanism [Hardback]

Elizabeth Key Fowden(Editor); Suna Çağaptay(Editor); Edward Zychowicz-Coghill(Editor); Louise Blanke(Editor)

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ISBN: 9781789257687 | Published by: Oxbow Books | Series: Impact of the Ancient City | Volume: 1 | Year of Publication: 2022 | 416p, H9.4 x W6.6, B/w and color
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Cities as Palimpsests?

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The metaphor of the palimpsest has been increasingly invoked to conceptualize cities with deep, living pasts. This volume seeks to think through, and beyond, the logic of the palimpsest, asking whether this fashionable trope slyly forces us to see contradiction where local inhabitants saw (and see) none, to impose distinctions that satisfy our own assumptions about historical periodization and cultural practice, but which bear little relation to the experience of ancient, medieval or early modern persons.

Spanning the period from Constantine’s foundation of a New Rome in the fourth century to the contemporary aftermath of the Lebanese civil war, this book integrates perspectives from scholars typically separated by the disciplinary boundaries of late antique, Islamic, medieval, Byzantine, Ottoman and modern Middle Eastern studies, but whose work is united by their study of a region characterized by resilience rather than rupture. The volume includes an introduction and eighteen contributions from historians, archaeologists and art historians who explore the historical and cultural complexity of eastern Mediterranean cities. The authors highlight the effects of the multiple antiquities imagined and experienced by persons and groups who for generations made these cities home, and also by travelers and other observers who passed through them. The independent case studies are bound together by a shared concern to understand the many ways in which the cities’ pasts live on in their presents.

Table of Contents

Series Preface
Acknowledgments
Illustrations
Contributors

Introduction
1. Historical distance, physical presence and the living past of cities
Elizabeth Key Fowden, Suna Çağaptay, Edward Zychowicz-Coghill and Louise Blanke

Accumulation and juxtaposition
2. Between wars and peace: Some archaeological and historiographical aspects to studying urban transformations in Jerusalem
Gideon Avni
3. Visualizing Constantinople as a palimpsest
Robert Ousterhout
4. Transcultural encounters in medieval Anatolia: The Sungur Ağa Mosque in Niğde
Suna Çağaptay
5. The water of life, the vanity of mortal existence and a penalty of 2,500 denarii: Thoughts on the reuse of classical and Byzantine remains in Seljuk cities
Scott Redford
6. Echoes of late antique Esbus in Mamluk Ḥisbān (Jordan)
Bethany J. Walker

Erasure and selective memory
7. Constantinople’s medieval antiquarians of the future
Benjamin Anderson
8. William of Tyre and the cities of the Levant
Sam Ottewill-Soulsby
9. Portraits of Ottoman Athens from Martin Crusius to Strategos Makriyannis
Elizabeth Key Fowden
10. Perceptions, histories and urban realities of Thessaloniki’s layered past
Nikolas Bakirtzis

The new and the old
11. From Byzantion to Constantinople
Paul Magdalino
12. Looking in two directions: Urban (re)building in sixth-century Asia Minor
Ine Jacobs
13. Byzantine urban imagination: Idealisation and political thinking (eighth to fifteenth centuries)
Helen Saradi
14. Ottoman urbanism and capital cities before the conquest of Constantinople (1453)
Dimitri J. Kastritsis
15. New history for old Istanbul: Late Ottoman encounters with Constantinople in the urban landscape
Göksun Akyürek

Whose past?
16. Medieval Arabic archaeologies of the ancient cities of Syria
Edward Zychowicz-Coghill
17. (Re)constructing Jarash: History, historiography and the making of the ancient city
Louise Blanke
18. Constantinople in the sixteenth-century Maghribī imaginary: The travelogue of ʿAlī al-Tamgrūtī
Amira K. Bennison
19. Beirut as a palimpsest: Conflicting present pasts, materiality and interpretation
Assaad Seif

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