The Mediterranean City-World
Author: Roberto Pasini
Affiliation: University of Monterrey, Mexico
It is a shared notion in historical literature that, across the centuries, the Mediterranean has supported a myriad
of commercial and cultural fluxes among lands juxtaposed by open warfare or low intensity conflicts. The geography of the Mediterranean basin is formed by lines of towns that in certain cases might share more similarities with the ones sitting on the opposite shore rather than with their own hinterlands. The collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century entails a vast process of abandonment of the cities described by Aldo Rossi as a movement of the seats of territorial power to the hilltops. (Rossi 1980) Focusing on the renovated urban rise that starts as early as the ninth century to flourish in the Late Middle Ages, David Abulafia has described this territorial regime as one of inhabited edges opposed by conflicts but connected by fluxes bearing on mercantile feverishness. The lands of Islam on the southern and western shores span from Cordoba, Valencia, Tunis, Palermo, Mazara, Alexandria, to Cairo. The Christendom extends over the Ligurian and Tyrrhenian Seas from Barcelona, Montpellier, Marseille, Genoa, Pisa, Naples, to Amalfi. The Byzantine dominion extends over the Adriatic and Aegean areas from Venice, Corfu, Thessalonica, Athens, Constantinople, Antioch, to Cyprus. The permanently contended strongholds of the Crusaders’ states like Tyre, Sidon, Acre, Jaffa, and Jerusalem, conform the Levant.
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