Lecture 5: Ideal city, happy town
On concepts of the cities in the Mediterranean
• “Mediterranean cities, which experts claims create villages around and for
themselves... and seals, banners and shields.
• … no one can know all the peoples living along the… or the two together”. (13,76)
The “seed of the city”
• What does a village have that a city doesn’t?
o Cities have a theatre
o Why would a city want to have a theatre?
• Why don’t villages have palaces?
• What is the city?
o Important buildings
o Organized due to large population
o Different sources of production
o * Relatively permanent and highly organized centre of population, of greater
size or importance than a town or village
o Given to certain urban communities by virtue of some legal of conventional
distinction that can vary between regions or nations
• Urban community
o In most cases, however, the concept of city refers to a particular type of
community, the urban community, and its culture, known as “urbanism”
o Inhabited place, demographic consideration of prime importance in the
concept of the city
o City is larger than the town and village
o Opposition to countryside
o Lures of the city
▪ -Charles Gates, Ancient Cities. The archaeology of urban life in the
Ancient near east and Egypt, Greece and Rome (2003)
▪ City is characterized by its functions
▪ Ceremonial, ritual role, administrative center, commercial centre,
▪ Cities are product of socially stratified societies
▪ Social distinctions among population; social hierarchy o “The city is a relatively large, dense and permanent settlement of socially
Understanding the city
• Urban infrastructure
• City life
Cities in the Mediterranean
• Near East
o Anetdates several centuries cities in Med.
o 5 millennium BC
▪ Oldest settlements in Med.
▪ Athens and Greece
o Unplanned and planned cities
o 5 century BCE
▪ First mention of a city planner
Features of med. City
o Community of citizens sharing common pol, relig and soc traditions
o More emphasis to be put on the physical aspects of the city
• -E.J Owens, The City in the Greek and Roman world
Defence cities were located with a view to the natural defensive qualities of the site
Symbol of city’s independence and the last place of regude for its inhabitants
• Greek: Acropolis