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C OF C / Hospitality / HTMT 26501 / What are the characteristics of egypt and the indus valley?

What are the characteristics of egypt and the indus valley?

What are the characteristics of egypt and the indus valley?


School: College of Charleston
Department: Hospitality
Course: The City as a Work of Art
Professor: Nathaniel walker
Term: Spring 2017
Cost: 50
Name: The City as a Work of Art Notes part 2
Description: These notes cover everything from January 25 until the midterm exam.
Uploaded: 02/27/2017
13 Pages 140 Views 1 Unlocks

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

What are the characteristics of egypt and the indus valley?

Ur was planned, it had a defensive wall and towers, it was safe for people who lived there and  paid taxes.  

Other parts were a mess, not planned. Straighter, wider streets were a later intervention.  

Egypt and the Indus Valley  

Egypt is quite close to the fertile crescent, so it would be easy to assume there was some  trading between the two. There may have been some, later, but at first there was a huge desert  and the mediterranean sea between them.  

The Nile has cataracts, waterfalls, surrounded by sheer cliffs, and deserts on the sides, so  Egypt was perfectly naturally protected.  

What is the argument about Egyptian cities? No need for protection. The Nile is also a highway,  a central transportation source. The old idea was that there were no cities in Egypt, they were  so spread out along the Nile because they didn’t need protection that they weren’t really cities.  But there were actually cities, they just floated around, they built and torn down or abandoned  and rebuilt in a different place along the river. Made of mud brick. They used the stone to build  temples for the dead.  

What is the indus valley civilization?

Not talking about something large and complex like Ur, it’s more fluid. Egypt has planned  urbanism, more planned than Ur or Catal Hayuk or other places.  

Amarna was different, Akhenaten needed to move away from the old religious infrastructure  because he was trying to make a new religion, monotheistic in which they only worship the sun  god. But after he made the new religion, it seems a plague swept through Egypt, so the new  god is seemed as useless and they move back to the old gods and try to destroy the new city.  Abandoned after Akhenaten died. They had to obliterate his memory to dissolve him in the  afterlife as well. removed his statue and name and everything to try and purge the spiritual  illness.  

Nearby city Kahun had neat houses made for the working class, perhaps as an incentive to stay  loyal, to make the poor workers feel included and like a part of society (even though they were  against Akhenaten — people have found tiny models of the old gods in these houses).  

What is feng shui?

We also discuss several other topics like Why genes on the same chromosome violate independent assortment?
Don't forget about the age old question of What pertains to the process of gradually adding more of the same types of skill?

Indus Valley Civilization  

We don’t know anything about these people. They had writing but we can't read it. We don’t  know what language they spoke. These people knew how to organize. Buildings were geometric  and consistent. we’ve found palaces and religion, there’s no doubt this was an urban center.  They have unified masonry—all the same bricks make up everything they’ve built and in all the  cities. They had streets and sewers, rain disposal systems, running water. They have baths that  are close to the temple, they obviously value cleanliness. Sustained hygiene. The government  built baths and hygiene infrastructure for the poor as well as the rich. If the poor got sick, the  rich would be in danger too, so the gov’t wanted the poor to stay clean.  Don't forget about the age old question of What is the meaning of purines in biochemistry?

Ritual ablutions is something that is found in many religions throughout history. The prevention  of disease is a spiritual matter for those who don’t understand germs—washing and cleaning  yourself was a religious ritual to prevent you from getting sick.  

Why did they make all of the bricks so uniform? to show that they are unified and fortified? Were  they some sort of economic value—bricks as currency?  

This was multiple cities, you could call it an empire.

Friday, January 27, 2017  

China: four thousand plus years and counting

People have been trying to destroy classical Chinese civilization for years but it still survives.  The Chinese script has clearly evolved linearly through time and is still the same language it  was then.  

In an ancient symbol for the city, there is symmetry, there is a main center to the city. It could be  houses or roads, if you look at the symbol with arrows.  If you want to learn more check out What are symptoms of depression?

The perfect rectangle may also represent religion — Chinese believed that a rectangle was the  perfect shape of the cosmos, because it represented all four cardinal directions.  It’s difficult to move the capital city. If you leave the city, you leave behind the footprints of your  ancestors. There’s an implicit criticism to your family and ancestors to leave, makes them feel  like you are walking away from the relationship. So if it is necessary to leave for whatever  reason, such as the spot is indefensible or the resources have run out, you must consult the  priest. You have to make sure that it’s going to be an ok place, and ask the right questions.  They build the wall first which is strange and unique. They know exactly how big the city will be.  They draw it out to plan it. You gotta be tied into all the cosmic directions, and you have to have  the four walls, and the city within the city where the emperor lives. You need to build it as close  as possible to the city you left behind.  

You have the wall and three gates on each side. The gates sort of project out. If the city is built  right and it has the respect of the ancestors and the emperor is good, the city will flourish. The  empire will also grow. The city will hopefully power the whole empire politically, economically,  militarily, and spiritually. The gates let the right people in and keep the wrong people out and  project the spirit of the emperor to the whole empire. This is an imperial capital. Not every city in  China is an imperial capital, its a very special kind of city. In the center is an administrative  quadrant. At the heart is the control center, the forbidden city. The imperial city in the middle and  the forbidden city in the middle of that are kind of tied up together.  We also discuss several other topics like What is the nebular theory of solar system formation?

They planned the roads as well as the gates, the buildings, the walls, the forbidden city. But they  didn’t plan houses for the regular every day middle class people.  

Beijing is still around and was used as the imperial capital for a long time. The forbidden city at  the heart of the imperial capital.  

There are multiple layers of walls, and boundaries, like the mountain to the north of the  forbidden city protecting the emperor from the harsh north winds and energies.  

Monday, January 30, 2017  

Cast bronzes are extremely ancient in China, art that connects the present Chinese culture to  ancient China, as does writing, language, and city planning.  

If you divert from the ways of your ancestors, you’re insulting them. That’s why a new city  looked just like the old one.  

Being connected to a compass and the cardinal directions was very important.  You can tell that a building in China is important when it has more than one roof. Don't forget about the age old question of How do you rearrange an equation?

Feng Shui is a theory or practice that asserts that the earth has certain energies related to the  compass, and spirits according to mountains, rivers, directions, etc, that influence life and  energies. A combination of spiritual efficacy and practical efficacy.  

Stones on the staircase up to the palace—no one could touch them, not even the emperor, he  was carried so that it looked like he was floating above them.  

Suzhou is called the Venice of the East and the City of Gardens. Some of the oldest gardens in  the world are here.  

Huizong became the emperor unexpectedly after his brothers all died, and he had been trained  in painting, art, poetry, calligraphy, etc. so he wasn’t really trained to be emperor. He brought a  lot of art and culture to the empire. For centuries, architecture was just a craft, but under  Huizong it became art. He also loved rocks: Petromania, love crazy for rocks. imperial  structures were rebuilt to accommodate for huge rocks.  

The sacred threshold: common tool in many different societies. It’s not a practical gate used to  get from one place to another, it marks a boundary into a sacred enclosure.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The type of mass produced architecture that Huizong elevated from a craft to a find art is  dolegong (?). Seen all over China and also spreading to Japan and Korea.  

The Minoans. Have everything you need to define a civilization. Formal religion, writing, politics,  etc. Cities, have architecture that’s recognizable. Minoans are really into columns, but they don’t  have a lot of engineering skill. They aren’t like the Egyptians in their ability to manipulate natural  materials like stone.  

Columns were made of wood. Made from trees, and they flipped the tree upside down so that  it’s wider at the top than the bottom. They put them upside down so that they wouldn’t continue  to grow and sprout.  

As they urbanize, the colonnade remains a very important feature in their architecture. Could be  called an empire or a kingdom, it’s more like a kingdom. Most of the people they controlled were  Minoans. The house of the king became part of the public realm, which was strange. Even  though it is the king’s palace, it’s permeable to the public. It’s not surrounded by walls, it’s  surrounded by columns.  

It’s also not symmetrical, which tells us that it wasn’t all planned in one go, it grew naturally.  Mythology asserts that beneath the palace there’s a labyrinth that you don’t come out of—the  minotaur in the labyrinth.  

Mycenaeans — strong military power.  

In the main gate of the capital city, the stone carving at the top of the gate shows two lions  flanking a Minoan column. Why did they show a symbol of a foreign city in their capital? Did  they consider themselves the conquerors of the Minoans. Maybe they brought it from Minoan  themselves. Claiming a kind of urban status that they haven’t earned yet.  As rough and warlike as the Mycenaeans were, they held up until they collapsed and the dark  age of Greece occurred. Traditionally, when cities go away, reading goes away.

The Greek Polis or City State

Athens—built on a hill, a great acropolis. means high city. Athenians considered themselves  Athenians and Spartans were not athenians. They didn’t have a cohesive idea of themselves as  Greeks.  

Originally Athens was built on a hill and that’s where people lived, because it was defensible.  Later when the dark ages ended, they moved down into the valley but the houses of the gods  remained on the hill.  

Sacred gates exist in Greek culture as well, in Athens letting you into the sacred space at the  top of the hill where the parthenon is.  

Greeks were famous for not really caring about their houses, they were kind of dumpy. Greeks  really cared about public space. Public space was orderly and beautiful.  

Below the acropolis is another public space that is very important — the agora. Very different  from acropolis. Acropolis is sacred, the agora is social. It does have religions functions, it had  temples, but its not exclusively for sacred functions, it has a little bit of everything. In the  reading, referred to as the world’s first public square.  

The Stoa — a giant colonnade. What was the point? Could be used kind of like a market—it’s  an open place, where people could talk and share ideas and knowledge. They’d sell their  teaching. debates and discussions, offer to give a class in exchange for money or food. That’s  why it was called the first public square— it was a place for talking and socializing.  

Friday, February 3, 2017  

Palace of Gnossos in Crete — Minoan city name  

Greek town planning:  

Even though they do order the acropolis a little bit especially with the Parthenon in Athens, most  of it isn’t planned or orderly, especially the houses of Athens, which were a mess.  Across the Aegean sea in what is now Turkey, Miletus—Greek planned city, is a Greek city that  got attacked by the Persians. When a city gets torn down, you get the opportunity to redo it  better. A greek guy went over and rebuilt it. Residential fabric was perfectly planned—Greeks  don’t seem to care much about their homes, but the public life is allowed to grow naturally  because it’s more important.  

Ur showed us they planned the important stuff and let the other unimportant stuff grow  organically. But here in the Greek city they planned the homes and private parts of the city, but  let the public space be organic and interrupt the grid. They allow the sacred space to interrupt  the ordered space. They don’t really care about their homes, Greeks never have, so they made  all the houses the same so there’s a kind of anonymity in that identical grid house structure.  


How does Rome begin according to mythology? Romulus and Remus were brothers raised by  wolves, when they grew older they wanted to found a city on the seven hills but they fought over  what to name it and Romulus killed his brother. Started with blood.  

On each of the seven hills there was a village and the villages considered the others to be  enemies. They did their trade and commerce in the valleys, though.  

Why did they live on hills? Defense, they can fight against each other, and also the valley is  marshy and swampy and unhealthy so they don’t want to live there.  

Rome grows a lot before the idea of city planning sets in so it’s not really a planned city. They  start to borrow urban planning from the Greeks, Africa, etc but not till later.

Because it was in a swamp in a valley among hills, they would have to build a lot of  infrastructure, including sewers and tunnels for water and aqueducts to get the good water in  from surrounding mountains. Aqueducts are just dry stone, no concrete or mortar, well  engineered.  

They’ve grown like crazy in this place they didn’t really plan to, and after building all this  infrastructure you can’t move it.  

The Roman Forum—plural, Fora. Built by different emperors over time, each one trying to outdo  the one before. This is where the try and make some order in the mess.  

They try to regulate the traffic by making pedestrian streets and cart streets and making carts  illegal during the day. So crowded, a million people there.  

They build markets to exchange money. Romans are also obsessed with law, and the markets  are flanked by law buildings.  

You had to buy land in downtown Rome which was extremely expensive and clear it out and  then build there if you wanted a public space. To keep other buildings out but let people in, they  built walls of columns.  

How did the Romans build this city? Brick. Brick and stone and concrete. Concrete that is better  than ours. Sometimes they even reinforced concrete with iron—so rebar isn’t as new as some  people would have you believe. They also used wood but it rotted away so we don’t really see  wood in Rome. But they used anything they could get their hands on to build with.  Rome is a Republic for a while, and then becomes an Empire.  

Roman houses were not super ornate, kind of a walled compound like we saw in China, kind of  anonymous on the outside. Roman residential quarters were famously blank and boring. But  inside there is a ton of art.  

Peristyle — columns. Style means column, and peri means all the way around, so its a  courtyard surrounded by columns. Also found among Egyptians and other societies, not so  much the Greeks but sometimes. This would be a very well to do family that has its own  peristyle garden.  

Many people lived in tenement type buildings, where poor people would live on top of each  other. There was a height restriction made into law, that they couldn’t go over 70 feet, six  stories. Which tells us that they could build over six stories. Fires were a huge problem. Bottom  would be stone, top parts would be wood. They were called insulae. Hygiene is kind of a  problem here, so Romans build public latrines, tied into sewer systems.  

To control all these people, you need a strong leader. You can also entertain these people— colloseum, etc. You also have to feed these people. Every citizen gets bread and circuses.  

Miletus—Greek planned city

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Greeks find there is a kind of divine order in the way the world is designed—looking to  nature, geometry, biology, etc. Nautilus shells, leaves. Parthenon is perfectly regular and  ordered.  

Rome—they build public spaces in the middle of the downtown called fora. places to argue and  have political debates. They are used for politics, religion, business, trade. Markets were built

here or formed here. They used colonnades a lot to signify walls around the open space so it  couldn’t be taken over, but so that people could still get in and walk through it.  Romans are building with lots of materials, anything they can get ahold of.  

If you were well to do, you would live in a domus, a household complex with a courtyard,  garden, several rooms.  

In order to keep their poor citizens happy, everyone gets food and entertainment—bread on  wagons being handed out, and circuses in the colosseum.  

The only way you can really see Rome’s town planning is if you leave Rome and go to one of  their colonized cities. Every five or ten miles there was a castrum a military camp. Sometimes  these became cities, sometimes they just stayed camps. They settled in valleys, not on hilltops  because they were strong and didn’t have to worry about defense.  

Romans are very careful about sanitation and disease. They are careful to build tents with  drainage. it still happens, they still get sick, but less so than others.  

The camp was well organized, with a public square in the middle.  

Camps or villages had two main roads, intersecting in the middle.  

There’s an amphitheater outside the city walls—in smaller towns, where there’s not a guard to  keep order in the town, you don’t want a bunch of drunk Romans who just lost bets on  gladiators to get into the city, so you lock the doors until they sober up or behave.  

The aesthetics of Roman urbanism are linked to a clear theory of what urbanism is for. If the  Greeks were borrowing from the Persians and Egyptians then the Romans are going to be  borrowing from all of those.  

Vitruvius, ca. 15 BC — Utilitas, Firmitas, Venustas. Usefulness, strength and durability, and  beauty.  

Timgad—north african Roman town, covered in sand and then later found again. Roman  castrum town. It’s walled. It was never fully filled, but it was planned.  

Friday February 10, 2017  

Ethos of Roman architecture

Propaganda is important—controlling your population and military is important  Their main goals are Strength, usefulness, and beauty. They get their ideas about beauty from  the human body and geometry. Believed in a kind of underlying harmony in nature, the power of  the gods and natural order, some force that if you can discern it, you can wield it to make  beautiful things.  


The Mesoamerican “Control Group”

The control group is the group in isolation to determine if things that happen in other groups are  caused by coincidence or influenced by other cultures.  

This is a place where two different landmasses—North and South America—come together and  squeeze down and that seems to be where you get a great mix of culture and public. Same with  Mesopotamia—in between Africa and Eurasia.  


The Mesoamericans did not have writing. We don’t know anything about them for sure. They  had a lot of purposeful building. A natural mountain made to look artificial, an artificial mountain  made to look natural. Had a ball game, had maize, had a deity for maize, had sculptures of  either deities or kings.  

Teotihuacan :

An enormous metropolis. In a high valley, almost a paradise. Full of fruit and vegetables, fish  from brooks, you can see why people would want to live there. Several small cities started out.  Smaller city: A volcano erupts and the people are ruined, the priests and people who were  supposed to build a good relationship with the gods were in trouble because that was a bad sign  from their gods. People lose faith in their town and move to Teotihuacan.  

Teotihuacan: eight square miles, fairly well planned out. There were areas that were planned  and areas that weren’t. There’s squares, almost a grid. The ceremonial center is well organized,  and outside that center its a little messy but its still squares that are aligned on the axis,  responding to surrounding mountains and cosmic planetary bodies.  

We don’t know what kind of government these people had. Symmetry—pyramids purposefully  aligned with mountains, temple of the moon.  

What do mountains provide? Water. You can see the rain hitting the mountains—the gods favor  them. It enters into caves and emerges in springs in the valley.  

The Lava Tube—volcanic cave. It’s an ideal place to do religion. Beneath pyramid of the sun.  When it rained, it would fall down the pyramid and into the channel around it, the water would be  fed into the lava tube.  

The lava tubes seem to have lobes at the ends that have been engineered. Somewhat like a  womb. The earth is filled with water like being impregnated and gives life through crops.  

We do know that there is a specific deity connected to this—a mother of the earth.  Monday, February 13, 2017  

Each house compound had a peristyle courtyard—private outdoor space with columns.  Columns with circles at the top a lot like the Palace of Nossus. The closer to the center of the  city, the better quality of the house compound. Theres lots of inequality, some people have  nothing or are very poor and others are much better off.  

Major obsidian trade here—volcanoes. Homes divided into districts by trade—some sections  sold pottery some, did obsidian napping, etc. Seemed to be organized by economic or  mercantile processes.  

The Ciudadela and Temple of Quetzalcoatl, Teotihuacan. Enormous green square that could  possibly fit all the people of the city. Pyramid within filled with bodies. Dignified dressed warriors.  Walls covered in iconic sculpture. Once brightly colored and with eyes sparkling with obsidian.

Teotihuacan seems to have been sacked, at least in the middle parts, but not the outer edges,  which sort of suggests that the poor people of Teotihuacan sacked the rich parts. But we don’t  know.

After Teotihuancan was over, civilization moved south to the Maya. Thrives from about 2000 BC  to AD 250. At that point something happened but we don’t know what, perhaps cut down too  many trees and lost their water sources. Moved to a different Maya city.  

Oldest ones were the Patain. We actually know more about their politics than the Teotihuacans.  Maya had writing. Many of their books were burned by the Spanish. But they also had ceramics  with their hieroglyphic writing. We also have architectural inscriptions, on the buildings.  

Time is crucial to the Maya. They develop a complex, precise calendar. They live firmly in the  tropics. So they need a calendar to keep track of the time to know when the rains are coming— they don’t have seasons, their days and nights don't get shorter as much as they do further from  the equator. So they have to keep careful track of the rainy seasons so they can prepare their  agriculture.  

Basic house groups are built with thatched roofs, often on a platform raised off the rainforest  ground—allows for drainage so houses don’t rot, keep animals and insects out a little more.  

Palace of Palenque — stone palace on top of a pyramid. They don’t have true arches, their  architecture is limited.  

Eventually the Putain collapses and everyone moves to the Yucatan. Palace of Sayil, Puuc  Region.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

El Mirador, Guatemala. Maya city. The cosmos is a crocodile floating in the water. The lines of  the crocodiles skin represent the ridges in the land and farmed fields.  

Peru—Ancient Andean Cities

did not have writing. Developed urban civilization independently, before any of the  Mesoamericans. They have maize. That’s the only thing they may have shared with the other  civilizations, which came later.  

Caral, Norte Chico civilization.

Isla del Sol. Bolivia.  

Island of the Sun was so sacred that it continued to be used for sacred rituals for thousands of  years. Stable sacrality.  

Several big empires before the Inca.  

Ancient Andean Ceremonial cities—made of exquisite stonemasonry, used optical illusions to  make it look the size of a person, but as you approach it it gets bigger till its larger than life.  

Pikillaqta, Wari civilizations. Impeccably planned, grid system. Not very popular, didn’t last very  long. Streets that remain are still perfectly straight.  

Pachacamac, Wari civilization. Very important, near the ocean. Gives rain. Straight streets. City  evolved over the centuries.  

These cities rise and fall, and a dark period comes, and in times of fear people retreat to the  hilltops. When they finally come down again, they form the Inca empire, but don’t forget their  time on the hilltops. Cuzco was their capital, in a valley surrounded by peaks.  

Friday, February 17, 2017  

Flower mountains — living mountains, connect people to the over-world, bones of the earth  jutting out of the city scape into the heavens to connect ancestors to the heavens and living  people through the ancestors to the heavens.  

Lake Titicaca, Island of the Sun. Large symmetrical walls, framing devices, faces embedded  within them.  

Marking thresholds, marking the transition between a sacred space and something else,  something we see again and again throughout civilizations.  

Pikillaqta, Wari civilization —streets and blocks, squares, was well planned but never finished.  

Huakaypata and Kusipata — Inka Empire. Along rivers that are now underground.  Two squares, one economic, one religious. Lined with royal palaces.  

Filled the square with sand from the Pacific Ocean and filled it with small figurines of animals  and people.  

Macchu Pichu — it doesn’t make any sense to have a city here, it’s impractical, they have to dig  terraces into the mountains to have agriculture. The urban structure follows the religion, not the  other way around.

The ideal City in Ancient Greece

Constantly seeking order and harmony in nature, the nautilus shell, something from nature that  was in perfect order and harmony.  

Plato wrote a book called the Republic that described a perfect society led by philosopher kings  and protected by carefully bred and chosen warriors. The idea that a perfect, elegant city will  create well behaved, good people continues into present day.

Plato imagined Athens as the perfect city, but for this it had to have an enemy. The enemy was  Atlantis, imagined by Plato. They were perfect as well, a garden city created by gods, people  were wonderfl, godlike, like Poseidon. But eventually they began to breed with outsiders and  their character declines but their power increases, and they decide to invade the rest of the  world, starting by invading Athens. In the end, the gods will sink Atlantis into the ocean. The  book ends without really explaining what happens.  

The Ideal City in the Jewish Tradition  

The Garden—separate from the rest of the world. planted in the east. Has four rivers that flow in  every direction. The Garden of Eden. Starts out wonderful and beautiful and pure. Of course,  everything falls. afterwards, they live outside the garden. Until Cain kills Able, he is driven away  from the threshold of Eden, and builds the first city.  

People want to be remembered, they want their names to live forever.

 The tower of Babel. They use baked bricks, not natural stone and wood. Bricks stuck together  with tar. That’s technology. Cain invents blacksmithery, the very beginning of creating new  things from nature. God sees the tower they build to be remembered forever, gets worried,  comes down and stops it all by making them all speak different languages so they couldn’t  communicate, and people scattered all over the world.

Monday, February 20, 2017  

Many ancient cities that don’t work out. But Jerusalem lasts a long time, it’s very old.  

When the Jews finally get to the promised land, they build a great temple in which the  Tabernacle, the mobile temple they carried with them, is placed. They finally have a place to live  together. The temple is God’s house. But it’s short lived. Evil people like those from Babylon and  other evil cities come and destroy it.  

A prophecy delivered by a man named Ezekiel. He dreams he is taken to the side of the town by  an angel and given specifications for the city. He’s given detailed measurements, which implies  that he is going to have to build it.  

The Hebrews do return and rebuild the city. Herod builds a fantastic temple, which the Romans  eventually completely destroy, burning even the stones, processing the remains.  

The New Jerusalem:  

A small sect of Judaism breaks off and becomes Christianity.  

St. Augustine writes a book, The City of God, after Rome is sacked by Barbarians soon after  accepting Christianity as the national religion. The Eternal City. Blamed Christians for the  sacking of Rome. St. Augustine states that this was always destined to happen—Rome was  founded on fratricide, just as the original city Babylon was. No city can last, they are all doomed  to fail.  

Christians must see themselves as refugees, ex-patriots from heaven who are living in exile on  the earth for the time being. The city of God versus the city of Man exist in eternal conflict with

each other. Early 400s, fifth century. Pervasive idea that keeps fascinating people into the  Middle Ages.  

Collapse of the West

The difference between the East and the West happens when Rome is destroyed. All the cities  in the West are gone, cows grazing in the Pantheon. In the East, cities continue for another  century. this continues until Islam comes and grows. They bring literacy and knowledge of  history, which the Barbarians living in the West do not have.  

Charlemagne, the next viable ruler of the West, is a “redneck.” The West breaks down into a  feudal society.  

Feudal Society Simplified

There are those who pray, those who fight, and those who work. Obviously, those who pray and  work are in charge of the rest.  

The City of God

A continuance of literate society is rooted in the church, in Ireland. Ireland is one of the only  places that retains literacy during the post-Roman slump. It’s not an urban place, though. It’s  mostly monasteries that consider themselves the city of God.  

One of the few urban planning instances we have in Western Europe at the time is the plan for a  monastery. Qualities of urbanism, but it’s a monastery. It’s an impossible monastery, just an  idea, never really happens, don’t have money or professional architects or builders or  designers, so they just dream about it.

Jerusalem is not forgotten. Jerusalem becomes more of a symbol and less of something to  aspire to, with the Crusades. Christians in the East continue. Jerusalem is taken in Augustinian  terms as a dream of heaven. In the East they can still read, have access to libraries, traditions  continue, they have architecture. Culture continues, in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia, the East.  

As the Middle Ages continue, the idea of a city comes back, people can draw representations of  a city. Roman cities that had been abandoned are becoming repopulated. Open, public Roman  urbanism becomes closed off, fortified, with towers. Some cities grow up around castles. People  flock to castles during the time of instability after the fall of Rome. Villages grow up into towns,  esp. where there are rivers. Towns that retreat to the hills stay up there for a long time. Even  after peace returns, it’s not perfect. They’re still going to be fighting each other.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017  

Jerusalem—God dwelling among his chosen people

It gets destroyed, Hebrews forcibly removed to Babylon. There is a dream of the reconstruction  of Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the temple. Given to Ezekiel by an angel with precise, exact  calculations and specifications for the building. It’s a joint enterprise, God and human working  together to build a city. After they build it, the river erupts from the temple and restores the  garden of Eden.  

The New Jerusalem, taken over by Christians, the new sect of Judaism. Their Revelation sees  Jerusalem as a piece of heaven.

The City of God—book written by St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430). Rome has been sacked and  many people blame the Christians. It was doomed though, as it was founded by a brother killer.  The new Jerusalem, heaven, will be perfect and better than Rome ever was.  

In the West, representations of Jerusalem are influenced by the idea of it as the city of God.  It is a very slow return to cities in the Dark Ages. Old abandoned Roman towns come back,  towns form around castles, and new towns pop up, and there are towns of refuge and retreat  that convey the terror and fighting of the Middle Ages.  


Tiny town of Wells, England. Good place to look for public space in the middle ages because it  hasn’t really changed. The market and the church, the two places for public events in the  Medieval City. Bishop of Wells became famous for thinking to build a stream diverted through  the market square to give the people fresh water.  

There was a wall around the city, incredibly important in Medieval cities, and in lots of places.  The moat surrounds the Bishop’s palace.  

Often found walls dividing the city. Places where beggars might wait and hope for money from  someone passing from one part of the city to another.  

A Street in the City of God—Vicar’s Close, Wells, England. Totally planned urban street, built for  the choir of the church. Very orderly, symmetrical street to give a place for the choir boys and  preserve the separation of the city of God and city of man (ie, keep the choir boys from flirting  with the farmer’s daughters)

The Great Flesh Shambles, York, England. Tiny, unregulated street, kind of a mess, windows  jutting out above the street. Not big on hygiene.  

These early towns are defined by trade. They’re not very religious or political, commerce is the  main reason to exist.  

Another reason to start a city based on ideas of city of man—military. Military towns or Bastides —its about the castle, the town is there to serve the castle, not the other way around.  Religious war towns

Aigues-Mortes, France, founded by Louis IX. He was a Saint, this was a Catholic city. There’s  nothing outside the walls to this day.  

Garonne, France. Well organized grid. Perhaps an attempt to use antique philosophy—the way  the squares and blocks get slightly wider each block is reminiscent of the nautilus shell—natural  beauty and harmony. French Bastide.  

Friday, February 24, 2017

French Bastide, Garonne France, a rare exception to the norm because it was well planned and  organized. The Eastern roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, does not fall at the same time as  the West, it continues for much longer, but it is extremely different than the West. Instead of  barbarians storming the west, the culture of Islam invades and influences the East.  

The Stereotypical Islamic City. There are lots of variations, different things to call it like Islamic  or Arab but there are a few principles to know.

1. Friday mosque. The place everyone goes on Friday to pray

2. Royal palace. Don’t have a separation between religion and state. Right next to each other

3. Markets or suqs. Take on a lot of different forms, but tend to be inside. Trade is of huge  importance, it’s a mercantile society. Markets are huge, can creep into residential quarters,  lining the main streets.  

4. Main streets. Streets understood as public. In Islamic cities, public streets are private and  every other street is not.  

5. Residential quarters or khitats. It’s private, that’s where women and children are—if you  wander in there and don’t have a specific person there to visit, you will be asked to leave.  6. Walls and gates.  

7. Citadel or fortress, usually outside. Connected to royal authority. important that royal palace  is inside the city so its accessible to people, but the royal citadel must be outside to be ready  to attack. Military, not civilian.  

The Early Islamic Empire

Early ancient towns in the deserts of Arabia. There were cities along the coasts but in the middle  it was a desert and not much civilization —people here were nomadic and followed the oases.  Composed of tribal camps that were temporary—you don’t go into neighbors camps. Pastoral  camps come into the cities and settle for a while. These cities swelled and shrank during the  year as people came in and then left. The beginning of Islam. Muhammad managed to make  the pastoral tribes stop fighting each other long enough to take Mecca. After they take Mecca  they unify all the tribes into one Islamic force to march north.  

These are pastoral nomads who are an unbelievable fighting force, unstoppable warriors. The  leadership is worried that if they settle in towns they’ll get soft, not as good warriors. When they  did let them settle, in Basrah, which evolved from a camp to a reed settlement to a town, they  had to build low to the ground and poorly, bad urbanism so that they still wouldn’t get too  comfortable.  

The conquest of Damascus

Two armies converge. They surrender to one and play that one against the other. They let one  army through the gates and by the time the other army breaks in, the city is already taken.  Damascus has a long central street called The Straight, still there, ancient. Public space is  considered private, you can extend your house into the street as long as people can still pass  by. They let the Christians keep their church and they built a mosque next door. It looks like a  church in some ways because they used a Christian Byzantine architect. But then the church is  destroyed later. New Caliph moved to Damascus and made it their capital, and he didn’t want a  Christian church in his Muslim capital city. Many Muslims still feel this was a shameful act—they  made a deal with the Christians and then broke it.  

For most Muslim cities, there isn’t a grid—they try sometimes but it doesn’t work, or there was a  grid but it went away. but one exception was Umayyad town planning, gridded. Anjar, Lebanon,  was planned and gridded. It is extremely Roman, with arcades and collonades.

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