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Introduction: Urban Topography as a Reflection of Society?

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Chapter Summary

This is the introductory chapter of the book The Fabric of Cities: Aspects of Urbanism, Urban Topography and Society in Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome, which presents a collection of articles which address interconnections between aspects of the topographical structure of ancient cities and the social-political organisation of ancient cities and states, as well as cultural perceptions of urban spaces. One presumed contrast between eastern and western cities of antiquity concerns the idea that city planning began with Hippodamus of Miletus. The main contrast between the ancient Near East and Greece has been the notion that Mesopotamian cities lack public open spaces for assemblies like the agora and special purpose buildings for communal or leisure activities like the stadium, theatre, gymnasium. Šterbenc Erker's contribution, in examining the meaning of the Aventine within Rome's religious topography, opens up another horizon for intercultural comparisons.

Keywords: Šterbenc Erker'; antiquity; Aventine; Greece; Hippodamus of Miletus; Rome's religious topography; urban spaces



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