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Cities of the World demonstrates how the city was linked to the birth and progress of civilization itself, how it has acted as a focus for ideas and technologies, arts and sciences, and even religious devotion. It shows the ways that some cities grew slowly into haphazard, unplanned beauties, while others were shaped by the will of masterful individuals. Whitfield chose the cities featured here not only because they are richly and beautifully illustrated, but also because they demonstrate a notion of spirit—an outward and inward uniqueness.
Many of these historic maps have a pictorial quality that vanished long ago from the functional town-plan. Depicting the classical city-state, the medieval fortress, the baroque capital, and the industrial metropolis, the sumptuous illustrations in this book chronicle how simple outlines found on Babylonian clay tablets evolved into the stylized pictures of medieval times and spectacular bird's-eye panoramic views, finally culminating in the highly functional mass-produced maps of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Wonderfully evocative of the places they depict and the artistic tastes of their time, these maps shed new light on civilization itself, with all of its contradictions, shortcomings, energy, and aspirations.
Copub: British Library