Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-xii

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Preface

Jessica Joyce Christie, Jelena Bogdanović, and Eulogio Guzmán

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pp. xiii-xiv

Political Landscapes of Capital Cities investigates the processes of manipulation of the natural landscape and its transformation into culturally constructed and ideologically defined political landscapes, as a result of the urban design of capital cities, understood as principal seats of governmental authority. In this sense, capitals turn into political landscapes that, in Adam T. Smith’s (The Political Landscape: Constellations of Authority in Early Complex Polities, 2003) definition of the term, encompass the material elements of buildings and infrastructure, the cultural constructs of their urban...

Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-2

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Introduction: The Spatial Turn and Political Landscapes of Capital Cities

Eulogio Guzmán, Jessica Joyce Christie, and Jelena Bogdanović

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pp. 3-24

The present volume builds upon the core of Adam T. Smith’s work, The Political Landscape: Constellations of Authority in Early Complex Polities, which was based on Henri Lefebvre’s original thesis that the production of space is a social construct.1 This collection of essays articulates the ways political terrains were created, manipulated, and contested for a variety of capitals across time, including Amarna, Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Belgrade, Constantinople, Cusco, Kiev, Matera, Mexico-Tenochtitlan, Moscow, Novgorod, Pliska, Preslav, Ras, Rome, Smederevo, Thonburi, Tiwanaku, Tehran, Veliko Tŭrnovo, and Vladimir. Smith gives politics and their manifestation in space...

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1. Akhenaten’s Amarna in New Kingdom Egypt: Relations of Landscape and Ideology

Jessica Joyce Christie

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pp. 25-64

A few years after Pharaoh Amenophis IV (ruled ca.1353–1337 in the Eighteenth Dynasty during New Kingdom Egypt) had assumed the highest office in Thebes, he decided to radically reorganize and redirect the Egyptian political and religious system: he left the New Kingdom capital of Thebes and demoted the traditional Theban triad of gods—Amun, Mut, and Khonsu—and their powerful attending priestly classes. Out of this tabula rasa1 he created Amarna as the new capital of his reign, dedicated to the sun disk—the Aten—which he raised to the lone supreme god of Egypt, and to himself as this god’s only messenger and earthly incarnation. The new era was initiated by an important act of name changing: Amenophis IV meaning “Amun...

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2. “Memorials of the Ability of Them All”: Tetrarchic Displays in the Roman Forum’s Central Area

Gregor Kalas

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pp. 65-96

In late ancient Rome, local senators set up portrait statues of emperors in the Roman Forum while senatorial portraits were heavily concentrated in the Forum of Trajan, since both spaces granted lasting political benefits to those depicted in the images.1 By the late fourth century, the historian Ammianus Marcellinus spoofed aristocrats seeking excessively formal statues that seemed to express yearning for prestige rather than for senatorial virtue. Ammianus hints that Rome’s aristocrats unwittingly caused cultural stagnation, since statues potentially preserved elite social hierarchy for generations to come. “Some of these men eagerly strive for statues, thinking that by them they can be made immortal, as if they would...

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3. The Relational Spiritual Geopolitics of Constantinople, the Capital of the Byzantine Empire

Jelena Bogdanović

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pp. 97-154

Strategically located on a peninsula on the European side of the narrow Bosphorus strait that connects the Mediterranean and the Black Seas (by way also of the Sea of Marmara and the Dardanelles), Constantinople, the capital city of the medieval Roman Empire that we know as the Byzantine Empire (324–1453), was the largest and most thriving urban center in the Old World.1 The city was founded by the first Roman Emperor who embraced Christianity, Constantine I (d. 337), as the eponymous capital outside historically dominant urban centers and as the alternative to the city of Rome. This chapter outlines the physical production of the...

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4. Beyond the Ashes: The Making of Bangkok as the Capital City of Siam

Melody Rod-ari

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pp. 155-180

In The Political Landscape, Adam T. Smith convincingly argues for due recognition of the natural landscape in the formation of early complex polities by drawing on multiple references to the Classic Maya, Urartian, and Mesopotamian cultures.1 The natural landscape and specifically bodies of water were also critical in the formation of the political landscapes in Asia, including the modern geobody of Thailand. Of the over ninety rivers (maenam), tributary rivers, and canals (khlong) in Thailand, only two are considered principal river systems: the Chaopraya and the Mekong (figure 4.1).2 The Chaopraya River has long been a focus for cultural, religious, and political activity in Thailand and is seen...

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5. Monumental Perceptions of the Tiwanaku Landscape

Alexei Vranich

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pp. 181-212

Throughout time people have tended to view their own place of settlement as central to the order of the universe and, accordingly, have built substantial structures or transformed entire landscapes to conform the physical world to their cosmological view. This representation of the cosmos, usually conveyed symbolically through images, oral histories, rites, and architecture, affords “a ritual paradigm of the ordering of social interaction at the same time as it disseminates the attitudes necessary to sustain it.”1 In turn, the ritual actions of the people imitate the cyclical movements...

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6. The Inka Capital Cusco as the Model of an Imperial Cultural Landscape

Jessica Joyce Christie

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pp. 213-248

Inka Cusco presents a fascinating case of the material and literary construction of an imperial capital, identifying features of which were copied in many parts of an expanding territory to mark Inka space. Cusco was the capital city of the Inka who set out to conquer vast territories in the first half of the fifteenth century. At the time of the arrival of the Spaniards in the 1530s, the Inka empire reached from what is now northern Ecuador to southern Chile and from the lowland jungles of Bolivia and Peru to the Pacific Coast (figure 6.1). This chapter is concerned with the role Cusco played in the processes of state formation and the construction of an imperial landscape. The natural setting of the Cusco...

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7. Making Landfall: Anchoring Authority in the Public and Private Political Sphere of the Basin of Mexico

Eulogio Guzmán

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pp. 249-286

In the early 1200s the Mexica/Aztec entered into the high mountainous Valley of Mexico after a purported one-hundred-year migration. According to ethnohistorical sources and corroborating archaeological evidence, the Basin of Mexico was crowded with a network of peoples whose political leaders had organized into diversely sized polities that settled around Lake Texcoco (figure 7.1).1 The combination of dense settlements and the physical attributes of the highlands of Central Mexico created a highly competitive, internecine environment in which its inhabitants continually jockeyed for power. After several attempts at settling around the lakeshore, the Mexica made a daring move: they established their capital Mexico-Tenochtitlan (Tenochtitlan hereafter) within a marshy island located in the midst of Lake Texcoco...

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8. Provincial Capital vs. Peasant Capital: A Subaltern Perspective on Urban Rise and Fall from Grace

Anne Parmly Toxey

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pp. 287-318

History is rarely recorded from the subaltern viewpoint. This is certainly true for the many histories written about the ancient city of Matera. Located deep in southern Italy, this city has been the prize of invading armies and the destination of incoming immigrant groups for millennia (figure 8.1). Situated in and on a cliff at the threshold between eastern coastal trading cities, such as Bari, and the remote, mountainous interior of the southern Italic peninsula, Matera’s poised position has witnessed waves of human migration and settlement. Much of this observation of movement and change has come from within the cliff. Matera’s most distinctive feature is its indigenous building form: cave structures excavated from the naturally cavernous ridge...

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9. La Parola al Piccone: Demonstrations of Fascism at the Imperial Fora and the Mausoleum of Augustus

Stephanie Zeier Pilat

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pp. 319-346

Although Benito Mussolini (1883–1945) and Italian Fascism (1922–1943) are linked to the city of Rome in our collective consciousness today, the relationship between the regime and its capital was not always a straightforward one. Mussolini initially fashioned himself a political outsider, the leader of a band of angry revolutionaries who opposed the political culture and bureaucratic institutions of Rome. When he founded the Fascist Party in 1919, the First World War had weakened an already fragile state. Inflation, a decrease in factory production, rising unemployment, and the thousands of soldiers returning home from war...

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10. Tehran: A Revolution in Making

Talinn Grigor

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pp. 347-376

In his study The Political Landscape, Adam T. Smith highlights the political clashes of the 1990s in Moscow, Belfast, and Jerusalem to reinforce often underestimated importance of spatiality not only as backdrop for political activities but also as the very stake of political struggle. 1 The Iranian Revolution of 1978–1979 is considered by many as one of the most important events in the twentieth century. It not only ended the institution of monarchy and established a republic in Iran but also managed to shift the rules of the global power game. Embracing Smith’s discussions of capital cities as primary spaces for political contestation,2 this study maintains that the processes and the meanings of the...

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Conclusions: Ontological Relations and the Spatial Politics of Capital Cities

Jelena Bogdanović, Jessica Joyce Christie, and Eulogio Guzmán

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pp. 377-390

The frontispiece to this this volume, an example of an urban beautification mural project with a view of the Alborz Mountains in southern Tehran, visualizes the focus of this book on political landscapes of capital cities; the essays presented here assess the actual, imagined (illustrated by the mural), and constructed (present in the infrastructure) qualities of space across cultures to explore the ways governments create relational social networks that effectively convey, maintain, and negotiate their political ideals and sovereign authority.1 We present case studies that focus on capital cities because they represent the principal jurisdictional location...

List of Contributors

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pp. 391-392

Index

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pp. 393-406