This article highlights the shared experience of cities in pre-modern times as they were perceived and sought to promote their urban identity, whether in terms of the built environment (gates, squares, religious, civic, and other buildings); eulogies and chronicles; or descriptive literature. It considers the special importance of urban public space in the West, and the contrast between the print cultures of the East Asian and European city and the manuscript culture of its Middle Eastern counterpart, and stresses how parallel trends were influenced by intercity rivalry and increased commercialization. At the heart of contact and exchange between the world's cities were the great ports which played an instrumental role in the transition to proto globalization serving not only intercontinental commerce but acting as gateways to inland and regional trade networks.
Keywords: urban identity; urban public space; print cultures; intercity rivalry; commercialization; ports; commerce; trade networks
Article. 8154 words.
Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History
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