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Charles B. McClendon and Rosamond D. McKitterick

[Fr. Aix-la-Chapelle]

City in Nordrhein-Westfalia, Germany. It was the birthplace and residence of Charlemagne, ruler of the Frankish Kingdom, and remained associated with German rulers throughout the Middle Ages; most Holy Roman emperors were crowned there until 1531. Founded by the Romans in the 1st century ad as a modest military settlement, its Roman name, Aquae Granni (‘Waters of Granus’), was derived from a local Celtic deity and the area’s abundant hot springs: the remains of three bath complexes have been uncovered in the centre of the city. Despite the collapse of the Roman Empire, the therapeutic waters encouraged continued habitation, and during the early 790s Charlemagne chose Aquisgranum, as it was then called, as his capital. Until his death in ad 814, he spent part of almost every year there and built an elaborate palace, of which the chapel survives (see also Palace of Aachen). He gathered scholars and artists from all over Europe in order to promote the cultural revival known as the ...




Iranian town in northern Fars province. A prosperous centre in medieval times, by the 10th century it was fortified with a citadel and had a congregational mosque. The octagonal tower of mortared stone known as the Gunbad-i ‛Ali was erected, according to its inscription, by a Daylamite prince in 1056–7 to contain the remains of his parents. The Masjid-i Birun, a mosque to the south of the town, may be slightly earlier, although it has many later additions. The congregational mosque (rest.), with four iwans around a rectangular court, dates mostly to the 14th century, although the base of the dome chamber probably belongs to the 12th-century mosque. The many mihrabs within the mosque include a particularly fine stucco example (1338). There are also several mud-brick tombs in the town. These square structures have plain exteriors and plastered and painted interiors. One of the earliest is the tomb of Pir Hamza Sabzpush (12th century); the finest was that of Hasan ibn Kay Khusraw (...



Malcolm Higgs

Scottish city situated on the east coast of the estuary of the River Dee and River Don. The city centre is divided into two historic parts of distinct character: Old Aberdeen and New Aberdeen. Old Aberdeen is dominated by St Machar’s Cathedral and King’s College (est. 1495), which was merged with Marischal College (est. 1595) as part of today’s Aberdeen University, which grew up near the Don around the seat of the bishop (the bishopric was established in 1137). New Aberdeen, a royal burgh beside the Dee (est. ?early 12th century), was extended in the Neo-classical style in the late 18th century and early 19th to form the heart of the present commercial centre.

In Old Aberdeen, well established by the time of the earliest surviving royal charter of 1179 and enhanced by the founding of a royal mint soon after, the High Street leads south fro m the cathedral, which was started by the Don in ...


Abu Mina  

Peter Grossmann

[Abū Mīnā]

Site of a Christian city and pilgrimage centre in the Maryūt Desert, c. 45 km south-west of Alexandria, Egypt. It grew up around the shrine of St Menas, who was martyred during the persecution of the Christians instigated by Diocletian (reg 285–305). The ancient name of the site is not known, and the position of the saint’s grave had been long forgotten until, according to legend, several miracle cures led to its rediscovery. The place then quickly developed into an increasingly major centre of pilgrimage where, among other things, the so-called Menas ampules were manufactured as pilgrim flasks and achieved particular renown. The first excavations of the site were undertaken by Kaufmann in 1905–7. Further excavations have been directed successively by the Coptic Museum in Cairo (1951), Schläger (1963 and 1964), Wolfgang Müller-Wiener (1965–7) and Peter Grossmann (since 1969).

The earliest archaeological remains date to the late 4th century, although the grave itself was in an older hypogeum. The first martyrium basilica erected over the grave dates to the first half of the 5th century and was rapidly enlarged by various reconstructions and extensions. Around the turn of the 5th and 6th centuries, the Great Basilica was added to the east in the form of a transept-basilica, making it the largest church in Egypt (...



Pina Belli D’Elia

[Lat. Acheruntia]

Town and commune in the province of Potenza, southern Italy. Known for its strategic position on top of a rocky hill, it was a Roman colony and subsequently coveted by Byzantines, Goths, and Lombards. During this time it was under the authority of Benevento, and later on Salerno. It was conquered in 1043 when the city came under the rule of Asclettino I, Count of Acerenza (d 1045), brother of Ranulph, Count of Aversa (reg 1030–45), and then from 1061 Acerenza was under the control of Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia (reg 1059–85). It was at this time that Pope Nicholas II (reg 1058–61) elevated the city to an archbishopric. The first archbishop was Arnaldo, from Cluny, and in 1080, when the relics of St Canius were discovered, he founded a new cathedral in the centre of town, which is now the main monument. In ...



Valerie A. Clack

Australian city and capital of the state of South Australia. It is situated on the banks of the River Torrens, between the Mt Lofty Ranges and Gulf St Vincent in the south-eastern part of the continent. The city (population c. 1 million) is noted for its fine colonial urban plan. Adelaide was founded in 1836 as an exercise in planned settlement, jointly controlled by the British Government and a London committee whose members were influenced by Edward Gibbon Wakefield’s ideas on systematic colonization. The final site for the city, c. 8 km from the sea, with a suitable inlet for a harbour (Port Adelaide) c. 11 km to the north-west, was selected amid considerable controversy by Surveyor-General Colonel William Light (1786–1839). Light’s urban plan is remarkable for its public squares and parkland, features not included in Governor Darling’s regulations (1829) for New South Wales, which dominated 19th-century urban planning in most parts of Australia. Light planned Adelaide in two parts, north and south of the river. The grid of the southern part, the principal commercial area, was orientated to the cardinal directions, with two main streets (King William Street and Grote/Wakefield streets) intersecting at a central square (Victoria Square). Four smaller squares were also included, and the outer streets on all four sides were planned as broad terraces, with North Terrace, bordering the river, intended for the best residences: Government House, a stuccoed Regency villa by ...



R. Nath

City and administrative seat of the district of the same name, in Uttar Pradesh, India. Situated on the Yamuna River in the fertile north Indian heartland, it is 200 km south of Delhi and 55 km south of the ancient city of Mathura. A centre of Mughal culture and government in the 16th and 17th centuries, Agra has numerous monuments of that period, including the famed Taj Mahal (see §II, 1).

Agra’s antiquity is indicated both by a living literary and religious tradition and by occasional archaeological discoveries of ancient pottery, bricks, pillars and sculpture in and around the city. Pilgrimage centres upstream on the Yamuna are associated with the great epic the Mahābhārata, and nearby Mathura is one of the ancient sites identified with the worship of Vasudeva Krishna. The name Agra may derive from the ancient Hindu sage Angira. The area was ruled by Rajput chiefs prior to the Muslim conquest (...


Aguilar de Campoo  

José Luis Hernando Garrido

Spanish town in the province of Palencia. The chief monument in the town is the monastery of S María la Real, which lies on the banks of the River Pisuerga, close to the Cantabrian Mountains. It is in the former diocese of Burgos, and is typical of other foundations of the Premonstratensian Canons regular. The oldest parts of the monstery, which date to the 1160s, still show evidence of superb workmanship. During this time the church was built to the height of the transept and had a covered cloister. In 1169 Alfonso VIII, King of Castile (reg 1158–1214) gave the monastery to Retuerta Abbey. The second building phase ended in 1200 and shows influences from Burgos and Navarre even though the building is similar to Cistercian houses such as that at San Andrés de Arroyo, also in the province of Palencia. The third building phase dates to the second and third decades of the 13th century and the style compares to that of the monasteries of Las Huelgas, Retuerta, and Bujedo de Candepajares. It was in this phase that expert Angevin architects as well as local craftsmen proficient in late Romanesque designs worked together....



R. N. Mehta and Jonathan M. Bloom

revised by Sheila S. Blair


City in western India, until 1970 the state capital of Gujarat.

Remains of bones and tools indicate occupation in the area around Ahmadabad during the second millennium bc. The earliest permanent settlement, called Ashaval after its founder Asha Bhil, was established on the eastern bank of the Sabarmati River in the 8th century ad and prospered in subsequent centuries. In 1391 Zafar Khan was appointed Governor of Gujarat by the Sultanate rulers in Delhi. In 1403 his rebellious son, Tatar Khan, proclaimed himself Sultan of Gujarat at Ashaval but died a few months later, possibly from poisoning. His father regained power and, assuming the title Muzaffar Shah I, proclaimed himself Sultan of Gujarat. On his death he was succeeded by his grandson, Ahmad Shah I (reg 1411–42), who built a capital at Ashaval, naming it Ahmadabad. Ahmad’s reign chiefly involved the expansion of his realm and the propagation of Islam....



Whitney S. Stoddard

[Lat. aquae mortuae: ‘dead waters’]

Town in Gard, southern France, in the north-western section of the Rhône Delta or Camargue. It is one of the largest surviving medieval fortified towns. Although documents show that there was a port on the site of Aigues-Mortes in the late 12th century and first third of the 13th, the town was officially not founded until the Charter of 1246, which exempted inhabitants from taxes. Louis IX (reg 1226–70) conceived of the walled city. He wanted a port to establish a royal presence in, and access to, the Mediterranean, and he needed a fortified town to protect crusaders, pilgrims and merchants, providing a safe haven from which to launch crusades, as well as a commercial centre for trade between the Levant and northern France. The only land available for this purpose lay between that owned by the bishop of Maguelonne and king of Aragon (which included the region around Montpellier) on the west, and Provence controlled by Emperor Frederick II on the east. Negotiations with the Benedictine monks of Psalmodi for the acquisition of land for the walled city began in ...



Nicole Martin-Vignes

[Lat. Aquae Sextiae]

French spa and university city, capital of Provence from the 14th to the 19th centuries. It is situated in the Arc Valley c. 30 km north of Marseille and has a population of c. 125,000. The capital of the Celtic Salluvians, Entremont, was destroyed in 123 bc by Gaius Sextius Calvinus, who set up a fortified camp close to some thermal springs nearby in 124 bc. This became the prosperous colony of Aquae Sextiae, capital of Gallia Narbonensis Secunda from c. ad 375. The city became a bishopric under St Maximinus (fl 1st century ad) and an archbishopric in the 5th century, when the baptistery of St Sauveur Cathedral was built on the Roman forum. In 574 the city was sacked by the Lombards and abandoned.

Situated at what was once a major crossroads of the ancient town, Aix Cathedral is a composite monument, its various parts dating from different ages. Three churches are identifiable—Roman, Gothic and Baroque. The cathedral’s baptistery dating back to the 5th century was transformed in the 10th/11th century, when it was crowned by a cupola, and it was revised again during the Renaissance. In effect the cathedral has grown and changed with the town of Aix itself....



Asok Kumar Das

[anc. Ajayameru]

City in Rajasthan, India, that flourished from c. 12th century. Ajmer was an important centre of Jainism in the 8th century, but it was not until c. 10th century that the area came into prominence under the Chahamanas (Chauhans) of Shakambhari. King Ajayapala is said to have founded the city in the 12th century, naming it Ajayameru after himself. He is also credited with building the now ruined hilltop fort called Taragarh. His son and successor Arnoraja (also called Anaka) constructed the massive embankment that created Ana Sagar Lake. The Chahamanas, especially Prithviraja (1178–92), constructed numerous temples and other buildings at Ajmer, as well as bathing ghats at Pushkar Lake some 11 km west. None of these are preserved in their original state.

Ajmer was sacked by Mu‛in al-Din Muhammad of Ghur in 1192 and again by Qutb al-Din Aybak in 1193, the latter incorporating it into the Delhi sultanate. The Sanskrit college complex of Visaladeva and numerous temples were destroyed, and the building materials were reused to raise an impressive mosque in ...



Francis Anfray

[Axoum; Axum]

Capital of the ancient kingdom of Aksum, in the modern Tigray Province of Ethiopia, c. 600 km north of Addis Ababa. It flourished between the 1st and 8th centuries ad. The modern town occupies part of the site, which faces south over a fertile plain at the foot of a flat-topped hill, Mt Beta Giyorgis. The ancient city’s importance is attested by the many monuments scattered throughout the modern town, including huge stelae and throne bases, broken pillars, inscriptions and royal hypogea. The first extensive investigations were undertaken in 1906 by a German team under E. Littmann. During the 1960s and 1970s French, British and Italian teams carried out further excavations, led by Francis Anfray, Neville Chittick and Lanfranco Ricci, respectively.

From the 5th century bc the surrounding region was ruled by a local monarchy with a major centre of Yeha, less than 50 km north-east of Aksum, with close ties to the kingdom of Saba in southern Arabia. Elements of this strong southern Arabic influence survived in the culture of Aksum and its kingdom, which was founded in the 1st century ...


Alba Iulia  

Suzana More Heitel

[Hung. Gyulafehérvár]

Romanian city in Transylvania. It was founded on the site of the Roman fort and settlement of Apulum, the ruins of which include a palace with mosaics. The nucleus of the medieval city is the fortress situated on a terrace of the River Mureş. In the south-east of the fortress four churches were built. The first, a rotunda partially preserved in the present Roman Catholic cathedral, is thought to date from c. 950 and was probably dedicated to St John the Baptist. It comprises a circular Roman tower, reused as the nave of the church with the addition of a semicircular apse. The second building, a single-aisled church with a semicircular apse, dates from the first half of the 11th century. This church, probably the first Roman Catholic cathedral, appears to have been founded by Stephen I, King of Hungary (reg 1000–38). It was probably used until the construction in the late 11th century of the first basilica at Alba Iulia. Architectural and sculptural fragments from the basilica survive in the present cathedral above the south door....



Franz Rickert

[Lat. Albingaunum; Albium Ingaunum; Album Ingaunum]

Italian town and bishopric, 72 km south-west of Genoa. It was a port in the Roman period, and its street grid-plan has partly survived, but, with the silting of the River Centa, it is now 1 km inland. Pottery and sections of the hull of a merchant ship that sank offshore c. 80–60 bc are preserved in the Museo Navale Romano in the Palazzo Peloso-Cepolla (13th century). The Civico Museo Inguano is housed in the Palazzo Vecchio del Comune (1387 and 1421). The cathedral, which was built in the 11th century and enlarged in the early 14th century, has a galleried apse and a campanile built in 1391.

The most important monument, however, is the 5th-century baptistery. Its ground-plan is decagonal without and octagonal within, the alternating rectangular and semicircular niches being flanked by columns. The original cupola was destroyed in the 19th century. The edge of the octagonal font at the centre of the hall has starlike points and was surmounted by a baldacchino. The only mosaics that survive are on the front wall of the building and on the vaulting of the presbytery niche. Although the latter has been heavily restored, it can be dated to the 5th century. At the centre of the vault is a christogram comprising the letters A and ...



Richard A. Sundt

French city and capital of the south-eastern département of Tarn. The wedge-shaped quarter known as Castelviel, on the south bank of the River Tarn and directly west of the cathedral (see §1 below), constitutes the oldest part of the city, originally a Celtic settlement. Although important during Gallo-Roman times as a distribution centre for local agricultural goods, Albi developed formal urban institutions only in the 6th century ad when the city was under Frankish rule. Christianity was probably introduced into the Albigeois shortly after ad 250, and an episcopal see was established at Albi a century and a half later. Until 1678, when it was elevated to an archdiocese, the bishopric of Albi was suffragan to the metropolitan see at Bourges. Despite the upheavals resulting from the Albigensian Crusade, the Inquisition and conflicts between the townspeople and their rulers, the 13th century was a prosperous one for Albi. During this period a number of important religious and civic buildings were initiated, and they still largely define the city’s architectural character. The earliest is the fortified episcopal palace, La Berbie, begun ...



Luciana Arbace

Italian centre of ceramic production. The town, situated near Savona in Liguria, was a flourishing centre of maiolica production during the Renaissance. It was, however, only during the 17th and 18th centuries that a distinctive style developed. Important families in the pottery business included the Grosso, Chiodo, Corrado, Salomone, Pescio, Seitone, Seirullo, Levantino and Siccardi, all of whom produced large quantities of polychrome plates (e.g. by the Corrado, mid-17th century; Nino Ferrari priv. col., see Morazzoni, pl. 43), albarelli and vases, which were sometimes inspired by silverware and contemporary delftware. In some cases, yellow and an olive green were used on a turquoise ground. Wares were decorated in a calligraphic style with an emphasis on naturalistic motifs including such animals as leverets; this style later evolved into Baroque forms painted with soft, loose brushstrokes.

In the 1920s the Futurist potter Tullio Mazzotti (1899–1971), who took the name Tullio d’Albisola, revived Albisola’s reputation as a pottery centre. The town continued to produce pottery throughout the 20th century, especially the blue-and-white pottery known as Antico Savona. The Museo della Ceramica Manlio Trucco houses a collection of Albisola pottery from every period....


Alcalá de Henares  

Miguel A. Castillo

Spanish city in Castile, 30 km east of Madrid. It lies on the site of the Roman city of Complutum and a subsequent Moorish fortification, the castle (Arab. al-Kalá) of Qal‛at ‛Abd al-Salám. A small Mozarabic settlement developed here at the supposed site of the martyrdom of SS Justus and Pastor. From the 13th century Alcalá was the country retreat of the archbishops of Toledo; its considerable growth during the Middle Ages was due partly to Archbishop Carrillo’s extension of the city walls in 1454, but most of all to the founding of the Complutensian University there in 1498 (transferred to Madrid, 1836) by Cardinal Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros. The university occupied more than a third of Alcalá within the walls. Two radial streets were extended with a rectilinear layout of parallel side-streets, and this regular plan dominates the university area and links it with the medieval part of the city, from which it is separated by the Plaza Mayor....



Jean-Claude David

[Arab. Ḥalab; Fr. Alep]

Chief city of northern Syria. After the Turkish conquest of Anatolia in the late 11th century, Aleppo became increasingly important as a regional capital, and, under the Zangid (reg 1127–1222) and Ayyubid (reg 1183–1260) dynasties, the city played a fundamental role as a centre for the reconquest of Crusader territories in the Levant. Under the Mamluk (reg 1250–1517) and Ottoman (reg 1281–1924) dynasties, Aleppo was the second city of the Arab world after Cairo, a focus of Middle Eastern trade and a meeting point between East and West.

The prehistoric village on the site seems to have gained ascendancy over others in this fertile agricultural area due to the presence of the rocky eminence on which the citadel stands. At the end of the 19th century bc, Aleppo was conquered by the Hittites, and a few low reliefs and inscriptions survive from the period of Hittite domination. The urban character of the city was revived when ...



Judith McKenzie, R. R. R. Smith, Wiktor A. Daszewski, A. H. Enklaar, Dominic Montserrat, C. Walters, and Wladyslaw B. Kubiak

revised by Gordon Campbell, Sheila S. Blair, and Jonathan M. Bloom

Egyptian city situated on the Mediterranean coast west of the delta of the River Nile, capital of Egypt from c. 320 bc to ad 642, seaport and centre of ancient Greek culture.

Judith McKenzie

Alexandria was founded in 331 bc by Alexander, on the site of the small Egyptian settlement of Rhakotis. Its location, with access by canal to the River Nile, enabled it to become an important and highly prosperous trading centre, and by c. 320 bc Alexandria was the capital of Ptolemaic Egypt. During Ptolemaic times (304–30 bc) it became a major centre of learning, with famous scholars of literature, mathematics, astronomy, medicine and geography, and it played a major role in the transmission of Greek culture to the East.

With the defeat of the last Ptolemaic monarch, Cleopatra VII (51–30 bc), by Octavian (later called Augustus) at the Battle of Actium in 30...