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Article

T. F. C. Blagg

revised by Gordon Campbell

[now Mérida]

Roman town in south-west Spain, c. 56 km east of Badajoz, at the confluence of the Guadiana and Albarregas rivers. It was founded in 25 bc as a colony for army veterans (emeritus means ‘veteran’) and was the chief city of the Roman province of Lusitania. Its Roman remains are the most substantial in Spain.

Emerita benefited from superior public works projects. Roman bridges remain across both the rivers. The larger of the two, that over the Guadiana River (nearly 800 m long; early 2nd century ad), which is still in use, was originally constructed of 60 arches of which 57 survive, although many of them have been rebuilt since Roman times. The arches are made of concrete faced with granite and the bridge extends 792 metres across the river valley. The route across the bridge carried the traffic from the major highway out of town directly into the ...

Article

Autun  

T. F. C. Blagg and Kathryn Morrison

[Lat. Augustodunum]

City overlooking the Arroux valley below the Morvan granite massif in Saône-et-Loire, France. Its most important buildings are Roman and medieval. Two arcaded Roman gates, the Porte d’Arroux and Porte St André, were built soon after the city’s foundation in the late 1st century bc (see §1). The large theatre illustrates the prosperity of the Roman city, which was famous as a scholastic centre. It became an episcopal see in the 3rd century. Medieval Autun was important for its pilgrimage cult of St Lazarus, to whom the 12th-century cathedral is dedicated (see §2); its flamboyant 15th-century exterior decoration was added by Cardinal Jean II Rolin. Relatively obscure since the Renaissance, Autun has retained its historic character with good examples of fortification towers (e.g. that of the Ursulines) and houses dating from the 12th to the 15th centuries, alongside later buildings such as Daniel Gittard’s Ecole Militaire, built in ...

Article

Auxerre  

Peter Kurmann, Dorothy Gillerman, Virginia Chieffo Raguin, Jane Geddes and Barbara A. Watkinson

French city in Burgundy, préfecture of the Yonne département. It lies in a wine-producing area overlooking the River Yonne. The Roman town of Autricus or Autissiodurum adopted Christianity in the 3rd century ad, and had its own bishop from early on until the French Revolution (1789–93), when it was combined with the diocese of Sens. St Germanus, second bishop of Auxerre (reg 418–48), founded the Abbey of St Germain, which became an important scholastic centre in the 9th century. Apart from the church of St Germain (see §2 below), the 12th-century dormitory is the earliest of the abbey buildings to survive. The present cathedral was begun in the early 13th century, replacing a series of earlier buildings (see §1 below). The nearby Romanesque Bishop’s Palace (now the Préfecture) also dates from the 13th century, with subsequent additions. The city walls are now mostly destroyed, although several Renaissance gateways still stand....

Article

Ava  

Pierre Pichard

[anc. Ratnapura]

City in Upper Burma at the confluence of the Irrawaddy and Myitnge rivers. It was founded c. 1365 as the third capital of the Shan rulers previously established at Pinya and Sagaing. In 1635 it became the capital of the Burman Toungoo dynasty. It was not finally abandoned as a royal capital until 1841 in favour of Amarapura. In contrast to the usual plan of Burmese cities (see Burma, §III), Ava was built with its citadel, the plan of which was a rectangle with the two longer sides curving slightly outwards, at the north-east corner of an irregular, redented city wall. The wooden royal palace in the centre of the citadel and most of the other structures were either destroyed by the catastrophic earthquake of 1838 or dismantled three years later when the capital was definitively moved to Amarapura, 10 km to the north-east. The ruined Baga-ya-kyaung was, with its 267 teak posts, one of the largest wooden monasteries built....

Article

Avaris  

M. Bietak

[now Tell el-Dab‛a, eastern Delta, Egypt]

Ancient capital of Egypt that flourished during the Hyksos period (c. 1640–c. 1530 bc). The Greek name ‘Avaris’ derives from an ancient Egyptian name meaning ‘royal fortified settlement of the district’. The northern part of Tell el-Dab‛a was at first occupied by the town of Rowaty in the Middle Kingdom (c. 2008–c. 1630 bc). Avaris itself was founded c. 1720 bc as the capital of a local Delta kingdom independent of the ruling 13th Dynasty. The community was at that time largely of Syrian origin, employed originally by the Egyptian navy and treasury. A local Asiatic dynasty took control of Avaris and continued the existing cult of the god Seth. During the subsequent Hyksos rule (15th Dynasty, c. 1640–c. 1532 bc) Egypt was governed by monarchs of Asiatic origin. According to a late tradition of Flavius Josephus, Avaris was strongly fortified, and Egyptian sources suggest that it served as the ...

Article

Avebury  

Rob Jameson

Village in Wiltshire, south-west England, the site of a Late Neolithic ceremonial complex, including a massive Henge and stone circle (see fig.; see also Prehistoric Europe, §IV, 2, (iv), (a); Megalithic architecture, 2). The Avebury monuments are close to the contemporary earthwork at Silbury Hill, the earlier causewayed camp at Windmill Hill and the megalithic tomb at West Kennet. Alexander Keiller excavated and partially restored Avebury in the 1930s.

At the centre of the complex is the great henge, consisting of a ditch (originally 9 m deep) and an outer bank. Sherds of Windmill Hill ware, Peterborough ware and Grooved ware pottery were excavated from the bottom of the ditch. No material from Avebury has yet been dated by radiocarbon analysis, but finds of these pottery types and comparison with other large henges in the locality (such as Durrington Walls) suggest that construction began after c. 2500 bc. The ditch may have been dug in sections allotted to gangs of workers, which would explain irregularities in the shape of the earthworks, as well as the barely circular layout of the stone ring (diam. ...

Article

Aversa  

Manuela Gianandrea

Italian town and comune in the Campania region, near Caserta and north of Naples. Founded in 1029 by Rainulfo Drengot, Aversa turned in a short time from a small village into a key centre of Norman power and culture in southern Italy. It was the first Norman territory in the Mediterranean and still has important monuments documenting its past grandeur, which continued throughout the Swabian and Anjou dominations.

In 1135 the city was expanded by Roger II, King of Naples and Sicily (reg 1130–54; Hauteville, House of family §(1)) who also built the castle in the monumental shape of a castrum with rectangular wings and square towers, later modified by Frederick II, King of Sicily and Holy Roman Emperor. The castle was inhabited by the Angevins, who also founded in 1315 the Real Casa dell’Annunziata, an orphanage and hospice (restored by Luigi Vanvitelli (1700–73) and later transformed into a prison). Oustanding among the buildings built by the Normans is the Cathedral of S Paolo, although its current outline dates to the first half of the 18th century. Prince Jordan I of Capua (...

Article

Avignon  

Paula Hutton and Alexandra Kennedy

Capital city of the Vaucluse département, France. It was the seat of the papacy from 1309 to 1378.

Avignon is an ancient city situated on a cliff, the Rocher-des-Doms, on the east bank of the River Rhône overlooking the delta. The site first attracted settlers about 4000 bc. It became an important village for the Gallic tribe of Cavares, and by the 1st century bc it was named Avennio, meaning either ‘river city’ or ‘violent wind’ (from the frequent mistral winds). At this time it was taken by the Romans, and by Hadrian’s reign (ad 117–38) ‘Avenionsis’ had earned the title Civitas Romana. In the 3rd century a priest named Rufus founded the first Christian community just outside the city walls; the first Jewish community was established at about the same time. During the early Middle Ages Avignon’s strategic position made it the target of invasions by Visigoths, Muslims and others; the resulting Spanish and Arab influences have played a formative role in the literary and artistic culture of Provence. By the 10th century Avignon was part of the Holy Roman Empire; after the era of invasions ended, Avignon (and Provence in general) flourished as a major trade centre, especially during the 12th century. After the commune was established in ...

Article

Ávila  

James D’Emilio

Capital city of Ávila province in Old Castile, Spain. Situated on a spur above the River Adaja at a height of c. 1130 m, it has a population of c. 40,000. It is surrounded by the most complete circuit of medieval walls in Spain and is also notable for its Gothic cathedral (see §2, (i)) as well as many fine Romanesque churches, including S Vicente (see §2, (ii) S).

Once occupied by the Romans, Ávila was repopulated by Count Raymond II of Burgundy (reg 1087–1107) in the 1090s under King Alfonso VI of León (reg 1065–1109), after centuries of abandonment in a no-man’s-land between Christian and Muslim territories. This was succeeded by a century of important construction work, including Romanesque churches in a local style and the cathedral, one of the earliest Gothic buildings in Spain (see §2, (i), (a) below). Defence was the most urgent concern, however, and walls were soon raised on the exposed eastern side of the spur with squared granite blocks from Roman structures, rough sandstone blocks and thick rubble. Construction continued throughout the 12th century along the north and west sides (...

Article

Jennifer Wearden

English town in Devon, situated on the River Axe, known as a centre of carpet production from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th. In 1755 Thomas Whitty (d 1792), a weaver from Axminster, visited Pierre Parisot’s carpet workshop in Fulham, London. An apprentice showed him the workshop, and on his return to Axminster Whitty built a large vertical loom, taught his daughters to tie the symmetrical or Ghiordes knot (see Carpet, §I, 1) and began to produce carpets. In 1757 he submitted a carpet measuring 4.9×3.8 m to the Royal Society of Arts and was awarded a joint prize with Thomas Moore (c. 1700–1788; see Carpet, §II, 2, (iii)) of Chiswell Street, London. Whitty valued his carpet at £15 and the Society ruled it the best carpet in proportion to its price. In 1758 he was asked to submit three carpets and shared the prize with ...

Article

Ayodhya  

B. B. Lal

[Ayodhyā]

City in Faizabad District, Uttar Pradesh, India. Located on the right bank of the River Sarayu, it was the capital of the ancient Kosala kingdom, one of whose kings, Rama, is regarded by Hindus as an incarnation of Vishnu.

Excavations in 17 different parts of the ancient mounds have revealed that the first occupation at Ayodhya commenced c. 700 bc, as is indicated by the occurrence of the earliest variety of Northern Black Polished Ware (NBPW) and a few sherds assignable to a late stage in the production of Painted Grey Ware (PGW). The NBPW is very well fired, thin-sectioned, with a shining surface and showing a variety of colours: steel grey, coal black, indigo, silver, even gold. In the earliest levels the houses were of wattle and daub, but later they began to be constructed of kiln-fired bricks. Terracotta ringwells were used for disposing of sullage water. Concomitantly, systems of coinage (punch-marked and uninscribed cast coins) and weights (cylindrical pieces of jasper, chert etc) also came into being, laying the foundation of urbanization in the Ganga Valley around the middle of the 1st millennium ...

Article

Baeza  

Germán Ramello Asensio

[Beatia; Biesa; Viatiensis]

City in the province of Jaén, Andalusia, Spain. At the western edge of the sloping plateau known as the Loma de Ubeda, it stands on the north bank of the River Guadalquivir. It was called Beatia by the Romans. In the time of the Visigoths it was already an episcopal see (Viatiensis), and under Moorish rule (from 711) it became Biesa and continued to be important as one of the Arab states, the Reinos de Taifas, after 1031.

Baeza was first reconquered (1146) by Alfonso VII (reg 1126–57) and was lost and reconquered several times, before it was incorporated into Christendom by Ferdinand III of Castile (reg 1217–52) in 1227. It was once surrounded by medieval walls with large towers of which some survive, such as that over the Puerta de Ubeda, which carries the coat of arms of the Catholic kings, Ferdinand II of Aragón and Isabella of Castile and León. Existing medieval churches include Santa Cruz, with a Romanesque doorway from the destroyed church of S Juan. The 16th century was architecturally the most brilliant period for Baeza, beginning with the impressive Palacio de Benavente or de Jabalquinto, which has a façade in the Hispano-Flemish style by ...

Article

Baghdad  

[ Baghdād]

Capital city of Iraq. Located on both banks of the Tigris River in central Iraq, the city was founded in ad 762 near several earlier settlements dating back to the 3rd millennium bc. The site marks the closest approach (c. 60 km) of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers before their eventual confluence in southern Iraq. In ad 750 the Abbasid caliphs (reg 749–1258) abandoned the Umayyad capital at Damascus for Mesopotamia but made several false starts in finding an acceptable site for a new capital: the first choice, named al-Hashimiyya, was located between Kufa and Baghdad, a second was located at al-Anbar on the left bank of the Euphrates and a third was near Kufa. The caliph al-Mansur (reg 754–75) selected another site on the west bank of the Tigris not far from the ancient Seleucid and Sasanian capitals of Seleucia-on-the-Tigris and Ctesiphon. He named his new capital Madinat al-Salam (Arab.: ‘City of peace’), although it continued to be known as Baghdad in popular usage. Al-Mansur and his court occupied the city in ...

Article

Bajaura  

Kirit Mankodi

Village and temple site in India, some 15 km south of Kulu town, Himachal Pradesh, which flourished in the 9th century ad. It is located on the old trade route from Punjab to Lahaul-Spiti and Leh. When the region was ruled by the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty in the 9th century, a Shiva temple, the Vishveshvara, was built there. Facing east, the building is square in plan, with prominent niches on three sides containing sculptures of Ganesha, Vishnu and Durga slaying the buffalo-demon (Mahiṣāsuramardini). The walls are articulated with high mouldings (Skt vedībandha), subsidiary niches and corner pilasters. A prominent arched antefix (śukanāsā) is placed over the entrance and each of the door-like niches. The arches each contain busts of Shiva in his four-faced form. The sanctum contains a linga. The curvilinear spire and serrated crowning element (āmalasāraka) are similar to other buildings of the period and may be considered an extension into the Himalayas of the prevalent temple style of northern India. For example, a similar plan and elevation are seen in the Jaina temple outside Banpur (District Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh). The sculpture at Bajaura, however, has a distinctly local cast and shows some relation to the art of Chamba and Kashmir....

Article

A. G. Gertsen

[Turk. Baghče sarǎy: ‘Garden palace’]

Ukrainian city in the Crimea, 35 km north-east of Sevastopol, which was the capital of the Tatar in the Crimea throughout the rule of the Giray dynasty (c. 1423–1783). It developed from an important burial ground of the Giray khans, but the Garden Palace (1503–19), founded by Khan Mengli Giray I (reg 1466–1514 with interruptions) and covering over 4 ha in the valley of the River Churuk-Su, represents the historical core of the city. The earliest structure is the Demirkap (‘Iron gate’) with an inscription referring to Mengli Giray and the date 1503. It is thought to be by the Italian architect Aleviz Novy or Aloisio (fl early 16th century), builder of the cathedral of the Archangel Michael (wooden church, 1333; rebuilt 1505–8) in the Moscow Kremlin. Little is known of the layout of the palace in the 16th and 17th centuries as it was badly damaged by fire in ...

Article

Baku  

E. R. Salmanov

[ Bākū]

Capital city of Azerbaijan. Located on the western shores of the Caspian Sea on the Apsheron Peninsula, Baku is largely built from the limestone that covers the peninsula. The oldest signs of habitation are the White Stones, remains of a cromlech and cylindrical mounds from the Bronze Age in the settlement of Shuvelyan near the city. The oldest monument within the town is the Maiden’s Tower (5th–6th century ad; rest. 12th century), which may have originally been a fortress, temple or fortified residence. Numerous ceramic sherds and coins dating from the 8th and 9th centuries attest to the existence of a large settlement, known in written sources as a centre for the extraction of petroleum used for lighting, medicine and military purposes.

The town developed in a dense oval settlement around the Maiden’s Tower. In the 11th century it was surrounded by powerful fortified walls incorporating a strong citadel; according to an inscription, construction was completed under the Shirvanshah ruler ...

Article

Balkh  

City in northern Afghanistan, believed to be the site of Bactra, capital of ancient Bactria, and a major city in the province of Khurasan during the Islamic period. Located on a fertile plain, Balkh commanded trade routes between India, China, Turkestan and Iran. It was already a wealthy city under the Achaemenid dynasty (538–331 bc) and a centre of Zoroastrianism. Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, it became important under the Bactrian monarchies (323–87 bc) and then under the Kushana and Hephthalites, and it was a Buddhist centre. The most substantial remains from the early periods are the mud ramparts, which stand more than 20 m at several places. The circular plan around the citadel (modern Bala-Hisar) may date back as far as the Achaemenid period. The only other monuments to survive from the pre-Islamic period are four Buddhist stupas. That excavated at Tepe Rustam in the south of the city is the most monumental found north of the Hindu Kush (platform 54 m on a side; cylindrical dome 47 m in diameter; total height ...

Article

Damie Stillman and Beatrice B. Garvan

American city, the largest in the state of Maryland, with a population of just under 650,000 (and a wider metropolitan population of 2.7 million). Situated on the Patapsco River at the northern edge of Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore was named after the baronial title of the Calvert family. Established in 1729 as a tobacco port, it was incorporated as a city in 1797 and by 1800 was the third largest city in the country.

Damie Stillman

Baltimore’s architecture is a distinguished reflection of the city’s importance. Only a few buildings survive from the 18th century, including Mount Clare (1757–87) and Fort McHenry (1799–1805) designed by Jean Foncin (enlarged 1813–57), the defence of which in 1814 inspired the national anthem. The Federal period saw an outpouring of impressive buildings, especially the Roman Catholic Cathedral (1805–21; now Basilica of the Assumption) by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, a major example of international Neo-classicism. Also active here was Maximilian Godefroy, whose works include the Neo-classical First Unitarian Church (...

Article

Bam  

Abbas Daneshvari

Town in the province of Kirman, southern Iran, on an important route skirting the southern fringes of the Dasht-i Lut Desert. The old walled city was founded in the Sasanian period (ad 224–632) and flourished until the 18th century; its ruins stand 0.5 km east of the present town of Bam, founded in 1860. On 26 December 2003, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck the city, claiming more than 40,000 lives and destroying over 70% of the buildings. Most of the mud-brick remains of the old city date from the 16th century and later, but they give the best impression available of a medieval Iranian provincial town (see fig.; see also Islamic art, §II, 10(ii)). The site is roughly rectangular (300×425 m) with a citadel in the north-west corner. A vaulted bazaar runs from the main south gate to the foot of the citadel, where there is a large open square flanked by stables; to the west of the square is a caravanserai, a two-storey building with a central court. Within the citadel are the remains of the governor’s residence, his reception room and an open rectangle, which was used in the 19th century for the storage of artillery. A congregational mosque of the standard Iranian type, with four iwans facing a central courtyard, is towards the south-east corner of the site, and to its north are a dozen large mansions built for rich merchants. Their public and private quarters, arranged in two storeys around a central court, are decorated with recesses and mouldings; the service areas with stables and kitchens are plainer. In the north-west section of the site, behind the citadel, are smaller houses, perhaps built for peasants, with individual rooms on one or two sides of a courtyard....

Article

Bamberg  

Hubert Russ, Dethard von Winterfeld and Hans-Christian Feldmann

German city in the Upper Franconian region of Bavaria, situated on the River Regnitz, 5 km above its confluence with the River Main. A medieval bishopric and university town, it became the joint seat of the Schönborn prince-bishops in the late 17th century. Having largely escaped destruction in the two world wars, Bamberg is one of the few old German towns to retain its historic features.

Hubert Russ

Topographically, the city falls into two parts, the secular district, comprising the Inselstadt and the Theuerstadt, situated on an island (w. c. 700 m) in the broad valley of the Regnitz, and the ecclesiastical district, centred on the cathedral (see §2 below), extending over the red sandstone hills to the west. There is archaeological evidence that the site was already inhabited in the 6th or 7th century ad. Bamberg is first mentioned as a castrum of the Babenberg dynasty in 902. Berengar II, King of Italy (...