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Betsy L. Chunko

Italian town and commune in the province of Grosseto, southern Tuscany. Massa Marittima, as the name may indicate, was a territory that once extended to the sea. The early medieval town was associated with mining; nearly 700 metres of tunnels remain with supporting timberwork in the area. The bishopric was moved here from nearby Populonia around ad 1000. In common with other Italian cities, Massa Marittima was first ruled by bishops who, as early as the 9th century, established a fortified residence overlooking the city. In the 12th century, however, there was a gradual shift in political power away from the bishop to the citizens themselves and by the 13th century Massa Marittima was a fully-fledged commune. Throughout the 13th and 14th centuries, Massa Marittima was targeted by Siena and Pisa as a gateway to the resource-rich lands of the Maremma region. By the 1330s, tension from increased political control exerted by the Sienese led to a full-scale military campaign and by the latter half of the 14th century, Massa Marittima belonged to the Sienese, until it became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in the mid-16th century....

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N. B. Nemtseva

[Shakhrisyabz]

Town in Uzbekistan. Located south of the Aq Sai range (Zeravshanskiy Khrebet) in the Kashka River basin, the town was part of southern Sogdiana in ancient times. In early medieval times the main town in the region was known as Kish, but, after it was destroyed by the Mongols, a new town grew up around the remains of the abandoned settlement at the end of the 13th century. In the 14th century the small unfortified town was renamed Shahr-i Sabz (Pers. ‘green town’). The Timurid ruler Timur was born in the nearby village of Khwaja-i-Ghar, and in the 1360s and 1370s Shahr-i Sabz became his winter quarters and during his reign the second royal residence after Samarkand. In 1378–9 the centre of the town was surrounded with walls 4 km long, articulated with half-towers and four gates; beyond the walls lay a moat with drawbridges. Two axial streets divided the town into quadrants. The north-east quarter contained a park with ...

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Vicq  

Marius Hauknes

[ Vic ]

French village in the commune of Nohant-Vic, south-east of Châteauroux, in the central département of Indre. The name suggests Roman origins (Lat. vicus: ‘village’), but nothing is known of its ancient and early medieval history. A bull promulgated by Pope Paschal on 15 November 1115 shows that at least from the early 12th century the village was a parish dependent on the Benedictine Abbey of Déols. The parish church of St Martin, dated on architectural grounds to the late 11th century or early 12th, is the only surviving medieval building. A common type for this period and region, it is a small church with a single nave, a square chancel, and round apse in the east. Fragments of sarcophagi from the 12th century indicate that a cemetery surrounded the church from its earliest beginnings.

St Martin is best known for its extensive fresco decoration (early 12th century) that covers the interior walls of the church in its entirety. The nave is painted in non-figural, monochrome decoration and the chancel walls, as well as the vaulting of the apse, have Old and New Testament narrative scenes as well as some eschatological subjects. Episodes from the ...