Aubin’s text, published here in English translation, was written for a conference on “The Islamic City” held at Oxford in 1965, and first issued as part of the conference papers in 1970.1 Why translate and republish such an old text today? Evidently because we hold it still relevant. Moreover, we believe that it hasn’t had the impact it deserves, and that in spite of all progress achieved over the intervening half century, many of the questions it raises still seek full answers.
Jean Aubin (1927-1998) was one of the most important of the European historians of Iran
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