The Power of Cities

The Iberian Peninsula from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period


Volume Editor: Sabine Panzram
The Power of Cities focuses on Iberian cities during the lengthy transition from the late Roman to the early modern period, with a particular interest in the change from early Christianity to the Islamic period, and on to the restoration of Christianity.
Drawing on case studies from cities such as Toledo, Cordoba, and Seville, it collects for the first time recent research in urban studies using both archaeological and historical sources. Against the common portrayal of these cities characterized by discontinuities due to decadence, decline and invasions, it is instead continuity – that is, a gradual transformation – which emerges as the defining characteristic.
The volume argues for a fresh interpretation of Iberian cities across this period, seen as a continuum of structural changes across time, and proposes a new history of the Iberian Peninsula, written from the perspective of the cities.

Contributors are Javier Arce, María Asenjo González, Antonio Irigoyen López, Alberto León Muñoz, Matthias Maser, Sabine Panzram, Gisela Ripoll, Torsten dos Santos Arnold, Isabel Toral-Niehoff, Fernando Valdés Fernández, and Klaus Weber.

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Sabine Panzram, Ph.D. (2001), Münster University, is Professor of Ancient History at Hamburg University. She focuses in particular on social and urban history on the Iberian Peninsula. Her recent publications include: Entre civitas y madīna. El mundo de las ciudades en la Península Ibérica y en el norte de África (siglos IV-IX) (Casa de Velázquez, 2018).
"This set of texts represents a very necessary and fresh updating to the issue of urban life and urban development in Iberia. The work closes with a final balance of the volume coordinator, in which Panzram highlights the need to rewrite Iberian history from an urban perspective, an endeavour to which the reviewed work prominently contributes. It is likewise noteworthy, to conclude, the excellent quality of the edition, significantly enriched with a highly remarkable set of color maps, figures, and pictures providing the reader with very useful tools in order to gain a better understanding of different places and historical realities described in the book". Alejandro García Sanjuán, in Sehepunkte, 20 (2), 2020.

This erudite collection of eight essays, bookended by remarks from Panzram (Univ. of Hamburg, Germany), covers the cities of the Iberian peninsula from the Roman and Visigothic periods through the 18th century. [...] Maintaining a high standard of scholarship, this collection would be at home in any academic or research library, particularly those with collections on the history and culture of cities, and the history of Iberia. Summing Up: Recommended". D. C. Kierdorf, in Choice, 57 (1), June 2020.
Preface and Acknowledgments
List of Maps and Figures
Notes on Contributors

1 Introduction: Urban History on the Iberian Peninsula—Current Perspectives
Sabine Panzram

Part 1: The City in Spania (4th to 7th Centuries)

2 The Transformation of the City in Hispania between the 4th and the 6th Centuries
Gisela Ripoll
3 The Late Antique City in Spania—Toledo and Recópolis
Javier Arce

Part 2: The City in al-Andalus (8th to 11th Centuries)

4 Ornament of the World: Urban Change in Early Islamic Qurṭuba
Isabel Toral-Niehoff and Alberto León Muñoz
5 The Impact of the Arab Conquest on the Planning of the Iberian Cities: Toledo inside Walls
Fernando Valdés Fernández

Part 3: The City in the Territories of the “Reconquista” (11th to 15th Centuries)

6 Conquered Cities: Continuity and Transformation of Urban Structures in the Castilian “Reconquista” Territories (11th–14th Centuries)—Toledo and Seville
Matthias Maser
7 The City in the Image/Images of the City: The Lost Tapestry of Valladolid
María Asenjo González

Part 4: The City in the Hispaniae (15th to 18th Centuries)

8 Characteristics of Castilian Cities in the 16th and 17th Centuries
Antonio Irigoyen López
9 Ports to “New Worlds”: Lisbon, Seville, Cádiz (15th–18th Centuries)
Klaus Weber and Torsten dos Santos Arnold
10 Epilogue: The Power of Cities—Rewriting the History of the Iberian Peninsula
Sabine Panzram

All interested in the ancient, medieval and early modern history of the Iberian Peninsula, and anyone concerned with urban studies focusing phenomena of transition in different cultures.