city

The Rise of Cities

Cities have appeared in diverse cultures, e.g., among the Aztecs, Maya, and Inca and in China and India, Mesopotamia and Egypt, and ancient Greece and Rome (see city-state). In all these civilizations cities were the centers of internal change and development. From the decline of Rome the cities were in eclipse, and in Western Europe their role as centers of learning and the arts passed to the monasteries. The 11th cent. saw the resurgence of vigorous cities, first in Italy and then in northern Europe, due mainly to a revival of trade; by the 13th cent., with the decline of feudalism, the dynamic life of the Middle Ages was centered in the cities. This time marks the rise of the great modern cities, e.g., Milan, London, Paris, and the Hanseatic cities.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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