Imagined cities

Timothy R. Pauketat, Ann E. Killebrew, Françoise Micheau

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Some cities were imagined, designed, and created wholly or partially in ways that forever shaped their histories and the identities, governments, religions, and economies of their citizens. These include the great cities of Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Cahokia. They also include other imperial capitals (similar to Baghdad), lesser territorial centers, and religious complexes and pilgrimage centers (such as Jerusalem and Cahokia). Whatever they were and however they developed later in time, the details of their founding, along with the momentous and monumental constructions that redesigned or redefined various sectors within them make them case studies in the historical processes surrounding cities and their regional and continental effects. Here, we seek to outline the commonalities, juxtaposed against the distinguishing features, of Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Cahokia in ways that draw out those processes. The multi-layered "eternal" city of Jerusalem, imperial Baghdad silenced for centuries before reemerging in the twentieth century, precocious Cahokia virtually evaporating in history: What was it about the creation of these places that transcended their histories? What was different in each case, such that their developmental outlines diverged? Comparisons with other cities will help us to focus on the reasons for such similar processes and divergent histories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge World History
Subtitle of host publicationVolume III: Early Cities in Comparative Perspective, 4000 BCE-1200 CE
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781139035606
ISBN (Print)9780521190084
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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