The cities of the ancient world built the foundations for urban life today. But when did humans first come together in this way and what were these places like to live in? From the world’s first cities, in Mesopotamia, to the spectacular urban monuments of the Maya in Central America, the cities described here represent almost three millennia of human history and development. Under John Julius Norwich’s expert editorship, eminent historians and archaeologists with first-hand knowledge of each site give voices to these silent ruins, bringing them to life as the teeming, state-of-the-art metropolises they once were.
Cities That Shaped the Ancient World takes a global tour, beginning in the Near East with the earliest cities such as Ur and Babylon. Africa gave rise to the conurbations of ancient Egypt such as Thebes and Amarna, and the Ethiopian capital of Aksum. Glorious European metropolises, including Athens and Rome, ringed the Mediterranean, but also stretched to Trier on the turbulent frontier of the Roman empire. Asia had bustling commercial and imperial centres such as Mohenjo-daro and Xianyang, while in the Americas the Mesoamerican and Peruvian cultures created massive settlements in jungles and on mountain ranges, including Caral and Teotihuacan. Illustrated with spectacular photographs of the places, as well as fabulous objects and works of art, this book provides a fascinating exploration of cities that shaped the ancient world – just as that world has shaped our own.