Category: Centrality and the City

Are not cities about what is central?

Martin Luther in Rome: Piazza Martin Lutero in the Eternal centre

A great leap towards reconciliation is made under the pontificate of Pope Francis: among Emperors, Popes, Roman nobles, and great saints, stands a small but central Piazza Martin Lutero: the German theologian of the Reformation is present now among them. He has the “right to exist” on the map. The Catholic Church is, finally, saying: “I hear what you say”, and gives him the right place to be present in her centre.

Justinian for a political legitimacy of Beirut

Once there is a need to build a political centre the “builders” go to space-time to find legitimacy: in the case of Beirut many factors participated in this construction, and one of them is certainly the Justinian one. The Justinian Law was at the base of European civilisation and was quite a pertinent argument in the quest for legitimacy of a new sovereign political centre. We can here ask some further research questions:

Rose of Bohemia, style in Prague and roots in Vienna

Geography is the science which studies space and its construction, not only its physical construction but also its social/political one. In other terms geography can be the discipline in quest for meaning of space. And cartography is the science of interpretation of power relations and communicating it via maps. In the light of these tow definitions we exposed, on this site, the rapports between the political centre, space and representation in some famous maps. First we worked on the maps of Heinrich Bunting: Jerusalem and Europe. Then we saw the Dutch Lion of Visscher.

Today our map is the BOHEMIAE ROSA, by Chr. Vetter, Vienna, 1668, a map representing Bohemia as a rose centred on Prague.

Hereford Map, Jerusalem again as centre and the Translatio Imperii

We said that the “centre of the world” is a notion which always stems from social construction, from human perception and not from a physical reality. In this regard we do know, today, that Jerusalem is not a physical centre of our Planet; unless we followed the idea that all points of the Planet are its centre: so Jerusalem would be one out of an infinity.

Mapping Roman legions: how “limits” tell about the centre

Centrality can tell about itself right from the centre ‘where power dwells,’ even if its narrative is usually charged with ideology: discourse analysis of the centre can be useful when done in critical préjugés-free ways.

But how periphery, borders, frontiers, “outsiders”, “outskirts”, limits, limitates can tell about the centre and about power dwelling in this centre? How can they tell its development, apogee, decadence, decline and even collapse? We can see the example of the Roman Empire.