Paper a: Theme: Cities as sites of commercial and cultural exchange
In the Leeds Congress I would like to emphasize the role of the ‘foreigners’ in the development of the Neapolitan town near the sea, starting from the research that I have carried on in the last years concerning the city-port of Naples during the long medieval period. The construction of the long sea-front, about two kilometres, from the Angevin Chateau Neuf to the Carmine monastery and the ‘Sperone’ castle coincides in fact with the realization of a new commercial town named the ‘città bassa’. In the interior of this large area we have concentrated in the West, the new harbour with the pier, the dockyard and the renovated maritime infrastructures; and in the East the new large open space of the public market. A good number of foreign ‘colonies’ – from the other regions of Italy (Amalfitani, Scalesi, Pisani, Genovesi,etc.), but also from Oriental Civilization (Greek, Arabic, Jewish, etc.), from France, Spain, etc. – have become localized in this long area near the sea, with their private maritime and commercial infrastructures (streets, loggias, piers, churches, etc).
The historical sources testify their activity in the Mediterranean sea and the strong presence in the commercial exchanges; the historical cartography documents their acquisition of the places and the urban spaces in the extension of the Neapolitan maritime town, in unison with the urban thoponymy. We resolve to do a reconstruction plan of the medieval situation of the town along the ancient coastline, now disappeared with the 19th-century demolition works.
La città italiana e i luoghi degli stranieri XIV-XVIII secolo, ed. by D. Calabi and P Lanaro (Roma-Bari: Laterza, 1998)
Les Etrangers dans la ville, ed. by J. Bottin and D. Calabi (Paris: Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’homme, 1999)
T. Colletta, Napoli città portuale e mercantile. La città bassa il porto ed il mercato dall’VIII al XVII secolo, (Roma: Kappa Edizioni, 2006)
Paper b: London, one of the great cities of medieval north-western Europe, derived much of its economic and cultural importance from the river Thames. That river and its estuary linked the economic heartlands of southern England with the major urban centres of the Low Countries, and carried a large and growing share of national trade during the later middle ages. Along the shores of the Estuary, reclaimed marshland provided high-yielding arable and pasture land, responding to demands from London and overseas markets. As well as a being a conduit of trade and cultural ideas, however, the Thames transmitted other signals to the London region – the pulses of North Sea storm surges, which increased in frequency and severity between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, flooding farmland and threatening the city’s southern suburbs. This paper will review the diverse opportunities and challenges which the tidal Thames presented to London during an age of economic and climatic change.
Paper c: It is a well know fact, that even in the 15. Century town views do not cover precise architectonical features. These illustrations, which are to be found in the contemporary light fiction (Unterhaltungsliteratur) and in the content of medieval word chronicles usually show the location of the plot or have a symbolic meaning – a function which they share with the ship images on these town views. The lecture will show by means of inscriptions, the composition of the town views and pattern of ship images that also the high-grade authentically looking town views f.e. of Hartmann Schedel, Francesco Rosselli, Jacopo de’ Barbari and even Sebastian Münster were not depicted “after the nature