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The Power of Place:
Rulers and Their Palaces, Landscapes, Cities, and Holy Places
David Rollason

Hardcover | 2016 | $49.95 | £41.95 | ISBN: 9780691167626
488 pp. | 8 1/2 x 11 | 37 color illus. 151 halftones. 33 line illus. 3 maps.
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The Power of Place explores the nature of power—the power of kings, emperors, and popes—through the places that these rulers created or developed, including palaces, cities, landscapes, holy places, inauguration sites, and burial places. Ranging across all of Europe from the first to the sixteenth centuries—from Prague and Seville to Palermo and the Oslo Fjord—David Rollason examines how these places conveyed messages of power and what those messages were.

Rollason draws on the latest research in a range of disciplines—principally archaeology, and the histories of art, architecture, and landscape, as well as historical and literary studies—to investigate what the power of rulers consisted of. Was their power based on impersonal bureaucratic mechanisms, on personal relationships between rulers and subjects, or on strong beliefs in the quasi-divine status of rulers? How did impressive edifices support and emphasize these practices of power? Rollason takes readers to spectacular sites, including the remarkable remains of the tenth-century city of Madinat al-Zahra near Cordoba, the remarkably preserved palace-church of the emperor Charlemagne in Aachen, and the soaring shrine-church of the Saint-Chapelle of King Louis IX.

Giving readers the tools to analyze rulers' palaces, landscapes, cities, and holy places, The Power of Place offers a fascinating perspective on the development of power throughout history.

David Rollason is professor emeritus of history at the University of Durham. His books include Early Medieval Europe 300–1050: The Birth of Western Society and Northumbria 500–1100: Creation and Destruction of a Kingdom.


"Rollason’s dazzling treasury of site descriptions and pictures is the product of years of exploration, on-site and in libraries. . . . A well-guided and meticulously illustrated tour, of a good selection of medieval Europe’s most striking palatial monuments."--Alexander Murray, Times Literary Supplement

"A grand tour, without hassle of airports, passports, or buses, of a sophisticated selection of medieval Europe’s most renowned and important monuments; a tour conducted by a well-read guide, whose language is invariably clear, and is rendered more vivid and instructive by its cortège of carefully placed and labelled illustrations."--Alexander Murray, Times Literary Supplement

"This lavishly produced text, encyclopedic in its scope and bibliography, examines the representations of the power of the ruler in buildings, landscapes, and events of continental Europe from the Roman period to the early modern era. Rollason links the forms of palaces, their surrounding lands, cities, sacred items and spaces, and places of enthronement and burial to ideological and personal power, illustrating each point with cases ranging from Tara to Constantinople, Muslim Granada to the Gothic north."--Choice

"David Rollason’s excellent study offers an insightful and truly wide-ranging approach by anchoring notions of power to place and the very real visual and physical manifestations this produced in the Middle Ages. . . . Ambitious. . . . A highly admirable study. It is the product of extensive learning, fieldwork and research, and is supported by a plethora of wonderfully useful photographs and diagrams throughout the book."--Paul Oldfield, Al-Masaq


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Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations ix
Preface xix
Chapter 1 Introduction 1
Part I Palaces 9
Chapter 2 The Power of Design 11
Chapter 3 The Power of Architectural Style and Decoration 59
Part II Landscapes 99
Chapter 4 Gardens, Parks, and Power 102
Chapter 5 The Power of Forests and the Hunt 136
Part III Cities 169
Chapter 6 Cities, Planning, and Power 171
Chapter 7 Triumphs and Entries: The City as Stage Set 202
Part IV Holy Places 241
Chapter 8 Power, Place, and Relics 242
Chapter 9 Churches, Mosques, and Power 273
Part V Inauguration Places and Burial Places 319
Chapter 10 The Inauguration of Rulers: Places and Rituals 320
Chapter 11 Death and Power: The Burial Places of Rulers 344
Chapter 12 Conclusion 387
Research and Reading 391
References 417
Illustration Credits 449
Index 451
Color plates follow page 168.

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File created: 9/19/2017

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