Ateliers de la Méditerranée
Ports et zones portuaires de la Méditerranée antique
17 et 18 juin 2019.
Atelier organisé en partenariat avec Centre Jean Bérard, Haifa Center for mediterranean History.
Atelier de la Méditerranée "Ports et zones portuaires de la méditerranée antique". Session 2 : Paysage urbain - Modérateur : Ivan Fumado Ortega (Université de Valencia).
- Réalisateur : Jean-Christophe Besset (Affaire d’Artiste).
Two concomitant processes shaped the Mediterranean during the high middle ages (11th-13th centuries), namely urbanization and the expansion of the frontiers of Latin Christendom. This yielded rapidly growing urban centers, that were inhabited by extremely diverse populations, and were often characterized by geo-political and social instability. The implications of this complex social configuration on such issues as ethnoreligious and cultural encounters, or long-distance trade networks, received considerable scholarly attention. Yet the challenges that such conditions presented to the formation of municipal mechanisms and promotion of urban development are still often overlooked. This paper will aim to address the reciprocal connection between the changing cityscapes of the medieval Mediterranean, and their social and institutional circumstances through the case study of Frankish Acre. Acre reveals a tension between gradually intensifying municipal and legal mechanisms, aimed to increase the level of social cohesion among an extremely heterogeneous population, and constant instability, which has disintegrating and decentralizing effects. This was manifested in the changes that took place in Acre’s cityscape, as rising tensions between the different groups in Acre’s population led to the fragmentation of the cityscape. Yet if previously this process was considered to encompass almost exclusively to the dominions of the Italian communes, this paper will argue it was far more extensive, resulting in the division ofthe cityscape into the port area, and an outer ring, the two developing almost independently of one another, thus reflecting social and institutional stratification. Based on this case study, the paper will aim to address new methodological approaches and a new theoretical framework for the study of urban centers in the medieval Mediterranean.