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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53284
Doc. No:TL23238
Call number:‭3171180‬
Main Entry:April L. Najjaj
Title & Author:The Alhambra in comparative perspective: Towards a definition of palace -citiesApril L. Najjaj
College:Boston University
Date:2005
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2005
Page No:254
Abstract:The Alhambra is a walled collection of structures built predominantly in the 14th Century by the last Islamic dynasty in Spain. Although previously considered in a variety of disciplines, the present work is a comparative interdisciplinary study of the archetype of the Islamic palace-city and of the specialized population necessary to fulfill both symbolic and functional roles. In this project, I give detailed descriptions of two Islamic palace-cities (the Alhambra and Madina al-Zahra outside Córdoba, Spain) to enumerate their features and assess their significance. In comparison, I offer similar descriptions of Khirbat al-Mafjar, an 8th Century CE Syrian Umayyad palace complex in the West Bank, Palestine, and the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France, which, I argue, is a palace-city precisely because it shares with the Andalusi sites a dual sacred and secular symbolism and also a series of defining features of a palace-city—multiple residences, gardens, baths, religious spaces, market, and bureaucratic offices, all enclosed by walls that limits access to the site while affording the residents access to an adjacent urban area beyond its walls. Because palace-cities are limited in size yet aim to represent a possible model for the ideal city, I have enumerated both the constitutive elements of each location and calculated possible allocations of space for various structures within the palace-city in relation to other sites and to traditional pre-industrial cities, providing more concrete bases for comparison. In establishing a criterion for applying the term ‘palace-city’ to a particular site, I have been guided in part by Erving Goffman's sociological concept of the ‘total institution,’ a space surrounded by walls limiting access and social interaction with the outside world, thus imparting an aura of mystery, both sacred and secular, to a given site. A palace-city served dual roles, presenting to outsiders an idealized, and sharply focused statement of the nature of power and authority, while at the same time serving a more practical role as an elaborate residence for the ruler, his family, and his government, and the ancillary population within the walls of the palace-city sought to fulfill both of those aspects.
Subject:Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Alhambra; France; Islamic architecture; Khirbat al-Mafjar; Madina al-Zahra; Palace of the Popes; Palace-cities; Palestine; Spain; Middle Eastern history; Middle Ages; Architecture; 0333:Middle Eastern history; 0729:Architecture; 0581:Middle Ages
Added Entry:T. F. Glick
Added Entry:Boston University