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South European and Middle Eastern cities, addressed as Mediterranean cities, are represented as a space between Orient and Occident, embedded in history of the longue duree, but “lagging behind” the European city and closely conditioned by the sea. These discourses do not always do justice to their cosmopolitan diversity or their uniqueness. The Mediterranean “sea in the midst of land” used to be a bridge, always punctuated by great cities: In antiquity, the city-state emerged here; in Roman times, the unifying sea, Mare Nostrum bridged urban civilizations; and during the Renaissance, Italian city-states rose to hegemony as a series of metropolitan leaders. Then, with the emergence of nation-states, the Mediterranean Sea turned from a bridge to a border, and the Industrial Revolution marginalized southern Europe ...

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