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From ancient Athens and Rome to Beijing and Tenochtitlan, the capital city was a national or imperial command center. Face-to-face contacts were essential in consultation and decision making or as sources of history where written texts were nonexistent, as in the realms of the Incas and Aztecs. The capital city also offered an overwhelming demonstration of the superiority of the gods. Athens focused on the Parthenon, Rome on its Forum, and the pre-Columbian capitals boasted enormous temples and pyramids in their city centers. Thus, the capital city provided legitimacy to worldly rulers and their expansionist policies.

It is remarkable to notice that all four capital cities (Athens, Rome, Beijing, and Tenochtitlan) have continued their role until this very day, although the last one is now ...

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