The city has featured as the hub of civilisation in all those cultures where people have established a settled life, congregating in central places. Cities have evolved a diversity of functions, from ceremonial and religious centres to fiscal and administrative control points, or as emporia of trade. They serve as powerful symbols of the civilisations whence they derive. From the earliest times, maps of cities have been created, calling out the highest skills of the surveyor, plate-maker, artist and engraver. Peter Whitfield is a leading researcher in the history of cartography and Western science, whose previous books have all been extremely well received. In this ambitious new work, Dr Whitfield focuses on 60 cities all over the world, some of which are huge metropolises today and some of which have completely disappeared. He has chosen to reproduce an extremely wide range of maps, from all different periods, supported by historic prints and photographs. The result is a book that will enthral a wide readership - anyone who is interested in urban history, and everyone who is fascinated by maps.
Peter Whitfield is an independent scholar and a leading expert in map history and exploration. He is a former director of Stanford's International Map Centre in London and now runs his own company publishing facsimiles of historic maps. He is the author of a number of bestselling books including British Library Historic Lives: Sir Francis Drake, Astrology: A History, New Found Lands, Charting of the Oceans, Mapping of the Heavens and The Image of the World (all British Library Publishing).