CHAPTER 8

THE CITY

Cities endure for hundreds, even thousands of years. Rome was founded, according to tradition, in 753 BC and not only does it still exist but it is still alive, functioning as well, or as badly, as it ever did. Ancient Romans, if brought back to life in the twenty-first century, would probably be appalled and terrified by the modern city. But once they had got over the shock they would begin to recognize parts of it, not just the preserved ruins of the Forum or the Palatine Hill, but the ordinary streets, their directions and connections, their relationship to the seven hills and to the old roads leading out of Rome. Cities have a special relationship to time and to human memory. In a sense, a city is a manmade object, but ...

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