EAUH Conference 2018


Session SS13. The Impact of War on Urban Landscape: Transformations and Resilience in European Cities (15th-18th centuries)

Coordinators: Rebeca Blanco-Rotea (, Margarida Tavares Da Conceição (

Since the dawn of civilization cities had to deal with war effects through destruction, violence and fear. The deep change in artillery after the 14-15th centuries produced new impacts on the urban network and urban environment, far beyond architectural and technical transformations in warfare. In fact urban history, architectural history, military history and archaeology are correlated in this matter.
Cities and their surrounding fields were affected by material destruction, which got more devastating as the caliber of firearms increased. How did cities recover after attack or war disaster, is the main question of this session. Though destruction was a condition to transform, not only these transformations faced many difficulties but also war scars could be either erased, concealed, exhibited or even simply left. We are interested in observing the traces that armed conflicts left in cities and the mechanisms that civil and military powers developed to recover from them. We aim to discuss these connections over the entire territory, in the framework of periods of conflict, in order to achieve a comparative approach encompassing several European cities, as we are interested in a transnational perspective.
Historiography drew special attention to urban design solutions and the military engineers capacity to plan physical conditions in order to prepare a city to resist long sieges, including outworks in the surrounding areas, periodically adapted to the changes in the art of war. Yet, what really happened after military campaigns is somehow forgotten. Therefore the focus of this session will considerer both what happened in cities following the war campaigns, and how civil and military authorities proactively prepared the cities for them.

We especially welcome papers that address (but are not necessarily limited to) the following topics:
• methodology for the study of the scars of war in a city;
• financial, management and design plans from city council and military institutions;
• profile of the people in charge of the rebuilding processes, besides fortification military builders;
• city council role in post-war cities;
• nearby productive agricultural fields and water resources protection during war cycles;
• comparative case-studies between regions or countries.
Keywords: early modern warfare and fortification; fortified urban landscape; urban planning history; military history; landscape history