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Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Paris - Article Example

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This paper “Ancient, Medieval and Modern Paris” presents the two thousand years old history of Paris citing the illustrated atlas “Paris through the Ages”. Today government housing schemes and community development projects are aims to provide a better life for the people of Paris…
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Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Paris
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Download file to see previous pages In this essay, we are going to make an investigation of the changing phases of Paris and try to understand how these changes took place, in order to get a deeper understanding of its ancient past that reflects its present glory.
In ancient times the site of Paris was a seabed that had been formed by river fed by the melting snow which gradually deposited gravel and silt in huge quantities and formed the topography of the country. These swamp areas were utilized to cultivate vegetables instead of grain. It was called Lutetia (Lutece) and in 52 BC Julius Caesar, conquered it and made it the regional center of the Romans during the early Middle Ages. Later on, in 987, the Count of Paris, Hugh Capet, established the city as the nation’s capital. (Couperie, Pierre, 1970) The people of Paris were known to be high spirited and rebellious and between 1355 – 58,  under the leadership of Etienne Marcel declared themselves to be an independent commune.
During the French Revolution, one of the major incidents that took place in 1789 was the storming of the Bastille by the Parisian people. It was this war and other revolutions that took place between 1830 – 1848,  that changed the face of Paris forever. During the Franco – Prussian War in 1871, Paris was besieged by German troops until France surrendered, but soon after the Germans left, the French established the Commune of Paris. However, during World War I and World War II, Paris underwent radical change being a major target of riots and violence.
During the 9th century, the Vikings raids was a major catastrophe that ravaged the country of Paris and many of its monuments had been destroyed. Most of Paris’ destruction was caused by her own inhabitants that resulted in extensive damage and loss of valuable buildings and documents. Some of the destruction was brought about due to the aggravated poverty of some and the ever-changing tastes of the effluent by others. Paris underwent drastic changes brought on by the government through its different ventures because it was the capital city. Being the country’s principal artistic center, architects and artists were given free rein to put their innovative thoughts, ideas, and ambitions into action. Before the sixteenth century, the physical form and the economic life of Paris were shrouded in mystery because there were no documented plans to give us precise details since most of them were destroyed. However, there is a masterpiece in the form of the Turgot map of 1787 which presents us with minute details of the buildings that were there during that period and the progress and change it had gradually undergone. Poor sanitation contaminated Paris in the form of the ‘Bievre’ whose sewage and manure heaps blocked the Fleet in London during the 13th century. Another example of sheer inertia and lethargy of the people of Paris is the removal of Les Halles’ by Napoleon I which took over 160 years to accomplish. The Louvre was completed after a period of 600 years. Villages cropped up along the swamps and there was a sudden growth of population. In 1261, the administration of the city was reorganized by the King who divided his government into two- 1) The Affairs of the State (provost of the King) and 2) The Local Affairs (provost of the merchants). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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