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MPD, 59, The underlying intention in the cartographic instruction given to engineers was primarily linked to the representation of territory and the elements integrated therein, both natural and artificial. The Army Corps of Engineers had very few among their number who could undertake such a task, to which we should add their short existence. They basically depended on the work carried out on the ground in. No place specified [in situ], no date specified [].

On the advice of his ministers, King Philip V, himself of French origin, chose to adapt the Gallic-Bourbon system to suit Spanish conditions — more specifically those experienced in Castile — with a model that reflected a new concept of a centralised State, still somewhat influenced by the Italian influence in the court, a circumstance that was also related to the presence of the Spanish monarchy in Italian lands The arguments in favour of such standardisation were set out in Point 26, indicating that by using.

MPD, 25, Plano de la Ysla Yris en la Costa de Africa. No place specified [Malaga], no date specified [c. The criteria behind the reflections set out in the Ordinance covered both civil and military matters The reflections expressed in the regulations clearly delimited the principle objectives behind the Ordinance [TABLE 1].

Finally, instruction shall be given in all matters pertaining to the notion of the role of Military Buildings required in a fortified enclosure. Students shall be taught the way to prepare specific Plans and Maps of Provinces: the way to distinguish and represent on paper cultivated and uncultivated land, Forests, Ravines, Roads, Mountains, Outcrops, Coastlines, Rivers, Marshes, Houses, Gardens and Smallholdings.

Also instruction in Trenches, Batteries, investment and circumvallation lines in fortified enclosures, providing them with detailed designs of all manner of instruments for Sappers, Ricks, and Fences, Defensive Shields and Bolsters: how to make and use them, with all other operations that employ them, the defence of fortifications, Encampments, Army battle plans, with all the corresponding colours, the enlargement and reduction of Plans, scale reduction, the way to take and delineate a view of a fortified enclosure or terrain, in order to represent these on paper in a natural manner and generally the form of pro-.

Citadelle No place specified [Barcelona], no date specified []. MPD, 08, Puerta Principal de La Ciudadella de Barcelona. No place specified [Barcelona], no date specified [c. The relationships between these should be accompanied by the reasoning behind them and the advantages that follow on from execution. The Director of Drawing shall teach and explain all required Design, on the approval of the Inspector and the Director General of the Academy, ensuring that they copy said instruction, with the assistance of the spoken voice.

The Ordenanza offers no particular details of how maps and plans should be prepared, as such specifications would be taught during the drawing course.

The text also stresses the importance that the War Secretary gave to graphic training of those aspiring to become engineers or those engineers who wished to perfect their drawing skills. In order to prevent complications in carrying out orders and facilitating the teaching dynamic, those responsible in the military hierarchy and at the Treasury the Captain General, Overseers, etc. In corporate terms, the implication of engineers was of fundamental importance in stimulating the processes of development and improvement of map-making methods and techniques.

These actions were channelled in practice by the competent authorities — either by institutions overseeing engineers both general and provincial , or by the Royal Board of Fortifications in Madrid15 —, the War Secretary and the military leaders at the various general headquarters Here we should highlight Royal initiatives to create map- and model-making collections at various points during the eighteenth century.

Uncategorized | Infrapolitical Deconstruction (and Other Issues Related and Unrelated.) | Page 12

Toward the end of the following decade, in , the same engineer from Marseille took charge of compilFIG. Plano del Castillo y Villa de ing an ambitious collection of maps Cardona con sus contornos. Barcelona, 15 January Under the governCH, Atlas These ventures, comparable to others led by the French monarchy from the seventeenth century onward, did not achieve their desired aims Surrounding these matters, a major controversy arose among the various authorities who went to some lengths to point out the shortcomings of the members of the Corps, or those aspiring to join it, in reaching the required standard of cartographic excellence, in all but a few cases.

Both from the point of view of the cartographic design and the academic context that should ensure the excellence of the engineers, the problems were nevertheless constant in the quest to establish standardised control over professional mechanisms and the particular circumstances of each individual. Essentially this is because, with the exception of the Barcelona Academy and its counterparts in Oran and Ceuta, the integrated training of engineers, both theoretical and practical, including the ambivalent attitude toward drawing, with the difficulties experienced in each province proved to be extremely problematic.

Fortress with points of attack. No place specified [Madrid], no date specified []. MPD, 31, It is important to bear in mind that the training of engineers in fortification and theories of attack and defence was firmly based on knowledge of such techniques through the study of detailed illustrations, a factor that would become clear some years later with the institutionalisation of the exams to join the Corps of Engineers and the Inspection of the Artillery [FIGS.

As far as the importance of drawing to professional activities of the engineers, there were numerous questions raised, both within and outside the Academy of Mathematics. This lack of independence among those aspiring to be draughtsmen meant that the search for capable hands was a long one. The spector. The engineer Bernardo Fernando Lasala consolidated his position at the Academy of Mathematics, years later taking charge of further duties concerning wooden models used to complement other teaching material in certain subjects. There was no let-up in the attempts to recruit engineers to teach drawing and other subjects at the Academy of Mathematics.

Lleida, October A matter of special importance regarding the content of the material linked to the drawing class and the pedagogical methods used by the first director of the Barcelona Academy of Mathematics ensured that tension was maintained for over a decade between him and a number of military engineers, including Verboom. Mateo Calabro appealed directly to the War Secretary to take steps to raise the level of the students in terms of the academic skills, thus training a new generation of engineers who were adept in the art of drawing and cartography. This art can never be attained by an engineer or soldier who is unaware of the area of Mathematic expressed above.

The art of colouring has no greater mystery than the fantasy of any man, because this art which is only a counsel to Engineers and in some cases merely accidental , is no more than applying colour to Edifice, Machine and Encampment as plotted by the engineer in order to reveal of what materials they are made. For those with intelligence this requires little time, although some may need much longer to prepare themselves in the fine taste of applying colours, while others may never achieve it with respect to those who have thus been described as accidental , as I have seen in my Students, to whom I have taught colouring having procured to educate them in the spirit of the areas of Mathematics that a good draughtsman requires.

Drawing is an onerous task, while colouring is most enjoyable, something that I should remind Your Excellency, at the service of His Majesty, is useful for Academy Students. After the failure of the siege to expel the English from Gibraltar, the Chief of Engineers was called to Madrid to discuss matters relating to the Corps, where he remained until before finally returning to Barcelona.

During this period, the Flemish engineer received orders to suggest reforms to the Engineers Ordinance, as it seemed to be increasingly causing greater problems to its members, both in questions of discipline and in matters of professional training. Carrillo highlighted the need to create a specific body to oversee the production of graphic material relating to military projects throughout the Kingdom, the Royal Board of Fortifications.

Faced with this new challenge of a strictly graphic nature yet nonetheless of great importance , the instructions sought to be clear and specific. The total height of the paper shall be two feet and five inches. With this technical-administrative initiative — parallel to the establishment of close centralised control over the ordinary intake of engineers through a series of standardised exams which were, in the main, sat at the Academy of Mathematics before members of the Board of Fortifications — the door was opened to greater institutional strictness and control by the War Secretary in the setting up of the Corp.

In the first major reform of the Ordinances was instigated under the command of the King-. The creation in of the Board of Fortifications in Madrid and the replacement of Calabro as director of the Barcelona Academy with the Asturian Pedro Lucuze in — both of which were signs of the new air that Montemar was blowing through the ministry — were the two determining factors in ensuring the reorientation of the Army Corps of Engineers educational disciplinary panorama, as well as the activities related to construction and cartographic work [FIG.

Cartagena, 3 October MPD, 20, The abbreviations used when quoting source material from the archives are as follows: GMAM. WS Simancas General Archive. War Secretariat. Given the particular characteristics of this work, which was envisaged as a piece of research based almost solely on archival documentary material, there are not too many bibliographical references, as they would only serve to reiterate the material which is largely cited from other publications.

For this reason we will be mentioning such works — which are of unquestionable scientific value — in general terms, where appropriate. WS, Real Ordenanza, BONET et al. Compared to an architect, who may also have championed a process of technical transformation in this field, the engineer — both civil and military — confers greater importance on ensuring continuity between cause and effect than on the project itself. PICON, Ordenanzas, Planos del Archivo. DE LAS. Un estudio sobre la. Madrid, Fundacion Carlos de Amberes. Para los Ingenieros, y otras personas, dividida. En la segunda se expressan los reconocimientos, tanteos, y formalidades con que se han de executar las obras nuevas, y los reparos que fueren precisos en las Fortificaciones, Almacenes, Quarteles, Muelles, y otras Fabricas Reales, y sobre conservacion de las Plazas, y Puertos de Mar, in J.

Pour une approche pragmatique des productions. DE coord. La obra de los ingenieros militares, Madrid, Ministerio de. Nuevas aportaciones a la historia de su legado cien-. Siglos XVI. La Ciudadela. Fallimento e mancata. Revista de la. Una responsabilidad constructiva. I, pp. NADAL eds. Tomo Quarto. Subdividido en Tres Tratados de Orden de S. Paris, Presses de. Internacional de Historia de la Medicina Catalana, Barcelona, no publisher specified , pp.

Madrid, Ministerio de Defensa. Atti del Convegno: Genova, Imperia, Albenga,. Savona, La Spezia. VII, t. This article explores the possibilities of drawing as a tool for the technical characterization of fortification and explains its use on the studies published by the author in the last 25 years. A drawing-based research methodology is systematized after considering an initial intuitive reflection: if drawing is the key to designing fortifications, drawing should be the key to interpreting them. Various examples are studied in order to analyze the different types of information available, the analysis tools based on drawing accuracy and fortification principles, and the methodological development of various graphic techniques.

Bastioned fortification, technical drawing, surveying, line of defence, photo restoration of historical layouts, geometric characterization of fortification. It is this role of drawing, that of explaining and demonstrating rather than representing, that is of paramount interest to us here. Any attempt at a history of fortification, not just a technical history nor one written by architects, requires that drawing be placed at the heart of many questions. For da Vinci, drawing was a project and calculation tool.

If we want to understand the designs of military engineers and architects we have to use drawing with the same criteria and function that they do. It is therefore not enough to observe the final layout of a fort or its drawing in an atlas. It is really surprising to see what we can deduce from a design or its modifications simply by calculating and plotting its embrasures, as we did with the town walls in Ibiza or at Berlanga fort.

Knowing, as was the case with planimetric surveys of fortresses, what it is we are looking for and the accuracy we need in order to find it is an essential question that is often overlooked. In other cases, it is the drawings and historical documents which provide us with these interpretative keys, either based on drawings with no text which we need to interpret, or on texts without drawings which we can plot to make them clearer4.

At the end of the process, the technical characterisa-. Layout of the glacis, measurement of the levelled ground and calculation of the yield from the excavation of a moat to determine cost. Madrid II Codex. Spanish National Library. Study of constructed reality through analysis of defensive fire Ibiza y Berlanga. COBOS, and Only by drawing and measuring will we be able to identify the enormous differences that exist, for example, between two forts with a square floor plan with four apparently very similar bastions. Thus the first premise behind our work is that we need to understand technical characterisation as a way of overcoming an analysis by type with drawing as our main tools.

Data Graphic and Written Documents In order to establish an approach to graphic analysis of fortification we should first consider the type of data we have. Firstly we have graphic and written documents that we can use in our graphic analysis, in the case of plans and drawings through measurement and georectification processes as well as the transfer to plans, in the case of texts, when referring to measured dimensions and proportions.

For example, the measurements of the piecework performed in the bastion of the Magdalena in Fuenterrabia which can still be seen at Simancas and the French plans for the bastion which are held in the Vincennes archive which allow us, with the help of an intermediate drawing, to plot both documents to a known scale, establishing the construction process and chronology of each section of the structure5.

MPD, 09, MPD, 16, COBOS, However, there are also drawings and written documents that do not describe real situations but rather concepts. Da Vinci, and especially his Madrid II Codex, is a good example of that, although it has not always been correctly interpreted. However, this only meant that Leonardo was there.

In fact, if we look more closely at the drawing it seeks to compare the different levels of water pressure at the outlet and the distance it travels depending on the height of the water column that the plan shows for each outlet. Another example of this conceptual drawing is the design of a fortress whose upper front features a straight flat curtain wall while the lower front has a scissor-wall tenaille [FIG. This drawing, which we have normally used as a point of reference for the design of hill forts10, nevertheless is a comparison of bastioned fronts as well as being an expression of a concept of design, that of a front consisting of a curtain wall, two opposing flanks and the faces of two bastions, which is essential in the understanding of bastioned fortification and was expressed with total clarity in the seventeenth century.

Prepared by the author. The Existing Reality, the Physical Setting and the Building We also have the constructed reality, the urban setting, the territory and our ability to measure and represent it. In the case of fortresses from the first Spanish Renaissance, there was a total absence of sufficiently accurate plans when we embarked on these studies 25 years ago. If we want to understand fortification from this period, we need to examine the reasonably accurate plans for the castles at Mota, Coca and Salsas In many cases, such a precise understanding required that a large number of the important fortresses from the period were excavated or cleared and therefore accessible.

It can therefore be said that without the clearing and excavation work at key buildings such as Mota, Behovia, Fuenterrabia and Arevalo12 or the surveying and preparation of scale drawings that we have undertaken or had done for us over these two and a half decades, as well as at other key sites, such as the bastions at the Alhambra in Granada, at Carmona and Niebla13, we would not have the necessary resources for analysis, in a field in which stylistic allegiance is never a suitable tool to work with On a greater scale, and in terms of the major projects undertaken in the late 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, for which we have historical plans that are far more sophisticated and accurate, the generalisation and availability of surveying via aerial orthophotography and the precision offered by georeferencing by satellite over the past ten.

Tools We use two basic tools in our graphic analysis with these two data types. Graphic representation, dependent on the reliability of the document and the accuracy of our survey and the technical principals of fortification which explain layout even though the plans do not reflect this or orientate us toward what we need to define in our surveying.

It also allows us to interpret the references that the project engineer Calvi gave regarding the dissociation between the grade line of the bulwark and the opening on the embrasure on the opposing flank through the chamfering of the rock and the alteration to this grade line since construction. The problem of the layout in relation to the direction of enemy fire is one of the areas where graphic analysis is essential in order to understand the relationship between available sources and the principals of fortification.

Finally, we have the drawing that we have produced to explain why La Goulette was lost in , due to the fact that its design meant that the Turks could fire into the embrasures on the flanks. The source here is a detailed written account of the assault process that the Duke of Alba received from an informant that has allowed us to graphically represent the defensive problem [FIG.

The Technical Principles of Fortification We have finally been able to use drawing to graphically express certain basic concepts of fortification which would otherwise be difficult to understand. The schema showing the variations which we have produced to explain seventeenth century fortification19 [FIG. On the one hand, we have the variation of the flanked angle in relation to the use of the second flank or the measurement of the primary flank, while on the other is a parallel debate concerning measurement variations to the line of defence if we take the side of the polygon as a fixed measurement or the variation in the measurement of the side of the polygon if the fixed measurement was the line of defence.

Using the different types of data and analysis tools at our disposal, there are a number of methods that we can employ in our graphic analysis of fortifications. We have mainly used three in this research: photo restoration of historical layouts compared to existing reality, drawing as comparative analysis and technical characterisation through the use of drawing tools. The following are a few examples of this.

Photo Restoration Applying historical plans to a true-to-scale representation of the current terrain in order to recognise or analyse their design or remains is a strategy that has considerable potential. In the Master Plan for the border fortresses along the River Minho21, for the first time we had reasonably accurate continuous satellite surveying of the terrain and the dozens of fortifications built in the seventeenth century along the frontier. The work process [FIG. COBOS y COBOS, y The historical map of Ciudad Rodrigo, , Atlas Masse.

Castillo de Vincennes, Paris. The final result meant we could see the impression left among the hills, thickets and smallholdings of dozens of large fortifications, indiscernible in many cases from within the woods and forests and only perceptible when the ferns and mosses that cover the beds of the old moats also pick out the primitive star shape of a fortress below the eucalyptus trees.

Another interesting case using this analysis method of updating historic plans using current orthophotographs is the recent analysis of the layout of Ciudad Rodrigo22 based on a collection of plans from the early eighteenth century, the majority of which are French. They establish which parts of the current walls are original and in what order the subsequent fortification phases were added from the period of the War of the Spanish Succession.

Comparative Analysis The basic application of comparative analysis is in typological study, although, as we have said previously, graphic analysis of fortification is rather more complex than a typological study of a morphological nature and a conventional description. In a study of fortification, it makes no sense to classify fortifications by their simple morphological characteristics.

The similarity in the design of the two is, nevertheless, pure coincidence. The design of a bastioned fort is based more in questions of measurement, of angles and the proportion between these parts than in questions of form. The biggest mistakes when defining a fortification as having a supposedly Italian design because it has bastions, or as in the Vauban model, because it has revellines or lunettes, is the result of giving far greater importance to formal as opposed than geometric analysis.

Once the typological analysis has been dealt with, one of the main virtues of comparative graphic analysis is that of scale analysis. In our first research into Renaissance Castles24, where we had accurate plans of fortresses at Mota, Coca and Salsas, the first surprise was the comparison with their Italian counterparts at Ostia and Mondavio, both much smaller, but also the evolution of subsequent designs with turrets at the corners and frontal bastions on Spanish fortresses from the first Renaissance [FIG.

Comparison of plans for Italian and Spanish fortifications from the first Renaissance. MPD, 13, 54 bottom. A mixed example of comparative analysis of scale is based on an initial classification of types, as we used to analyse fortifications on the Portuguese border, simultaneously studying both sides Our research sought to compare ex-novo and practically ex-novo fortified cities and adapted medieval urban areas, royal forts [FIG. In a town like Ciudad Rodrigo, where we still have dozens of projects, many of which use the well-known system of paper tabs that can be lifted, the temptation to use georeferencing on a current orthophotograph and superimpose all plotting [FIG.

MPD, 13, Technical Characterisation Drawing as an instrument of analysis of the technical characterisation of a fort is a very useful tool whose basis lies in contrasting constructed reality with descriptive documents of technical solutions and graphic documents that show geometric models and proposals, or with the principles and rules of fortification whose recognition in a specific project allows it to be accurately characterised in terms of a particular period or trend.

Research into the real layout curiously does not only analyse the modifications of the ideal design, such as the overhanging edge of the faces of the two bastions without modifying the breadth of the flank, without testing how the schematic, almost infantile design. In other words, we can verify the relationship between the constructed reality and the principles and drawings of the Treatise. It is curious to reflect not only on the problem of the squaring of the circle that appears throughout the Renaissance34, but also on the use of the external polygon to define the size of the fort, which at such an early time was possibly a completely new development Thus his posture of not recognising universally valid models would be the true objective of the text, constructed as a debate with himself, before moving on to defend his tenailled design, as the Italian bibliography has simplistically interpreted it.

In the case of Almeida, however, analysis of the almost perfect hexagonal layout36, the characterisation of the design which has been interpreted without a great deal of substance from the perspective of French and Dutch models, as well as referring to the initial 7-sided plans which were subsequently scaled back for economic problems [FIG. Geometric analysis of the layout of the Castle Fortress of Almeida with respect to the regular reference design.

Brussels, centre. Madrid, right. Finally, the analysis of the layout of the Castle Fortress of Almeida highlights other problems which had not been considered before and which represented a new methodological advance. The problem with comparing ideal regular polygons with real irregular polygons is deciding which side or vertex you use to make them coincide. In practice, the rule applied in irregular fortification which advises that the design should follow the regular layout as closely as possible was not applied, as many people believe, to the complete polygon as if you adjust on one side, on the opposite side the differences are such that no comparison is possible.

However, if it is applied to each defined front between the two principal lines which converge from the two points of the bastions in the centre or theoretical centres of the reference polygon. The graphic schemata of the front of the Almeida fortress could be included within plans in treatises from the period [FIG.

Thus the layout at Almeida appears as far from Marolois as it does from De Ville while being close to the layouts of Fritach and Santans y Tapia, following the line of Spanish Flanders which the Jesuits were spreading around the world at the time. This fitted the characterisation of border fortifications from the period and the work of Father Stafford at Imperial College in Lisbon37 prior to or, after the Portuguese uprising, of Father Cosmander.

Notice the paradox, that the fortress at Elvas is defined as Dutch38 simply because the architect Father Cosmander was born in a town that is now part of Holland when this region belonged to the Spanish crown , ignoring the fact that he was a Jesuit priest who had trained at the Catholic University of Leuven in the Spanish Netherlands, an important seat of learning and dissemination of mathematics and military engineering at that time COBOS, b.


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Leonardo da Vinci Codex Atlanticus. BA Milano fol. COBOS, b, p. COBOS et al. COBOS, a. In comparison with the history of religious architecture, which as well as having the support that comes from style recognition, developed surveying and typological study much more than military architecture, the landscape value of castles is expressed much better in paintings and prints than in architectural plans. COBOS, , p. COBOS, and b, pp. COBOS, a and b. Reflections on the size of the forts based on the determination of the external polygon appear in the seventeenth century.

Antonio de Fuenmayor's Life of Pius V: A pope in early modern Spanish historiography

For more on Dutch theory, albeit with a certain intention to disregard not only the Spanish experience but also, paradoxically, the Portuguese experience prior to , see BUCHO, Madrid: Ministerio de Defensa, Centro de Publicaciones. Manuel Silva, ed. Report on the fortifications of the Portuguese border line for its desig-. Edition published by P. Segovia: Patronato del Al-. Cross-Border Consortium of Walled Cities. Arquitectura defensiva. Those relationships were the outcome of the criteria legitimising expansion as well as of the fluctuating priorities around defence by land or by sea and hence around the role of bastioned fortification.

Such structures crystallised the construction of military, legal and symbolic frontiers until that conceit was forsaken in twentieth century thinking, historiography and imagery. The political dimension of space which, as Braudel noted, was the primary challenge facing an expansion-minded monarchy, can only be reconstructed from a global perspective. To broach the frontier in the Habsburg court and kingdoms is to broach power as a dialectical interplay of interests, resources and values. Power must be viewed in keeping with the values of a political society radically different from our own in every respect, beginning with ceremonial imagery that ultimately affected the portrayal of frontiers and fortifications.

Frontier, drawing, secrecy, fortifications, Spanish monarchy, image, court, engineers, House of Habsburg, Pyrenees. The soul seeks a reality that exists beyond body and matter, although as in any initiation voyage, crossing a boundary involves moving into the mystery-riven unknown. This perspective of a broader horizon superseded an earlier analogy in which the soul dwelt in a castle.

The association of secrecy, drawing or design and fortress represented power in a new dimension that could not be ignored even in spiritual literature. In keeping with that vision, shared by most of his subjects, warfare was versified, among others by Captain Francisco de Aldana. Before dying in battle alongside King Sebastian of Portugal in remote North African Alcazarquivir, he wrote a poem dedicated to the Spanish monarch that described an overarching theory for the defence of the peninsular frontiers.

Jesus loves me (English and Spanish version)

Under his premise, the six factors that would afford resistance against any armed warrior included soldiers and their experienced minds, a strong fortress city with moat and traverse, and a protected site where nature itself would do battle The Earth thus incarnated was assigned a providential mission, although the constant felling of natural and human barriers rendered domination as unstable as a river that routinely overflows its banks.

They both sublimated the chivalrous zeal expressed in the maxim composed by Milanese humanist and physician Luigi Marliano for young Charles I on the occasion of a meeting of the Order of the Golden Fleece at Brussels in His Plus oultre was soon erroneously Latinised as Plus ultra and translated into German as Noch weiter A medal struck FIG. Philip II medal, ca after the annexation of Portugal in Numismatic Portuguese Museum, Lisbon. That portrayal of motion represented the union of space and time which, as Braudel14 explained, was addressed to greater effect by the Spanish monarchy than by its contenders.

Nonetheless, that meaning paled in comparison to the excess inherent in the image stolen by the English privateers. In contrast to the dynamic impetus of the equestrian emblem, the staid immobility of the fortresses spied upon represented a compendium of military art and hence the foremost incarnation of spatial measurement, which was inseparable from the depiction of space on paper, canvas or other media.

Before geometry was certitude and politics dogma, when spatial measurement was a challenge and power rested on transcendental truth, merely imagining the bounds of a territory, even to deny them, was an avowal of strength and organisation. That was why maps were drawn in conjunction with the designs for fortresses. National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

The symbiosis between territorial bounds and construction was so tight that, once command over the world had been consummated, the border continued to be associated with the image of a castle or fortress: a literary device used to express the isolation of contemporary humanity, deprived of the system of values that raised strongholds on land and in the soul.

Here, however, solitary space was invoked in opposition to the spiritual home found by building, alluding to certainties identified for centuries with the Augustinian City of God but since lost The failure of modern fortifications in the world wars and the mass destruction of cities, dragged out due to the drastic shifting of boundaries in Europe, also prompted new philosophical reflection.

The European convulsions that induced such musings made the border a historiographic object, from Lucien Febvre with his pioneering works on Franco Condado and the Rhine21 to Carl Schmitt with his study on the power of the land and the sea in the trail blazed in empire building. Borders were thus conceived as a nomos, understood to be a jurisdictional, political and moral limit defined by mensuration, which by that time had hypertrophied under the thrust of technology and faded from thought Whilst the twentieth century interest in territorial limits was driven by intensified nationalism in the wake of the historical geography of the Annales and the new German science of geopolitics23, as we enter a new century an apparently contrary situation has inspired renewed enthusiasm for the history of boundaries and the social variations on that theme The crisis of the European nation-state justifies the pursuit of evidence of the inconsistency of national realities formerly regarded as inalterable, given the presumed porosity of borders and confines.

Some historians, with self-attributed divine powers especially in certain regions of Spain aim to create history by denial, betrayal or concealment, while real history, wedded to geography, towers over the horizon in the inescapable silhouette of mountain ranges. The Pyrenees constitute a paradigmatic example. The designs drafted by Tiburzio Spannochi for Philip II reflected the need for drawings to build boundaries Even as late as , after the attempt to suppress the political strife that arose around the change from the Habsburg to the Bourbon dynasty, the formulation of which is attributed to Ambassador Castelldosrius or Louis XIV himself, the Pyrenees border regained its status as the first line of defence.

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