Philp Mansel is a historian of France and the Middle East. He has lived in Paris, Istanbul and Beirut, and currently lives in London. He writes on courts and cities. His books include Constantinople: City of the World’s Desire (1995); a history of Paris in the early nineteenth century, Paris between Empires (2001); Levant, Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean (2010), a history of Smyrna, Alexandria and Beirut ; and Aleppo, the Rise and Fall of Syria’s Great Merchant City (2016). He has also written lives of Louis XVIII (1981) and the Prince de Ligne (2003) and is currently completing a life of Louis XIV. His books have been translated into Turkish, Greek, Arabic, Italian and French. He is a founder of the Society for Court Studies (www.courtstudies.org); and the Levantine Heritage Foundation (www.levantineheritage.com). He writes for The Art Newspaper, The Spectator, and the Literary Review, and in 2012 won the London Library Life in Literature award.