Shelley’s early epic Laon and Cythna, subtitled Th e Revolution in the Golden City: A Vision of the Nineteenth Century, published in revised form as Th e Revolt of Islam, might at rst glance seem a problematic instance for investigating the role of localities. While the earlier dra s still abound in particular place names, only few of them are found in the nal version.1 As Shelley puts it in a letter to a prospective publisher ‘the scene is supposed to be laid in Constantinople & modern Greece, but without much attempt at minute delineation of Mahometan manners’.2 His poem does indeed fail to meet even basic expectations of the then popular oriental tales. e despot may be Othman but neither the seraglio nor the furnishings are described in any detail, while the most in uential aide the tyrant has and the most powerful antagonist of Laon and Cythna’s revolution is a Christian priest. In short: Shelley is not admitting too much local colour to his Golden City.