"Eliot presents in The Waste Land not only London but the collective history of the city, beginning in Athens. This progression accounts for the cast of characters in the poem: Tiresias (Athems), Christ (Jerusalem), Cleopatra (Alexandria), Marie Larisch (Vienna), and Queen Elizabeth (London). His work, in other words, partakes of the archaeology of history, the superimposition of one layer of time upon another [...]"
-- Richard Lehan,
The City in Literature (info)