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Gothic Cathedrals and Rose Windows
Transcript of Gothic Cathedrals and Rose Windows
Religion was very important during the Middle Ages. To be excommunicated from the church meant exclusion from society. Huge cathedrals were built, meant to be castles for God. They were some of the largest structures of their time.
Early cathedrals were built in the "Romanesque" style, with very thick walls and columns. The weight of the materials meant these early cathedrals were fairly small.
Advances in Architecture
As building techniques advanced, new developments allowed cathedrals to be taller and the columns thinner. Architects figured out how to distribute the immense weight from the stone walls. One new technique called were arched supports "flying buttresses."
A New Kind of Cathedral
A new style of architecture that became popular was called Gothic. Gothic cathedrals are recognized by the use of pointed arches, buttresses, and stained glass windows.
Before Stained Glass
Before the introduction of stained glass, Romanesque cathedral windows were simple round holes. This was called an oculus.
Medieval stained glass was one of the major art forms of the time. It was mainly used in churches both to make the church beautiful and to tell Biblical stories to people who couldn't read. Before stained glass, pictures were painted on the church walls.
The simple oculus developed into the Rose Window. The first rose window was completed around 1200.
Why Were Rose Windows Made?
The Church used symbolism everywhere, and the rose window was no exception. A rose window is a mandala, or a symbol representing unity. It was also important spiritually, meditatively, and emotionally.
Jesus or Mary were often
found in the central
rosette of the window. The 12 sections also represent the 12 apostles.
It was believed that
looking at a rose window
and following its patterns
would help one to concentrate while trying to pray, similar to following a rosary.
There were no pictures in daily life for most people during the Middle Ages. Seeing these huge, brightly lit images would be awe-inspiring.
How Long Does It Take To Build a Cathedral?
It normally took about 50 years of hard labor to build a cathedral. Often, this was just the main part and more details would be added on later.
Where did the Church get its Money?
To build these huge structures, the church had everyone pay a tax each year called a tithe,
which was 10% of a person's yearly earnings. During the Middle Ages, it was often common practice for the church to sell "indulgences"- a forgiveness of sins to get the buyer out of purgatory.
What were the Middle Ages?
After the fall of the Roman Empire (about 400 AD), Europe fell into an age where many advancements in civilization were lost, so this period is also referred to as the "Dark Ages."
Plagues caused a decline in population; people moved away from cities, and invasions came from Vikings and nearby tribes, like the Germanic barbarians, Hungarians, and Arabs.
Also during the medieval era, lands were ruled by independent kings and feudalism was a common political structure.
What does "oculus" mean?
Other words share the same Latin root, like binocular and monocle
Shedding the Weight
Besides buttresses, architects also used pointed arches & ribbed vaults to help divide the weight of huge cathedrals.