Late Post: Western Europe After Roman Empire

After the Roman Empire, church bishops remained the only figures with legal authority in the cities and also christian monasteries was the most inspired expressions of European feudal society. As a representation of progressive society, they did depend on an optimistic architectural expressions and built the ground churches, hospitals, monasteries and castles all over Europe after the millennium.

Charlemange’s Palace

Charlemagne’s palace is now called Aachen, remained the key project to revive the Roman Empire. The architect of projects was Odo of Metz or Eudes of Metz who was the earliest known architect born north of Alps and he had a large technical knowledge from De architectura of Vitruvius. The palace built entirely in stone instead of brick and its structural elements remained thicker. The marble cloumns in the upper galleries which spolia across Europe from Roman sities. The specific feature of the palace is the alternation of black and white voussoirs in the arches which seen for the first time in Christian architecture. Additionally, the interior spaces more darker.

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Charlemagne’s Palace

St. Gall Benedictine Monastery

During the next century the twin- towered facade became known as a westwork.For example St. Gall Benedictine Monastery. We have a lot of documentation about the monastery which shows the ideal plan of St. Gall and described form and social order of Benedictine monastery. The church dominated the plan with a double ended, three-aisle plan and proposing two freestanding towers for its westwork. The church located on the north site, main purpose was probably to not block the sunlight to the major structures. The Arcaded cloister at the core of the plan of St. Gall represented the heart of the religious community. The cloister resembled a forum, the raised discouraged one from entering the open space which served for meditation as vision of paradise.

St. Gall Benedictine Monastery

St. Hugh of Semur 

St. Hugh of Semur was another example of westwork. Cluny began third version of the church in 1088. Also Cluny commanded a monastic empire with over nearly 1500 monasteries in the end of 11th century. The old church atrium became the courtyard of a new palace for the abbot, the warming room became the Chapter House and the twins palaces were used for noblemen hosts and also there were twelve bath houses and a number of fountains too. The inspiration for such luxurious settings probably came from the grand palaces at Islamic Spain.

Cluny III

Cluny III was planned to built the largest church in the world to defended the expanse of Cluny III by great architecture as a suitable offering to bad. The architect, Gunzo of Baume was a retired abbot, renowed as a musician and a master of proportions.

The Norman Invasions

Vikings raiders was know as destroyers of monastries, after the king of France granted to the Vikings the duchy of Normandy in 911, and gave them a new identity as Norman. So they became sponsors for rebuilting them. For example, Mont St. Michel Sanctuary destroyed by Vikings in the 10th century, rebuilt as Normans during the 11th century. Because the Norman hiearchy founded monastries to reinforce their network of territorial control. The legendary Norman king William the conqueror, offered royal patronage for monasteries as a means of extending his network of control as a example reconstruction of Durham Cathedral, Norman Cathedral of Monreale and Norman La Zisa Palace. Durham Cathedral was one of the largest church in the world. Also Norman La Zisa Palace decorated with muqarnas which built with Muslim designers as a Norman pleasure palace.




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