Middle Age Architecture

The fall of Pagan Roman Empire brought about many changes including the adoption of Christianity as its newly accepted form of religion. As a result the social order of things was altered and with it the need for new forms of architecture. There were basically two forms of majority architecture during the middle ages. There was military architectures such as castles and barracks, and there were churches to hold the multitude of people who had adopted Christianity as their new form of religion.

Unlike the pagan temples from before, the new Churches were designed to accommodate very large gatherings of people and would also facilitate the hearing of the spoken word and chanted Psalms. The ancient Roman temple form could not be used this way. To say that the middle age architecture was “dark” would imply that the word dark was in specific reference to an architectural definition pre-defined. If meant in the literal definition of the word I would have to say “maybe” in regards to Churches and “yes” to Castles in the structural sense.

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The Churches were laden with windows to illuminate the splendorous work of the inside walls. Although the outside of Middle age churches were dull, the insides were highly decorated and well thought out with marble and mosaics. The Basillica was the most popular form of structure used during the Middle Ages. Its had originally been designed for public gatherings and when Constantine chose it to be used they realized that it carried a positive connotation of having to do with the equitable administration of earthly justice. But other building types were favored as well.

The pagan heroa, a building commemorating the deeds of a divinity or deceased member of a prominent family was a plan used as could be seen in the octagonal tomb Dioclectian built for himself in his palace compound at Spalato. Many Christian architectural structures were developed to mark a place of suffering or execution of a martyr and burial mausoleums which could be viewed as “dark” in the perceptual understanding of the individual persons beliefs. An early example of the Basilica would be St. Peter’s in Rome. It was built on what was at one time a cemetery next to the remains of the Circus of Nero.

It would be difficult to say this was literally a dark building because it had many windows along it’s clerestory at a height of 104. 5 feet. Yet it could be said to be dark in the sense that it was built over the tomb of St. Peter. Also the Church of the Nativity and the Zenobius Church of the Holy Sepulcher marked places of burial and martyrdom and could possibly be viewed by some as dark places depending on the interpretation of the architectural meaning or intent along with one’s personal beliefs. The most notable of Middle Age architecture I would have to say is the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

It would be very difficult to convince me that this architecture was in any way dark. Except for the fact that the columns were used from the Temple of Artemis and the Temple of Zeus at Baalbek as a further proof that the conquest of the pagan world was complete, this structure is glorious to say the least. Rising a height of 180 feet tall the structure houses hundreds of windows that illuminate the inside with suffused light reflecting off of the marble walls and mosaics. This same brilliance can also be seen at the Church of San Marco which is just as impressive.

The church has five domes which house windows at their base to illuminate the walls covered in gold-backed mosaics of the apostles, saints and angels. I believe to say that the middle ages was a dark period in architecture would only allude to the fact that it was during the fall of the once great Pagan Roman Empire. Much change was happening at this time and perhaps much social insecurity. But also it could be said that the newly formed architectural importance was on the Church buildings which represented the new form of religion based upon a God who was murdered and the war of principalities that it carried with it.

The church was feared and that is not something written in the text. Constantine tortured and murdered countless people in brutal fashion during the Inquisition. He decimated families, women and even children who refused to accept the new god Christ. He used murder, torture and fear to convert people in the name of Christ. These buildings were representations of that religion. Thus why I stated earlier that it is in the perception of the individual and what your personal beliefs may be to say if the Middle ages was a “dark” time architecturally. Personally they give me the creeps.

In the story of “The Lottery” written by Shirley Jackson, the writer plays on the element of anticipation and “the unknown” as she sets the plot around the annual lottery within a small town that has held it as a tradition for many generations. The writer seems to objective in her descriptions of the intricacies of the elements within plot itself. She describes the history of the box used to draw the lottery and the papers used to draw which were once chips of wood. The presentation of the setting almost seems to be similar to the style of “The Hunger Games”.

Since such overall community involvement is rarely seen in today’s towns and cities, this led me to believe that the story is set in either the past or the future. Since the names of the townsfolk are very American, it was difficult to view this story as outside of everyday life. The story’s theme is that of tradition and misguided loyalty at all costs. There is a mix of interesting replies by townsfolk of both excitement at what is going to happen and a contradictory response by Mr. Summers as he lowers his voice in an assumed air of doom to announce the outcome.

Shirley Jackson died at the age of 45 years old by an apparent heart attack in her own home. Shirley was known not only for her short story of The Lottery, but she also wrote stories dealing in abnormal psychology and witchcraft. Miss Jackson was the wife of Stanley Edgar Hyman, the literary critic, who is on the faculty of Bennington College. She is survived by four children, Laurence, Joanne, Sarah and Barry. Miss Jackson believed in magic–both white and black–but looked deceptively tranquil and maternal.

If one were looking for the witch in her, there was, of course, the broomstick that she wielded about the house and an assortment of black cats that sometimes numbered six. “Fifty per cent of my life,” she said, “is spent washing and dressing the children, cooking, washing dishes and clothes, and mending. ” Miss Jackson’s Gothic romances–“Hangsaman” (1951), “The Bird’s Nest” (1954), “The Sundial” (1958), “The Haunting of Hill House” (1959) and “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” (1962)–could be read as splendidly executed chill stories or as macabre commentary on human sanity.

From either approach, Eliot Fremont-Smith, a daily book critic for The Times, said yesterday, Miss Jackson “was an important literary influence. ” “She was a master of complexity of mood, an ironic explorer of the dark, conflicting inner tyrannies of the mind and soul,” he declared adding that “she left the flourishes–or rather, directed them–to the reader’s imagination. In the story “A Clean Well Lighted Place” written by Ernest Hemmingway, the author tells of an old man who is deaf and likes to come in every night to drink.

Two waiters are chatting about the character of the old man in a back-and-forth dialogue in which one of them desperately wants to go home and go to bed. The writer seems to center the theme on Value because each character in one way or another speaks of what they value in life. The old man perhaps valued his wife who is now diseased and values the comfort of the cafe. His niece values the old mans salvation as she supposedly cuts him down from a noose. Also each of the cafe workers speaks of what is valued to them.

The story leans in a direction of the mysterious old man who in the beginning seems almost a divine being due to the mystery of his character and due to the trifle quibbering of the waiters. Yet as the old man leaves and the cafe workers continue to talk, the story changes in its plot to the simplicity of the human spirit as they talk almost without discretion what is on their minds. The loneliness of the old man seems forgotten towards the end of the story and is replaced instead with the voices of the cafe staff who are perhaps more lost than the old man himself.

Hemingway worked his way from a reporter for The Kansas City Star then a volunteer for an ambulance unit in World War-I, a journalist in Chicago to a Nobel prize awarded writer who inspired wide range of authors and writers. Hemingway was awarded Nobel Prize for his contribution to literature in 1954. Although he always thought this was given to him in pity due to his obituary notices. Hemingway started going into depression with the deaths of some of his close friends. He was also seriously injured in two successive plane crashes. He received third degree burns while at a fishing expedition shortly after his recovery from the plane crash.

Hemingway went through a lot of hurt and depression during the 1950s till his death. Later the doctors believed he had a genetic disease in which a person is prone to suicide due to inherent depression. During his last years his behavior is said to resemble his father’s before he had committed suicide. In 1961 Ernest Hemingway committed suicide. In “Dead Men’s Path” written by Chinua Achebe, the writer tells of an ambitious young headmaster of a school named Obi who is determined to make huge fundamental changes in the school. Obi learns of a path that is used by the students going through the flower beds.

He decides to close the path to preserve the beauty of the flower bed and the path itself stating “I refuse to let our school to be used as a thoroughfare. The local village priest comes to plead with Obi to re-open the path since it is a sacred path that has been used for generations. He describes the importance of the nature the path holds to those who have used it for so long. Obi refuses to listen to wisdom stating that such beliefs are what he is hoping to get rid of completely. The next day Obi wakes up to find his flower bed pulled up and destroyed and building torn down.

The supervisor comes for inspection and see’s the destruction and the obvious revolution that Obi has initiated and it is assumed that Obi loses his job. The theme of the story is that of youthful desire and haste. Chinua Achebe has won several awards over the course of his writing career, among them the Man Booker International Prize (2007) and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (2010). He has also received honorary degrees from more than 30 universities around the world. Works Cited: 1.. N. p.. Web. 18 Feb 2013. . 2.. N. p.. Web. 18 Feb 2013. . 3.. N. p.. Web. 18 Feb 2013. .



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