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Cross the threshold into the world of the High Middle Ages and explore the illuminating wisdom, beauty and art of the Gothic cathedrals, stunning wonders of the medieval era for all to see today. From bejewelled stained glass windows to a pilgrimage “on the road” to Compostela, the wonders of Gothic architecture continue to inspire many worldwide. From the 12th century, the Gothic architectural style continued to spread throughout Europe. Highly-regarded medievalist Dr. Karen Ralls explores the legacy of this exquisite architectural period, whose artistic beauty and expert craftsmanship have served for centuries to inspire feelings of spiritual reverence and aesthetic wonder. She details the relationship between architecture, geometry, and music; explores the concept of the labyrinth; pilgrimage; Black Madonnas; astronomical calculations in the design and location of cathedrals; stone and wood carvings; gargoyles; the teachings of Pythagoras and the later Neo-Platonists, and more. For the general reader and specialist alike, Dr. Ralls guides the reader through the history, places, art, and symbolism of these unique "books in stone", providing a lively portal and solid resource for all. Lavishly illustrated with color photographs, a recommended reading section, lists of the major European cathedral sites and a full Bibliography, Gothic Cathedrals is a fascinating showcase of the mystic and spiritual symbolism found in these great structures of Europe, information that will help modern readers visit these sites and share in the energy of the sacred they continue to radiate.
As modern tourist destinations, museums, and sites of archaeological and architectural study, medieval castles continue to captivate students of history and laymen alike. Medieval cathedrals, many refurbished and still in use, also inspire awe, inspiration, and historical interest. In this book, readers will be enthralled by the vivid imagery of the castles and cathedrals that remain all over Europe and the rich historical narratives their stories convey. This work will be a surefire hit with those seeking the history behind some of the most impressive and romantic castles ever constructed and the most soaring and grand cathedrals of the medieval era.
Journey into twelve of the world’s favorite medieval mysteries and cross the threshold into the world of the High Middle Ages. From Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose to Dan Brown’s bestselling The Da Vinci Code, the medieval period continues to intrigue, inspire, entertain, and fascinate many today. This is a book for the general reader and specialist alike, Medieval expert, former Rosslyn Chapel museum exhibition curator, and bestselling author Dr. Karen Ralls guides the reader through the key historical facts, legends and lore, affiliated places, and major symbolism of 12 popular medieval enigmas, providing a lively introductory portal which includes some of the lesser-known, sidelined, or unacknowledged aspects of each of these enduring topics. The story of each subject comes alive as never before, providing a solid introduction for all readers as well as further suggested resources for teachers and researchers. Also included are photographs, a recommended reading section, maps, a list of the key major sites associated with each topic, and a full bibliography. Topics covered include: King Arthur, Merlin, and Glastonbury The Grail Quest Mary Magdalene The real meaning of Black Madonnas The Knights Templar, the Cathars, and Rosslyn Chapel Medieval Guides and Troubadours Heresy and Heretics
Historian Ralls has written an authoritative source book on the fascinating history behind the most famous military religious order of the Crusades--the Knights Templar. This encyclopedia also includes a wealth of information on the key Templar people, places, events, and more.
Through an analysis of political, art historical, and literary discourse, this book considers French fascination with the Gothic cathedral.
Gothic art finds its roots in the powerful architecture of the cathedrals of northern France. It is a medieval art movement that developed all across Europe for more than 200 years. Leaving Roman roundish forms behind, the architects started using flying buttress and pointed arches to open cathedrals to the daylight. Period of great economic and social changes, the gothic period also saw the development of a new iconography celebrating the Holy Mary, at the opposite to the fearful iconography of dark Roman times. Full of rich changes in all the different arts (architecture, sculpture, painting, etc.), gothic gave way to the Italian renaissance and international gothic.

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