Don't Be Fooled:
Most Gothic Cathedrals are Fake


All your life you've been hearing about so-called Gothic Cathedrals and having people tell you how great they are, but you're being swindled. None of those cathedrals are really Gothic; they're all either Frankish, Francien, or Anglo-Saxon. Real Gothic architecture can be seen in Ravenna, where Theodoric King of the Ostrogoths (A.D. 474–526) ruled the Ostrogoth kingdom which he founded in 493 A.D. (Theodoric also had Boethius killed, and contributed indirectly to the foundations of German opera via the epic Nibelungenlied, in which he played a major role).

A Greek nationalist has brought it to my attention, with amazing rudeness, that the architecture of the Goths is not really unique and original, but is much like Romanesque architecture, as found in the Eastern Roman Empire. Well, duh. Methinks that my Greek friend has failed to understand my premise here.

Here are two examples of true Gothic architecture:






Arian mosaics from Ravenna

The actual Gothic Alphabet, which is not at all like Fraktur.

Silmarillion at Après moi, le deluge points out that the best true-Gothic architecture is in Spain. (In my earlier post I had been blinded by my Ostrogothic prejudices). There's a tremendous amount of fascinating stuff on Silmarillion's blog, which is mostly in Spanish.

"Characteristic of Visigothic architecture in Christian Spain is the horseshoe arch, which became popular during Arabic period. Giorgio Vassari was the author of the "Gothic" classification. He compared medieval architecture with a barbarian one and named it Gothic. It was know as "opus francigenum" in middle ages and italians named it "tedesca" as it entered Italy via Germany."

Gothic edifices are to be seen at San Juan de Baños de Cerrato, Palencia; Quintanilla de las Viñas, Burgos; Santa Maria de Melque, Toledo; Santa Comba de Bande, Ourense; and  Santa Lucia del Trampal, Alcuescar. Here is San Pedro de Nave, in Zamora:



Asturian Gothic?

Church of San Julián de los Prados, or Santullano, built between 812 and 842.
(Some deny that Asturian Art should be thought of as Gothic. We report, you decide.)

A wonderful site on Asturian Architecture -- many pages

More Asturian Architecture

Crimean Gothic

Gothic Ruins, Mangup, the Crimea

The Goths in the Crimea


I am emersonj at gmail dot com.

Original materials copyright John J Emerson

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