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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/459

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Bk. I. Ch. II.
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TORCELLO.

tion from the Roman style, without any foreign admixture or reaction. It might be instructive to speculate on what the style might have become if left alone to develope itself on its native soil, but it would be extremely difficult to make the subject clear without a much larger amount of illustration than is admissible, and which in such a history as this would be out of place. Simultaneously with the elaboration of the rectangular form of church by the Italians, the Byzantines were occupied with the same task; but, being freer from the trammels of tradition and less influenced by examples, they early

293. Apse of Basilica at Torcello.

arrived at forms much more divergent from those of the classical period than those of Italy, and their style, reacting on the Italian, produced that very beautiful combination of which Pisa Cathedral is a type, and St. Mark's at Venice an extreme example. This style generally pervaded the whole south of Italy, with the exception of Rome; and, from the elements of which it was composed, may fairly be designated Byzantine Italian.

While this was going on in the south, the Longobards, the Goths, and other Barbarians who invaded the north of Italy, seized on this type and worked it out in their own fashion. They, however, had