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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/462

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Part II.
ROMANESQUE ARCHITECTURE.

almost always did in the great ecclesiastical establishments of Italy. When the church was copied from a temple, as in the African examples above described, it is probable it may have served both purposes. But too little is known of the architecture of this early age, and its liturgies, to speak positively on the subject.

The uses and derivation of these three forms of churches are so distinct that it would be extremely convenient if we could appropriate names to distinguish them. The first retains most appropriately the name of basilica, and with sufficient limitation to make it generally applicable. The word ecclesia, or eglise, would equally suffice for the second, but that it is not English, and has been so indiscriminately applied that it could not now be used in a restricted sense. The word kirk, or as we soften it into church, would be appropriate to the third,[1] but again it has been so employed as to be inapplicable. Ee therefore content ourselves with employing the words Basilica, Church, and Round Church, to designate the three, employing some expletive when any confusion is likely to arise between the first two of the series.


The most interesting feature of the early Romanesque circular buildings is that they show the same transitional progress from an external to an internal columnar style of architecture which marked the change from the Pagan to the Christian form of sacred edifice. It is perhaps not too much to assert that no ancient classic building of circular form has any pillars used constructively in its interior. Even the Pantheon, though 143 ft. 6 in. in diameter, derives no assistance from the pillars that surround it internally—they are mere decorative features. The same is true of the last Pagan example we are acquainted with,—the temple or tomb which Diocletian erected in his palace at Spalatro (Woodcut Ko. 194). The pillars do fill up the angles there, but the building would be stable without them. The Byzantine architects also generally declined to avail themselves of pillars to support their domes, but the Romanesque architects used them almost as universally as in their basilicas.

Another very striking peculiarity is the entire abandonment of all external decoration. Roman circular temples had peristyles, like those at Tivoli (Woodcut No. 193) and that of Vesta in Rome. Even the Pantheon is as remarkable for its portico as its dome, so is that

  1. That is on the supposition that the word kirk is derived from the Latin word "circus." "circular," as the French term it, "cirque." My own conviction is that this is certainly the case. The word is only used by the Barbarians as applied to a form of building they derived from the Romans. Why the Germans should employ χηοιου οὶχος, when neither the Greeks nor the Latins used that name, is a mystery which those who insist on these very improbable names have as yet failed to explain.