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Medieval cathedrals
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 2006.
Physical Description:
li, 272 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm.
Overview: the history of cathedrals as social history -- Patrons, builders, and artists -- Planning and construction, early medieval to Romanesque -- Planning and construction in the gothic era -- Notre-Dame at Reims, the cathedral of France.
Presents an introduction to the medieval cathedral, explaining what makes a large church a cathedral, as well as an overview of its social history, including a discussion of its patrons, builders, artists, planning, and construction.
Geographic Term:
Electronic Access:
Table of contents http://catdir.loc.gov/catdir/toc/ecip0517/2005022204.html


Call Number
726.6094 Clark 2006

On Order



An introduction to the medieval cathedral, those churches that are regarded as the greatest achievements of medieval architecture. Details their social history, who built them, how they were built, and why. Forty photos and maps help to guide the reader through a narrated tour of these awe-inspiring churches.

When we think of cathedrals, we usually envision the great Gothic Buildings of 12th- and 13th-century Europe. But other than being a large church, a cathedral is neither a specific building type nor specifically medieval. What a makes a large church a cathedral is the presence of a single item of furniture: the chair (in Latin: cathedra ) or throne that is the symbol of the ecclesiastical and spiritual authority of a bishop. This book is an introduction to the medieval cathedral, those churches that are usually regarded as among the greatest achievements of medieval architecture.

While cathedrals were often the most prominent urban structure in many European cities, their construction was never a civic responsibility, but remained the responsibility of the clergy in charge of the day to day activities and services. Beginning with an overview of the social history of cathedrals, Clark examines such topics as patrons, builders and artists, and planning and construction; and provides an in-depth examination of the French Cathedral at Reims--a seminal building with significant technological advances, important sculptural programs, a surviving bishop's palace, and other structures. The volume concludes with a series of illustrations, a selection of original texts, and a selected bibliography for further study. A full index is also provided.

Author Notes

William W. Clark is Professor of Art History at Queens College. He is the author of Medieval Architecture, Medieval Learning: Builders and Masters in the Age of Romanesque and Gothic , among other titles.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

As one of 12 in the series "Greenwood Guides to Historic Events of the Medieval World," Clark's book deals not with an event but with a phenomenon. Conceived for high schools as a ready reference and a stimulation for critical thinking, these books all follow a similar format: an overview, a range of examples (28 photos in this case), selected contemporary documents translated into English, a glossary, and an annotated bibliography. This leaves for the treatment of the topic but little space, of which a quarter is dedicated to a case study, Reims Cathedral, forcing Clark (Queens College) to make difficult choices in order to cover the 1,000 years of the Middle Ages. Although not all will agree with his decision to focus, e.g., on the power struggles between bishops and secular lords rather than on cities and their inhabitants, his deft handling of problems facing patron and builder, and the development in the Gothic era of new technologies with which to solve them, will provide students with a solid foundation. Unfortunately, the poor quality of the printing makes the images of the selected cathedrals unlikely to arouse many students' interest in this topic. ^BSumming Up: Optional. General readers; lower-division undergraduates; two-year technical program students. E. B. Smith Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus

Table of Contents

Illustrationsp. xi
Series Forewordp. xiii
Advisory Boardp. xxv
Chronologyp. xxvii
Introductionp. xxxv
Chapter 1 Overview: The History of Cathedrals as Social Historyp. 1
Chapter 2 Patrons, Builders, and Artistsp. 17
Chapter 3 Planning and Construction, Early Medieval to Romanesquep. 41
Chapter 4 Planning and Construction in the Gothic Erap. 61
Chapter 5 Notre-Dame at Reims: The Cathedral of Francep. 85
Chapter 6 Epiloguep. 115
Chapter 7 Medieval Cathedrals: Selected Examplesp. 119
Pisa, Cathedral of Santa Mariap. 120
Modena, Cathedral of St. Geminianusp. 121
Angouleme, Cathedral of St.-Pierrep. 122
Ely, Cathedral of Sts. Etheldreda and Peterp. 123
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostelap. 124
Speyer, Cathedral of Sts. Mary and Stephanp. 125
Durham, Cathedral of St. Cuthbertp. 126
Autun, Cathedral of St.-Lazarep. 127
Chartres, Cathedral of Notre-Damep. 129
Senlis, Cathedral of Notre-Damep. 131
Paris, Cathedral of Notre-Damep. 132
Laon, Cathedral of Notre-Damep. 134
Monreale, Cathedral of Sta. Maria Nuovap. 135
Canterbury, Christchurch Cathedralp. 136
Bourges, Cathedral of St. Etiennep. 137
Naumburg, Cathedral of Sts. Peter and Paulp. 138
Amiens, Cathedral of Notre-Damep. 139
Salisbury, Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Maryp. 140
Toledo, Cathedral of Nuestra Senorap. 141
Cologne, Cathedral of St. Peter and Notre-Damep. 142
Strasbourg, Cathedral of Notre-Damep. 143
Exeter, Cathedral of St. Peterp. 144
Prague, Cathedral of Sts. Vitus, Wenceslas, and Adalbertp. 145
Girona, Cathedral of Nuestra Senorap. 146
Palma de Majorca, Cathedral of Sta. Mariap. 147
Antewerp, Cathedral of Onze Lieve Vrouwp. 148
Milan, Cathedral of Sta. Maria Maggiorep. 149
Salamanca, New Cathedralp. 150
Primary Documents
1 Emperor Constantine's Gifts to St. John Lateran and Old St. Peter's (313-37)p. 151
2 Prudentius's Descriptions of St. John Lateran and Old St. Peter's (c. 400)p. 153
3 Description of Constantine's Three Great Churches in Rome (12th c.)p. 154
4 The Second Creed of Nicaea (381)p. 156
5 Gregory of Tours: Descriptions of Several Fifth-Century Basilicas (591)p. 156
6 Gregory of Tours: The Baptism of Clovis (591)p. 158
7 Bede: Pope Gregory I Sends Augustine to Canterbury (597)p. 159
8 Two Letters of Gregory the Great Concerning the Church in England (601)p. 160
9 Bishop Desiderius's Gifts to Auxerre Cathedral (early 17th c.)p. 163
10 Benedict Biscop's Imports from Romep. 166
11 Two Descriptions of Hexham (late 7th c. and 12th c.)p. 167
12 Carloman Publishes St. Boniface's Decrees on Bishops' Synods and Rules (742-43)p. 170
13 Chrodegang of Metz: Prologue of the Rule for His Clergy (744)p. 171
14 The Coronation of Pepin and His Sons (751-54)p. 172
15 Einhard: The Building Activity of Charlemagne (820)p. 173
16 Two Descriptions of the Treaty of Verdun (843)p. 174
17 Hincmar Refuses to Swear Loyalty to Louis the German (858)p. 175
18 Bishops Fighting the Norse Invasions (885)p. 175
19 On the Election of Bishops (9th c.)p. 176
20 The Election of Otto I (936)p. 176
21 Pope Leo VIII Grants the Emperor the Right to Choose the Pope and to Invest Bishops (963)p. 178
22 Otto I Grants a Market to the Archbishop of Hamburg (965)p. 179
23 Eadmer on the Church at Canterbury (1067)p. 179
24 Two Accounts of the Revolt against and the Expulsion of the Archbishop of Cologne (1074)p. 184
25 Mutual Assistance of the Bishop of Liege and the Count of Hainaut (1076)p. 186
26 Five Documents about the Investiture Conflict (1076)p. 187
27 Trial of William of Saint-Calais, Bishop of Durham, before William II (1088)p. 192
28 The Bishop of Hamburg Gives a Charter to His Dutch Merchants (1106)p. 193
29 Guibert de Nogent Recounts the Misdeeds of the Bishops of Laon (1115)p. 194
30 The Concordat of Worms: The End of the Investiture Conflict (1122)p. 205
31 The Call for the Election of an Emperor (1125)p. 207
32 Henry I of England and the Bishops' Peace (1135)p. 208
33 Description of Santiago de Compostela (mid 12th c.)p. 208
34 Hugh d'Amiens, Archbishop of Rouen, on the Cult of the Carts (1145)p. 217
35 John of Salisbury on the Duties of Knights to the Church (1159)p. 218
36 The Constitutions of Clarendon I (1164)p. 218
37 The Service of Knights Owed by the Archbishop of York to Henry II (1166)p. 221
38 The Canonization of Thomas a Becket (12 March 1173)p. 222
39 Gervase on the Rebuilding of Canterbury Cathedral (1174-84)p. 223
40 The Bishop of the Artois and the Count of Flanders Agree on Rights (1177)p. 230
41 Pope Innocent III to the Archbishop of Rouen on Absent Canons (1198)p. 231
42 Innocent III Pronounces a Papal Interdict on France (1200)p. 231
43 The Rebuilding of Auxerre Cathedral and the Collapse of the Old Towers (1215-17)p. 233
44 Frederick II Forbids Municipal Freedoms and Communes (1218)p. 235
45 The Annals of St. Nicaise on the Civic Uprisings in Reims (1233-36, 1241)p. 236
46 The Limit of the Authority of the Archbishop of Cologne (1237)p. 237
47 Occupational Statutes of Paris (1258)p. 238
48 Building in the French Gothic Style (1280)p. 241
49 Durandus on the Symbolism and Meaning of Churches (1286)p. 241
50 Etienne de Bonneuil Is Sent to Work at Uppsala (1287)p. 245
51 The Expertise of Chartres Cathedral (1316)p. 246
52 Jean de Jandun's Description of Notre-Dame in Paris (1323)p. 248
53 Henry Knighton, Bishop of Lincoln, on the Effects of the Black Death (1348)p. 249
Glossaryp. 251
Annotated Bibliographyp. 259
Indexp. 267