Online “Tour” of Premodern Europe

For class on Thursday, 4 February, I have put together an online “tour” of the premodern world for those of you in my ‘Games of Thrones’ class (through a series of links which I have e-mailed to all of you).  In all likelihood, few of you in class have been to Europe or had substantial, visceral encounters with arts and artifacts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance.  Hence, the basic gist of this activity is that I want you to “experience” the premodern world, at least insofar as that is possible through fragments offered on and through the internet.  Unfortunately, there is a significant difference between experiencing such objects and places first hand as opposed to a mediated forum, but all the same, this activity will (I hope) help attune you to our period of discussion and get you immersed in the period in a different and insightful way.  In simple terms, in this Blog post I want to hear your (carefully focused) thoughts about the experience.  I’m hoping that your posting offers us some sense of both your intellectual and emotional response to the places, spaces, and artifacts under consideration.  By exploring the sites and “stuff” of this era and then writing about it, this activity will, hopefully, help you to recognize the relationships between time and place that are part and parcel of the very idea of the “premodern”, and in turn my wish is that you form some meaningful realizations about how specific places or works suggest certain ideals and fit in a larger cultural context.

In even more specific terms, I want you to respond to two particular “objects” of your choosing in particular ways.  Your response should broadly be broken down into two sections, with each section at least a robust paragraph in length (but the more the better).  These sections are: 1) a section on a place, and 2) a section on an object or artifact.  You should select a place and artwork that really piqued your interest, or that you found especially powerful in some way, shape, or form.  Then, your response should offer some thoughts about just what these places/things seem to “mean” in your estimation.  On the subject of your place/space, which location have you chosen, and why?  What really stands out to you about it, and why is it so important and interesting?  More to the point, what does your chosen place/space suggest to us about the premodern world and the people who lived there?  Regarding your piece of art, you might track similar ideas and questions, as well as think about the minutiae of your chosen artifact.  For instance, who created it, and when?  What are central characteristics of that individual artists’ style, or how does this object suggest the stylistics of the day?  How do you think it would have been used and understood by individuals in premodern society, and how might we reflect upon it from a twenty-first century perspective?

Overall, then, what have you LEARNED by exploring your selected places/objects, and what do they seemingly TEACH us about the premodern culture(s) of Western Europe??

56 thoughts on “Online “Tour” of Premodern Europe

  1. The virtual tour of the pre-modern European world offered a variety of interesting topics, places, and artifacts. One place I found incredibly interesting was the ship burial at Sutton Hoo. Sutton Hoo is a location in the Eastern portion of England, once belonging to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of East Anglia. In 1939, an archaeologist by the name of Basil Brown discovered the massive burial site, including eighteen individual burial mounds. During the excavation of the site, a large, twenty-seven meter long ship was discovered. While I am familiar with the concept of massive burial grounds that are typical of the people of the time, this was the first instance of an entire ship being buried completely which I have heard of. The fact that an entire ship was buried is amazing enough to me to warrant some further investigation, and contemplation. Why in the world would a group of people want to bury a ship, especially if it was once in working condition, which has been confirmed by studies done concerning the status and integrity of the ship itself? A surprising fact might help to shed some light on the reasoning that these pre-modern people exhibited. As it turns out, the center of the ship was removed in order to make room for a burial chamber on board the ship, hence the ship itself was serving as a sort of tomb. While this helps to explain why the ship was buried, the fact that there was a burial chamber on the ship does raise a number of questions in its own right; as in who was buried there, and why?
    The ship burial at Sutton Hoo, while it is mysterious in nature, does give some valuable insight into the world of the Anglo-Saxons. First off, to answer the question previously stated, the person buried in the ship itself was most likely someone of great importance, perhaps the captain of the ship, or possibly someone of royal blood, as in a king or prince. This can be inferred by the vast treasure which surrounded the burial chamber on board the ship. The ritual of burial also supports the idea that these people cared greatly about their legacy, and how they would be remember as time passed. A person buried with a lot of valuable things would be someone who was fairly important at the time, as a regular person or solider would not have the luxury of being buried with treasure. The burial itself also lends to the fact that these people probably cared a great deal about their possessions. Why else would an artifact be buried in the ground where it cannot be used, if it was not something of great value to the deceased? The burial site also implies that the Anglo-Saxon people had some sort of belief in an afterlife, or at least was a society steeped in traditions. Another glaring implication that can be drawn from the burial site of Sutton Hoo is that the Anglo-Saxon people where most likely a people that lived in close relation with the sea. The vessel found at Sutton Hoo is typical of the time and place, meaning that these vessels were fairly common. The vast use of these vessels indicate that the Anglo-Saxon people were seafaring people, who used ships to travel from one destination to another, including locations more inland as well. Traveling by way of sea and river was most likely much faster, and increased their range of travel exponentially.
    I became so enthralled with the Sutton Hoo burial site that my artifact for discussion is one found at the ship burial ground. My background in the martial arts, and combat in general, predisposes me to be interested in any sort of weaponry, hence the sword artifact found at Sutton Hoo is of great interest to me. The burial site was dated to the seventh century, A.D., meaning that this particular sword was at least that old. The mere fact that the artifact had survived until it was discovered in 1939 is astounding in its own right, and gives incredible merit to the construction of the blade. This, in turn, can imply that the Anglo-Saxons were very good at metal forging, and leaves the impression that these were a people which found themselves in armed conflict often. The integrity of the blade imposes the fact that the Anglo-Saxons took great care of their tools, and prized their weaponry higher than most other possessions, again indicating that these were a warrior people. The fact that the sword was buried with its owner also implies that those who were warriors took great pride in their work, and even in death wanted to be with their beloved weapon, which had been with them in their final moments. Again, this leads back to the fact that these people were obsessed with their legacy; had a person been buried with their sword, they would be remembered for being a courageous warrior who died for his king, a high honor indeed. In conclusion, from the ship burial site at Sutton Hoo, much insight into the lives of the Anglo-Saxons can be gained. These were a people who cared greatly about their legacy, their pride, and how they would be remembered in the future. These were a seafaring, warring people who traveled a great deal in order to expand their territory, and even in death, were honored and glorified for dying in service to their brethren, and king.

  2. The tour of the Premodern World brought about many interesting talking points, but none such as the art and architecture. Both art and architecture have been around since the dawn of time, even in the most menial ways. If one were to travel through time, since the dawn of man you would be able to see art in many forms, cave drawings, tools, small statues. If you were to stop in what we are defining as the Premodern Era, you would see a boom in new, and more intricate forms of both art and architecture.
    Architecture in this time was classified in two different styles – Gothic, and Romanesque. In the Premodern world throughout the European continent, castles and cathedrals were prominent. Dominating the architectural world were the classic Romanesque structures. Romanesque cathedrals were easily spotted by their rounded, sometimes full semicircular arches that ran from floor to ceiling. This form dominated for years, even dating prior to what is recognized as Premodern times. Then Gothic style cathedrals were introduced, starting in France. These buildings still featured arches, but the Gothic arches were pointed. These pointed arches symbolized life, more specifically it is said to represent the life of Christ.
    The art of the Anglo-Saxons was my main focal point of one piece. With every piece of art throughout the tour of Premodern Europe, the detail seemed almost unattainable without machinery. To imagine that it was all done by hand, is almost unimaginable. Coins, which we see in our culture as almost meaningless, have vast details in them still, but the coins from the Anglo-Saxons put our nickels and dimes to shame. These pieces, all done by hand, do not necessarily have intricate detail in the crosses, but the love of art here is seen in the consistency between them. Also seen in the helmet (thought to be a death mask) of one of the early leaders who is seen as the first one to bring “Englishness” to the area we now see as Southern England. Although as we see this, it is a recreation, but from the original is where the vast majority of the detail comes from. With engravings of warriors and what seems to be scripture makes this one of the most iconic pieces of the time. It is not known who the creator of this mask is not known, however the owner is. It has been all but confirmed that the fabled mask found at Sutton Hoo belonged to Raedwald. This piece showed the respect that the leader has commanded throughout his reign. With the amount of precious metal, and intricate artwork meant that Raedwald was a prestigious leader. The artwork draped throughout the headpiece showed that he held a high respect for his warriors, who helped him conquer his grounds, helping him claim the territories he obtained in the Southeast of what is now England.

  3. After going through the links given to us, I found English history to be more exciting and intriguing to me, but I am also a big fan of architecture and artworks. The massive cathedrals they have encompass art as well as hosting some fascinating and important events. Although I found a lot of the cathedrals to be amazing, the one that really stood out for me was the Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster. The narrator from the YouTube video described the cathedral as captivating and intricate. England holds the history of many kings and queens who tried so hard to not be forgotten and create a massive legacy. The first church on that land was established in the year 960. The second was established in 1065, but the building seen by tourists and residents of the area today was built in 1269.
    The church itself is absolutely massive in the height of the towers and so extremely detailed in every aspect. Honestly, I think we can find it so amazing because we immediately picture the people of this time period to be barbaric. We never really imagine them to be as smart, as creative, or as resourceful as we think of ourselves today. I spent a lot of this time trying to imagine how they managed to build something so high and immaculate. The Abbey has been the coronation church since the year 1066 and is also the resting place of seventeen English monarchs. Henry III began to build the present church in 1245 and it’s now seen as one of the most important gothic structures in the country. Mary I and Mary II are both buried in the Lady Chapel along with many others. Some of the women don’t have monuments like the kings, but may have wax figures placed in the cathedral. George VI was crowned and married in the Abbey, but buried at Windsor. This cathedral holds arts like gothic style, medieval stained glass windows, the intricate ceiling design and monarch statues. If I found it to be this amazing on the online tour, I cannot imagine what people have felt seeing these details and architecture up close and in person.

  4. Often times when people think about the premodern world they think of its architecture, mainly because lots of it still exists to this day. that’s why the place that I chose to write about is one of if not the most popular churches in England, called Westminster Abbey. The church was built over one thousand years ago in 960 A.D. and has been apart of many big moments in history. Westminster Abbey has also served as the coronation site of many of England’s Kings and Queens including William the Conqueror in 1066. It became he official church of the queen in 1560 after being a monastery for around 600 years. Westminster Abbey itself is a very beautiful church and it has many different features that were popular during the premodern era, such as floors that have been carved out to make many different patterns and beautiful stained glass windows. The church is also well known for its high ceilings that have been carved in a style that was very popular in gothic architecture. Other features the Westminster Abbey has is its many flying buttresses, flying buttresses were one of the most popular architectural designs of the medieval era because they helped support many churches high ceilings that were also popular at the time. Overall Westminster Abbey is the epitome of premodern architecture and it’s a great reference point to anyone who is interested in the premodern era.
    When thinking of renaissance art many artists come to mind, but none are more well known than Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci was not only one of the greatest painters of all time he was also a genius inventor. While Da Vinci had many beautiful paintings perhaps his most beautiful and most prized painting is the Mona Lisa. the Mona Lisa came at a time were paintings mostly consisted of religious figures, but the renaissance brought on a time a rebirth and a focus on humanism. The Mona Lisa has many subtle features that show just how different the painting is from other paintings from that time. If you look closely you can see that the eyes of the Mona Lisa are looking slightly to the side suggesting that she is looking at something else, most painting from this time were serious in nature and had the subject of the painting looking forward with a blank stare. Another subtle feature the Mona Lisa has is her quite and playful smile, this is very different from other paintings from the pre renaissance time because most paintings were of religious figures and had a very judging tone. Overall the Mona Lisa is one of the most beautiful paintings in existence and resembles a time were people started to appreciate the human spirit.

  5. Out of all of the available locations/ objects, I piqued an interest in the Speyer Cathedral and the Psalter World Map. The Speyer Cathedral sparked my interest because of its purpose of being a majestic Romanesque stature as well as the largest church of Europe. The cathedral itself is a symbol of power from the High Middle Ages by the large burial site exclusive to emperors and kings. The Speyer Cathedral supports the idea that men of the Christian faith held most power, because it was built by Salian emperors and leaders of the Christian faith.
    The Psalter World Map seemed to embody both the importance of religion in the High Middle Ages, as well as the knowledge of the world at that time. It is unknown as to who created the map, but it was believed that the map was used by Kings. The map is extremely intricate in its meaning, because there are subliminal pieces to it with religious meaning, such as the Red Sea and biblical symbols. It was likely used by kings/nobles as a piece of art as well as being used for its geographical content. Overall, I believe the Speyer Cathedral and Psalter World Map disproved the common idea of the Middle Ages being a simplistic society.

  6. As I went through the links provided as a part of the premodern tour I found myself intrigued by a good number of the places, and objects found there. Sutton Hoo was the place that peaked my interest the most. I think it is amazing how this was in England for so long and had not been dug up until the late 1930’s. It was interesting to hear how the artifacts that were dug up, had to be protected during World War II. I was unfamiliar with ship burials before hearing about this site, and was very intrigued as to the way it has survived the challenges of the modern era. It is incredible that they have survived to this day, and I think the pieces found are bot beautiful and skillfully crafted. We should be very grateful that it was dug up before the start of the world war, because who knows if it would have been destroyed in the bombing of England by Germany. This site shows the power that Kings had during this time, the craftsmanship of the ear, and the overall lavish lifestyle that the Kings lived.
    The artifact that interested me the most found at Sutton Hoo was the helmet. From the video I was able to learn that it was restored by the leader of Medieval Research. Each end of the crest has a dragon head which I think is awesome, super creative. The boars on the end of the eyebrows were another favorite part of the helmet of mine. It made me think who would be powerful enough to have such a mask? My first thought would be a great king or general. After looking over the video a few times, I feel as though it could be Raedweld. Multiple commentators in the video argued that he indeed could have been the owner of the amazing helmet. My favorite part of the helmet (it was very hard to decide) was the shape, which when it is put on it allows the wearer’s voice to be deepened and magnified. It shows that this is truly an item of power, a symbol of the ways of early medieval England.

  7. The greatest ship burial ever found in England was located in Sutton Hoo, in Eastern England. The artifacts found during the excavation were able to impress upon the modern world the culture of the Anglo-Saxon people. This site was excavated in the 1930s and the artifacts found are from the early 600s, which makes this site well over 1,000 years old. The wood from the ship and body were both decomposed due to the nature of the material surrounding the burial, but enough artifacts were found to reconstruct an accurate understanding of the previous visages of the decomposed artifacts. The burial chamber belongs to an unknown individual. Although the exact identity of the buried Anglo-Saxon is unknown it can be affirmed by the great wealth of the burial site that this was someone of great importance; perhaps even a King.
    The artifacts found there include items such as a belt buckle, specter, helmet, sliver bowls, and shoulder clasps. The belt buckle alone was worth as much as the compensation price of another nobles life. The specter also impresses the importance of the burial subject, this item was not something a common person would have had. The bowls and spoons found are made from silver, which suggests wealth. These items were all beautifully designed, and the artwork was laid with gemstones that had a symmetrical design requiring great craftsmanship. Also worth note and aiding in identifying the status of the burial are the warrior like artifacts found. The helmet, sword, and shield all also were composed of great craftsmanship and inlaid with jewels. These items display the importance of battle in the Anglo-Saxon world. The fact that they were buried with someone of such importance gives note to the status of the warrior in these times.

  8. While being able to travel back in time to go visit premodern Europe personally would be a cool thing to do, a virtual tour is the next best thing. When I clicked on the link that led me to The Durham Cathedral, the first thing I thought of was that it looked awfully similar to Hogwarts from “Harry Potter,” and turns out, that is one of the locations where the first two films were filmed. Upon doing some research, I found out that the cathedral is one of the oldest surviving buildings with a stone vaulted ceiling in such a large scale. It is also one of the best examples of the Romanesque architecture that was common during that time period, and considered to be one of the world’s greatest cathedrals. During the premodern age, the cathedrals and castles were an important piece of the culture which is why such amazing architecture was used in building them. Society took great pride in the cathedrals since religion played such an important role in their lives. Castles too were important because they showed the power ranking. One of the most interesting facts I found was that during the Industrial Revolution, the Durham Cathedral turned black due to the amount of soot that covered the exterior. To try and clean it up, the top layer of stone was chipped away which ultimately made the cathedral and inch shorter than what it originally was. Today, this piece of history is still a major tourist attraction, and still has hundreds of ceremonies take place yearly. That makes this premodern artifact an influential piece of not only history, but also in today’s society as well.
    Michelangelo, while the name of one of the Teenage Ninja Turtles is actually one of the greatest artists from the premodern era. Michelangelo created two of the most influential pieces of art: The Sistine Chapel, and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. These Sistine Chapel was painted between 1508 and 1512, and includes scenes such from the “Book of Genesis,” most famously “The Creation of Adam.” The Sistine Chapel shows how important religion was even back during the premodern age. During the Renaissance, art was one of the ways of expressing what was important, and Michelangelo took great pride in his work that the world would see. Surprisingly, while most people think he painted the chapel while laying on his back, that is actually not true, and actually did not want anything to do with it at first. But, after four years of painting, The Sistine Chapel artwork still stands today, and has been refurbished quite a few times in the recent decades to keep it as visible as it is. Today, we look at Michelangelo’s work as a masterpiece, whereas back then it was probably just considered another painting. We interpret the art as something much deeper than the people of the premodern society would have ever understood it as. While we can take hundreds of pictures thanks to technology today, paintings were their way of capturing a moment and telling a story… and here it is hundreds of years later doing exactly that.
    After completing this virtual tour of premodern Europe, I have to say that it was very fascinating to see all the different pieces of the time period. From the architecture to the artwork, there are pieces of history that still exist today that many people do not appreciate as much as they should. This online tour helps those who cannot physically get over to Europe to witness what is still left of history first hand, but it was also able to give you a small glimpse of what it would have been like back during the time period. It is crazy how so much can change as society gets more advanced, and yet we still look back on history and find it just as fascinating as what we can experience in today’s world.

  9. Architecture, by far, is the most appealing portion for me personally on this virtual tour of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. I would like to be able to see some of the widespread reactions of the various populations spread throughout Europe when such breathtaking masterpieces were first constructed. In particular, the final portion of the tour inside of Westminster Abbey was unbelievable. I was totally overwhelmed and would never have expected something so beautiful to come out of the middle ages. Another place that I thought was very interesting was Marksburg Castle on the Rhine River in Germany. It is the only castle on the middle portion of the Rhine that has never been destroyed. During the middle ages, the castle was primarily utilized as a defense fortress. Over the years, however, the castle has changed and adapted to the different aspects of time, which is why it intrigued me. A person can still travel to Marksburg Castle today, and tour it’s vast inner ramparts and towering keep.
    Spanish chart maker Diego Gutierrez developed an extraordinary map of the early America’s that really caught my eye. The map was created for approval by King Phillip II of Spain, and depicts him as Neptune, god of the sea, crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a chariot. Gutierrez’s adaptation of the America’s is actually quite accurate for a map of its time. There are also sea monsters, animals, and other mythological creatures that display the true spirit of the later middle ages and approaching Renaissance.

  10. After looking through the online tour of the pre-modern Europe, the aspect that I liked the most from the experience was all of the incredible architecture that was infused into the culture. Everything from the churches to houses, decor to basic objects was filled with art and architecture that gave a sense of magnificence to everyday life. My favorite piece of architecture and places shown was the Hedingham Castle that is located in Essex, England. The castle, which was owned by the de Vere family, known for their fighting ability, seemed like a masterpiece with the detail put into building the castle, allowing the castle to be defensive from attacks and having a main room filled with decor fit for a ruler. It was a great example of a Norman-style castle, with my favorite part being the spiral staircase that allowed for an advantage in fighting when trying to defend the castle.
    The artifact that stood out to me the most was the Sutton Hoo helmet, as it showed a great amount of detail into trying to make the helmet present strength. Various images of fighters of that period and strong animals were strewn around the helmet, which gave off the impression that the one wearing it was strong as well. The helmet was found in a Woodbridge ship burial site and showed off the great craftsmanship of the Anglo-Saxon era. Overall, I learned a great deal about the pre-modern Europe era, especially in regard to architecture and artifacts.

  11. As I went through the links for the tour, one of the places that stuck out to me the most was Sutton Hoo. In 1939, an archaeologist found a burial inside a ship. It turned out to be an Anglo-Saxon ship which had many high cost artifacts, which could mean it may have been a king’s ship. The burial dated back to the 600s when Sutton Hoo was part of Anglo-Saxon control in Eastern Europe. Over the 1000 plus year period, the wood planks decomposed and were replaced by compacted sand. The hull had iron rivets on it however, which made it easier to discover.

    When the ship was discovered, many artifacts were on the ship. I think the best artifact on it was the Anglo-Saxon helmet. When the burial chamber collapsed it was crushed into over 500 pieces. It took almost a year to put the helmet back together. The helmet is decorated with many different powerful animals. The crest is a two headed serpent, the face mask a dragon, the eyebrows are the dragons wings, the nose it’s body, and the moustache it’s tail. Boar’s heads were on the tip of the wings. The helmet was made of iron and weighed about 2.5 kilograms.

  12. I’m going to be honest, on the first day of class when we covered everything we were going to do in the class; I wasn’t sure what to expect. Then on the second day when we watched some videos to learn about Anglo-Saxon England and Early Medieval Europe, I was impressed. I had fun with this interactive assignment. However, it wasn’t all about fun to me. I learned some new topics today and makes me look forward to more days in class. The two topics that I had a particular interest in were Anglo-Saxon and Early Medieval Europe. The other topic was arts and architecture from the High Middle Ages. I enjoyed the first two topics because they were the two fields that I had no knowledge of really. The first topic that I learned about was Anglo-Saxon England and Early Medieval Europe. One of the first items I looked up was relics from Sutton Hoo from The British Museum. It was real neat to see the different relics at the time such as the helmets, shoulder clasps, gold belt buckles, shields and silver bowls and spoons. Then I saw what Basil Brown discovered in 1939 and it was interesting to learn new fascinating topics. I enjoyed seeing the 27-meter Sutton Hoo ship buried up from the ground with the objects that were on the ship. The relics that were found on the ship were the same ones that I saw on The British Museum. The video of the art of Anglo-Saxon England with the relics and having actors pretend to be soldiers gave me a different concept then how I pictured them to be. I was expecting men to be in black armor, very gritty material like on Game Of Thrones but watching the video gave me an idea of what Anglo-Saxon England was like during that time in Medieval Europe. Next, I saw arts and architecture from the High Middle Ages. Seeing the inside and outside of the Durham cathedral was beautiful. Virtually moving the screen around to see cathedral was really fun and I tried to imagine what it would be like to be there. I can understand why Joseph Laskey fell in love with the city of Durham because of how amazing the cathedral is. It was also very interesting to learn about the Speyer Cathedral. The architect wanted to construct the largest Christian church in Europe. From the 11th century there were German Emperors and leaders of the Christian faith. The inside and outside was a sight to be hold just like Durham. The Romanesque art was beautiful and I always wanted to know how it came to be. The expansion of monasticism was the main force behind the unprecedented artistic and cultural activity of the eleventh and twelfth century. I found this interactive tour to be a fun and educational experience.

  13. The online tour of the pre-modern European world had a plethora of information to give. The art and artifacts were especially exceptional. The place that stood out the most to me was Sutton Hoo. Sutton Hoo is located at the south-east side of England, and once belonged to the Anglo-Saxons. In 1939, right before the second World War occurred, an archeologist by the name of Basil Brown excavated the largest burial site, which included eighteen of the burial mounds. While digging up these sites, a massive ship of twenty-seven meters was discovered.When I think of burial sites, I think of parts of ships or maybe even a couple of artifacts, but the fact that an entire ship was found was and still is incredible. Not to mention, that this Sutton Hoo ship is the biggest and most complete Anglo-Saxon ship found. This is what made the Anglo-Saxons stand out to me. The fact that they buried a completely functional ship is astonishing and baffling to say the least. Upon, exploring the ship and what it had to offer; that not only did they find bodies, but the bodies were surrounded by treasures such as: rare and beautifully-crafted gold and garnet ornaments, Byzantine silver vessels and decorated drinking horns and cups. The only explanation I can think of as to why the entire ship was buried is that it must have belonged to a member of the upper-classes. It would explain why there was an abundance of rare and expensive treasures surrounding the dead bodies. The people of Sutton Hoo were interesting to me because I have never heard of something as astounding as burying an entire ship before.

    For my artifact, I once again stuck with the Sutton Hoo. This is because they honestly stuck out the most to me, and the artifact I chose was their helmet. It was the most iconic artifact of the Sutton Hoo because it was decorated with pictures of warriors and powerful animals. The design of the helmet was comprised of several different animals. Its crest was formed by a two-headed serpent, the face mask was a dragon-like beast. The eyebrows make up its wings, the nose is its body, and the mustache is its tail. The helmet itself was made of iron and had a leather lining with holes under the nose so the wearer could breathe. My guess is that this artifact was used for soldiers that were getting ready to fight in a battle, or used my guards of some town as a symbol of protection.

  14. When you see the Cathedral of Canterbury there is no denying the amazing things humans are capable of. With its immensity, beautiful Gothic architecture and breathtaking stain glass windows the cathedral of Canterbury is unquestionably worth writing about.
    The Canterbury Cathedral serves as a great example in displaying the shift from Romanesque architecture to Gothic. With its beautiful pointed arches and stained glass windows we no longer see the Romanesque influence.

    The cathedral was founded in 597 AD and was completely rebuilt from 1070 to 1077. Saint Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory the great as a missionary and established the Cathedra, which stands for “his seat” in Greek.

    This cathedral is very well known for the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket.
    King Henry II and the Archbishop had a strong bond between them. Not long after meeting, the King named Becket his chancellor, and then after made him Archbishop of Canterbury. This was clearly strategic on King Henry II he thought by naming Beckett Archbishop he could easily impose power on this religious institution, he was sadly mistaken. King Henry II wanted more control but Becket took a stand against the King. Becket then fled to France for six years. The two former friends resolved their dispute in 1170 in Normandy. While in France Becket had excommunicated the Bishops of London and Salisbury for their support to the King and Becket refused to absolve the Bishops, This threw the King into a rage. The Kings outrage sent four Knights to sail to England to kill Becket. On December 29th the Knights searched for Beckett in Canterbury. Becket fled to the Cathedral where a service was in progress. The Knights found him at the altar. There the Knights drew their swords and violently killed the Archbishop. This murder was so important to this time period because we see the conflicts between the church and the royal monarchy.

    Soon after Thomas Becket’s death, Pope Alexander elevated the martyr to sainthood. Becket’s shrine at Canterbury now became the most important place in the country for pilgrims to visit, as famously mentioned in the Canterbury tales. The shrine was then destroyed in 1538 by King Henry VIII, a simple candle marks where it once stood.
    Years after the Cathedral also served as a monastery but were closed on the orders of king Henry VIII of England in the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
    Just like the amazing architecture of the pre-modern world the art was also just as fascinating. The Virgin and Child in Majesty and the Adoration of the Magi is a Fresco transferred in canvas. Created in the 12th century around the year 1100 by Master of Pedret in Catalonia, Spain. Clear example of Romanesque art before Gothic art came to surface closer to the 1300s. Romanesque art was influenced by Byzantine art. Romanesque art was mostly religious scenes including Jesus Christ or the Last Judgement. In the Virgin and child painting it is interesting that we don’t see the Virgin Mary in the typical scenario of her with Jesus in a manger but enthroned surrounded by archangels. These paintings in churches were important in these times because much of the common people couldn’t read, these paintings visually depicted religious stories so all could understand. Religion was important to this era because religion stands for ‘to tie things together’ and people in the pre-modern era were looking for understanding and purpose and these paintings depicted a common thought. Religion for most was the center of their life and pre-modern art clearly portrayed that.

  15. Brunelleschi’s Dome enthralled my interest as I looked through the list of available artifacts as a part of the virtual tour. Brunelleschi’s Dome is a dome inside of another dome within the Florence Cathedral located in Italy. These domes are covered in a series of artistic designs by Vasari and Zuccaro called “The Last Judgment” painted in 1572. This painting represented a religious atmosphere most likely influenced by the church. This was not a surprise that paintings during this era contain religious element since the church was incredibly powerful during the premodern era and well before that. The style of this painting was influenced by Michelangelo and had a bright, vibrant feel. The painting showed different levels from bottom to top that showed different levels into heaven. Overall, this painting contained a stereotypical renaissance style painting that looks similar to paintings of that time. I could compare the style to the “Mona Lisa” because I viewed the colors and representation of humans similarly.
    One place that significantly sparked my interest was “The Great Hall” within “The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall” in York. This specific hall looked familiar to me. It felt similar because similar to the previous artifact, it looked quite stereotypical to what that era might look like. However, my view is only based on movies and a few books I have read that took place in this era. This hall was created fully out of wood which made the hall look much older as it aged. I assume that re-creations of this could be constructed, but this would never become a modern mainstream design. “The Great Hall” reminds me of the hall within Beowulf that the townspeople feast in after Beowulf returned from his adventure.

  16. Prior to this online tour, I was never a fan of architecture; however, the monstrous castles engraved with ingenious designs for practical use were stunning. The most interesting to me was Hedingham Castle, which was built around 1140 in Essex, England by the Normans. The Normans had built over 500 castles, a striking amount to consider, but the castles were built to enforce power, wealth and to intimidate the enemy. I found it most interesting and impressive that the staircases curved in a counterclockwise direction so that the defenders could fight down the stairs with their right arm free to fight, while the attackers were constantly struggling to get their fighting arm around the curved wall. This formulated structure in addition to the bold exterior of the castle, from twelve foot thick walls to a raised front door, suggests that the premodern world was filled with war and that premodern people were constantly on the look-out for attackers. The time and planning that went into designing such an indestructible structure that still included the delicate details of zig-zags around archways is very impressive in comparison to the standard, lifeless buildings within our world today.
    The Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon burial ship was the most interesting object in the tour due to the amazing customs of burial, the time period of the excavation, and the ancient artifacts found in the heart of the ship. The ship dates back to about 610 A.D. and was discovered in 1939 underground. The 27 meter long ship buried a man who was most likely a member of high class, if not the king. This was concluded due to the abundance of gold and metal objects that were buried with him, ranging from metal battle gear to silver platters and gold coins. This suggests that the Anglo-Saxons believed in an afterlife where these objects may be needed, as many other cultures believed, and that death was an important event that must be remembered and honored. The bowls found in the ship had crosses engraved on them, which demonstrates the strong role faith played in the Anglo-Saxon culture. Ironically, once the artifacts were found, they had to be hidden once again underground during WWII. The now universal symbols for Anglo-Saxons could have easily been destroyed during the war, and the physical artifacts we have now that were otherwise only described in Beowulf could have been melted and lost forever. The fact that burials occurred in a ship stresses the importance of water in Anglo-Saxon life. Anglo-Saxons often traveled by boat rather than on land simply because it was quicker. Overall, the discovery of the Sutton Hoo ship was remarkable because it revealed many Anglo-Saxon customs and provided us with the artifacts that are recognized universally today.
    From the castle and the ship, it can be learned that the people of the medieval times were not as barbaric and unintelligent as they are made out to be. While defense was an important factor in medieval cultures, the Sutton Hoo ship demonstrates that death was a large event that required a burial and ceremony for some. Based on the artifacts found in the ship, people were faithful and honored religion; therefore, life was not completely about killing. Additionally, the people of medieval times were very intelligent and were able to plan and build works of art that were used as ships and defensive castles where every detail was thought out to be uses to the fullest extent. Although many films portray the medieval times to be a time of few morals, low intelligence, and careless deaths, the Sutton Hoo ship and Hedingham Castle suggest otherwise.

  17. The virtual tour of premodern Europe was an interesting experience because it not only provided textual information but a lot of visual information as well. I enjoyed reading about certain topics and gaining knowledge on various subjects, and then being able to apply my newly acquired knowledge while watching some of the videos. Throughout the entire experience, I learned about the progression of art, architecture, writing, ideas, and culture during the length of the Medieval times and the Renaissance. One particular object that really peaked my interest was the Psalter World Map, made in 1265. The amount of detail put into the map caught my eye immediately, and I was surprised to discover that the map still retained its original coloring after all this time. It highlights many of the values that people of this time period held dear to them, based on the fact that Jerusalem was located in the center. People of this time had very deeply rooted religious values, which is seen in the detail of important people, places, and objects such as the Red Sea, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Noah’s ark, Christ looking over the entire world and the angels flanking him, as well as many other things. It also includes Greek city states, Rome, Carthage, and Macedonia, all historically important places during this time period.
    While looking at some of the important places in Medieval England, I was very interested in reading about Canterbury Cathedral. I recently visited Canterbury Cathedral last summer on vacation, so it was fun for me to be able to learn more about a place that I saw which I knew held so much importance. While reading about Gothic architecture, I learned that some of the characteristics include pointed archways, stained glass windows, and very colorful, detailed artworks. When I was in Canterbury, I didn’t have this knowledge and wasn’t able to fully appreciate the complexity of the architecture that surrounded me. After learning about it and going back to photos that I took, I can see how distinguishable and unique these designs are. Cathedrals were very important to the people of this time period because religion was a huge part of every single person’s life. By making the cathedrals so astonishing, they were given a grander presence and an air of seriousness. The amount of detail and effort put into the architecture also demonstrates how dominant religion was in the premodern world.

  18. The virtual tour of premodern Europe was a fun experience for me. It provided me with numerous amounts of interesting facts as well as more knowledge and over all greater understanding for this course. The piece that interested me the most was the ship burial in Sutton Hoo, England which once belonged to the Anglo-Saxon kingdom. When Basil Brown, an archaeologist, discovered the burial, he believed that the ship was built for a king. The one thing the boggles my mind the most is how the ship, which is twenty-seven meters long, was managed to be buried for so long. The reason I chose the ship burial was because it stood out to me. The ship was not only well built but carried nicely crafted artifacts. That goes to show the Anglo-Saxons were handy and knew how to craft brilliant pieces in which we have as artifacts to look at today.
    As a child, my dream was to become an archaeologist and I always looked at historical books filled with artifacts and the historical settings behind them. In a way, this tour brought back some memories which excited me. The most interesting artifact that fascinated me was the model of an early modern Renaissance–era hand printing press. The hand press was used to develop books. Shakespeare is a prime example of using this device in his younger works. Looking at the device and seeing all of the different manuals steps in order to just print a word was frightening. In order for words to be written you had to one by one take each letter and put in on a composing stick to be able to write a sentence. The people who lived in the Renaissance-era appear to be intellectual people that had revolutionary artists and inventions. This device really stood out at me and taught me how hard you had to work for something we have so easy today. The dramatic transition of technology is definitely an eye opener and makes you appreciate the things we have today.

  19. The tour of the pre-modern European world allowed me to discover new and fascinating things about the early and late middle ages. To start I read about a amazing book called The Lindisfarne Gospels which to me was one of the most magnificent manuscripts i ever read. For me being sucker for middle ages i couldn’t resist but to read about this. The book was written by the monk Eadfrith who later in life became Bishop of Lindisfarne. This manuscript full of Latin text was lost then found and re written/decorated many times. Which i find amazing is that it shows how important this manuscript was considering it was rewritten and decorated a few times showing me that this is a important artifact of that era. In the present the manuscript is once again bound in silver and jewels and held in the British Library in London. It is said that Lindisfarne Gospels were made in honor of God and Saint Cuthbert (Bishop of the Lindisfarne monastery) who soon became Northern Europe most popular saint. What I found is the most amazing thing about The Lindisfarne Gospels is that it is a Christian manuscript, containing the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Also it was use to celebrate christian religion. I’m not a full on church goer but i am a christian, and to me I find these manuscripts fascinating and to me I think i could learn a thing or too about these. The monks and bishops in the middle ages must of had a strong Christian religion in order to have a motive to write this manuscript. To me it is an important part of history showing that religion was everywhere no matter what time or place religion was always practiced sacredly.

    From learning more about the middle ages i discovered a place I found vastly interesting which was the sight of the burial ship in Sutton Hoo (Eastern Europe).In 1939, right before the outbreak of the Second World War an archaeologist called Basil Brown discovered a massive burial site which included eighteen individual burial mounds. This was seen as spiritual of people living in the area of them seeing ghostly figures standing on top of those hills. During the excavation a twenty-seven meter long ship was discovered. Underneath the ground, like really, who would of thought that not only do people get buried but it turns out that ships do also. This ship was to measured longer than any modern ocean yachts to date. Anglo-Saxon which describe any member of the Germanic people who where from the 5th century till the time of the Norman Conquest. These boats where very important to allow communication and travel through the region. While excavating the center ship was dug out which in its place was a burial chamber. In the burial chamber it was discovered that there was an abundance of coins jewelry plus rare hand crafted beautiful gold and garnet ornaments. I mean why would someone bury this. It seems so valuable. This amazing archaeology found goes down in history as the richest burial sight ever discovered in Britain. The ship burial at Sutton Hoo does give a better understanding of the Anglo-Saxons time period. It can be easily seen that someone who was buried surrounded by massive amount of gold and jewels had a great importance in the world. Maybe a noble or maybe former king, who knows. This allowed historians to come up with theories and speculate how Anglo-Saxon society must of been like.

    To me the burial sight and the manuscript shows that some things we just don’t know much about to teach the world and that it opens our minds to realize that their may be many other societies like these out there that have such a rich history waiting to be discovered.

  20. I found my virtual, online tour of Premodern Europe to be both a highly educational and pleasurable experience. This tour offered me the opportunity to see and learn a great deal of history that would otherwise be extremely difficult to acquire for a student like me without having either lived in Europe or having lived several centuries ago. The topics and subjects were incredibly diverse and many equally fascinating, nevertheless, I personally connected with one place far more than I had the others. My particular fancy was awestruck by both the University of Cambridge and its King’s College Chapel. I found the University of Cambridge to be a symbol of immense sophistication and power, especially for the time period. The University was unlike any other; a monument to knowledge and academic prestige. Its conception began in the 13th century in the city of Cambridge, a modest yet thriving river port at the time. The University started off in poor favor with the town, whose denizens felt the growth of such an institution would threaten the prosperity of their port. Like nearly all extraordinary feats of the premodern world, King’s College Chapel wouldn’t be built without cracking a few eggs. King Henry VI decreed for the construction of King’s College, a job that required the razing of the town’s previous infrastructure on the riverbank and that would cut off the rest of the town from the river. Surely a minor inconvenience for the king and a regrettably large setback for the town, King’s College was constructed between the span of approximately seventy years, a time period that spanned the reign of six monarchs for the region. Yet when it was completed, it was a magnificent achievement to both the town and the medieval minds that it called its own. One of the real reasons I chose King’s College Chapel was due to its grandeur and beauty. Its Gothic stone work is among some of the most gorgeous in the world; rich in detail and craftsmanship. Its brilliant fan vaulted ceilings are a remarkable achievement in architecture, being the largest in the world. A fabulous mix of impressive, slender columns and breathtaking stained glass makes the King’s Chapel of the University of Cambridge one of the highlights of my tour. I see both the chapel and the University to be a clear indicator of the importance that English monarchs placed on both knowledge and immense splendor at the time; a true testament to education and sophistication.
    In regards to the artifacts I learned about on the tour, none other but the extraordinary relics of the Sutton Hoo burial site can compare. The one in particular that I am most impressed by are the shoulder clasps they discovered. All extraordinary historical significance of the Sutton Hoo site aside, the shoulder clasps are a true work of ancient art, especially in regards to their embellishment. From my own background with jewelry, the way the garnets are step set into the gold in a cloisonné (inlay) style is truly astounding. I never would have imagined such sophisticated methods of craftsmanship, particularly in jewelry making, from the early medieval Anglo Saxons. Not only that, but those shoulder clasps are curved, so their designer had to have set hundreds of stones on a curved surface, an incredibly difficult feat to do by hand. The design of the clasps are truly gorgeous, from the gold beadwork embroidery in the center, to the intricate knot pattern around the borders, to even the tasteful patterning and shapes of the inlay and stones that make up the center. From a modern day perspective, this is a true handmade masterpiece. Pieces like these are of a talent and workmanship that has been surely lost to the world today. For someone to create a piece like this speaks volumes about the kind of people the Anglo Saxons were. I can only imagine the painstaking hours and the degree of attention that must have been put into place setting all of those garnets. And to think that this amount of diligence and craft was dispensed into making just the shoulder clasps of armor, which are functional, might I add with pleasure, to be buried with the dead blows me away. It truly shows how they respected and honored their dead, and how nothing was spared to demonstrate how important its owner was to those still living. The shoulder clasps inclusion reminds me of the Egyptian custom of burying their pharaohs with both valuables and essentials, so that when he reaches the other side, the world of the dead, he wouldn’t be without them. These ancient men were undeniably proud, honorable, and skilled, and the inclusion of sophisticated artifacts like the shoulder clasps are a true sign of a warrior’s burial at Sutton Hull.

  21. The virtual tour on Pre-Modern Europe provided a lot of information on places, art, and architecture. I found myself so intrigued by a lot of places such as the University of Cambridge and the Cathedrals. I can’t just pick one so I’ll just talk about both. Cathedrals like Durham and Speyer Cathedral were beautiful inside and out. They both used a lot of detail and great use of bright colors. I found it interesting that in the Speyer Cathedral, emperors and kings were found there because it was their burial place. Cathedrals had either Romanesque or Gothic architecture. Romanesque had a round arch and the shape was always based on a circle. It was simple, but had a very powerful effect. Gothic raised the level of sophistication. It had a pointed arch and it was born in France. It was considered the “theology of light.” Cathedrals were built with Gothic architecture because it evoked the experience of heaven to the people. What also stood out to me was the York Minster in England. York was seen from the top of the Minster tower. It’s known for it’s gothic stone carvings and medieval stain glass windows. There were statures of Kings of England from William the Conqueror to King Henry VI, which I found AMAZING! The detail in everything was breathtaking. The University of Cambridge was known for their fan volted ceiling, which is considered the largest in the world. The stone work was so elegant. During the time of Henry VI, the University cut off the town from the river and it was known as the University’s take over. Cambridge is also known for the riverside port. I wish to travel Europe and visit these places some day.
    Gargoyles caught my full attention. They are known as carved stone grotesque designed to take water from the roof and away from the side of the building to protect the walls from damage. Gargoyles had a waterhole through the mouth so that the water was able to pass away from the walls. Most famous gargoyles are at Notre Dame of Paris. It’s said that it’s used to scare off and protect from evil/harmful spirits. I didn’t know that it represented evil at Churches. Gargoyles were used to scare people into coming to Church, constantly reminding them that the end is upon them. There were different meanings to each gargoyle. Lions were the most non-native animal used because it was linked to the sun. Dogs were the most native animal used because they are excellent guardians. Dogs are loyal, faithful and intelligent creatures that people were able to trust. Wolves were the most feared because they were linked to priests, to fight off evil for the people. There are also birds that are considered powerful because they slay dragons. I didn’t think that these stoned sculptures had a certain meaning to them.
    I found this assignment very helpful and interesting because I learned a lot through visuals. I noticed the time and effort put into the architecture and artifacts. It seemed that everything revolved around religion during the Pre-Modern times. I think this was fun and educational at the same time. I definitely developed a new appreciation for the history of the Pre-Modern world.

    The place that I have chosen to write about is Westminster Abbey. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit England over the break last month, and on my last day was able to go inside Westminster Abbey and see everything there firsthand. I visited several historic sites in my three weeks in England, such as Rochester Castle & Cathedral and the Tower of London, but none stood out or seemed as moving and powerful as the abbey. From the moment you step into the building, you feel immersed in the history of the place. Everywhere key figures from the great history of England are interred and there is no place in the cathedral that does not feel sacred. The tombs of progressive scientific minds such as Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, immensely talented writers like Geoffrey Chaucer and Lord Byron, and numerous kings and queens such as King Henry VII and Queen Elizabeth I adorn Westminster Abbey today, and I could not believe how powerful the feeling was standing just feet from the remains of these famous historical figures. These memorials sent a message of reverence and respect to me. When I saw these moving tributes to individuals that made key contributions to England, I could immediately feel the gratitude and respect that the nation had for these citizens.
    On top of all of the key historical figures that found their final resting place at Westminster Abbey, the architecture of the building is incredible. Every little aspect of the cathedral is incredibly beautiful and detailed. From the arches and the ceiling, which seems to be high enough to reach heaven itself, to the ornate stained glass windows surrounding the building, to the incredibly detailed floors, everything is wondrous and stops you dead in your tracks. I could not believe what people were able to accomplish so long ago. I stood in wonder staring at the ceiling of the Lady Chapel, trying to work out in my head how to possibly recreate that even with the tools available to us today. Any lingering thought that the people of premodern Europe were uncivilized and less intelligent or capable than we are today left my mind as I was staring at that ceiling. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that if anything, they were more capable and more intelligent than we are today. They did not just build this intricate and beautiful ceiling without modern tools and equipment, they built it and it has survived for hundreds of years complete with the same splendor as when it was first erected.
    Most of all Westminster Abbey had an air of importance to the whole of England. It never felt like a relic at any point when I was inside. It felt like an active cathedral, because it is. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to stand in during a prayer at the tomb of Edward the Confessor. Though I am not a deeply religious person, the fact that I was standing at the tomb of this long dead king of England, who reigned from 1042 to 1066, and following along in a prayer that has been lead thousands upon thousands of times was incredibly moving. Those moments happened throughout the cathedral for the entirety of my visit. There is an enormous amount of tradition in the walls of Westminster Abbey, and it is obvious how important the building is to not just members of the Church of England, but to the English citizenry at large. At the end the tour through Westminster Abbey you arrive at a coronation exhibit. Every English monarch since 1066 has been crowned in Westminster Abbey. The lasting traditions of Westminster Abbey are things that will remain with me for the rest of my life, and knowing that I can only imagine the impact and importance that the cathedral had on the lives of citizens in premodern England.

    The piece of artwork that I chose to write about is The School of Athens (from the Stanza della Segnatura) 1510-1511 by Raphael. What stands out to me most about this piece of art, aside from the skill of Raphael and his ability to create such a masterpiece, is the location of the art. It is located in the Stanza della Segnatura, which is part of the papal apartments in Vatican City. While the location being in the papal apartments may seem insignificant at first, upon further examination this detail makes all the difference in the world. Adorning the walls in the Stanza della Segnatura are four different works, each representing a different school of knowledge. The School of Athens represents philosophy or the sciences, which are presented as equals to theology, poetry, and justice. This stood out to me because of the ideals of the church before the Renaissance. The church had previously condemned individuals for embarking on scientific ventures, claiming their findings to be heretical. The fact that a pope, in this case Pope Julius II, would commission this work which unites scientific thought and advances with theological knowledge, stood out to me and tells me how progressive the Renaissance truly was.
    I feel that this message would have come across loud and clear for the people of Vatican City and Italy at large in premodern society. To have the pope, the highest official in the Catholic religion, commission a fresco that depicted Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Pythagoras, and other great thinkers from the ancient world on equal footing with God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and other religious figures is a statement that is not so subtle. The message is one of acceptance, plain and simple. In commissioning this work, Pope Julius II is making a statement that there are different schools of knowledge for humans. Contrary to the ideas of the Catholic Church in the past, scientific advancements and the progression of human knowledge is not heresy. The School of Athens encourages provokes thought in its depiction of great ancient minds debating things and learning amongst themselves, and it encourages people to do the same. The human mind has a great capacity for learning in all aspects of life, and the School of Athens in conjunction with the works that surround it in the Stanza della Segnatura encourage everyone to explore these areas and bolster all forms of human knowledge.

    In exploring premodern societies I learned that people of premodern Europe were not uncivilized and unintelligent brutes as they are often depicted in popular culture today. As we touched on in class, there is a very stereotypical view of the premodern individual. A dirty, often unintelligent, peasant toiling in fields, or a gluttonous lord eating like a barbarian at a table are two examples of these stereotypes that have come to define the period for many people today. By looking at architecture from the time, and the fact that so many of these buildings are still standing today, significantly contrasts those stereotypes. The works of art from the time period are so detailed and sophisticated that it is inescapable that the artists of the time were as talented as artists today, if not more so. I learned that there is far more than meets the eye, so to speak, to premodern individuals and the wealth of knowledge that they left behind most likely pales in comparison to all of the knowledge that was lost to time. The artifacts left behind from premodern Europe teach us that the people that crafted them for people of the time and generations to come were extremely intelligent and talented. They also teach us to keep an open mind, and not be swayed by stereotypes and ideas of others. Seeing is believing, and when viewing artifacts like these, it is undeniable that the people of premodern Europe were incredibly influential and important.

  23. I enjoyed the online tour, it really helped to take me back and help understand what life was like back in the renaissance times. My favorite part of the online tour was through Florence, Italy. I have never been to Europe but Italy is somewhere I would really like to go and this gave me a chance to see what it was like there. the museums and domed cathedrals really piqued my interest because they were beautiful. the cathedrals were covered in stained glass and artwork. It showed how much work was put into churches back then. Nowadays our churches are bland and look relatively the same as each other. Back in the renaissance era, all the cathedrals were unique. Also, because of how done up they were, it is clear that a lot of money was put into these churches. Religion played a big part in people’s lives in that era and it is shown in the work that was put into the architecture of the cathedrals.
    The museums were also lovely they had so much art and statues from the renaissance era. The statues and art were mostly biblical and religious; again showing the big part that religion played in that era. The paintings were beautiful and told a story. And the statues were bold. There were many nude statues and paintings which was surprising to me because I would think that in that time period people would be more conservative. Overall, I enjoyed the tour because it really took me back to that time period. It showed how important religion was to them and also how creative they were with the little resources that they had.

  24. In the 1400s, the Renaissance improved life in Florence, Italy which was previously suffering from darkness. This era was a burst of creativity and innovation. The architectures, paintings, and other artwork lead to great business. Painters were expressing realism for the first time and emotion too while other artists were embracing the human body as well as nature. With business booming, banks and money were increasing the country’s standard and overall wealth. People were full of confidence and happiness. Hard work lead to rewards and the opening of educational learning helped society’s success. Artists would celebrate the human body by creating nude sculptures. These nudes became popular and commonly accepted within society. Being in the 21st century, I personally do not love artwork starring nudes. But I can see why people would enjoy and embrace such art in the 1400s. The freedom to express humanity was exciting and necessary for the Renaissance era. It was the first time people had opportunities that were never available before. Nudes would have been beyond inappropriate if created and shown 10 years prior.

    Thanks to the Renaissance, Florence, Italy is a gorgeous country that is full of beautiful architectures and is flooded with amazing works of art throughout. I choose to write about Florence, Italy because I would love to travel there someday. I find the artwork and the architectures very intriguing. The videos on the online tour revealed how complex the architectures truly were. Architect Filippo Brunelleschi designed, created, and built the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore. The fact that a man in 1418 was able to build the largest dome in the World and experts still to this day cannot figure out how, blows my mind. This era seems like it would have been an enjoying time to live in. People were full of wonders and ideas whiling having the confidence and abilities to advance them. The Renaissance was the turn of feudalism to capitalism. Citizens were able to step away from the church while having the ability to become educated, unlike before. This was a huge step for people in that time and the importance showed how powerful this era was.

    The Sutton Hoo purse lid that was found in the ship burial really caught my eye. Aside from the obvious of being a female and the object that I chose is a purse lid, this artifact has extravagant detailing along with meanings. It is claimed to be the “richest Anglo-Saxon example ever found.” Although it was found along with 37 gold coins, this purse lid clearly shows its value just by looking at it. When you closely observe the purse lid, there are several designs and images that capture interest as well as curiosity. The purse lid has a mirror-like effect because the designs on the left half are exactly the same as the ones on the right half. On each half, there appears to be a man placed between two wolves. In the center of the purse lid, there is a design showing an eagle attacking its prey. This image is mirrored so it reflects in the middle twice. Experts believe that these images resemble wealth, the person who owned it must have been extremely high in class. They even suggested that this could have been an object from a lord or a king. This slightly confuses me because when I think of a purse, I think of a woman. But in the time AD 600s, it is believable that men had what we call, “purses.” In that case, they definitely should have renamed the object something else. The experts stated that this purse lid was once connected to a leather pouch which contained the gold coins. Also, that the pouch probably hung from a waist belt by three hinged straps. It makes sense now, since coins were commonly used, men needed pouches to hold them. They assume that the purse lid was made from ivory, which unfortunately decayed. While the experts assumptions can possibly be accurate, no one will ever know. However much evidence they have, there is still a chance that they are wrong and/or misinterpreting the object. But, being that this object “must” have been a lord’s or a king’s, this purse lid is very powerful because it was and is full of value regardless. I was honestly excited to see an object that resembled a female figure/presence, that is why this object captured my attention most. Unfortunately after reading and studying the object, it clearly does not relate to any female figure. I wonder if there were any females on the Anglo-Saxon ship.

    The online tour has showed an idea of what it would have been like to live in this time era. The premodern cultures of Western Europe were thriving during this time. The Renaissance in Florence, Italy really enhanced society as a whole. Lower class people could work their way up to give themselves a better life. Open availability to education increased the economy. People were smarter and worked harder in better ways than before. Architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who built the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore proved that he was a geninous. He along with tons of others, created something miraculous which left an impact. This online tour has opened my mind to the wonders of premodern culture.

  25. Everything in the online tour of premodern Europe was interesting, but what stood out to me the most was the Art and Architecture of the high middle ages. It is incredible how they built them remarkable buildings back then, especially the castles. Castles were for the rich and respected families that followed the king. The castles were also built to show that the families were powerful so they could be feared.Very little detail of the castles mattered. For example, the stairs in the de Vere castle in Essex England went clockwise so if there was a battle and someone was going up the stairs they could not use their right arm to swing their sword, while the de Veres’ could use either arm coming down the stairs. The castle had very thick walls so they could not be broken through during battles, also the windows were smaller so missiles could not come through. Castles are examples that the wealthy people in premodern world lived in decent conditions, while almost everyone else were living poorly.
    The object that caught my interest was the helmet found in the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon Ship Burial. The burial was found in eastern England in 1939. The burial was of a whole vast ship, with the person in the middle of the ship probably with a roof over him with priceless treasure surrounding him, and in that treasure was the helmet. This burial tells us that the person buried with the ship was someone of great wealth and loved by his people. The helmet was made of iron and probably weighed about 2.5 kg. It is decorated with pictures of warriors and powerful animals. The designs on the helmet tells us that he was a great and powerful fighter and leader.

  26. After further diving into these links I managed to gain a great amount of knowledge on the topic that interested me the most. The Medieval Architecture – Castles were by far the most interesting to me mainly because I have seen some in person. My family and I recently came back from a trip to London, Ireland, and Scotland, where we traveled throughout the cities and countries mainly to sight see monuments and towns like a typical tourist. However we managed to take many informational tours where we learned many facts explained out in one of the videos. For example, I remember learning about why the staircases were spiral, just like in the video; it was so the defending soldiers could fight their way down and have their right arm free. In Britain, the Normans were able to build over 500 castles within their first generation. These castles meant great things in this time period. The castles weren’t built to establish power over an area; they were actually built to frighten the people with authority and wealth of those who built it. Castles were built so if attacked they could easily hold their ground. That is why they consisted of high walls, small windows, a second level entrance, and a spiral staircase. Castles were also a place of ceremony where many can pay respects to their king/lord. They were extraordinarily decorated to leave those who paid respect in awe. They had beautiful stone windows, high arches, big rooms, and some castles had artwork on the walls, windows, or arches. One castle in particular is called Hedingham Castle in Essex, England. It was built by the Deveers, in the 1100’s and early 1200’s. Looking on these castles now at my age I would consider them to be a waste of space, there is no reason to keep most of them preserved as monuments. However after visiting some they are truly extraordinary and I had a great time. I definitely would recommend visiting at least one castle in your lifetime.

  27. The places and spaces portion of the online tour of pre-modern Europe displayed some very interesting locations. I did recognize the Albi Cathedral in France from an art history class wherein we examined the various intricate works within and the impressive architecture of the cathedral in general. It really seemed like back then going to church was truly crafted to be a stunning and impressive experience. Intricate works of stained glass, frescos, sculptures, and more went into these masterfully designed cathedrals. Aside from the intricate work done on the interior of Albi Cathedral, I find myself impressed with the sheer amount of brickwork as well.
    The artifact that I found most interesting was most likely the purse. The detailed metal-work and the images of the wolves and eagles are accompanied by bits of highly detailed patterns above them. The coins that were within the purse also seemed interesting. I found the Idea of the purse containing coins from more than one or a couple places to be quite interesting as well.

  28. I decided to write about Marksburg Castle in Germany. I’ve always been fascinated by castles from movies and TV shows. I’ve built them out of Legos as a child. When I saw the Marksburg Castle, it grabbed my attention instantly. It looks like everything a castle should be. It’s high up, magnificent in appearance, and although it was built in 1117, it is still standing. The thing that stands out about it is its bright color. It stands out like a beacon over the green trees surrounding it. I can’t imagine how stunning it looks in person, with the natural lighting and scale. Inside the castle, clearly it has been taken care of and enhanced over the years. Cannons added for defense, which are still there, add to the feel of being a stronghold. The various armors and decorations are a nice touch as well, but it would be nice to see how it originally looked. Still, the Marksburg is definitely a place I’d love to visit in person some day.

    The item, or items, I chose to write about are the medieval maps. Looking at the Psalter and Fra Mauro maps, they’re extremely confusing and look really unusual compared to what we’re used to seeing every time we think of the words “world map,” but when you consider that these were made in 1265 and 1450 respectively, it’s difficult to comprehend how people without any view from the sky can produce maps with so much detail. The map of the Americas reinforces that. Made in 1562, not even 100 years after the lands had been “discovered,” they had what looks to be a near perfect representation of South America, the Carribbean, and the east coast of North America. 70 years of course to us may seem like a long time, but to think that this map had to be gathered from information provided by long sea voyages in a time before wireless or even wired communication, powered vehicles of any kind, and where the explorers were venturing into the unknown, the map is astounding.

  29. Among all the locations in Europe that are no doubt fascinating, the place that piqued my interest the most was the Canterbury Cathedral in England. I chose this place because of how much it reminds me of my family and culture in Portugal. My family is very church oriented, so the Canterbury Cathedral just reminded me of the equally extravagant churches Portugal has as well. What stood out to me the most were the fine details that were etched, carved and painted in it. Everything had to have some form of artwork on the work of art itself. Nothing was left out when the architects and artists were creating this holy place. This suggests that the people in premodern England were devout Christians that survived day to day with prayer and worship. They looked to religious officials for guidance and salvation. My favorite feature of the Cathedral is the stain glass windows. I recall in the Romanesque v. Gothic Architecture video that the reasoning behind beautiful windows such as the Cathedral’s was because of the symbolism of light. Light is a sign of hope; God himself will save you from darkness. It embodied your spirit and soul so it was only natural to have brilliant lights shining down on you while you prayed. Another feature that caught my attention was the sheer enormity of the Cathedral. I never understood why it’s so tall, but my theory is that the people wanted to feel a connection with God and be close to the heavens. I could be wrong, and the sole purpose of such a huge cathedral is so that anyone can see if from miles away, but I like to believe there was thought put into every aspect of this extraordinary place.
    The artifacts that I found interesting were the Sutton Hoo burial treasures. My initial thoughts was how well preserved they were and the variety of things that were uncovered. I’m not sure who made these artifacts, but they were created somewhere around 610 and 635 A.D. The treasures were likely buried in remembrance of a king and all his glory. The styles of the artifacts differed in some ways. For instance, the golden belt buckle extravagant designs on it that expressed high social status, while the lyre and drinking horns was very simple and had very few designs. Perhaps artists were more skilled with manipulating metals and gems than they were with wood and animal bones. Individuals in premodern Anglo-Saxon England would have associated these artifacts with someone of power and wealth.
    Overall, I’ve learned that premodern Europe was much more about religion than anything else. Religion was the supreme ruler over all the people, even royalty. It teaches us about how important religion was at the time and how people based their livelihood around God.

  30. Throughout the premodern era (particularly in Europe), there have been a plethora of landmarks that to this day still amaze and captivate us. To some they are blown away by the age, to others it is the monstrous size. The Canterbury Cathedral captures both of these aspects. Found in Canterbury, Kent in the United Kingdom, this titan of a Church was founded in 597 AD and has had various parts rebuilt over the years due to war and fires. Something that really caught my eye about the cathedral was that the last major addition was a tower, known as the Bell Harry Tower. This tower in particular is 500 years old and is essentially the “youngest” part of the Church. The tower’s age may be fairly high but that’s only appropriate since the tower is as well with a staggering height of 235 feet. Now as massive and ancient this tower is, it is obviously not the only part of the amazing piece of Christian architecture; there is a section in the cathedral that is known as the Trinity Chapel which is personally my favorite (visual) part of the cathedral. It has beautiful marble columns and marble floors to match! In the windows, 800 year old stained glass tells stories of those who came before. Amongst this beauty, there is also tragedy. You can see the tombs of King Henry IV and the Black Prince. This is somewhat of a haunting image to me. We have these beautiful ornate structures all around in this particular section as well as the final resting place for two men of high nobility. I must say, learning about the Canterbury Cathedral has piqued my interest with it. If I ever get the chance to visit England, this will definitely be a stop. Now as important and fascinating as landmarks of the premodern world are, there is another aspect that has the same effect but on a much, much smaller scale. Of course, I’m talking about ancient artifacts. These can range from any number of things from old coins, armor, or a child’s plaything. One particular artifact was found at the country house of Sutton Hoo in England. It was fairly common for Anglo-Saxon leaders to wield a sort of emblem to represent themselves, and the leader found at Sutton Hoo was no different. His was a scepter with four sides. One each side was an extremely solemn face (many believe to be gods or ancestral figures). On top of the scepter was a stag which in Germanic culture was a symbol for speed and strength. The thing that I found most interesting about the scepter was it had multiple purposes. One obviously was to show who the boss was, but the other was to sharpen weapons for this scepter was actually a four sided whetstone. I think this shows just how important warfare was to the Anglo-Saxons. This may be thinking too much into it, but making a symbol of power into a tool to enhance your weapon definitely raised some red flags in my head. You could have had an audience with this leader and he would be nonchalantly sharpening a sword against his scepter. In the article about Sutton Hoo, it mentioned that swords were the most prestigious weapons of the Anglo-Saxons so it is understandable that they would want to care for them at all times. We talked about two things here: A place to worship God and an object that helped worship steel.

  31. Our tour of the Premodern World was an interesting opportunity to view different artifacts and forms of architecture that was once lost over time but recovered in numerous ways. Through exploration and search, these objects, artifacts, and even architecture left from lost civilizations have turned up and each discovery is more captivating than the next. The past holds many wondrous architectural achievements and the artifacts from this Premodern era have taught us many things about the civilizations who lived on this Earth before us.
    The location that I chose to focus on is the Cathedral Cloisters in Durham, England. The structure possessed a Romanesque style and was very interesting since the cloister buildings were built around a rectangular patch of green grass. The perimeter of the structure was four walkways with the building serving as an overhead. It seemed like a strange choice of design so I researched the monks who used to study there. These monks followed a Benedictine life, they worshipped the monastic before it was disbanded by Henry the VIII. These monks used to teach, exercise, wash, and study in the open space of the cloister. Now in Modern time the older architecture and structure has been respected and restored enough so it can still function today as a Cathedral to worship while it also contains a restaurant and a gift shop.
    The artifacts found at Sutton Hoo in East Anglia was probably the coolest aspect of the tour. The artifacts were recovered at 6th and 7th century cemeteries. One site heled an undisturbed ship burial which contained copious amounts of Anglo- Saxon artifacts which holds much art-historical and archaeological significance from the Premodern world. These findings have left me several questions which it’s a shame that even less answers are available. I want to know why these objects were placed underground in the first place and who was the artist who made these objects. Sutton Hoo is one of the most spectacular and important British archaeological finds to date and currently these artifacts remain protected and on display at the British Museum. Some of the artifacts contained in the ship were metalwork dress fittings and gems, a ceremonial helmet, shield and sword, a lyre (type of Greek vase), and silver plates from the Byzantium which was later to become Constantinople and is now known as Istanbul. Information on who had crafted the ship or different pieces of armor is unknown but the discovery is famous for its wondrous artifacts, the completeness of the site, and the interest in the actual burial itself. What was found at the Sutton Hoo site if used in the premodern world the use for these artifacts is rather clear, the ship is for travel while the armor and riches display a rich warrior possibly the lord of the land at the time, being buried in his wealth. From a 21st century perspective these artifacts are very rare and valuable since the craftsmanship on the armor is an old style that I cannot see being used anymore. Overall I felt the tour was a unique experience that gave me much insight into the premodern world.

  32. The Sutton Hoo to me was something I had never heard of up until this point. Reading a brief summary of what exactly is was and what laid hidden inside was enough to peak my interest. It sounded to me like a tale of an Egyptian Prophet being buried in his great pyramid amongst all of his jewels and other amenities he would need in his next life. Though this could have been a valid thought this could not be who these Anglo Saxons were trying to replicate. Reason being, British Imperialism in Africa, more specifically, Egypt, did not begin until 1882. So my question was, why did they chose to bury someone of what had to have been importance, in a ship with all of these artifacts?
    There were beautifully crafted items such as ceremonial helmets and golden shoulder clasps with jewels in which they were inlaid with. Weapons and scabbards with ornate golden designs were also found upon the ship alongside just as equally as beautiful plates and utensils. Whoever these artifacts belonged too must have been of some higher standing in society. Artifacts were not all that was found around the ships burial site. Bodies of men, women, horses, and even dogs were found spread about the immediate area in large burial mounds. My summations would be that these people around the Sutton Hoo who were buried played a part in this vessel’s cloudy history. Could they have all been passengers at one time? It’s hard for me to understand because in these burial mounds, there had been found bodies that were decapitated and remains of others who appeared to have been hanged. This would indicate they were either slaves, criminals, or prisoners of war. Which leads to my other question, would these people also have been on this ship? Why would they transport these types of people, it would be a waste of space and resources to sail with them aboard the Sutton Hoo.
    This experience of exploring one of the most interesting unearthing’s of Anglo artifacts to date has been gratifying to say the least. I am no expert when it comes to deciphering the why and the how this great vessel came to what it was, and I’m sure no one will ever know the exact reason why it’s there. The secrets of its purpose would forever be lost with the ones who are buried within the ships vicinity. All that anyone can do is try to better understand their culture from what they have left behind. We can summate and hypothesize all we want about the purpose of its existence, but until we bring back to life one of those bodies found in the burial mounds and ask them “what happened?” our opinions on the matter will only be that. It was fun to be a sort of investigator and hypothesize what I thought about it. It’s like a game, but educational at the same time. I hope to be able to visit museums such as this one, outside of our country, because history in other countries is so much older and diverse. The United States’ history is only an infant in comparison to the history of countries in Europe. They things that can be found there are vast and unlike anything we can see here. One day I will visit Europe and see for myself, the differences between the two.

  33. Due to the church having the power it did during this era of time many of the most renowned monuments are church landmarks. Going through the virtual tours and processing all of the links, one location caught my eye, the Durham Cathedral. This cathedral had started its creation in 1093 and took about forty years to complete. I believe the church landmarks had the up most importance in terms of all the building that were made during this time period. The art work and time put into each of the buildings is beyond comprehension in some cases, as well as the architecture used in the creation of these buildings. At one point during change of leadership, masons were hired to chisel down an inch of the original stone that makes the building to make it look cleaner and nicer.
    In terms of artifacts the ones I find to probably be worth the most at this time was art. Many of the arts created during this period had made the stepping stones for a lot of the things we have today. To be specific the arts of Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci alone had created many different paintings that are still recognized famously today, such as, The Last Supper, Mona Lisa, and others including schematics for machines, such as, the crossbow and a flying machine that resembles a helicopter. It definitely shows that art of all hands in this time was very important.

  34. Over the course of this tour I have learned a lot about premodern Europe and the people who had an impact on its architecture, art, and over-all culture. At first, I believed that this time was filled with ignorance and darkness. However, shortly I discovered that this is simply a fallacious inaccuracy that has been projected to the general population by comparing this time to our elaborate 21st century technology and also through film industries that have painted a picture that suggests that these times were far from innovative.
    Specifically, the Sutton Hoo burial site has proven to be a sort of holy grail considering the sheer quantity of items found and the expertise in the craftsmanship of the helmets, swords, currency, clasps, shields, and other items. As I viewed these artifacts I instantly was astounded by how much detail and artistry went in to creating them. I reminded myself constantly that these artifacts date back to the 6th-7th century and while examining details such as symmetry and use of material, I have made a conclusion that these ages are very far from ‘dark’.

  35. After taking the virtual tour the site and location that stood out the most to me personally was the Westminster Abbey. The first church on that site was built in 916 over one thousand years ago. Since its first creation a second was built in 1065 and yet another in 1269, the one hat is still standing today. This church stood out to me because of its decorations and artwork seen throughout the church. Everywhere one looks inside the massive structure they will find amazingly crafted architecture in the walls, on the ceiling, and even at the feet. The floors have incredible Gothic style symmetry in them. Statues and sculptures with incredible detail decorate the halls and walls of the church as well as stained glass windows that tower to the ceiling. Every image inside the chapel can be seen as a powerful religious symbol. Depictions of Jesus and other names from the bible can be seen in every direction inside the church. Something else that stood out to me was the ceiling and its amazing detail. To me the beauty of this particular building was to show how elegant the elegance of the christian faith. Every day, worshipers visit the church and spend their time praying at some of the several alters within the building. Being surrounded by complex artwork, beautiful colors, and busts of biblical people creates a somewhat holy atmosphere for the masses. Everywhere inside the church one is reminded of some aspect of the bible and its lessons. In regards to the premodern world I believe that this church is a prime example of what mattered to the public and also the nobility. Art and aesthetics had a huge role to play in the past and displayed here perfectly. The most important thing to most people back then was their religion, and having a place of worship that was enjoyable to be in may have kept the people happy and a closer connection to god.

  36. In the 1400s, the Renaissance improved life in Florence, Italy which was previously suffering from darkness. This era was a burst of creativity and innovation. The architectures, paintings, and other artwork lead to great business. Painters were expressing realism for the first time and emotion too while other artists were embracing the human body as well as nature. With business booming, banks and money were increasing the country’s standard and overall wealth. People were full of confidence and happiness. Hard work lead to rewards and the opening of educational learning helped society’s success. Artists would celebrate the human body by creating nude sculptures. These nudes became popular and commonly accepted within society. Being in the 21st century, I personally do not love artwork starring nudes. But I can see why people would enjoy and embrace such art in the 1400s. The freedom to express humanity was exciting and necessary for the Renaissance era. It was the first time people had opportunities that were never available before. Nudes would have been beyond inappropriate if created and shown 10 years prior.

    Thanks to the Renaissance, Florence, Italy is a gorgeous country that is full of beautiful architectures and is flooded with amazing works of art throughout. I choose to write about Florence, Italy because I would love to travel there someday. I find the artwork and the architectures very intriguing. The videos on the online tour revealed how complex the architectures truly were. Architect Filippo Brunelleschi designed, created, and built the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore. The fact that a man in 1418 was able to build the largest dome in the World and experts still to this day cannot figure out how, blows my mind. This era seems like it would have been an enjoying time to live in. People were full of wonders and ideas whiling having the confidence and abilities to advance them. The Renaissance was the turn of feudalism to capitalism. Citizens were able to step away from the church while having the ability to become educated, unlike before. This was a huge step for people in that time and the importance showed how powerful this era was.

    The Sutton Hoo purse lid that was found in the ship burial really caught my eye. Aside from the obvious of being a female and the object that I chose is a purse lid, this artifact has extravagant detailing along with meanings. It is claimed to be the “richest Anglo-Saxon example ever found.” Although it was found along with 37 gold coins, this purse lid clearly shows its value just by looking at it. When you closely observe the purse lid, there are several designs and images that capture interest as well as curiosity. The purse lid has a mirror-like effect because the designs on the left half are exactly the same as the ones on the right half. On each half, there appears to be a man placed between two wolves. In the center of the purse lid, there is a design showing an eagle attacking its prey. This image is mirrored so it reflects in the middle twice. Experts believe that these images resemble wealth, the person who owned it must have been extremely high in class. They even suggested that this could have been an object from a lord or a king. This slightly confuses me because when I think of a purse, I think of a woman. But in the time AD 600s, it is believable that men had what we call, “purses.” In that case, they definitely should have renamed the object something else. The experts stated that this purse lid was once connected to a leather pouch which contained the gold coins. Also, that the pouch probably hung from a waist belt by three hinged straps. It makes sense now, since coins were commonly used, men needed pouches to hold them. They assume that the purse lid was made from ivory, which unfortunately decayed. While the experts assumptions can possibly be accurate, no one will ever know. However much evidence they have, there is still a chance that they are wrong and/or misinterpreting the object. But, being that this object “must” have been a lord’s or a king’s, this purse lid is very powerful because it was and is full of value regardless. I was honestly excited to see an object that resembled a female figure/presence, that is why this object captured my attention most. Unfortunately after reading and studying the object, it clearly does not relate to any female figure. I wonder if there were any females on the Anglo-Saxon ship.

    The online tour has showed an idea of what it would have been like to live in this time era. The premodern cultures of Western Europe were thriving during this time. The Renaissance in Florence, Italy really enhanced society as a whole. Lower class people could work their way up to give themselves a better life. Open availability to education increased the economy. People were smarter and worked harder in better ways than before. Architect Filippo Brunelleschi, who built the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore proved that he was a genius. He along with tons of others, created something miraculous which left an impact. This online tour has opened my mind to the wonders of premodern culture.

  37. This assignment made it much easier and more enjoyable for someone like me who doesn’t necessarily have a spark in interest when it comes to history. Being able explore videos and virtually tour locations really allowed me to be more interactive and almost quite literally dive into the experience as well as offer me an opportunity to gain more of an insight and learn the information in a different way.
    The topics covered were all interesting, however, I personally found that I was drawn in by the ship burial in Sutton Hoo, located in southeast England. In all, this particular burial site stood out and was the most memorable because of how it remained in tact and survived all these years. After archaeologist, Basil Brown discovered the burial site, which belonged to the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom, he found many artifacts that ended up having to be boxed up because of WWII, and hidden until around 1947 when they were then finally examined. The pieces really spoke for themselves and suggested of a king who loved gold and money and was well respected and loved by his people, this has given a better understanding of society during this time frame. Among some of the objects found were solid gold waist belts, shoulder clasps, a silver platter, a purse, and a helmet.
    It was originally thought that the helmet found was made for a king, yet reconstruction of it made that theory controversial because as it said in the video, the way it was created would’ve left its user exposed with the neck and face barely being protected. With that being said the true owner of the mask will never been known. Nevertheless it has become an icon for Britain and caught my attention when going through this tour. The view on the pre modern age really shifts when you start to learn in depth about the people of this time, their way of life, the architecture they created, etc. you really start to see the level of sophistication back then rather than this idea of a barbaric time period that is assumed when thinking about this era. Overall I found this to be an interesting and new way of learning the material by getting to actually experience the sites themselves rather than just reading about them.

  38. The first item in the online tour of premodern Europe that really struck me was the video about Hedingham Castle. It was one of 500 castles built by the norms in one just generation. The large, powerful design was intended to strike fear in their enemies. What impressed me most about this castle was the juxtaposition of the strength and brute of the architecture and the beauty and grace of the grand hall at the center of the structure. The castle belonged to the de Veers (known as the fighting Veers), who fought for the king in exchange for their position in nobility. The design reflects their determination to win with it’s 12 foot thick walls, narrow windows, and raised, secluded entrance. Even the staircase was built logically in a clockwise direction so that, if an enemy breached the walls and was coming up the stairs to attack, the person higher up had their right arm free to defend while the attackers right arm was blocked by the wall. This giant fortress was not just a place designed to fight; it also featured an elegant grand room where ceremonies were held were nights could swear loyalty and obedience to the de Veers. It features beautiful arches with intricate zigzag designs, and even the widest Norman arch left standing. I was so taken by this place because of the incredible attention to detail and the logic of the actual design. This building suggests the lengths to which they would go to defend themselves in the premodern era.
    For the second portion of this assignment, I was very interested in the model of a hand press. I chose this item because I was interested in seeing how advanced technology for something like book printing would have been in the premodern era. The process is as follows: first, a compositor “sets the type” by lining up small, individual letters. Next, one pressman applies the ink with ink balls (leather balls full of wool that are rolled in ink typically made of soot and oil), while the other pressman sets the paper and then lowers it into place and pulls the bar to make the impression. The printing press used in the video was created at a University as a smaller scale model (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the actual size) of what would’ve been used in the premodern era. While the device is obviously a lot of tedious, focused work, the process still a lot more advanced and automatic than I expected it to be.
    I came into this class and this assignment with a relatively basic understanding of the premodern culture and it’s inter-workings. This was definitely a more tangible view than any other class has given me. Overall, I was most struck by the level of logic, advancement, and structure in the premodern culture and the things surrounding it. It was definitely not as simple or primitive as I expected it to be. I think an assignment like this could give other people like me, who knew very little about life in the premodern era, a deeper understanding of how they survived and functioned as a society beyond what we see in history books and on TV.

  39. After looking through all the links, what stood out the most to me were the cathedrals. Each had amazing architecture and artwork that were all individually unique. You can tell that during this time period the church was a huge superpower that flaunted its power by investing a lot into building these large magnificent cathedrals. The one that stood out the most to me what was York Minster or the Church of Saint Peter in York, which is its actual name. It’s located in York, England and opened in 637 AD. It’s one of the largest gothic cathedrals in Northern Europe. What had me choose York Minster was the very two large fantastic spires located in front of the cathedral and its gothic style architecture. Also, inside the cathedral had statues of the kings of England from William the Conqueror to Henry VI. In my opinion, the York Minster had to of shown just the strength of the Catholic church of the time and definitely a place for only the high nobility.
    The artifact that stood out to me was a Gargoyle. One in particular was one from Notre Dame de Paris. It had very grotesque features and even looks somewhat terrifying. Gargoyles typically were combinations of people and animals. Those could either be humorous or scary. The art style was gothic, which fit with the architecture of most building of the time. With premodern people they were to illustrate evil and to scare off evil spirits from the church, but the practical use of the gargoyles on building were to be used as a gutter for rain water. In today’s society, we look at is as art, which it is. I feel we don’t look at is to ward off evil spirits or even as a gutter, just as gothic art.
    This was an interesting assignment, but I thoroughly enjoyed looking through pre-modern Europe and getting a better picture of what things may have looked like back then. I can say that I learned more of an understanding and on the topic.

  40. This tour was quite enthralling to me. I usually take breaks every couple of minute while doing my homework but, for this, I couldn’t stop watching and learning about the premodern world. The first link really held my interest, it was about the ship burial. The ship burial showed the dedication and respect that people of the realm had towards nobleman and royalty. The ship was huge and must have taken an army of men to complete the burial process. The burial also shows the structure of hierarchy during the time. Obviously this person wasn’t a simple peasant; a peasant would probably be given a 6×3 plot of land for his burial, but this person was buried in a 40 meter long ship. The items he was buried with also showed helped show his position on the hierarchal latter.
    The items that were discovered in the ship burial showed that the person buried must have been a high ranking nobleman or even a king. The intricacies of the relics were nothing short of amazing, especially considering that they were all hand made. The object that stood out most to me was the Sutton hoo helmet. The amount of time that must have been put in to crafting that helmet is unbelievable. The imagery on the helmet gives a sense that symbolism had great value during the time. I believe the center piece of the helmet was a dragon with boars at the tips of its wings which would symbolize strength and courage.

  41. Through the use of the links given to us, we were able to take a virtual tour through pre-modern Europe, seeing what lays in history now, well before the times we live in today. One of the area I always found interesting beforehand and was able to gain more information on now, is the period of the Renaissance, and specifically about its upcoming in Florence, Italy. The Renaissance was a time of unbelievable rise in science, art, and architecture. In art we saw legendary painters rise, creating works of are that focused on realism, as much as it did on beauty and emotion. Through architecture, we saw archways, domed building, and bright colored cities take a rise, giving a rich feel to areas all around. One of those cities that would become the center of the Renaissance was Florence, Italy. Florence being smack down in the middle of trade coming from the East and trade coming from the West, was able to take advantage of this and gain wealth, as well as a sizable reputation. From that came families who devised large banking and economic gains, who then used the spoils to make art and improve the city as a whole.
    Coming from pre-modern Florence was more art than one could possibly imagine, and a large portion of that art was sculpture. Undoubtedly one of the most intriguing sculptures was Donatello’s David, with the representation of David after killing the giant. What’s so special about this sculpture is the fact that it was the first freestanding male nude sculpture made in over a thousand years, and the pure fact too that it was, as Rick Steves put it, “Art for arts sake.” How I see it, in many ways this was the turning point of art for the Renaissance, springing up the sculpting design that we saw for out the remaining years of the Renaissance.
    I can say that the virtual tour of pre-modern Europe was an experience, same as I’m sure experiencing Europe today first-hand would even be, and I without a doubt enjoyed it very much.

  42. Out of all the amazing places seen on this “digital tour”, the one that stood out to me the most was the Albi Cathedral of France. It’s construction began in 1287 and lasted for 200 years. Its style of architecture is Gothic. What stands out about it to me is that even after hundreds of years, the cathedral is still beautifully intricate and has an air of grandeur about it. Even though I have not been there in person, simply viewing videos of it left me in awe of its beauty and enormous stature. Churches were very important to the people of the premodern age. They were considered a place of worship and social gathering. Since the majority of the premodern people were poor and uneducated, they could not understand many of the religious texts that existed during that time. That is why the cathedral is full of illustrations in stained glass and painted walls that depict religious figures and stories. While not everyone could read, everyone could look at the succession of scenes in the art of the cathedral and have a general understanding of the religious story being told. In fact, stained glass began and evolved as a way of teaching the masses about religion.

    An interesting piece of art from the premodern era would be the belt buckles found at the Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon Ship burial. In Eastern England in 1939, Basil Brown discovered a large ship in which someone was buried. The ship contained many artifacts that gave the archeologists clues as to what time period the ship was from and who could have possibly been buried there. Since the objects found were made of gold and precious jewels along with expertly crafted armor and weapons, it is believe that a king or someone of high rank was buried there. Of the many treasures found, the one that piqued my interest the most was a gold belt buckle. Waist belts were worn by Anglo-Saxon men that were fastened by a buckle and the intricacy of the buckle signified the social status of the person who wore it. This particular buckle features different animals such as birds or prey and serpents. It also contains a small hidden compartment that may have store something important or even secret. It originates from 310 AD- 635 AD England. The details in the buckle suggest that the person it belonged to was perhaps a great warrior or someone with power that could easily do away with weak opponents considering the animals featured in its design. The fact that the buckle is made out of gold and so detailed indicates that it belonged to someone of very high social status. The detailed style in this piece suggests that those who made such pieces were focused on insuring that whomever saw the piece would instanlty know that the person wearing it was of high social rank. The fact that it was made of gold and that it features such intricate details which would have taken a long time to produce well suggests that other art in the time period that honored subjects of high social rank would contain rich details as well. From a twenty-first century perspective, I find the belt buckle similar to the type of jewelry worn by women in society today. While the average woman may not own gold or diamond jewelry, whenever one is seen wearing such in public, the onlooker immediately knows that the person wearing it is wealthy and perhaps above them in social class. It’s interesting to see how even now jewelry is a clear indicator of wealth and class in society.

  43. This on-line tour of “Premodern Europe” gave a very insightful look on the time period we will be observing through film and literary works for this class. Out of the locations we had to choose from, one that seemed most intriguing to me was the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. What really drew me in was the fact that the Cathedral is one of the most famous churches in the world, which is due to its age and also the grandiosity of the architecture. The construction of the Notre Dame cathedral started in 1163 and wasn’t finished for almost 200 years in 1345. During the time of the cathedral construction, the style of art and architecture was Gothic. This style of architecture meant very big pointed arches and something called flying buttresses which was a support for the very tall walls that were seen while watching the video on Notre Dame. Notre Dame is a very large church which leads me to believe that the pure size of the church really tells a lot about the beliefs during that time period. The Catholic Church had a lot of power during this time and many if not all were extremely reverent, this cathedral displays how much the catholic faith meant to the people at this time.
    The Sistine Chapel of Vatican City, the official home of the Pope, is also home to many fascinating artifacts of the Roman Catholic religion. The chapel itself was constructed in 1483 and many brilliant artists have used its walls as their canvas, the most famous being the artist Michelangelo. Michelangelo had created two very large and significant works in the Sistine Chapel, the most famous being his work on the ceiling. In 1508 Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to decorate the ceilings of the chapel since many of the walls had already been decorated by others artists and their work. Michelangelo was originally reluctant about this commission due to the fact that he was primarily a sculptor, not a painter. With some negotiation Michelangelo was given free rein to decorate the ceiling the way he liked and to this day many onlookers admire his grad masterpiece. His painting was done through the method of fresco which is painting on damp plaster and used bright colors and sharp lines so his work could easily be seen from the floor. The main components of his design were based off of scenes in the Book of Genesis as well as depictions of the 12 disciples and many more characters from the Bible. All together Michelangelo painted around 400 characters on the ceiling and his artwork extended over 5000 square feet. The most recognizable portion on the ceiling is the creation of Adam where Michelangelo depicts God reaching down from heaven to touch Adam on earth. This is one of the most recognizable images in all of art history. This work has inspired many of the world’s greatest artists due to the fact that every aspect of this work is astonishing. We as onlookers can admire this work from a verity of lenses such as the use of architecture, painting of anatomy, the uses of motion and we study this work’s intricacy and beauty as a way of appreciating man’s ability to create, a gift from God.

  44. One thing that I found particularly intriguing were the Sutton Hoo Helmet artifacts. The Anglo Saxons valued the Sutton Hoo ship very highly. These artifacts show that although the Sutton Hoo was used more for travel and communication, the Anglo Saxons were always prepared for battle. This says to me that there was never truly a dull moment for these early seventh century Saxons. The Helmets were among the most incredible of the artifacts discovered at the Sutton Hoo burial site in Britain in 1939. Although these helmets may have been purposed for armored protection, it is clear that the Premodern society of this time placed a high value on appearance, more-so the minute details in their artifacts. These details included small jewels and gold. It is clear that it took a lot of time and effort to make such artifacts like the Sutton Hoo helmets, and they were taken seriously by the Anglo Saxons. If I were a citizen in a premodern Anglo Saxon community, I would revere such artifacts as priceless art.
    The location I have chosen is the Anglo Saxon village Stow Norfolk. The video has revealed that the Anglo Saxons had a basic understanding of wood working. Their structures appeared to be roofed with straw hay bundled together tightly. One detail that I found particularly amazing were the carefully detailed designs on the door trim. Even today, I have not seen such beautiful craftsmanship in modern homes. This again, speaks to the fact that the arts and detail were highly regarded in Anglo Saxon society. It seems they were not only conscious of their personal appearance, but also the aesthetic appearance of their homes. This village is living proof that these people were very critical of fine detail and practicality. The detailed lofts, looms, sitting areas, fencing, and wood cradles elude to that very notion.

  45. The online tour of the premodern world consisted of many elements. One of which was the many artifacts from this time period. From church relics to historic books, this time period’s general customs and beliefs were depicted in the many galleries provided in the virtual tour. People were very well religious-oriented back then, and the unique pieces or artwork reflect that aspect of the premodern world. For example, the “carpet pages” in one of the galleries shows a piece of artwork that resembles a carpet, hence the name “carpet pages”, that depicts portraits of the four evangelists from the Bible: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Aside from relics and artifacts, another important part of the premodern world would be the paintings that historians and archaeologists have preserved for observation in today’s world. Medieval art was conceived sometime after the French Revolution, and the term Romanesque was coined to describe the pieces of art created in Western Europe at the time.
    Another perspective of the premodern world that makes it prominent in history would be the architecture and the sculptures that come with it. More specifically, the churches erected in this area have much renown. One example would be the Westminster Abbey, located in London, England. The style of this cathedral would be classified as Gothic. This church is a huge symbol for British history, as many famous religious and political figures have had affiliation with the church. It contains the tombs of many kings and queens, and it displays a shrine to Edward the Confessor, who was an Anglo-Saxon king in the eleventh century. Other notable cathedrals worth mentioning would be the Reims Cathedral and Chartres Cathedral, both located in France. These amazing works of architecture show great detail and shows how religious people were back then. To continue this point, gargoyles were a popular sculpture to include in the many cathedrals built in the premodern world. These sculptures were used to hoard off evil spirits from the church. Aside from this superstitious purpose, the gargoyles also conveyed water to prevent rainwater from eroding the building.

  46. I’ve actually been to Europe since a large portion of my familiarly live there and I have traveled all around Poland and Germany. One of the places I went there was krakow royal castle. Which is one of my favorite castles because of the myth surrounding it. Supposedly krakow was named after the man krakus who had slain the dragon Smok. Smok’s lair in the legend supposedly lies underneath the castle. Krakow became the capital of Poland in 1138. Krakow royal castle is also known as wawel castle. It was built on a hill along side Vistula river. Piast Casimir IIII the great built most of Poland’s castles, building krakow castle to be one of the biggest. The castle was built in 1310-1370. In 1499 a fire destroyed much of the castles and it had to be rebuilt. Sigismindus I hired a bunch of German, Dutch and Italian artists and architects to reconstruct and beautify the castle.

    While searching through the links I found gargoyles to be very interesting especially since I’ve taking a lot of inspiration from them in my art. I knew gargoyles were meant to scare away evil spirits but I don’t know that they were also used to direct rain water so it doesn’t damage building. I though this was very interesting. I also found it interesting that the name gargoyle means water spewed or water vomiter.

  47. The pre-modern era is an interesting era as we only know so much of what occurred back then, and there is still more to discover. One area of the pre-modern era i found interesting was the Sutton Hoo Ship Burial. The burial is located in the grounds at Sutton Hoo, eastern England. I found this to be interesting as it provides the questions of: Is there more to be discovered? How many ships are buried and why were they buried? This ship is the biggest Anglo-Saxon ship to be found, and what i find interesting is the fact that is is even longer than some modern ocean-yachts. This ship helps show scholars that these ships were important to the Anglo-Saxons as it was their way of transportation and communication between different lands. Along with the discovery of the ship, there were recovered artifacts that were left behind almost as a time capsule. One artifact that stands out to me is the Sutton Hoo helmet. This helmet paints the warriors as dragon-like beasts due to the design. The helmet contains different engravings of different warriors and even powerful animals. This helmet was definitely their most used artifact of the pre-modern era as it was used for their army’s and inflicted fear into the hearts of their opposition. Today however this artifact would probably be used as decoration or as costumes for recreations of the pre-modern. It’s use would no longer be as effective and would just serve as mere decoration.
    Another perspective of the pre-modern that i found to be interesting is located in Florence, Italy. The Gates of Paradise, Florence Baptistry. This Baptistry was built around 1050 and was created with eight sides, and three doors. Each door represents a different view: North, South, and East. The southern doors were finished in 1330 with twenty different scenes from the life of John the Baptist. Ghiberti(one of the architects who designed these doors) created the famous doors which are known as Gates of Paradise. These doors use square formats to represent the medieval times and use several scents to relate to the Old Testament. I find these doors interesting because each tile of the doors represent a different view of the medieval and provide us with greater views of the pre-modern in the form of pictures. One of the frames that Ghiberti made that stands out to me is of David; Fallen Goliath. This frame represents David severing the head of Goliath, this showing how brutal battles were in this era as a war seems to be going on in the background. I feel as though in the pre-modern this picture would have been use to represent a great achievement for David, as it shows he has defeated this so called Goliath. However today this frame is just used as artwork of the past and provides us with a small view of history into how the lifestyle in the pre-modern was like.

  48. The tour of the Premodern World had a lot of information and most of which I found Interesting. The more that I watched the Videos and Looked at all the links the more intrigued I became and the more fascinated I was with the history behind the locations, the art, and the artifacts. There were many locations and objects that I found beautiful and intriguing, but the ones that truly caught my attention were the Westminster Abbey and Gargoyle.

    The location of the Westminster Abbey is my favorite out of all the other locations. even though I am not religious I truly love this place. I believe that simple is always beautiful, but as we can see the design and the architecture of the building is simple. But although the building is not simple it is also not chaotic or over bearing. The design is complex yet not overwhelming where one can actually appreciate it. My favorite part of the Westminster Abby is the “Lady Chapel” I love the way the ceilings are and I love the statues off all the Ladies in that part of the Church. Lastly one of the most interesting parts of this place is the fact that it is the coronation church and it has been the coronation church since before the coronation of William the Conqueror in 1066.

    The Gargoyle is the object that I found most interesting. I looked more into the gargoyles and its history, I like that it was made for more than just decoration. They placed multiple of these on buildings in order to divide the flow of the rainwater from the roof, this was done so that it would lower the damage that may have been caused by the rain. The rain would slide through the back of the gargoyle and come out of the mouth, making it look as though they are spitting the water. They are also used to scar off evil or harmful spirits. The ones that I found most frightening are the ones in the Notre Dame de Paris.

  49. The online tour of pre-modern that we experienced was very intrusting and insightful. The places it took us to were rich with history and physically captivating. The place that stood out most to me was the Cathedral of Notre-Dame. This place managed to catch my eye the most because of Its massive, ornate front doors, famous for being the first Gothic influenced architecture of its age. A notable and distinct historical artifact which is very popular still today is the famous bell that has been redesigned to ring automatically instead of by hand like back in the day. You used to have to climb the 140 steps to the top and ringing it by hand. Marble columns lines its halls and high vaulted ceilings give the inside space an enormous feel. The figure of the church tells me that the people of its age built it to last and to be a proud monument of their faith. It suggests that pre-modern people constructed the cathedral as a “chimera” that represents all of France. Its mix of architectural styles and the scars of ages past are not the works of an individual but social works and the offspring of the nation. The artifact that stood out most to me was created by Leonardo da Vinci around 1490 and was called the Vitruvian Man. This image demonstrates a blend of art and science during the Renaissance and provides us an incite into Leonardo’s deep understanding of proportion. In addition, this picture represents a mainstay of Leonardo’s attempts to relate man to nature. Back in the pre-modern era the Vitruvian man was the most proportionally accurate drawing of a human to date so it really layed the ground work for all humanoid drawling in the future. Leonardo believed the drawing itself implies a symbol of the essential symmetry of the human body, and by extension, of the universe as a whole.

  50. I have always be in awe of England and Ireland throughout history, however taking a look at some of the other countries, such as Germany and Italy was interesting. A number of the buildings within Europe have seen and withstood so much history that I am curious what the walls could say if they could talk. The Durham Cathedral is a “well” preserved cathedral, surrounded by an industrial landscape. This cathedral has seen the Crown takeovers and Civil wars, in addition to being renovated numerous times. Living so close to the cathedral, I can image that the peasants and the lords close to it, must have a higher sense of religion compared to others. Now the Cathedral and the woodlands around it are being protected for future generations.

    My favorite item in the list of lists would be the printing press. This piece of equipment helped to change the world by allowing the peasants to learn to read, start revolutions, and start productions of books and plays, that would normally take months if not year to complete by hand, to be produced in a short amount of time. This was created by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1400’s, but it became a vital piece of change throughout the world and history. At the time it was created, only upper class was allowed to read the Bible and it needed to be in Latin. However with this, it was translated and published for the commoners. Additionally, it allowed plays, such as Shakespeare’s First Folio. Throughout time, these presses have started propaganda for change, from Martin Luther in the early 1500’s to The Revolutionary War. This created a way for large amounts of information to be relayed over short amount of time.

  51. While I was enrolled in this class, I did not think to much of it other than another history class I had to go through in order to graduate, but I was wrong. I went through the various articles and skimmed through them to find the different amount of creed and portrayal that each country endured. The Sutton Hoo stood out the most to me. The Sutton Hoo was the location of two cemeteries and what they contained became a national treasure to England, so much so, that they hid various coins and solid gold armors underground so that they wouldn’t be damaged during the bombings of World War II. The cemeteries became a burial grounds for a king that was incredibly materialistic, and loved music.

    • The second article that caught my attention was Westminster Abbey and it’s 1000 years of daily worship. The Westminster Abbey was a beautiful and religiously historic cathedral in England, dating all the way back to 970 AD.

  52. On my adventure of the online tour I found an interest in Sutten Hoo, the burial site of the Anglo-Saxon Ship located in the Eastern portion of England. The Sutten Hoo Ship gained my interest because of where and how the excavators found it along with what was inside and the fact that it’s the most complete Anglo-Saxon ship ever found. The ship was 27 meters long and dragged up a steep slope from the River Deben to its current burial site. One of the interesting things about this ship is that when they excavated it there were no remains at all. Scientific analysis of the soil at the site suggests that a body was buried there at one time. Also the fact that people dragged a ship 27 meters uphill to a burial site suggests that the burial site was for royalty such as a king or maybe a lord based on the precious artifacts found at the site.
    Many artifacts were found at this site such as gold coins, a waist belt, gold and garnet shoulder-clasps, silver shallow bowls, a lyre, and drinking horns. One item I found interesting was the Lyre. The Lyre was a string musical instrument used for many things. Think of the lyre like a premodern acoustic guitar. Music played an important role in Anglo-Saxon society because people made their own music to accompany poems and stories. Another artifact that I found interesting was the silver shallow bowls because it showed their skill at metal forging.
    I learned a lot from this online tour about the Anglo-Saxons. I learned that they would bury their dead in the most respectful way possible at the time by burying the ship’s owner with his precious items. Also they were people that cared greatly about their legacy.

  53. I came across the Cathedral of Saint-Etienne, which again it’s notable that during this era, a lot of the culture and the art is strongly influenced by the church. These structures at the time we’re enormous in size, and also crafted in a particular manner with a rich amount of detail. Saint-Etienne wasn’t done its construction until the 1270’s after it started in 1195. This goes to say how much commitment and time premodern culture put into the construction of cathedrals. I also chose this cathedral in particular, because of its specific standpoint. Saint-Etienne became the standard gothic theme for premodern France. The question I always seem to ask every time I see a picture of a cathedral from the premodern era, is why are the Cathedrals filled with this gloom to it? The structures themselves stand out from the rest of the buildings, probably to also signify there is power in god, and that its importance needs to be visually represented from the rest of the buildings. But most people today would think of god as holy and filled with all knowing knowledge and light. Premodern Europe has a sense of fear and power invoked into their style.
    One of the most interesting things that comes out of the premodern era is mythology. For centuries architects created statues of creatures that could be interpreted in many ways from different cultures. In premodern Europe, there is a staggering amount of Gargoyle statues. In fact, we can even notice this in movies that depict the premodern era, especially movies that want to set a dark and mysterious undertone. The grotesques themselves were an artistic way to create gutters to prevent damage done to buildings. The term itself is from the French word gargoille, which is translated into “throat” or “gullet.” It’s meaning in different languages is closely related to do with the throat, swallowing, gargling, ect. This is probably due to the fact that the flow of water spews from the mouth of the Grotesque. Gargoyles though that seem menacing from looking at the statues were believes to ward off evil spirits in the premodern era. But it’s counterpart the Chimera is depicted in culture as a lot more menacing. As to say, the Chimera is a warning sign to those “who underestimate the devil.” To me, these structures tell me that society had a firm belief of greater powers beyond them. These structures could also be related to the church, to perhaps scare those who did not believe the devil and the church, and to be more committed. Perhaps it was the fear of evil and the unknown.
    In conclusion, premodern society is viewed as this barbaric and dark time without our advances. To me, society iterates the same behaviors in a different way over time. Time only changes knowledge, but not people. People don’t change, we inherit this, and history reiterates itself over and over again.

  54. One of the places that stood out to me was Sutton Hoo. In 1939, just before the outbreak of the second world war, an archaeologist by the name of Basil Brown excavated the larges of 18 burial mounds in the grounds of a country house at Sutton Hoo, eastern England. The burial dated back to 600s AD. The rich grave goods suggested that it was a very important person. It is important and interesting because the Sutton Hoo ship is the biggest and most complete Anglo-Saxon ship ever found and is longer than many of the largest modern ocean-going yachts. I found this important and interesting because even back in this time period they had the technology to build a very large ocean going ship like this. And has carried over to the modern world. Also the objects they found in the burial like the helmet can tell us a lot about the culture of the time period. In conclusion I felt this was an astonishing discovery and very important to this history of the premodern world.
    The artifact I chose is the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore. It is 374 feet high and is a wonder for nearly 6 centuries after its construction. It was created by Filippo Brunelleschi using methods that experts don’t even fully understand today. He had no formal architectural training and he was a goldsmith and a clock maker. Filippo thought it was the opportunity of a life time and took the challenge. He even build machinery that was ground breaking for the time to help him build the dome. It took him sixteen years to complete the dome. He died in 1436, and he left behind no sketches and no details as to exactly how he achieved the creation of the dome. It still remains the largest masonry dome in the world, 500 years after it was built.
    I think what I have learned and what do they teach us about the premodern culture of western Europe are the same. What I have learned and what they teach people is people of premodern society weren’t unintelligent in fact they had some very bright people come out of this time period and they did some amazing things. Like build a boat longer than most yachts are today. And build the largest masonry dome ever build, even 500 years later, that still archeologists don’t know how it was done.

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