Online “Tour” of the Premodern World for 2019 Cohort of “Games of Thrones” Students

For class on Thursday, January 31, I have put together an online “tour” of the premodern world for those of you in my ‘Games of Thrones’ class.  This “tour” will proceed via a series of links which I have e-mailed to all of you separately.  In all likelihood, few of you in class have been to Europe or had substantial, visceral encounters with the arts and artifacts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.  Consequently, the basic intent 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 firsthand 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 material objects 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.

Now, being even more specific in terms of the contents of your posting, I want you to respond to two particular “objects” of your choosing.  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.  The first section should address a place or space, and then the second section should discuss a particular 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 or other material object, 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??

25 thoughts on “Online “Tour” of the Premodern World for 2019 Cohort of “Games of Thrones” Students

  1. The place I chose to talk about is the Durham Castle and Cathedral. The architecture of the building is what interested me and drew me in to writing about this ancient structure. The sheer size of the building gives off the aura of power which is why it was built, to intimidate the neighboring Scotland. The gold alter-piece points upward to the sky to show respect towards god and the king. The most interesting fact I learned about the cathedral was that of the “prince” bishops. These bishops had the same power as the king of England while inside the Durham cathedral. I found this interesting because it shows how much power the church held in pre-modern society and that it rivaled even the crown.
    The artifact I chose was the “Panegyric in honour of King Robert of Anjou”. I chose this artifact because I found the colors and details to be particularly intriguing. The neutral tones of the piece contrast greatly with the bright blue and gold colors that were used which I would assume to carry and importance with them. The figure on the left is also holding an object with pre-modern text letters on it that I would also assume to carry some importance or deeper meaning about the piece. The sun behind the left figure’s head also alludes that the figure carries some religious importance or is a figure of power.

  2. While exploring Premodern Europe, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Italy truly peaked my interest. I have always thought the artwork in the Sistine Chapel was incredible and I was extremely jealous when my friends got to visit the chapel a couple years ago. Obviously, this chapel sticks out to me because the art covering the walls and ceiling is breathtaking. However, I never knew what the paintings in the chapel represented. The art, created by the famous Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo, is very biblical based (obviously). For example, there is a series of nine panels on the ceiling that show God separating the good and bad (creating heaven and hell), the creation of the sun, moon and planets, the creation of Adam, the creation of Eve, the expulsion of Adam and Eve, and the last three panels show the seeds of Noah. All these events happen in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. What is interesting, however, is that there are no direct images of Christ, but Michelangelo included these specific events because they were the events leading up to the coming of Christ, supposedly. The Sistine Chapel shows us that people in Premodern Europe, specifically in Italy, were religious and had Christian/Catholic beliefs.
    Regarding an artifact I found interesting, I chose the artifacts dug up from the Sutton Hoo ship burial. In 1939, Mrs. Edith Pretty, a landowner in Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, allowed archaeologist Basil Brown onto her property to investigate the Anglo-Saxon burial mounds located there. The largest artifact Basil found was an imprint of a 27-metre-long ship with a burial chamber in the center of it. In the chamber, there was “Byzantine silverware, sumptuous gold jewelry, a lavish feasting set, and most famously, an ornate iron helmet” (Khan Academy, p. 1). The only way Basil was able to date the burial site was by the near forty coins that was discovered. These coins came from the Kingdom of the Merovingian Franks on the Continent and were dated from 610-635, suggesting it the site could hold King Raedwald, who died around 625. These artifacts show the amazing craftsmanship and diligence of the Anglo-Saxons, as well as how burials were constructed back then. In those times, people were buried with their assets and possessions, if they had any, of course.
    All in all, this activity opened my eyes to how incredible and skilled people were back in Premodern Europe. This made me realize how interesting the time period is. Overall, the historic places and artifacts from that time teaches us that our civilization has grown and changed so much since then and that these places/objects must be preserved to the end of time.

    “The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial.” Khan Academy, Khan Academy, 2019, http://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/medieval-world/early-medieval/a/the-sutton-hoo-ship-burial.

  3. Michelangelo was a famous Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, and poet. He has created some of the most historical paintings around. When you look back on the Italian Renaissance, you think of the Creation of Adam or historical paintings and pieces of the Roman Catholic church. When you look back in time for the most influential pieces of art or should I say masterpieces you think of Michelangelo. Michelangelo designed the Roman Catholic churches with beautiful paintings in the way we depict Jesus and how we view what we learn in that moment of time.
    I chose the panoramic of the Creation of Adam Hands Only. This form is found in the part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. It’s the hand of Adam and God touching hands. Adam has become part of humanity. I believe this is the most iconic pieces of Michelangelo because when you see this you know who made it, when it was made, and what it means. Michelangelo represents what we know of the Italian Renaissance and what we learn today.

  4. The place that drew the most attention to me while researching pre-modern Europe, was the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. It touched my interest because I always heard of this place and knew famous renaissance painter and sculptor Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the chapel. Other than that, I knew noting else of the place. Into further research, I found out that the pope leads mass and is chosen. Also, not only the ceiling is painted, but the walls also by Michelangelo and other renaissance artists. The ceiling includes nine important scenes painted by Michelangelo including: Drunkenness of Noah, The Flood, Sacrifice of Noah, Temptation and Expulsion of Adam and Eve, Creation of Eve, Creation of Adam, Separation of the Land from the Sea, Creation of the sun, moon, and planets, and separation of Light from Darkness. These are all scenes from the Old Testament of the Bible. These painting look so real and dimensional, it blows my mind how artist even back in the 14th century had this much talent and knock ledge of art. After researching the Sistine Chapel, it is on my bucket list of places I wanted to visit now.
    In the last paragraph I mentioned Michelangelo frequently. Now I would like to discuss Leonardo Da Vinci. The object I chose to write about was his famous painting Mona Lisa. Like the sistine chapel, I have heard and seen pictures of the famous painting, but i had very little knowledge on it. Da Vinci painted Mona Lisa in 1503 or 1504 in Florence, Italy. Today the painting is held at Louvre Museum in Paris, France. Depending at the angle you look at the painting, the face changes.
    All in all, I find Sistine Chapel so interesting is because of the time period they were made in. Today most people believe that people are most advanced today, but these paintings were made thousands and thousands of years ago and are so advanced for their time that even the best artists today can’t remake these. Just because the time period was premodern Europe, does not mean people were not advanced like people today. I wish I told travel back in time a meet these individuals and explore their brilliant minds.

  5. In my research of Premodern Europe, I found many sites and places that interested me. One of the places that interested me the most was the Merchant Adventures’ Hall. This place interested me because it shows us an example of the beginning of social spaces and gatherings of groups like fraternities and guilds. This hall, centered the city of York, was populated and visited mainly by merchants and workers, those of which would become key players in converting the economic systems in Europe from a land-based economy to one in which money and capital was more valuable. Its main function was one of charity and giving back but also served as a place for merchants to gather and discuss business. The merchants met in the Great Hall but that was not all there was to this structure. There was also a section called the undercroft which acted as a hospital to the poor. This shows a changing attitude between the upper and lower classes as people seemed to be more unified than ever leading into the Renaissance. This structure and its functions are important in showing us a changing attitude in how people viewed the world and each other.
    One of the artifacts I found to be the most interesting was the painting Pentecost by Tiziano Vecellio, also known as The Titan. The painting depicts his version of the Christian holiday of Pentecost in which the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus’ disciples after his death. One of the reasons this painting interested me was because of the way it was framed, with the disciples reaching up towards the dove which resembles the holy spirit. This indicates to me that the disciples needed to be saved by the holy spirt and are embracing their religion once more. In the premodern society, the painting could’ve just been seen as a depiction of the holiday, but in current time the painting is a good analog for the time in which it was created as it was during this time in which more people began looking backwards at ancient history and embraced ideas such as democracy and new thoughts about religion and humanism.
    Overall, this activity taught me many different things about the Middle Ages and The Renaissance. The tour showed me a realistic portrayal of artifacts such as shields and swords as well as regular everyday things. It showed me places in which people would meet and discuss business, such as the Merchant Adventures’ Hall or practice religion in places like cathedrals. It also showed me that religion and survival were two of the most important ideas in premodern Europe. The Pentecost painting teaches us that religion was still a big part of The Renaissance and that a large amount of people embraced it.

  6. During my online tour I felt drawn to the artwork segments. Particularly the English illuminated manuscripts (1301-1350). These surviving works are a direct look into the minds of the people of that time period. It is unblemished by the hands and biases of the modern age. A variety of styles surprised me as my assumptions of the period’s artwork thought them to be one dimensional. Works like the “Missal” (c. 1300, Museum Mayer van den Bergh, Antwerp) depicted a portrayal of the divine. With symmetry patterns serving as a backdrop to the main figure this depiction reminded me of the influence of the church and the respect and power it had. At the other end of the spectrum I found the “Diagram of the brain” (c. 1300 University Library, Cambridge) to be void of any stuck up geometry. It is an attempt at explaining the inner workings a of man’s brain. The connected passageways from one section to the other(although in another language) showed me that the artist had a passion for understanding and demystifying the workings of the human brain.
    The next piece that stuck out to me was the Luttrell Psalter (1325-40 British Library, London). This piece is amazing. A pallet of gold, blue, and the hue of skin depict a hooded figure, a second person’s face as his abdomen, with comically long legs over top a monstrous lizard like wagon. Curiously enough this work leaves the obvious center void and only encompasses the edges. Since both figures are looking to the left, I assume their attention is directed elsewhere. Which makes this much more enjoyable as they themselves should be considered the obvious center of attention. Lastly I came across Psalter and Hours (the ‘Howard Psalter’). This image depicts a heavy sense of duality. Two banners split the background, one with crescent moon and the other with stars. In the center a figure carrying several lines of literature. This artist was certainly aiming for delivering a very specific message. Without translation I would assume these texts may describe the necessity of duality as a general philosphy. That two sides are of the same coin perhaps.
    The artwork of this period as luckily made its way to us through the centuries. I’m glad it has because unlike holy doctrine and ledgers written by the “winners” these works are somewhat untainted and a representation of the artist at the time.
    -JH

  7. While searching through the links provided to us for the “Premodern Tour”, the place that piqued my interest the most was the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall located in York, England. The reason why I am so interested in this place is because of the sense of community that surrounds it. The Merchant Adventurers’ Hall website describes that the Hall has three main rooms that used to serve vastly different purposes. The Great Hall is a more open space that was mostly reserved for socializing, the Undercroft was used as a medical area, and the Chapel was used as a religious center. I believe the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall suggests that the people of the premodern world valued their community and thought it was important that they had a space such as the Adventurers’ Hall that they could all convene at for either social reasons, such as feasts, or formal matters.
    The artifact that I have chosen is an art piece called Madonna and Child with Cherubim. This piece was made in 1485 by Andrea della Robbia. The reason I decided to pick this piece was the interesting color palette. The bright gold detailing that surrounds the center of the piece is a great contrast to the dark blue tones that are in the middle. The use of these two colors are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also help draw the viewer’s eye to four figures that rest inside of the circular frame. This art piece was different than most of the other artworks of its time. According to the National Gallery of Art, this style of art was first developed by Andrea’s uncle, Luca della Robbia. The way the della Robbia family produced these kinds of works was by using terracotta clay covered in enamel glaze. Then they went over the clay with rich, pigmented colors such as the blue and gold previously mentioned. I believe that in the postmodern society it would have been perceived as a simple religious piece about Mary and baby Jesus but today in modern society, we have more in-depth views about what the exact positioning of the figures could mean or what the angels surrounding them symbolize.

  8. While I scrolled through the links for the premodern tour, I stumbled across a couple familiar pieces of art work and places. During the spring of 2018, I had taken a trip to France with my girlfriend to visit her cousin who had been studying abroad for some time now. When we were there we visited Paris, which had the most amazing cathedral I had ever seen, the Notre Dame. The building itself is absolutely massive and the stone carvings are extremely intricate and beautiful. The architectural symmetry on the outside and the inside were breathtaking. The stained-glass windows were huge and had such an array of vivid colors it had blown me away. I have always loved ancient architecture, and this is one of the panicle pieces of medieval European architecture. To think that at one time this was just an ordinary, well maybe not ordinary, but just the people’s church, where they would go to for prayer, is something that baffles me today.
    The other part of the tour that I truly appreciated was the part on Leonardo Da Vinci and his art work. He is another character that I have always been fascinated with and whom I believe is the smartest man to ever live. I love the fact that he was so gifted in dozens of different skills, including, but not limited to painting, sculpting, architecture, and anatomy. One of his pieces of art that fascinated me is the Mona Lisa, but not because of what many people might think. The Mona Lisa, to me at least, is quite bland. However, it remains one of the world’s greatest masterpieces. I had seen the Mona Lisa in person when I went to the Louvre, and it was the most popular exhibit with multiple guards, a doubled layered roped off section so you couldn’t get too close, and the fact that it wasn’t even on the wall itself like every other painting in the museum, instead it was almost built into the wall, protected by a box of glass. All of those precautions for one piece of art. Now I appreciate the geometry and symmetry behind the painting, but the painting itself is still bland to me, what is fascinating is that it is fascinating to the public.

  9. During my “Premodern Tour” of Europe, there were so many things that caught my eye. One particularly interesting topic that I decided to talk about was the Gothic architecture and art. The Royal Abbey Church of Saint-Denis is a beautiful example of Gothic architecture. When looking at this church compared to Romanesque buildings, it was easy to see the architectural elements that sets them apart from each other. Romanesque buildings had stone barrel vaults with thick walls that allowed only small windows. At the Royal Abby Church of Saint-Denis, some of the Gothic elements include tall, pointed arches, beautiful stained-glassed windows, and monumental rose-windows, which were large circular windows towards the top of the building. Another Gothic element that I particular love that the Royal Abby Church of Saint-Denis does not have are flying buttresses, which are used to support the building but gives the whole place a medieval, somewhat spooky, yet attractive appearance. The Gothic architecture really shows how incredibly skilled and creative people were in this time period.
    The piece of art that I decided to choose was also a part of architecture as well. While reading I came across the history of gargoyles. I was unaware that they had an actual purpose, and that they are symbolic depending on what animal they are. Gargoyles acts as a spout for rain water, taking it from the roof and dumping out the side of the building through the mouth of the gargoyle. Gargoyles are usually animals and the most common animals used were lions, dogs, wolves, eagles, snakes, goats, and monkeys. Each animal represents something different, usually protection, strength, or intelligence. One thing I found very interesting about gargoyles was the church’s two uses for them. Since it was it was very common for people to be illiterate, the church used gargoyles to convey messages to people. They often used them as scare tactics to make people come to church. They also used them as protection to keep evil outside of the church’s walls. In today’s society, it is not as common to think of using objects for protection and it may be strange to see a gargoyle being built onto a modern building.
    The architecture of this premodern time tells us a lot about the people back then and the amazing creativity and beliefs that they shared. However, it also tells us a lot about ourselves and how much we have changed as a society.

  10. The place that really piqued my interest the most was the Durham Cathedral. The inside space itself feels very powerful and full of a rich history that we may never really know much about. The architecture and design of the inside of this structure is absolutely magnificent. The stone arches in the nave, the Norman pillars, and the stained glass throughout the cathedral are mesmerizing. To me, this suggests that the people who built, designed, and went to this cathedral were people that valued beautiful things and liked to have a beautiful place of worship to show their devotion to their god. It also suggests that for people in the premodern world, religion/religious beliefs played a much larger role in their community than it does nowadays. Also, I think it is very significant that the Nevilles were the first people who had not been ordained to be buried inside the Cathedral. Ralph Neville fought in the Battle of Neville’s Cross and helped defeat the invading Scots. This made the family be held in high regard and very well respected throughout the community, which resulted in their honorary burial within the Cathedral.
    The object/artifact that I found particularly interesting was the Lindisfarne Gospels Manuscript. The covers of the book were beautifully decorated with leather binding, precious metals, and jewels. Again, I feel that this artifact suggests that the people of the premodern age were people who valued beauty and associated it with religion and even virtue. It was written and decorated by monk Eadfrith who became Bishop of Lindisfarne in 698 and died in 721. The leather binding was made by Ethelwald, who succeeded Eadfrith, and was decorated with the jewels and metals in the 8th century by Billfrith the Anchorite. Even the inside pages of the book are very artistic, symmetrical, and colorful. The central characteristics of this style of manuscript seem to be based a lot on symmetry and bold colors. I think this shows that it was understood by individuals in the premodern society that symmetry and bright, bold colors were a sign of beauty, and in turn, religion and honor. Reflecting on it from a twenty-first century perspective, you can interpret it in many ways but overall, I think the premodern people just valued religion a lot because it was a very big part of their lives and very prevalent in their society.
    Overall, by exploring these places and artifacts I learned that religion and honor was very closely associated with beauty, and was valued very highly. This seemingly teaches us that in the premodern cultures of Western Europe, religion was a major part of society and played a big role in the community.

  11. The “Premodern Tour” included several stunning pieces of architecture, many of them churches and cathedrals, but the one that caught my eye the most was the Westminster Abbey. There was something beautiful everywhere you looked; the high Gothic arches, the intricately tiled floors, the detailing on the ceiling of the Lady Chapel, and even the altar are all essentially examples of art on their own, but when they come together it’s something pretty spectacular. I thought the stained glass was amazing too. There was one shot in the video where the priest is talking about the abbey and it showed a series of stained glass windows almost in a zigzag pattern and the way the light shone through the panes looked really cool. You could tell it was something totally unique, and it made me wish I could walk around the abbey in person to see these things up close.

    I felt that the Lindisfarne Gospels were the most important piece of art. The manuscript had been through so much; there were many iterations of the binding, with the first being a leather cover made by Eadfrith, a monk who became bishop of Lindisfarne in 698, and the latest being a stunning piece designed by the Bishop of Durham, Edward Maltby, in 1852. The cover itself is undoubtedly a piece of art, with its designs carved from silver and inlaid precious stones, but the interior of the book it also artwork in its own right. The pages are beautifully scripted in both Latin and Old English, as well as being covered with gorgeous drawings of biblical imagery. The amount of care and detail placed on single letters is incredible. I think the fact that it survived so long and was passed from one set of hands to another down the generations is amazing.

  12. The place that seem to peak my interest most from the different link was Florence, Italy, and more specifically the large Cathedral there. What caught my attention the most was the architecture of the cathedral, and the fact that I have been there myself and seen it first hand. Over the summer my family took a vacation to Italy, and one of the stops we made was a tour around Florence which heavily featured the cathedral and all of the different statues and pieces of art along the outside area. What interested me most about the cathedral was not only that the beautiful architecture, but also the fact that it was built by someone with virtually no experience when it came to building and designing domes. The dome of the cathedral was built by Filippo Brunelleschi who had no training whatsoever in architecture, yet still managed to build the largest masonry dome ever seen. Also Brunelleschi managed to use many revolutionary techniques in order to pull off his creation of a lifetime, such as using metal rings that resembled those used in barrels in order to support the dome during construction as it had no middle support or true center. I think that this really shows the innovation of that time, and how in many ways the people who live back then were rather ahead of their time when it came to construction and design.
    The piece of art that spoke to me the most was the ceiling and walls of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. I chose this piece in particular because again I have actually been to the Sistine Chapel and seen the paintings first hand. Now these paintings are breathtakingly beautiful just looking on a screen, but let me tell you no photo in the world does the true beauty of these masterpieces justice. Being able to stand there in the chapel, where it is dead silent, and look up and attempt to comprehend the amazingly crafted story above you is truly a once in a lifetime experience. In his frescoes, Michelangelo tells the story of Genesis, which is the first book of the old testament, starting with Gods creation of the universe, and ending with Noah’s failures and ridicule. Also painted on the whole alter wall is the the Last Judgment, which depicts the second coming of Christ, and the eternal judgment of the mortals by god. I think that the most fascinating part of these paintings is how you can watch Michelangelo’s skill as a painter grow and improve as you follow from one side of the ceiling to another. For people during that time I think that these paintings were meant to be a nice visual representation of the stories that they cherished, in the place that where they spoke directly to God.

  13. Built-in 1160 and roughly finished in 1260 The Cathedral of Notre Dame is a place of significance and utter beauty. When translating Notre-Dame De Paris it means “our lady of Paris” signifying its underlying meaning of beauty. I found the Cathedral to be absolutely astonishing in its architectural design and the art that lays within it. Taking nearly a century to complete in the predominant mid-evil era, it stood as one of the largest churches in all of France. What really stands out to me is the art within the architecture itself. The large outer carving above the main doors depicting the Last Judgment along with one of the biggest stained glass windows called the North Rose. What I also find to be interesting which may not be so relevant to the premodern era is that the Notre Dame Cathedral stood through the French revolution along with World War one and two. I find this astonishing because for a building to be made in the 12th and 13th century and still stand today is quite an architectural feature and deserves recognizing for its sophistication. As for relation to the premodern world, the cathedral was built under King Louis VII as to show Frances political, economic, and Cultural power to the known world. It furthered connections between the king and the papal church to show unity. The building itself suggests that in the mid-evil premodern times that art, culture, and higher thinking were more present then what we are led to believe. The Cathedral stands as a powerful figure for the church and its wide influence on the people of France.
    So the object I chose was the creation of the dome for the Santa Maria Del Fiore in Florence Italy. While watching the youtube video provided and doing some research I found the creation of the Santa Maria Del Fiore dome to be quite a feature of utter astonishment. Built in the years 1418 through 1436 by Filippo Brunelleschi who was apparently nothing more than a clockmaker and a goldsmith. For the time period, the idea behind creating a dome would be spherical like structure that could only be scaled and built for certain sized buildings. During 1418 to build such a structure seemed almost impossible due to the size of the Santa Maria Del Fiore but for Filippo nothing was impossible. Filippo would start by using his own style of design and characteristics when creating a plan to build the perfect dome. He first needed to create tools and premodern machiner that would assist in the process. After creating the tools and laying out plans Filippo began the construction to finish the cathedral. Taking roughly 16 years the dome would be built and finished by 1436. In the premodern era, it would have been seen as a feature of absolute brilliance and the development of modern capabilities. Looking back in the 21st century Filippo was far more advanced in his capabilities for his time especially being that he was only a clockmaker and goldsmith. The dome was a piece of modern technology in a premodern era.

  14. During the online tour, although many different cathedrals were presented, the Durham Cathedral and Castle interested me most. It was built during the 12th century in Durham England, and it intrigued me most because of how old the structure is, yet how huge and beautiful it remains. Something else that stood out to me was how much the cathedral’s architecture seemed to share many similarities with renaissance architecture including the round arches, columns and tunnel arches. I find it interesting how something so beautiful, where almost every turn you make there is some form of artwork incorporated into the building could have been made so well so many years ago. The architecture of this structure really caused me to recognize how advanced the people of the high middle ages were, whereas I may have thought differently before. From the stained glass windows to the columns and detail on the pews and chandeliers, even to the tapestries in the bishops living rooms. Everything about the cathedral is polished and pristine. The cathedral was built to show the power of England, hopefully intimidating any neighboring countries, especially Scotland. From the size and detail the structure has, it is indicated how powerful and essential the church’s role in society was at this time. Because of how huge the cathedral and castle are, and because of the extensive rooms made for the bishops and fellow people of the church, it is evident just how important the church is in the hierarchy that existed in the high middle ages.
    The object I enjoyed learning about the most was the printing press. It was invented in Europe by Johannes Gutenberg in 1440. What primarily stood out for me was just how large the printing press was. In the video provided titled Printing 101, the Curator of Books in the Folger Shakespeare Library explained that the model was only a quarter of the size of what the actual press size was in that era. The press was already much larger than this man was, meaning it would have been huge in the era it was actually used. Another element the press had to it that caught my attention was how every letter would be individually placed on a strip, and the letters were produced from small metal pieces. I had always been curious as to how they created the sentences and words that they did with a printing press. The printing press was a huge step forward during the renaissance, and it was the first device that allowed for mass production of books and other printed matter, which is what makes it such an essential element of this time period. Individuals in premodern society if they had been educated enough to know how to read would benefit greatly from the printing press. Even those who did not know how to read would now have easier access to books and other literature, making a big step toward a more widely educated society, not just the nobility.
    Overall, from this online tour I gained a great amount of knowledge on the people of the premodern world. I realized I viewed them previous to this tour as a much less intelligent society, but that was obviously not the case. This tour showed just how much we have developed as a society since the premodern ages, and expresses how important it is to keep the artifacts and locations from these time periods preserved for as long as we can.

  15. After taking a digital tour through the premodern world, I have seen and got to experience the past through what still remains of it today. While traveling through different countries and as time passed there were a few things that stuck out to me. One location that peaked my interest was one that I had actually been to before and remembered experiencing in person! The Cathedral of Notre Dame. I was lucky enough to be in Paris last summer, and while there, I visited this extensive example of Gothic architecture. I chose this one to discuss because of the elaborate architecture used throughout the cathedral and how it perfectly captures the transition from the previously used, Romanesque style, to Gothic. In taking a virtual tour of the cathedral you can see the extent they went to in building it, from the many arches, the flying buttresses, the elaborate stained glass windows, and just the sheer size of it. After a little more research I learned that this cathedral took over 200 years to complete, after being commissioned by the Bishop of Paris. The amount of dedicated time to completing this now landmark, highlights the strong dedication to the church throughout France during this time. The extreme detail throughout the entire cathedral also shows the power and wealth that the church wielded in this time.
    In addition to learning more about the Cathedral of Notre Dame and appreciating all the extensive architecture has to offer, I also looked through many different artifacts and paintings from this time that are really incredible. Being a science oriented person I was immediately drawn towards the few pieces that were related to their understanding of science at this time. This drew me right into the English Illuminated Manuscripts with the 1300 “Diagram of the Brain” piece. While I can’t read what is in the little labels around this man’s head, I can clearly see the sketch of two optic nerves heading from the eyes towards the brain crossing. This interested me because I can see that even in this time of the premodern world they had some understanding of how the brain was divided up into two hemispheres and how the optic nerve from each eye needed to cross the other in order to get to the opposite hemisphere. This basic insight and beginning of understanding of anatomy and science was really cool to see in this piece. I am used to seeing Da Vinci’s sketches from this time and his contributions to anatomy, but I really enjoyed seeing a different pre modern piece that was an attempt to break down and understand the science of the human brain.
    After exploring more into my place and artifact of choice, I was able to learn a lot about the premodern world and things that were prominent in society at that time. The strength and power of the church was captured within their extensive architecture, and elaborate detail throughout the cathedrals. While the beginnings of curiosity and questioning of the natural world around us really came to fruition during this time, shown within the early stages of research in an attempt to understand how the human body functions.

  16. Psalter World Map, I love how this portrays the world. You can see the artistic design showing the wind blowing forth from each side of the world. Personally, I am a Marine Bio major so seeing weather portrayed like this is very interesting as all weather is made in general from the oceans of the world. So seeing it being portrayed as a mystical force with faces blowing it is almost unnatural to me. You can also see how all the rivers lead to one structure in the top of the map, to me it seems like the map is based off this one location as it is the center of it. Keep in mind though that this map is thought to be a copy of a lost map that was adorned by King Hennery the third. Another thing that’s interesting is the artist’s style of the map and how they illustrate all the settlements as brown splotches showing a sense of not key importance. But areas of different importance show with different color scheme on the map which I believe push forward a notion of what’s key and important. Another interesting thing to think about is the possible politics behind this map, shading a possible area could represent maybe mistrust within this region. It could also show possible interest in resources within the region also or could very well show what is there in the area like a forest or mountains etc. You can also tell who this map was drawn for as it has scripture covering it one, I don’t understand but it obviously would have been used by an educated person to make judgments or to grasp what’s were within the world.
    Drawing from pervious knowledge when civilizations tend to make things, they always place themselves at the center for example Longitude and Latitude lines were made true out of the Great Library of Alexandria, but people took the knowledge and placed their own cities as the Prime meridian or 0 longitude. It’s just very interesting how everyone likes to place themselves at the center of the world on their maps.

  17. While completing the online tour, one of the places that stood out to me the most was the Durham Castle and the Durham Cathedral. They stood out to me because of the gorgeous architecture. I have never seen such royal, regal looking buildings. Everything about them screamed elegance. My favorite part was the golden altar piece that “reached toward Heaven”. They said that the altar represented the worship of God and the glory of the King of England. I found it interesting that the narrator said the Cathedral tower stood 66 meters high. The impressive size of the building was used to symbolize power and to intimidate other countries like Scotland. This concept isn’t too far off from our modern day thinking. Just how in our society having the biggest and nicest house means wealth and class I can imagine opposing countries using this same concept in premodern Europe.
    Throughout the videos of the online tour, the artifact that interested me the most was the early modern hand press. I couldn’t believe that it used to require so much work just to print books. Especially because the videos only offered a working model replica of what an early modern hand press would have been like back then, they said the size of the press in the video was only one third of what it would have actually been. So these hand presses were not only inconvenient in that they required a lot of time and effort, but they also were bulky and took up a lot of space. The video showed us how they would have had to insert each letter by hand one by one and I could only imagine having to do this for a whole book. With the way that technology plays a role in our modern day society it blows my mind seeing how this process was completed before the luxuries of technology and machines.

  18. The artifacts of Sutton Hoo interested me greatly. I have always had a fascination with the early English Saxon era. This was especially interesting due to the fact that it was a burial site for a king. The sheer amount of information that can be drawn from the artifacts is something that could be studied for decades upon decades. What was chosen to be buried with the king can help shed light on what the people of that place and time cherished and help importance in; this included weapons, armor, gold, and various other masterpieces of craftsmanship. In addition, I also hold a great curiosity for the happenings of WWII. The burial site was discovered just before WWI broke out. During the Blitzkrieg bombings of London, the artifacts of Sutton Hoo had to be transported and protected under ground in order to protect them. However, the thing I found the most interesting was the helmet the king was buried with. With no other representation that what was on a plaque in the burial site, it was reconstructed. However, there was some debate on the effectiveness of the helm during battle. The knowledge and dedication that had to go into reconstructing the helmet must have been immense, and the then Keeper of medieval antiquities has my utmost respect.

    The place that struck my interest the most was the reconstruction of the Anglo-Saxon village in Stow Norfolk. As an Eagle Scout, I have always been interested in the way that people constructed their shelters/homes in the times before we had the modern luxuries of construction we do now, such as power tools, concrete ect. I have had to make a shelter for myself and spend the night in it. this has given me a great appreciation for what these people where able to accomplish. Not only were did these people make places and structures where they could survive, they made homes. The series of A-frames used to construct the roof along with the clove hitch knots and weaving of branches to add isolation really blew me away. In addition the construction of actual hinged doors and looms o make cloths truly speaks to the resourcefulness craftsmanship these people possessed. Some of these buildings even incorporated shingling, which is something I was surprised to see from the “common people” of the era, due to the general lack of education they had access to.

  19. For the online tour two things stood out the most for me. One being Durham Castle and Cathedral and the other being Psalter World map. The location of Durham Castle and Cathedral, I believe show the absolute power of England during this time. It was built on a river which at this time is a huge means of transportation and a source to supply numerous people with necessities, so this alone shows that thought was put in place of what this building were to become. It was built under the Norman King William the Conqueror. He had this established to be the housing of his army and to show might against all other forces. Mind you at the time it was built this castle was the largest hall in England (15th century). Thinking about this from a power move position it shows the people of Scotland and other enemies that would look at this structure how immensely powerful his army is and how deep his pockets were in order to build a massive structure like this. However, it is not purely military which is what I find most interesting it was also built to help symbolize how strong religion was integrated into there society. I think this is an interesting move as also the leader of this land would be a Bishop and he on this land would have powers representative to a King. I feel like Negotiations between the Church and the King William had to been discussed for something like that to be arranged. I wouldn’t feel right If I didn’t mention the artistic style to this Cathedral ether. The beams are decorated in geometry and the roof crosses over with branches prodding from the columns that hold the very structure. This in a sense adds a sense of maturity and prowess to the actual building itself. I would feel any person walking within the building would instantly be taken aback and admire the craftsmen skill that was done to make this building. Which would only further prove the point of building something so marvelous and extravagant is just flexing your power without having to ‘show it’.
    Psalter World Map, I love how this portrays the world. You can see the artistic design showing the wind blowing forth from each side of the world. Personally, I am a Marine Bio major so seeing weather portrayed like this is very interesting as all weather is made in general from the oceans of the world. So seeing it being portrayed as a mystical force with faces blowing it is almost unnatural to me. You can also see how all the rivers lead to one structure in the top of the map, to me it seems like the map is based off this one location as it is the center of it. Keep in mind though that this map is thought to be a copy of a lost map that was adorned by King Hennery the third. Another thing that’s interesting is the artist’s style of the map and how they illustrate all the settlements as brown splotches showing a sense of not key importance. But areas of different importance show with different color scheme on the map which I believe push forward a notion of what’s key and important. Another interesting thing to think about is the possible politics behind this map, shading a possible area could represent maybe mistrust within this region. It could also show possible interest in resources within the region also or could very well show what is there in the area like a forest or mountains etc. You can also tell who this map was drawn for as it has scripture covering it one, I don’t understand but it obviously would have been used by an educated person to make judgments or to grasp what’s were within the world.
    Drawing from pervious knowledge when civilizations tend to make things, they always place themselves at the center for example Longitude and Latitude lines were made true out of the Great Library of Alexandria, but people took the knowledge and placed their own cities as the Prime meridian or 0 longitude. It’s just very interesting how everyone likes to place themselves at the center of the world on their maps.

  20. One of the most interesting objects that I found in the links provided were the gargoyle statues. I found the gargoyles to be intriguing with their different designs with some looking like demons or monsters and other being common animals such as a wolf and a dog. Not only were their looks interesting but what they were used for also surprised me. I never knew that they were used as water spouts to drain the water from the roofs, also how they have different designs with each one having a different meaning and representation. The wolf for example is know for protecting the lamb of god from the devil so it goes along with priest that do the same, so with this type of gargoyle it would be protecting the building from the devil. With this object it relates to the time with its Gothic style and its influence from religion and how it even had a part of warding off spirits. From the perspective of the modern day these objects could be monsters that seem threatening while they were in a symbol of protection against monsters and evil spirits. Overall this is a super interesting object from the pre-modern time and is I something enjoyed learning more about.

    The place that I choose was the Durham castle and the cathedral. I am a big fan of the fantasy genre, so I wanted to know more about the places that the genre took from and see how they were with Durham castle being the perfect example for me to learn more about it. Durham castle is in northern England close to Scotland with the cathedral being built in the twelfth century and the castle being built between 1100s and 1200s. A couple of thins that stand out to me which include the columns with geometric patterns and the tapestry on the walls in the bishop’s room. Also, how the castle gave off a sense of power it represented with both kings and bishops having a place to stay there. Finally, the castle suggests that religion was a big part in the premodern world with the bishops living area having tapestries on the walls that were said to have been as expensive as a castle showing that they spared no expense for the bishops that were there. Overall I enjoyed learning about the Durham castle and cathedral.

  21. The place I chose was the reconstructed Anglo Saxon village in Stow Norfolk. While it is not huge and flashy like some of the lavish cathedrals and other high class buildings, this place stood out to me because it exemplified what type of living conditions the average premodern person lived in. They are basic wooden homes, typically consisting of only one room and a bed or two, and an intricately woven wooden roof. Around the outside of the doors were carved designs which could help to signify whose house was whose. Some of the other larger building were used for jobs like crafting, sewing, and storage. This place helps to show that there was a distinct difference in the living conditions between the different classes of people in premodern times. While the rich and high class lived in huge castles and cathedrals, the peasants and workers lived in wooded shacks and huts.
    The artifact that that I found the most interesting was that Sutton Hoo helmet. It was discovered in Suffolk, England and it dates back to the early 7th century AD. This piece caught my interest because it combines the aspect of the kind of armor the pre-modern people would wear in combat, while at the same time displaying the intricate artwork and craftsmanship all over it. The helmet appears to have distinct eyebrows and a nose, but upon closer look, they depict the body and wings of a dragon. An item with such intricate designs may have had some other uses besides a piece of armor, like being a symbol of wealthiness. This artifact shows me that even though the premodern people’s technology is far more primitive than what is available today, they are still able to create incredibly complicated works of art and design.

  22. My interest was grabbed by the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. I have a love for art and always remember the chapel name because of Michelangelo. Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling as well as some of the walls. Other artists such as Pietro Perugino and Cosimo Rossell also created painting for the chapel. Michelangelo painted during 1508 and 1512 on the chapel ceiling with images of the Old Testament of the Bible, like, The Flood, Temptation and Expulsion of Adam and Eve, and Seperation of the Land from the Sea. The most famously known is the creation of Adam. It is the iconic painting known for Adam and God reaching out to each other and touching hands. The Sistine Chapel would have their first mass celebrated in August 15, 1483. It is beautifully designed and is still known to be important to the pope.

  23. The space I chose is the Durham Cathedral, due to the live 3D interactive website provided. It seemed like a great place to look around and the site made it easier to look around in great detail. This place, from the links provided and further research, is a work of art, the stone work on the pillars and the stained glass windows are immaculate. Not to mention the amount of chairs and benches that are inside the large building. This large amount of benches and such, show how many people attend services in this building. This type of architecture and stonework can only suggest that the people who used this place had an enormous amount of wealth. Another key point to mention is that everyone looks towards the middle of the building, putting the person in charge at the center of all the attention. Proving he wanted to be heard and that he had power over the rest of the people there.

    In scouring the links provided I came across a mask called the Sutton Hoo Helmet. I chose this artifact because it just looked cool and we took a look at it in class. This helmet was a great source of reference for what the premodern world was like. It gives more insight on the broadly know fact that gold and other jewels were a symbol of power. The helmets had hints of gold in it but was used as a symbol of power like most things gold, but they were also not covered in jewels, like most headwear wore by men in power at this time. The helmet also only represented a male figure, like most things in the premodern world. This artifact wouldn’t have been used today, it doesn’t depict a woman in any way, and more importantly we don’t use armour like this today, if someone is high ranking in the military they have a different rank not more gold in there armour.

    Overall this tour gave me more of a narrow view on the subject of the premodern world and strengthened my overall knowledge of the subject. These links and other cites explain the premodern world as a dark and eerie place where there was a lot of death but we know that isn’t true. Only the aspects of the time we are focusing on are dark and dreadful, it wasn’t always like that.

  24. Places that really interest me in general are the cathedrals. There is so many things to consider when analyzing the roman and gothic cathedrals. The cathedrals played a critical role in history. The cathedral/architecture that stands out to me is the Romanesque Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore is the cathedral of Florence that is known for its dome. I actually have been to this cathedral and it is breath taking. Watching the Khan academy video of the construction of it is a feat in itself for the time. The speaker’s analysis how Brunelleschi structurally defied physics in a sense. They talk about the double hallow shells that hold the dome together. They describe it as a self-sustaining building that locked itself in as it was added too. He designed new pulleys and hoists to make building easier which showed innovation and invention in what people consider an uneducated time period. The cathedrals spared no expenses, the Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore is made entirely out of white, green and red marble with detailed frescos on the ceilings and walls. With such elaborate buildings it showed how important religion was in the time period. If we look at churches today, they aren’t being built on the scale they were back then. We still visit these huge buildings to look back at history.
    A piece of art/artist of the premodern time that interested me is the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. This is another place I got to see. Michelangelo painted the celling which is known for the painting of the Creation of Adam and on the back wall the Last Judgement. The fresco was painted during the high renaissance and it focused on hyper- realistic elements. He was criticized for idealizing the human bodies, but the art of the time wanted to see the perfect human condition. Religious art was commonly commissioned which showed what they found to be important.
    Overall ,I wanted to use my own experiences that I had with the period and apply it to the topics that we were addressing in class. These buildings give us a look back into history even though they don’t give us the exact representation of what it was.

  25. at drew the most attention to me while researching pre-modern Europe, was the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. However, there were so many things that caught my eye, like Durham Cathedral, Royal Abby Church of Saint-Denis, Westminster Abbey and Lindisfarne Gospels. the paintings here are breathtakingly beautiful just looking on a screen, but let me tell you no photo in the world does the true beauty of these masterpieces justice. I wish I could see these wonderful monuments just one more time.

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