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Byzantine Architecture

Byzantine Architecture

When Germanic invaders began to overrun Italy, which had been the seat
of the Roman Empire, the capital city was changed to Constantinople, the city that is now called Istanbul. Before it was called Constantinople,
this city had been named Byzantium. So the Roman Empire that was
centered in Constantinople came to be called the Byzantine Empire, and
its architecture is also called Byzantine Because Constantinople was at
the point where Europe meets Asia, in Byzantine architecture the Western architecture of Europe and the Eastern architecture of Asia were
combined. When Germanic invaders began to overrun Italy, which had been the seat of the Roman Empire, the capital city was changed to Constantinople, the city that is now called Istanbul. Before it was called Constantinople, this city had been named Byzantium. So the Roman Empire that was centered in Constantinople came to be called the Byzantine Empire, and its architecture is also called Byzantine Because Constantinople was at the point where Europe meets Asia, in Byzantine architecture the Western architecture of Europe and the Eastern architecture of Asia were combined. Byzantine buildings used the vault and the dome even more than the Romans had, but decorated them in Eastern style. Inside and out, the buildings were decorated with fancy carvings that were far different from the plain lines that had made the Greek buildings so beautiful, and colorful mosaics—pictures made of bits of colored glass and tile—madeportions of the floors and walls look like- Oriental rugs. The Church of St. Sophia, in Istanbul, is the best example of this combining of two styles. gothic architecture. The great cathedrals of Europe, built in the Middle Ages (beginning about a thousand years ago), brought in a new style of architecture called Gothic. In Gothic architecture, many arches are used; but these arches rise to a sharp point, while the Roman arches had been shaped in the more regular curve of a circle. The reason for the pointed arch was that it allowed higher, straighter walls, and in these walls more windows could be placed to let in light. These windows became things of beauty with their pictures and designs in stained glass the same idea as the mosaics of the Byzantine churches, but done in such a way as to let the light come through. But Gothic buildings were made of quiet gray stone, not the gleaming white marble of Greece and Rome; and the carved decorations were not always beautiful women and handsome men. Often they were hideous monsters called gargoyles or meaningless shapes of no real beauty. Still, there was great beauty in Gothic architecture.