Ecclesiastical and Civil Buildings in Pointed Architecture
We all know that architecture has had its origin in religious feelings and observances -- that its noblest monuments among the pagan nations of antiquity were temples to the gods -- whilst the rude nations of the north in the Middle Ages devoted their energies, after their conversion to Christianity, to the construction of suitable edifices for the worship of the Almighty; and we find, again, that the most extensive and most splendid structures raised by the same people, when the light of learning had begun to shine upon them, and a new and more beautiful style of architecture had been developed, were dedicated to the same purpose.
In addition, however, many, hardly less magnificent, and not less beautiful, were raised for the purposes of education, and became the nurseries of science and literature. Kings and nobles also employed architecture in the composition, arrangement, and decoration of their palaces and castles; and though for domestic purposes its aid was not so largely required, it was equally used.
The remains which have come down to us from the earlier portion of the Middle Ages are comparatively small, but there is ample evidence to show that the style was universal in its application, and so full of life and vigour that every implement, every piece of furniture, and every detail of dress or ornament, was governed then, just as in the best period of classic art, by the rules of art which were observed in the largest and stateliest of the public buildings of the time.
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