Gothic - Encyclopedia

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GOTHIC, the term generally applied to medieval architecture, and more especially to that in which the pointed arch appears. The style was at one time supposed to have originated with the warlike people known as the Goths, some of whom (the East Goths, or Ostrogoths) settled in the eastern portion of Europe, and others (the West Goths, or Visigoths) in the Asturias of Spain; but as no buildings or remains of any description have ever been found, in which there are any traces of an independent construction in either brick or stone, the title is misleading; since, however, it is now so generally accepted it would be difficult to change it. The term when first employed was one of reproach, as Evelyn (1702) when speaking of the faultless building (i.e. classic) says, "they were demolished by the Goths or Vandals, who introduced their own licentious style now called modern or Gothic." The employment of the pointed arch in Syria, Egypt and Sicily from the 8th century onwards by the Mahommedans for their mosques and gateways, some four centuries before it made its appearance in Europe, also makes it advisable to adhere to the old term Gothic in preference to Pointed Architecture. (See ARCHITECTURE)

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