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The removal of the temporal authority to Constantinople had continued the traditions of civilization where Greek, Roman, and Asiatic elements were fused in a curious alembic one result of which was an architectural style that later, and modified by many peoples, was to serve as the foundation-stone of the Catholic architecture of the West.
Here, in the meantime, the condition had become one of complete chaos, but the end of the Dark Ages was at hand, and during the entire period of the sixth century events were occurring which could only have issue in the redemption of the West.
The word itself, in its present application, is repugnant to any sense of exact thought; ethnically, the art so described is immediately Franco-Norman in its origins, and between the Arian Goths, on the one hand, and the Catholic Franks and Normans.
on the other, lies a racial, religious, and chronological gulf.
The fact is recognized that around and beyond the structural aspects of Gothic architecture lie other qualities of equal importance and greater comprehensiveness, and, if the word is still to be used in the general sense in which it always has been employed, viz., as denoting the definite architectural expression of certain peoples acting under definite impulses and within definite limitations of time, a completely evolved structural principle cannot be used as the sole test of orthodoxy, if it excludes the great body of work executed within that period, and which in all other respects has complete uniformity and a consistent significance.
During the first five centuries of the Christian Era the Church had been fighting for life, first against a dying imperialism, then against barbarian invasions.
With the conquest of Italy and Sicily by Justinian (535-553) "the race and name of Ostrogoths perished for ever" (Bryce, "The Holy Roman Empire", III, 29) five centuries before the beginnings of the art that bears their name.
Modern scholarship seeks deeper even than racial tendencies for the root impulses of art in any of its forms, and apart from the desirable correction of an historical anachronism it is felt that medieval art (of which Gothic architecture is but one category ), since it owes its existence to influences and tendencies stronger than those of blood, demands a name that shall be exact and significant, and indicative of the more just estimation in which it now is held.
Moore, "Development and Character of Gothic Architecture", I, 8).
This is an admirable statement of the fundamental structural element in Gothic architecture, but, carried away by enthusiasm for the crowning achievement of the human intellect in the domain of construction, those who have most clearly demonstrated its pre- eminence have usually fallen into the error of declaring this one quality to be the touchstone of Gothic architecture, minimizing the importance of all æsthetic considerations, and so denying the name of Gothic to everything where the system of balanced thrusts, ribbed vaulting, and concentrated loads did not consistently appear.