A "Formula" Romanesque Church from about 1100

Last month I make a mistake and put up two identical licence plates.  Here are my two plates, hopefully correct this time.

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Now to the "formula" Romanesque Church.

This building was built according to the formula.  Yes, the windows are too large, but I liked them that way.  Have you ever wondered how the monks in the 1050 were able to direct the construction of their Romanesque churches?  They had no blueprints or engineers, they just seemed to know what, and how much, went where.  Well, they had a simple rule of thumb, a formula, which has resulted in our current linear measure -- the rod.  The master builder determined what was the length of the long beams which would be used to span the nave.  Generally that length was about 33 feet.  So they took 1/2 that length as their "builder's rod".  The English, Dutch and German language retain the "rod" as a unit of measurement (although it is obsolete in all languages).  The foundation was 1 rod deep.  The nave was 4 rods wide -- a 1 rod side aisle, the 2 rod wide center aisle, another 1 rod side aisle.  The arches separating the side aisles from the center aisle spanned 1 rod.  Those arches were 3 rods high, the height of the side aisles.  The roof of the side aisles sloped at 45°, meaning that the triforium was also 1 rod high.  Then the center aisle had a clerestory above the side aisle roofs was 2 rods high.  Thus the roof of the center aisle was 6 rods, about 100 feet above the floor of the church -- a very impressive interior height for people who lived in single story huts.  The "rod" varied from 12 to 17 feet, depending on the height of the forrest trees.  Sections of the rod were used as portable measures.  Hence the "quarter staff", often used as a weapon (Little John).  Now you know what it was a quarter of, and why it existed.  Note: Not included in the formula are a) the length of the church; 2) the location of the crossing (if any); 3) the ratio of the apse to the nave (the number of church officials determined that); 4) the "west-work" -- the entrance towers.

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This view shows the 45° slope of the roofs.  Fancy slopes were not common.

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I built the interior also.  The long apse is typical of a cathedral church, which had a cardinal and a large staff, or a monastery with many monks.  I also included large side rooms off the apse, to support the clergy's needs.  But, by 1050 the Cluny reform movement was rebelling at the status accorded the church hierarchy, so they built their churches with 8 arches in the nave; a crossing of 2 rods; an apse of 2 arches.  Most churches were 12 rods long, not counting the towers of the west-work.

The organ was usually over the west (main) entrance.  I reproduced a nice organ in Anchor stones.  The cross is probably not realistic, but I liked its look. 

The building was roofed with NR arches.  One of the best examples of this design formula is Paulinzella, just west of Rudolstadt.  It is a ruin, abandoned in the 16th C., due to the conversion of Thuringia to Protestantism.  And Paulinzella was so far out in the country (it still is) that no one stole the stones for their own buildings.  The monestary associated with the church fell down and is still there, unexcavated or even surveyed by ground penetrating radar.  No one knows what it was like, not even good guesses.  Hey, go get a PhD in Medieval Art History by determining the scope of the original Paulinzella monestary (established in 1105-6).

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A few of you may wonder what I look like.  Here is a picture from Christmas, 1996.  This picture is about as good as they get.

For those who are really interested in Anchor stones, I have written a book about them.  (I just got tired of either looking up the same information again and again, or trusting my memory on specific details such as dates and names.)  It is expensive, $70 (or 100 DM) ppd, because I print it myself on my PC and color ink is expensive.  The book undoubtedly contains far more information about Anchor stones and sets, the Richter company, etc. than you'll ever want to read.  This book is a lot of work to print (I print about a dozen at a time, and is available in either English or German), so please don't think I am urging you to buy one.

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