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A History of Art for Beginners and Students

And Autharis celebrated his marriage in the palace of Verona

[Illustration: FIG. 70.--THE CATHEDRAL OF CHARTRES.]

The ambassadors were dismissed, and some Bavarians accompanied the Lombards to the Italian frontier. Before they separated Autharis raised himself in his stirrups and threw his battle-axe against a tree with great skill, exclaiming, "Such are the strokes of the King of the Lombards!" Then all knew the rank of this gallant stranger. The approach of a French army compelled Garibald to leave his capital; he took refuge in Italy, and Autharis celebrated his marriage in the palace of Verona; he lived but one year, but in that time Theodolinda had so endeared herself to the people that she was allowed to bestow the Italian sceptre with her hand. She had converted her husband to the Catholic faith. She also founded the cathedral of Monza and other churches in Lombardy and Tuscany, all of which she dedicated to St. John the Baptist, who was her patron saint.

The cathedral of Monza is very interesting from its historical associations. Here is deposited the famous iron crown which was presented to Theodolinda by Pope Gregory I. This crown is made of a broad band of gold set with jewels, and the iron from which it is named is a narrow circlet inside, said to have been made from one of the nails used in the crucifixion of Christ, and brought from Jerusalem by the Empress Helena. This crown is kept in a casket which forms the centre of the cross above the high altar in the cathedral of Monza; it was carried away in 1859 by the Austrians; at the close of the Italo-Prussian war, in 1866, the Emperor of Austria gave it to Victor Emmanuel, then King of Italy. This crown has been used at the coronation of thirty-four sovereigns; among them were Charlemagne, Charles V., and Napoleon I. The latter wore it at his second coronation as King of the Lombards in 1805. He placed it on his head himself, saying, "God has given it to me, woe to him who touches it!"

There are few secular buildings of this period remaining in Italy, and Romanesque architecture endured but a short time, for it was almost abandoned at the time of the death of Gregory the Great, in 604. During the next four and a half centuries the old styles were dying out and the Gothic order was developing, but cannot be said to have reached any high degree of perfection before the close of the eleventh century.


It is difficult to speak concisely of Gothic architecture because there is so much that can be said of its origin, and then it has so extended itself to all parts of the world as to render it in a sense universal. Perhaps Fergusson makes it as simple as it can be made when he divides Europe by a line from Memel on the shores of the Baltic Sea to Spalatro on the Adriatic, and then carries the line westward to Fermo and divides Italy almost as the forty-third parallel of latitude divides it. He then says that during the Middle Ages, or from about the seventh to the fifteenth centuries, the architecture north and west of these lines was Gothic; south and east it was Byzantine, with the exception of Rome, which always remained individual, and a rule unto herself.

There was a very general belief in all Christian lands that the world would end in the year 1000 A.D., and when this dreaded period had passed without that event happening, men seem everywhere to have been seized with a passion for erecting stone buildings. An old chronicler named Rodulphe Glaber, who died in 1045 A.D., relates that as early as the year 1003 A.D. so many churches and monasteries of marble were being erected, especially in France and Italy, "that the world appeared to be putting off its old dingy attire and putting on a new white robe. Then nearly all the bishops' seats, the churches, the monasteries, and even the oratories of the villages were changed for better ones."

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