Not all the influences on Romanesque come from the art and artefacts
of the Roman Empire.
The cultures of the Middle East up to and including the introduction
of Islam, India and the Far East also contributed.
Nevertheless, this article seeks to explore some possible specific
influences of Græco-Roman origin.
NB - This
article contains many illustrations and may take some time to
God himself, whom you have served so faithfully, will have to
(Book of Daniel, chapter 6, verse 16 - Jerusalem Bible).
These words, allegedly spoken by King Darius the Mede as he
had the prophet Daniel thrown into the lion-pit for the crime
of refusing to worship him, have echoed down the centuries.
Daniel's God did indeed (allegedly) save him, and ever since
he has been taken as an example of faith and righteousness,
together with Jonah and the three young men in the fiery furnace.
His trust in his unique deity and his innocence are seen as
a protection against evil. It is not surprising therefore, that
images of Daniel are found from the earliest years of Christianity;
indeed Daniel may be taken as a prefiguration of Jesus.
Tina Negus is a splendid artist and photographer with a great
knowledge and love of the natural world.
Her work has been exhibited and published in a wide variety
of venues and publications.
Her articles on aspects of the 'Green Man' have been published
in Folklore magazine, where Lady Raglan first described
and named the genre in 1937.
'While researching my article on possible Roman and Gallo-Roman
iconography for some French Romanesque images, I became aware
of the importance of Celtic religion in the evolution of many
works of art of ancient France. Here is an article I wrote on
the subject, originally for a Study Group of the Aquitaine
Historical Society, which foreshadows many of my later observations.
The organic growth of iconography, layer upon layer, can be
compared to the evolution of a forest from archaic origins,
with all the damage both natural and human that occurs. Landscapes
change - sometimes unrecognisably - with many things once held
dear obscured and forgotten; but tendrils creep back, images
recur and echoes may awaken memories of a past that is sometimes
We are always hoping to get closer to the mind-set of Romanesque
sculptors, the better to understand some of their images. Bestiaries
may be helpful, so it's useful to know that most of them
are derived from a work of the 4th century known as the Physiologus.
The late Professor E. P. Evans of the Universities of Michigan
and Munich wrote this article in 1896, but it is still relevant
and full of useful information.
A tendentious broadcast on ARTE television proposing that many grotesque
and 'licentious' motifs in Romanesque sculpture are direct
attacks on Islam,
carved to justify the Crusades.
The proposer of this thesis has but the most superficial acquaintance
with Romanesque sculpture,
and his examples are few and unconvincing.
L'ennemi à nu, de Claudio LANGE.
L'auteur interprète les représentations obscènes
trouvées dans les églises romanes
comme une forme de propagande anti-islamique développée
par l'Eglise catholique pour justifier les croisades.
Thèse stimulante s'il en est ; cependant, ne convient-il pas,
comme le disent les médiévistes,
de voir, encore et souvent, dans certaines images quelque peu licencieuses
une forme de dénonciation du Mal
ou de différentes formes de péché au regard de
l'Eglise institutionnalisée ?
En d'autres termes, ne s'agissait-il pas à l'époque médiévale
d'aider les chrétiens à combattre leurs démons
comme les tentations extérieures ?