pillars of the earth

i have been home, sick in bed, for a couple of days now.  i have been reading and watching movies, and trying to stay still and get well.  it is not easy for me-- there are always things i want to be doing and i rarely give-in to being sick.

HOWEVER-- on saturday afternoon i started watching the tv mini-series 'pillars of the earth' which is based on ken follett's novel of the same name.  it is an epic soap opera, eight hours long, set in 12th century england-- during the time between henry I and henry II which was a time of incredible chaos, violence, and religious fervor.

though i very much enjoyed it, i can't say that i recommend it.

BUT-- the backbone of the series is that some of the characters are building a fictional cathedral-- of unparalled proportions, light, and beauty for its time.  it was just during this time that stone masons in europe learned how to build what later became know as 'gothic' cathedrals-- tall narrow buildings, often with 'buttresses' (supports) built onto their sides to secure their height against the wind.  they tend to have pointed arches-- new technology for the time-- and LOTS of windows to bring in amazing amounts of light into these massive stone buildings.  the cathedrals of notre dame de paris, salisbury, and reims as well as westminster abbey are all amazing examples.

what i like best about this tv series is that it shows the struggles of people to build these massive stone structures-- the politics to come up with the money, the stone quarries, the people carving each of the stones so that they would fit together just right, the decades it took to build one-- it can be pretty easy, in our modern world to forget about all of that.

and many of those cathedrals are still standing now-- 800 years later.  how many of our buildings will be around in that long?


-mary moore.

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