Gold Was the Mortar: The Economics of Cathedral Building, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Gold Was the Mortar

The Economics of Cathedral Building, 1st Edition

By Henry Kraus


290 pages

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Hardback: 9780367209407
pub: 2019-07-09
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Originally published in 1979, Gold Was the Mortar details the financing and the building of the medieval cathedrals at Paris, Amiens, Toulouse, Lyon, Strasbourg, York, Poitiers and Rouen. The book examines the raising of funds and their expenditure, not only on the Cathedrals themselves, but also on the worldly ambitions of the bishop or archbishop, which went beyond the ‘wars and natural disasters’ theory to explain the reasons that caused the delays in building the cathedrals. The book also looks at the issues of building the cathedrals, such as the availability of finance and how for some there was a steady flow of funds while others suffered prolonged breaks. The book also provides case studies of specific cathedrals and examines how places such as York were held up by the internecine disputes with Canterbury; Toulouse and Poiters by the vast expropriations following conquests; and Lyon by the suppression of the commercial and social hierarchy. All the cathedrals depended on the benevolence of patrons, but the part played by the commoners, as revealed in wills and contemporary documents, was an extraordinary contribution, usually exceeding that of the nobility and royalty and sometimes that of the hierarchy itself.

Table of Contents



1 Paris: The Golden Legend

2. Amiens: Cathedral and Commune

3. Toulouse: Orphan Cathedral

4. Lyon: The Bridge to France

5. Strasbourg: The Burgher-Builders

6. York: Pride, Greed, Charity

7. Poitiers: Old Style versus New

8. Rouen: The Wages of Submission




About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: The Medieval World

The volumes in this set, originally published between 1938 and 1994, draw together research by leading academics in the area of medieval history and medieval literature, and provide a rigorous examination of related key issues. The volume examines medieval history from the early Middle Ages, right up until the Reformation, as well as the effect of the medieval period on later cultures, such as the Victorians. This collection draws together books on the monarchy, medieval philosophy, religion, art, music, psychology and architecture as well as volumes on medieval archeology. The collection also brings together key volumes on medieval literature of the period, with formative works examining medieval religious literature, medieval legends and oral tradition. The collection also includes titles examining specific poems from the period such as Piers Plowman, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Pearl, as well as volumes on influential writers of the period such as Jean Froissant, John Lydgate and Margery Kempe. This collection brings back into print a collection of insightful and detailed books on the diverse medieval period and will be a must have resource for academics and students, not only of history and literature, but of anthropology, music, psychology and religion.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General