The Rhone and Roman Authors

The Graian and Pennine Alps, not counting towns of lesser note, have Avenches, a city now abandoned, to be sure, but once of no slight importance, as is even yet evident from its half-ruined buildings. These are the goodly provinces and cities of Gaul. It would be unfitting and absurd to say nothing of the Rhone, a river of the greatest celebrity. Rising in the Pennine Alps from a plenteous store of springs, the Rhone flows in headlong course towards more level places. It bursts into the lagoon called Lake Leman. From there without any loss of volume it flows through Savoy and the Seine Province. (Ammianus Marcellinus, The Roman History (15.11.12-17), translation

Upper Burgundy

‘Upper Burgundy’ is hard to imagine without shedding the modern concepts of ‘France’, ‘Germany’ and ‘Switzerland’, One has to remind oneself constantly that the modern states of Europe had not been invented , and that the communities which preceded them were no more artificial than very many of the states of European history. As a Swiss historian has put it, ‘C’est ainsi que nacquit une improbable patrie entre un marteau et une éclume’. The clear implication is that Switzerland grew from its Burgundian roots. (Norman Davies, Vanished Kingdoms. The History of Half-Forgotten Europe (London 2011).

Modern art in the twelfth century

By the eleventh and twelfth centuries there had emerged in Western Europe within Church art a new sphere of artistic creation without religious content and imbued with values of spontaneity, individual fantasy, delight in color and movement, and the expression of feeling that anticipate modern art. This new art was accompanied by a conscious taste of the spectators for the beauty of workmanship, materials, and artistic devices. (M. Shapiro, Romanesque Art. Selected Papers (New york 1977).