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Term describing the style of architecture associated with the reign of Emperor Charlemagne (800–14). Carolingian architecture is generally accepted as dating from late C8 to early C10, and examples were erected in The Netherlands, France, and Germany, especially in the area bounding the Rhine. Stylistically, Carolingian architecture looked back to Early Christian basilicas of the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (324–37), and included the first building of the Abbey Churches of St-Denis (c. 754–75) and Fulda (790/2–819), the latter based on the Constantinian basilica of San Pietro in Rome (begun c.333). At Aachen, the Palatine Chapel (792–805) is based on San Vitale, Ravenna, and was probably designed by Odo of Metz. At Lorsch in the Rhineland (late C8) is a gate-house and guest-hall with engaged Composite columns and arches (a motif derived from Roman Antiquity) above which is a range of fluted pilasters supporting a series of triangles instead of arches (a theme taken from Roman sarcophagi). In 790–9 was built the Abbey Church of St-Riquier (Centula), with a nave, lean-to aisles, two sets of transepts (the west of which had a low entrance-narthex with a chapel above called a west-work), four round towers, an apsidal east end, and towers over each of the crossings. Although St-Riquier does not survive, similar plans were developed in the Romanesque period in the Rhineland (Worms, for example), while an impressive west-work can be found at Corvey-on-the-Weser (873–85).

Conant (1979);D. Watkin (1986)

Subjects: Architecture — Art.

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