Cloister

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Cloister at Salisbury Cathedral, UK. Salisbury Cathedral, cloister, from top of tower.jpg
Cloister at Salisbury Cathedral, UK.

A cloister (from Latin claustrum, "enclosure") is a covered walk, open gallery, or open arcade running along the walls of buildings and forming a quadrangle or garth. The attachment of a cloister to a cathedral or church, commonly against a warm southern flank, [1] usually indicates that it is (or once was) part of a monastic foundation, "forming a continuous and solid architectural barrier... that effectively separates the world of the monks from that of the serfs and workmen, whose lives and works went forward outside and around the cloister." [1]

Latin Indo-European language of the Italic family

Latin is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. The Latin alphabet is derived from the Etruscan and Greek alphabets and ultimately from the Phoenician alphabet.

Arcade (architecture) covered walk enclosed by a line of arches on one or both sides

An arcade is a succession of contiguous arches, with each arch supported by columns, piers. Exterior arcades are designed to provide a sheltered walkway for pedestrians. The walkway may be lined with retail stores. An arcade may feature arches on both sides of the walkway. Alternatively, a blind arcade superimposes arcading against a solid wall. Blind arcades are a feature of Romanesque architecture that influenced Gothic architecture. In the Gothic architectural tradition, the arcade can be located in the interior, in the lowest part of the wall of the nave, supporting the triforium and the clerestory in a cathedral, or on the exterior, in which they are usually part of the walkways that surround the courtyard and cloisters.

Quadrangle (architecture) space or courtyard

In architecture, a quadrangle is a space or a courtyard, usually rectangular in plan, the sides of which are entirely or mainly occupied by parts of a large building. The word is probably most closely associated with college or university campus architecture, but quadrangles are also found in other buildings such as palaces. Most quadrangles are open-air, though a few have been roofed over, to provide additional space for social meeting areas or coffee shops for students.

Contents

Cloistered (or claustral) life is also another name for the monastic life of a monk or nun. The English term enclosure is used in contemporary Catholic church law translations [2] to mean cloistered, and some form of the Latin parent word "claustrum" is frequently used as a metonymic name for monastery in languages such as German. [3]

Monasticism religious way of life

Monasticism or monkhood is a religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic life plays an important role in many Christian churches, especially in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. Similar forms of religious life also exist in other faiths, most notably in Buddhism, but also in Hinduism and Jainism, although the expressions differ considerably. By contrast, in other religions monasticism is criticized and not practiced, as in Islam and Zoroastrianism, or plays a marginal role, as in Judaism.

Nun Member of a religious community of women

A nun is a member of a religious community of women, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in the enclosure of a monastery. Communities of nuns exist in numerous religious traditions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, and Taoism.

Monastery complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplace(s) of monks or nuns

A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone (hermits). A monastery generally includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church, or temple, and may also serve as an oratory.

History

The Cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral, UK The Cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral.jpg
The Cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral, UK

Historically, the early medieval cloister had several antecedents, the peristyle court of the Greco-Roman domus , the atrium and its expanded version that served as forecourt to early Christian basilicas, and certain semi-galleried courts attached to the flanks of early Syrian churches. [4] Walter Horn suggests that the earliest coenobitic communities, which were established in Egypt by Saint Pachomius, did not result in cloister construction, as there were no lay serfs attached to the community of monks, thus no separation within the walled community was required; Horn finds the earliest prototypical cloisters in some exceptional [5] late fifth-century monastic churches in southern Syria, such as the Convent of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, at Umm-is-Surab (AD 489), and the colonnaded forecourt of the convent of Id-Dêr, [6] but nothing similar appeared in the semieremitic Irish monasteries' clustered roundhouses nor in the earliest Benedictine collective communities of the West. [7]

Peristyle Continuous porch formed by a row of columns surrounding the perimeter of building or a courtyard

In Hellenistic Greek and Roman architecture a peristyle is a continuous porch formed by a row of columns surrounding the perimeter of building or a courtyard. Tetrastoon is a rarely used archaic term for this feature. The peristyle in a Greek temple is a peristasis. In the Christian ecclesiastical architecture that developed from the Roman basilica, a courtyard peristyle and its garden came to be known as a cloister.

In ancient Rome, the domus was the type of house occupied by the upper classes and some wealthy freedmen during the Republican and Imperial eras. It was found in almost all the major cities throughout the Roman territories. The modern English word domestic comes from Latin domesticus, which is derived from the word domus. The word dom in modern Slavic languages means "home" and is a cognate of the Latin word, going back to Proto-Indo-European. Along with a domus in the city, many of the richest families of ancient Rome also owned a separate country house known as a villa. Many chose to live primarily, or even exclusively, in their villas; these homes were generally much grander in scale and on larger acres of land due to more space outside the walled and fortified city.

Atrium (architecture) courtyard in a Roman domus

In architecture, an atrium is a large open air or skylight covered space surrounded by a building. Atria were a common feature in Ancient Roman dwellings, providing light and ventilation to the interior. Modern atria, as developed in the late 19th and 20th centuries, are often several stories high and having a glazed roof or large windows, and often located immediately beyond the main entrance doors.

In the time of Charlemagne the requirements of a separate monastic community within an extended and scattered manorial estate created this "monastery within a monastery" in the form of the locked cloister, an architectural solution allowing the monks to perform their sacred tasks apart from the distractions of laymen and servants. [8] Horn offers as early examples Abbot Gundeland's "Altenmünster" of Lorsch abbey (765–74), as revealed in the excavations by Frederich Behn; [9] Lorsch was adapted without substantial alteration from a Frankish nobleman's villa rustica , in a tradition unbroken from late Roman times. Another early cloister, that of the abbey of Saint-Riquier (790–99), took a triangular shape, with chapels at the corners, in conscious representation of the Trinity. [10] A square cloister sited against the flank of the abbey church was built at Inden (816) and the abbey of St. Wandrille at Fontenelle (823–33). At Fulda, a new cloister (819) was sited to the liturgical west of the church "in the Roman manner" [11] familiar from the forecourt of Old St. Peter's Basilica because it would be closer to the relics.

Charlemagne King of the Franks, King of Italy, and Holy Roman Emperor

Charlemagne or Charles the Great, numbered Charles I, was king of the Franks from 768, king of the Lombards from 774, and emperor of the Romans from 800. During the Early Middle Ages, he united the majority of western and central Europe. He was the first recognised emperor to rule from western Europe since the fall of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier. The expanded Frankish state that Charlemagne founded is called the Carolingian Empire. He was later canonized by Antipope Paschal III.

Manorialism economic, political and judicial institution during the Middle Age in Europe, governed by a lord owning a land domain that he partly concesses to vassals

Manorialism was an organizing principle of rural economies which vested legal and economic power in a Lord of the Manor. He was supported economically from his own direct landholding in a manor, and from the obligatory contributions of a legally subject part of the peasant population under his jurisdiction and that of his manorial court. These obligations could be payable in several ways, in labor, in kind, or, on rare occasions, in coin.

Roman villa type of rural settlement of ancient Rome without walling

A Roman villa was a country house built for the upper class in the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, similar in form to the hacienda estates in the colonies of the Spanish Empire.

Romanesque architecture architectural style of Medieval Europe

Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of medieval Europe characterized by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque style, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 11th century, this later date being the most commonly held. In the 12th century it developed into the Gothic style, marked by pointed arches. Examples of Romanesque architecture can be found across the continent, making it the first pan-European architectural style since Imperial Roman architecture. The Romanesque style in England is traditionally referred to as Norman architecture.

Abbey of Santo Domingo de Silos abbey

Santo Domingo de Silos Abbey is a Benedictine monastery in the village of Santo Domingo de Silos in the southern part of Burgos Province in northern Spain. The monastery is named after the eleventh-century saint Dominic of Silos.

Saint-Michel de Grandmont Priory priory located in Hérault, in France

Saint-Michel de Grandmont Priory is a former monastery of Grandmontine in the commune of Saint-Privat, in Hérault, France. The priory is located in a wild area in heart of an oak forest, about 10 km from Lodève.

Notes

  1. 1 2 Horn 1973, p. 13.
  2. "The Code of Canon Law, Canon 667 ff. English translation copyright 1983 The Canon Law Society Trust". Archived from the original on 2006-06-19. Retrieved 2006-06-17.
  3. Cf. German Kloster.
  4. Horn 1973 gives these sources.
  5. The normal Syrian monastery plan was an open one, Horn observes.
  6. Horn 1973, plans, figs 9 and 10
  7. Horn 1973, pp. 39–40.
  8. Horn pp 40ff.
  9. When Lorsch was rebuilt on a neighboring site by Abbot Richbold (784–804) the cloister was made a perfect square, against the south flank of the new church, precisely as in the plan of St. Gall (Horn 1973:44, figs 43ab, 45).
  10. Horn 1973:43 and fig 42ab.
  11. Vita Eigili, the life of Abbot Eigil.

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References

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Digital object identifier Character string used as a permanent identifier for a digital object, in a format controlled by the International DOI Foundation

In computing, a Digital Object Identifier or DOI is a persistent identifier or handle used to identify objects uniquely, standardized by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). An implementation of the Handle System, DOIs are in wide use mainly to identify academic, professional, and government information, such as journal articles, research reports and data sets, and official publications though they also have been used to identify other types of information resources, such as commercial videos.