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History Of The Goth


When you hear the word "goth," you may think of black clothing, macabre imagery, or sad music, but have you ever wondered where this subculture's name came from? The Goths were a real people or rather a name for various Germanic peoples who were famous for their retreat against the ever-increasing Roman Empire during the 4th and 5th centuries. In fact, it was in large part due to the Goths (along with the Vandals, who famously sacked Rome) that Europe broke away from Roman rule and split into smaller regions, including the Visigoths in what is now France and Spain and the Ostrogoths. were controlling. Taking land to the east, thus beginning the medieval era.

Known to many as the Dark Ages, the medieval era was marked by an intense period of religious fervor, plagues, wars and ongoing peasant revolts against the feudal system. European society changed significantly after the fall of the Roman Empire, and architecture reflected that change as the imposing marble columns and stately arches that adorned important buildings of the Classical era featured vaulted ceilings, flying buttresses, stained With glass gave way to new, bold designs. windows, and ornately carved walls.

The southern part of Notre-Dame de Paris.

As respects the modern world might view buildings like Notre-Dame or Chartres Cathedral, however, the following Italian Renaissance wanted to break out of the Dark Ages and focus on things like invention, science, and dynamic, vibrant art. Many thinkers of the time drew inspiration from the long-standing greats of antiquity, preferring the ruins of ancient Rome to the elaborate styles of the medieval era. In fact, it was the Renaissance artist Giorgio Vasari who first described this form of architecture as "Gothic" in his book Lives of the Artists because of its "barbaric German style". So yes, it was an insult to be called "Gothic" at the time.

After the 1700s, a.k.a. The Age of Enlightenment, the approach interestingly reverses when it comes to art. The Romantic era, embodied by writers such as Lord Byron, Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, abandoned the "reason above all" approach, instead adopting a world of wonder, horror and romanticism. This creative rebellion gave rise to the genre of Gothic literature, as many of the earliest stories of this nomadic class were set in the Middle Ages. Of course, stories like Dracula, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein continued to influence popular culture for many years to come.

Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and Banshee in 1980

In the 1970s, a counterculture emerged from the British and American underground once again, and the dark and archaic tones of the music of The Doors and The Velvet Underground, among others, developed into the Gothic musical genre. During the 1980s, both visual and tonal romantic influences became apparent in bands such as The Cure and Southern Death Cult, and the subculture's influence on fashion began to spread outside the music world and into the culture at large.

Even mainstream audiences were suddenly loving the vampire novels written by Anne Rice or Tim Burton's macabre yet whimsical films, while the subculture itself morphed into more and more unique aesthetic identities such as Cyber ​​Goths, Gothabilly, and Victorian Goths. was divided. , Just to name a few. While today's goths don't have much in common with the goths of the 300s, it is notable that each iteration of goth reflected a physical, intellectual or creative pushback against the larger mainstream culture, and each time it The art after that is influential and influential for many generations.

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