Q:

Why are there gargoyles in the Notre Dame cathedral?

A:

Quick Answer

The gargoyles on Notre Dame cathedral were built as water spouts to prevent damage to the masonry by deflecting rainwater from the sides of the building. After the installation of drain pipes in the 16th century, the gargoyles were merely ornamental.

Continue Reading
Why are there gargoyles in the Notre Dame cathedral?
Credit: Julian Elliott Photography Photolibrary Getty Images

Full Answer

The word "gargoyle" comes from the Latin "gurgulio" and the French "garguille," which mean gullet or throat and suggest a gargling sound. In Italian, gargoyle is "doccione," which means protruding gutter. Typically, water entered the creature and spouted out through its mouth. The term gargoyle included not only grotesquely-shaped waterspouts, but also other sorts of drains, including those in the shape of animals and people as well as non-ornamented gutters. In Medieval times, the grotesque shapes of gargoyles were used to frighten the illiterate people and demonstrate the concept of evil. Congregants also believed that gargoyles kept away evil from the church by frightening evil spirits.

The original gargoyles on Notre Dame cathedral were constructed in the late 12th century. However, during the French Revolution in the late 18th century, fanatics stripped the gargoyles from the building and destroyed them. In the 1830s, an architect restored the gargoyles to the sides of the cathedral. They bore little resemblance to the originals, but were rather renditions as interpreted by the contemporary artisans.

Learn more about Modern Europe

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is Notre Dame's college football schedule?

    A:

    Notre Dame's schedule usually consists of five Atlantic Coast Conference teams and other top-ranked programs including bitter rivals University of Southern California, Stanford and Navy. The Jeweled Shilleglah trophy is awarded to the winner of the USC-Notre Dame game every year. The five ACC teams that Notre Dame plays differ every year. Notre Dame's football schedule can be found on und.com, ESPN.com, fbschedules.com and CBSsports.com. Most of Notre Dame's football games are nationally televised.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What information is on the official website of the University of Notre Dame?

    A:

    The main website for the University of Notre Dame includes news specific to the university, events specific to the university, a brief history of the institution, and information about the first year of academic instruction for prospective students. The site also includes links that provide information about the graduate school, research opportunities, athletic activities and programs in the arts.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    What are mini gutters?

    A:

    Mini gutters are small guttering systems that funnel rainwater away from the side of a building's roof into a rain barrel or water butt. These gutters are commonly fitted to summer houses, garden sheds and buildings that require a lightweight rainwater funnelling system.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    When was Notre Dame founded?

    A:

    Reverend Edward Sorin, C.S.C., and seven compatriots founded The University of Notre Dame on November 26, 1842. Originally named L’Université de Notre Dame du Lac or, the University of Our Lady of the Lake, Indiana legislation officially chartered it on January 15, 1844.

    Full Answer >

Explore