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  • What do fans of atmospheric post-punk music

  • have in common with ancient barbarians?

  • Not much.

  • So why are both known as goths?

  • Is it a weird coincidence

  • or a deeper connection stretching across the centuries?

  • The story begins in Ancient Rome.

  • As the Roman Empire expanded, it faced raids and invasions

  • from the semi-nomadic populations along its borders.

  • Among the most powerful were a Germanic people known as Goths

  • who were composed of two tribal groups,

  • the Visigoths

  • and Ostrogoths.

  • While some of the Germanic tribes remained Rome's enemies,

  • the Empire incorporated others into the imperial army.

  • As the Roman Empire split in two,

  • these tribal armies played larger roles in its defense

  • and internal power struggles.

  • In the 5th century, a mercenary revolt lead by a soldier named Odoacer

  • captured Rome and deposed the Western Emperor.

  • Odoacer and his Ostrogoth successor Theoderic

  • technically remained under the Eastern Emperor's authority

  • and maintained Roman traditions.

  • But the Western Empire would never be united again.

  • Its dominions fragmented into kingdoms ruled by Goths

  • and other Germanic tribes

  • who assimilated into local cultures,

  • though many of their names still mark the map.

  • This was the end of the Classical Period

  • and the beginning of what many call the Dark Ages.

  • Although Roman culture was never fully lost,

  • its influence declined and new art styles arose

  • focused on religious symbolism and allegory

  • rather than proportion and realism.

  • This shift extended to architecture

  • with the construction of the Abbey of Saint Denis in France in 1137.

  • Pointed arches, flying buttresses, and large windows

  • made the structure more skeletal and ornate.

  • That emphasized its open, luminous interior

  • rather than the sturdy walls and columns of Classical buildings.

  • Over the next few centuries,

  • this became a model for Cathedrals throughout Europe.

  • But fashions change.

  • With the Italian Renaissance's renewed admiration for Ancient Greece and Rome,

  • the more recent style began to seem crude and inferior in comparison.

  • Writing in his 1550 book, "Lives of the Artists,"

  • Giorgio Vasari was the first to describe it as Gothic,

  • a derogatory reference to the Barbarians

  • thought to have destroyed Classical civilization.

  • The name stuck, and soon came to describe the Medieval period overall,

  • with its associations of darkness, superstition, and simplicity.

  • But time marched on, as did what was considered fashionable.

  • In the 1700s, a period called the Enlightenment came about,

  • which valued scientific reason above all else.

  • Reacting against that, Romantic authors like Goethe and Byron

  • sought idealized visions of a past of natural landscapes

  • and mysterious spiritual forces.

  • Here, the word Gothic was repurposed again

  • to describe a literary genre that emerged as a darker strain of Romanticism.

  • The term was first applied by Horace Walpole

  • to his own 1764 novel, "The Castle of Otranto"

  • as a reference to the plot and general atmosphere.

  • Many of the novel's elements became genre staples

  • inspiring classics and the countless movies they spawned.

  • The gothic label belonged to literature and film until the 1970s

  • when a new musical scene emerged.

  • Taking cues from artists like The Doors and The Velvet Underground,

  • British post-punk groups,

  • like Joy Division,

  • Bauhaus,

  • and The Cure,

  • combined gloomy lyrics and punk dissonance

  • with imagery inspired by the Victorian era,

  • classic horror,

  • and androgynous glam fashion.

  • By the early 1980s, similar bands were consistently described

  • as Gothic rock by the music press,

  • and the style's popularity brought it out of dimly lit clubs

  • to major labels and MTV.

  • And today, despite occasional negative media attention and stereotypes,

  • Gothic music and fashion continue as a strong underground phenomenon.

  • They've also branched into sub-genres,

  • such as cybergoth,

  • gothabilly,

  • gothic metal,

  • and even steampunk.

  • The history of the word gothic is embedded

  • in thousands of years worth of countercultural movements,

  • from invading outsiders becoming kings

  • to towering spires replacing solid columns

  • to artists finding beauty in darkness.

  • Each step has seen a revolution of sorts

  • and a tendency for civilization to reach into its past to reshape its present.

What do fans of atmospheric post-punk music

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B2 US TED-Ed gothic rome germanic roman empire

【TED-Ed】A brief history of goths - Dan Adams

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    Jenny posted on 2017/08/27
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