What would you call men who went about with hammers and broke all the statues they could find， and who even went into churches and broke the statues there？ Probably you would say they were bad men or crazy and should be locked up.
You would be right， and they would be locked up nowadays. But long ago （about 800 AD） such men were not bad or crazy， and no one tried to lock them up. They broke statues because they thought statues were too much like idols. They thought a church especially should have nothing like an idol or an image in it. An image is called in Greek an icon and these men were called iconoclasts， which means image smashers. They smashed a great many statues， and the poor sculptors had to move away from the cities where the iconoclasts were if they still wanted to make statue.
However， the iconoclasts didn’t seem to mind small sculptures in relief. And so in the time of the iconoclasts and for many years afterward many beautiful bas reliefs in ivory， silver， and gold were made. The carvings in ivory were used as the covers of books， writing tablets， and little boxes. The place to see them now is in museums where they are kept carefully in glass cases. When you look at them， remember the iconoclasts and why there were no good statues in the full round for a long time after the Romans.
Some sculptors had to leave Byzantium—the old name for Constantinople which was the old name for Istanbul—because of the iconoclasts. They traveled to France and carried on their work there. And it is to France that we turn for our next great statues. They belong to the Middle Ages， several hundred years after the iconoclasts. And， strangely enough， these statues were all carved for churches—just what the iconoclasts didn’t want！ In fact， the churches were simply covered with statues， which were made of the same kind of stone as the buildings and not of marble like the Greek and Roman statues.
idol /'a?dl/ n. 偶像;神像
smash /sm??/ v. 打破，破碎
relief /r?'li?f/ n. 浮雕;浮雕法;浮雕作品
The bronze doors are covered with sculpted reliefs.
These statues were really part of the churches. The cathedral at Chartres， in France， has not less than ten thousand figures of men and animals on it. They are everywhere—over the doorways， on the columns， on the roof， under the windows， on the walls. Even the waterspouts are carved in the forms of queer animals.
Most of the people of the Middle Ages could neither read nor write， so all these sculptures on the churches took the place of books. They told the people stories of the Bible and of the saint. You see they were useful as well as ornamental.
They are called Gothic figures because churches and cathedrals of the Middle Ages were built in the Gothic style. The Gothic figures on a cathedral are of almost every kind of living thing you could think of. There are scenes from the Bible， statues of saints， carvings of animals and flowers， pictures in stone of the seasons， of different kinds of work like farming and writing， wood chopping and fighting. There are figures of men and women， of actual creatures and of strange unheard-of make-believe creatures. And each of these figures was made for that particular part of the cathedral where it was placed. The statues were not stuck on after the cathedral was built. They were a part of it， built into it， and made of the same stone.
Do you remember when you had a sore throat and had to gargle？ On the Gothic churches there are statues that gargle. They don’t have sore throats， of course， but they gargle every time it rains. They are rain spouts and have holes in them so water can run out through their mouths. Like the statues that told the stories of the Bible， they are useful as well as ornamental. We call them gargoyles， which is another way of saying they gargle.
The gargoyles were carved in the shapes of the queerest animals you can think of. Some have heads like monkeys， some have three heads， some have their tongues sticking out as if they were making faces. Some have claws like eagles， others hands like men.
The queer animals that weren’t made to gargle are called grotesques. Most of them are up near the roof like the gargoyles and seem to be looking down and laughing at the people on the ground. The sculptors on the old cathedrals must have enjoyed carving their grotesques and gargoyles.
queer /kw??（r）/ adj. 奇怪的;反常的
gargle /'ɡɑ?ɡl/ v. 含漱;漱喉