• Member Since 25th Feb, 2012
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Noctu Orfei Aude Fraetor!

More Blog Posts55

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    Catching Up On Equestria Girls Movies

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Romance (in regards to Classicism, Middle Ages, Romans, and Barbarians...) · 10:04pm Feb 27th, 2013

So "Romance" is a catch-all term for love stories. Anyone remember where this word came from? Anyone ever know? I sure didn't until just a while ago.

Well, there was this Roman Empire way back when, but it got sacked by a bunch of barbarians called the Goths 1500 years ago. The word "Romance" has very little to do with the empire, and much more to do with the barbarians. See, the barbarians moved around, kicking out Romans, and settled down into little tribes, which became Germany, France, England, and places like that. This time of initial movement, then settling down and finding order again, was called the Dark Ages, then also the Middle Ages, and really got under way around the year 1000, and lasted several hundred years.

Once the barbarians were all settled down and stopped bothering the people-formerly-known-as-Romans, who now called themselves Italians, these Italians finally had a chance to sit down and come up with culture, once again, in about the year 1600. Known as The Age of Enlightenment, the Italians spread these ideas of Rational Thought and Scientific Advancement to the barbarians, bringing Europe together through Culture and Science, much like it was back in the days of the Roman Empire, free from the oppression of all that Christian Chivalry and lead-by-the-church nonsense.

In the next hundred years, people began uncovering the ruins of the Roman Empire, and started to get all soppy about the former glory and culture that was once there, realizing maybe they weren't just a bunch of godless pagans. People even started to get obsessed about the old Roman stuff, and a few people started painting and writing about how nostalgic and amazing this ancient Roman civilisation was. "Romanesque" became synonymous with ancient beauty, timeless things, and even the beauty of nature, and people were getting all sentimental about it. This movement became known as... Classicism!

But coming from this idea of Classicism, people started looking a bit more critically at this so called "Age of Reason" they were living in. Maybe it wasn't the beautiful Romanesque world that had come before it--there was this Industrial Revolution thing going on, and some people were thinking there may somehow be a few issues with the masses of people working for nothing in factories, and the plumes of thick greasy smoke billowing into the air all day long. And then there was the French, who were waving around the Tricolour and lopping people's heads off en mass in the name of Reason and Science.

There came to emerge a bunch of people who stared thinking that emotion and imagination weren't just things to be poo-pooed, after all. They looked back to the Dark Ages as an escape from the wide-spread bullshit of industrialization and urban sprawl, and even brought around a Gothic revival. They sought escapism from the urban and social, held up spontaneity and imagination, looked at nature not as something to be conquered and used, but as something fearful and majestic. "Heart over head" and all that. Obsessed with feels, you could say. Romanticism was a reaction against rationalism, and was generally opposed to many of the ideas of Classicism. The Victorian Era was where that went--Gothic revival, obsession with emotion and nature, Pre-Raphalitism.

What does this have to do with sexual love between people?

Well, the idea of love as what we now call romance came from the Medieval chivalrous knights and maidens deal. Remember, during the Age of Enlightenment, anything that wasn't logical was pointless, and those post-Roman, pre-Enlightened times were labelled the "Dark Ages" for a reason. So this infatuation with the concept of love didn't come back around until the Romanticism movement, and its subsequent rooting in Victorian sensibilities, which all ended up becoming synonymous with "Romance." Some historian-type people say that it was this Western culture idea of chivalry and courtly love which was the very first instance, in all of history, of the concept of what we now call romantic love. That seems a very Euro-centric point of view, but it's still kind of neat to think about. All-in-all, "Romance" is basically a misnomer. "Gothic" would be more accurate... but that has come to mean something else entirely, hasn't it?

And so, in summation, we can see that "Romance" really has little to do with Rome, and much more with the Middle Ages and the people descended from the barbarians who sacked Rome. "Romance" is literally barbaric, and in a round-about way gets its name from a movement directly opposing logic and reason.

It's romantic, isn't it?

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Comments ( 15 )


I'm not boring... I'm just very passionate about boring things. :twilightsheepish:

I knew that the Romanticism was a rationalism and that it came after classicism, but for the rest of the story I had no idea x3 Glad you share such "random" knowledge with us as I love to learn :)

free from the oppression of all that Christian Chivalry and lead-by-the-church nonsense.

Best thing possible.

I knew the beginning bit but not the later things. That kind of history was never really my thing. Always enjoy learning about such things though, don't get me wrong.

Thank you for this. It was a great distraction from work (editing In an Instant (MY FEELS)).

P.S. I don't find this kind of stuff boring myself.


why would you call this boring is beyond me

:twilightsmile: Twilight approves

Man, i totally went into this assuming you meant romanticism the musical period (1800-1900 ish) in Europe. :facehoof:
I suppose that's just what i get for being a giant dork. :twilightblush:

Still, it's kind of an interesting line to draw, the enlightenment and the industrial revolution. possibly it's that my European history teacher wasn't very good (granted, i'm pretty positive that's true:fluttercry:) but we never really made that connection. It makes sense, they're both around the late 17th century/early 18th century.

The more you know. :raritywink:

It's all the same, kind of! Though it was much more closely linked to the societal movement in art and literature, the romanticism period for music was lumped in there too.

Having only taken art history classes, I really can only talk with any kind of knowledge on the art that happened in that period, though, and I don't really know much about music history, to be honest! (Well, I mean about the stuff before jazz happened, anyway!)

But yeah, one thing I'm really scoffing at, looking back on general history classes I took through school, is the fact that they really don't make any connections between the things! (At least they didn't for me.) It's like they just tackle the things that were happening as, what makes it seem like, isolated events. All this stuff went together, and everything was influenced by everything else!

I was amazed when I took art history classes--it was really crazy to see how the art of the time really seemed to synthesize all the socio-political things that were going on, and if you look at what was triggering the artistic movements, it gave this weirdly clear snapshot of all the different things going on, and made all these connections that make a lot of sense, thinking about this. I wonder if it'd also be true looking at literature of the times or other things like that?

I love obscure history stuff! I'll just have a random thought like, 'I know the Goths sacked Rome... but where'd they go after that?' as I'm having my coffee in the morning, and suddenly hours have passed and I realize I'm many random facts the wiser. [spoiler:] Spanish and Portuguese people are the direct descendants of the Visigoths, the branch of the nomadic Germanic people known as the Goths who sacked Rome. Interestingly enough, the Spanish and Portuguese languages have absolutely no relation to the original Gothic language, which was much more closely related to Proto-German and Old English, but doesn't actually have an existing language that directly originated from it! The people just switched languages.

And oh man... all of In an Instant in in one go... those feels!

Ha, yay! :twilightsheepish:

Yay, that's cool that some people actually think it's interesting or something! I might do another one of these at some point! I'm pretty sure I could write a zinger on Post-Modernism...

Did not know that. Cool.

Mine either. You always learn the shitty stuff in school. If you want to learn cool stuff, you either have to look it up on your own or take a specialized college course that may not even be available at some colleges. *sigh*

I am kind of ashamed.:twilightblush: As I was responding to this, I was, for some reason, thinking I was responding to a comment on Ruirik's post...:twilightblush: I... don't rightly know why.:facehoof: Didn't write anything different, but still...:facehoof:

Ha, that's funny, I've totally done that before with stories! I got a notification that an author I follow posted a new story, read all the way through it thinking for some reason it was this one person, then only when they replied to my comment I left on it did I realize it was a totally different author I follow's story... weird. I had read the whole story in someone else's 'voice'... :twilightoops:

But... I think I have no problem being mistaken for Ruirik! :twilightsheepish:

I think it is because I had just finished editing a chapter of Instant and a notification saying he responded was right below the one saying you did.

Who would have a problem with it?:derpytongue2:


See, I'm an absolutely colossal music dork, so I end up reading an absolute ton of music history.

In the romantic era of music is considered 1815~1910 give or take a bit.
Or, in terms of composers, Late Beethoven through Tchaikovsky-ish. :derpytongue2:

Okay, so it's a bit later than the art movement, which was wrapping up around 1850, and was overlapping with the Pre-Rahealites (Victorian medieval looking art!) in England.

In France, Realism came about as a reaction against Romanticism in around 1850, which paved the way for a little thing called Impressionism, which got going around the turn of the century. (I love the story of Impressionism! In art, it was entirely localized to not only Paris, but specifically the Montmartre area, and was basically, historically speaking, where they draw the line between classic and modern painting... and basically art in general!)

Wow, thanks for this blog-post. Somehow, after visiting a art exhibit which addressed dark romantic, the idea that dark romantic once stood against the 'brighter' romantic of the 18th century, which I associated with classicism.

Connecting this with your blog post, it's really just a darker path of romance. And with that, I'm not okay with renaming romance into Gothic. It surely has connections to it, but the central ideas of it, the beautiful death and so on, where born in this subcategory of romance, not in what we would call 'the mainstream' today. That, or another term is needed for what we call Gothic today.

...Or not? I'm not an expert when it comes to arts. :twilightblush:

Ha, yeah... terms like that tend to be pretty loose and random, anyway! Especially the Romanticism movement--it definitely wasn't a concise, planned out movement, like Impressionism or the Dadaists were. None of the early artists or writers of Romanticism would have identified themselves as Romantics, and few of them were working together... it was just sort of a term applied, after the fact, to lump together all the unconnected artists that had the same theme and motivation!

In fact, Shakespeare's works (though still popular in their time) did not reach the level of near-mythic prestige that they have now, until the late Romantic period. Really, it was Victorian England that kind of labelled Romanticism--as far as I can figure it--and they were the ones who sort of held up Shakespeare as the shining beacon of Romanticism. You could almost say he was the first of the Romantics... and he wrote around the 1600s. It's all pretty rough and random!

Romanticism was really an organic, general type of movement... the word 'romance' itself morphing over time to fit what people were applying it to!

As far as I know, the Victorian England had a really strong urge to keep up old ideals in arts. Shakespeare was just the best known playwright, as his skills and biography gave him a huge advantage. He lived in London for a long time, what let his name survive the years. I don't think that a man who entertained both, the rich and the poor that well was one to be forgotten by the gentlemen. And that's what he did, he wrote entertaining plays. As you say, I don't think that he leaned against grievances in the art appreciation of the circle in which he moved.
And that's against the definition, that Romanticism raised against Realism, so it would have started with the simple idea, that reason vs. emotion breeds doom, as it happens in nearly each drama he wrote.

I just don't get how the French two-hundred years later are set under the same conception. People like Victor Hugo, who actively wrote against what is happening in the society, are out of nowhere on the same stair with Shakespeare. So does Goethe, who doomed his protagonist in Faust by following his reason.

I could live with saying, that everything that summons doom with the reason of the protagonist is Romanticism, but once more, I don't understand why it's called like that. If I get the message of the post, it developed as an diametric opposite to the Classicism, what developed into the art of reason, praising the antiquity and all.

Wouldn't then be modernism a better name for this? It's just used as a conception saying "it's what's now", isn't it?

Another thing I am interested in, is how Romanticism influenced the Expressionism. Somehow, I remember to have heard that Expressionism developed against Impressionism and wanted to express human emotions. That's basically the same thing that Romanticism does, although Friedrich Nietzsche is also classified as an Expressionist, as literally shaped the conception decadence.

Sorry, that kinda escalated. :rainbowwild:

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