From Academic Kids

This article is about gargoyles, the statues. For the animated series, see Gargoyles (animated series). For the University of Michigan humor magazine, see Gargoyle Humor Magazine.
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A gargoyle on the Basilica of the Sacr Cœur, Paris showing the water channel

In architecture, gargoyles, or gurgoyles (from the French gargouille, originally the throat or gullet, cf. Latin gurgulio, gula, and similar words derived from root gar, to swallow, the word representing the gurgling sound of water; Ital. doccione; Ger. Ausguss), are the carved terminations to a spout which conveys water away from the gutters.

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A Japanese gargoyle adorning Himeji Castle

Gargoyles are mostly grotesque figures. A local legend that sprang up around the name of St. Romanus ("Romain") (631641 A.D.), the former chancellor of the Merovingian king Clotaire II who was made bishop of Rouen, relates how he delivered the country around Rouen from a monster called Gargouille, having had the creature captured by a liberated prisoner. In commemoration of St. Romain the Archbishops of Rouen were granted the right to set a prisoner free on the day that the reliquary of the saint was carried in procession (see details at Rouen.).

View of Paris from the Galerie des Chimres
View of Paris from the Galerie des Chimres

The term gargoyle is applied most often to medieval work, but throughout all ages some means of throwing the water off roofs, when not conveyed in gutters, was adopted. In Egypt gargoyles eject the water used in the washing of the sacred vessels which seems to have been done on the flat roofs of the temples. In Greek temples, the water from roofs passed through the mouths of lions whose heads were carved or modelled in the marble or terra cotta cymatium of the cornice. At Pompeii many terra cotta gargoyles were found that are modelled in the shape of animals.

Gargoyles, or more precisely chimerae, were used as decoration on 19th and early 20th century buildings in cities such as New York (where the Chrysler Building's aluminum gargoyles are celebrated), and Chicago.

Statues representing gargoyle-like creatures are popular sales items, particularly in goth and New Age retail stores. Gargoyles as a distinct race have featured in several works of fantasy fiction, such as Terry Pratchett's Discworld series and the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. They were also prominently featured in a Disney animated series, Gargoyles, and played a role in that company's adaptation of Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Actress Adrienne Barbeau played a violent gargoyle in the TV series Monsters. Gargoyles are also mentioned many times in the Harry Potter series.

See also

External links

de:Wasserspeier es:Grgola eo:Gargojlo fa:دهانه‌اژدر fr:Gargouille ja:ガーゴイル pl:Rzygacz pt:Grgula sv:Vattenkastare


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