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Stonehenge - Essay Example

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Clouds of mystery have surrounded one stone structure, situated in the center of an English plain, for several hundred years. Stonehenge, located on Salisbury Plain near the River Avon in south-central England, is the ruin of what is believed to be a single building, constructed almost four thousand years ago…
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Download file to see previous pages This book describes the questions and explains the answers, and situates them all within the relevant time periods.
During the Renaissance, an answer was obtained for the question: What is Stonehenge In the Victorian period, scholars answered the question: By what kind of men The question of when Stonehenge was built was answered during the reign of the second Queen Elizabeth. One question, however, still remains unanswered: Why was Stonehenge built There are many theories - there always have been, and it is likely that there always will be - at least until the real truth is known. Stonehenge Complete takes the existing facts, compiles them, and attempts to explain them in a way that will educate and entertain readers, as they seek to decipher the mysteries of Stonehenge.
Ever since the beginning of recorded British history, visitors to Stonehenge have tried to explain its origins and purpose. Their interpretations are shaped by their own experiences, and cultural and temporal influences. The author researches and reports on an extensive collection of these interpretations, and divides out the historical truths from the legends. The book is laid out chronologically, for the most part. Quite appropriately, it begins at the beginning.
The first written record of Stonehenge, by the archdeacon of Lincoln, Henry of Huntingdon, dates back to 1130. The bishop, Alexander of Blois, commissioned him to write a history of England. Stonehenge figures prominently in this history, as it is named one of the country's marvels. Further evidence of Stonehenge's literary and historical popularity can be seen in extant writing from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, the legend of Stonehenge and its creation became intertwined with the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It was a popular story that flourished despite evidence to the contrary, and was put into verse in Edmund Spenser's "The Faerie Queene." Some dramatic representations of this connection exist in Thomas Rowley's 1620 play, "The Birth of Merlin" and John Galliard's 1734 musical pantomime, "Merlin, or the Devil of Stonehenge." Thus, Stonehenge became forever ingrained in the political and literary consciousnesses of the English people.
For several hundred years it was believed that Merlin the Magician was responsible for creating the stones and setting them in place. Subsequent theories for the origins of the stones included: remnants of volcanic rock that were shot up from underground; solid masses that were thrown into place by the fluid earth's rotation; and even meteoric deposits from space which just so happened to fall into a particular pattern. This belief was held in the beginning of the 19th century. Modern geology has identified the true nature of the sarsen rock, but even it cannot explain just how Stonehenge came to be constructed in the way it was.
In the eyes of the Renaissance thinkers, no one native to the British Isles could have been responsible for creating such a magnificent structure. At one time or another, the Romans, a mythical race of giants, the Dutch, and the Phoenicians were all considered to be possible originators of the ancient construction site. In the mid-1600s, when John Aubrey ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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