Re: [MedievalSawdust] How did they build the big buildings...
- That's a relatively small one... there are quite a few depictions of these in MSS. Check out "Master Builders of the Middle Ages" or "The Cathedral Builders" for more examples.
There are even a couple of these still extant. Perhaps the most famous is the one that sat on the incomplete tower of Cologne Cathedral for about 300 years... it became the symbol of the town itself (this is how you can identify Koln in those 15th - 16th c. German woodcuts), and is now housed within the cathedral. There is a smaller one inside the tower at Salisbury - the tower was built around it and it was simply left in place.
The driving force was often one or two wretches walking inside a big wheel; they are invariably depicted in medieval MSS eating a small loaf of bread, or biscuit. But the abundance of wretches in the MA also meant that sometimes they just built ramps and carried materials up by hand... sometimes the ramp construction is interesting as well... one in "Master Builders" appears to have a woven floor, apparently for traction.
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