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Head of Zeus
Heaven on Earth
Heaven on Earth: The Lives and Legacies of the World's Greatest Cathedrals by Emma J. Wells

A glorious illustrated history of sixteen of the world's greatest cathedrals, interwoven with the extraordinary stories of the people who built them.

'An impeccable guide to the golden age of ecclesiastical architecture' The Times
'Vivid, colourful and absorbing' Dan Jones
'An epic ode to some of our most beautiful and beloved buildings' Helen Carr

The emergence of the Gothic in twelfth-century France, an architectural style characterized by pointed arches, rib vaults, flying buttresses, large windows and elaborate tracery, triggered an explosion of cathedral-building across western Europe. It is this remarkable flowering of ecclesiastical architecture that forms the central core of Emma Wells's authoritative but accessible study of the golden age of the cathedral. Prefacing her account with the construction in the sixth century of the Hagia Sophia, the remarkable Christian cathedral of the eastern Roman empire, she goes on to chart the construction of a glittering sequence of iconic structures, including Saint-Denis, Notre-Dame, Canterbury, Chartres, Salisbury, York Minster and Florence's Duomo.

More than architectural biographies, these are human stories of triumph and tragedy that take the reader from the chaotic atmosphere of the mason's yard to the cloisters of power. Together, they reveal how 1000 years of cathedral-building shaped modern Europe, and influenced art, culture and society around the world.

Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Architecture
01 Sep 2022 * 512pp * £9.99 * 9781788541930
'An impeccable guide to the golden age of ecclesiastical architecture... Meticulously researched... It's to Wells's credit that she manages to make the history of these cathedrals as gripping as she does.'
The Times
'Combining scholarship and an eye for human stories, Heaven on Earth is a vivid, colourful and absorbing tour of the greatest buildings the medieval world produced.'
Dan Jones
'Shines scholarly light on the history of the great cathedrals of Europe and uncovers the wealth of human stories they hold. Rich in animated, erudite and compassionate storytelling about how people in the past expressed spirituality in magnificent physical form... An epic ode to some of our most beautiful and beloved buildings.'
Helen Carr
'Emma J. Wells has written an accessible, authoritative and lavishly illustrated account of the building of 16 of "the world's greatest cathedrals"'
'Wells brings these buildings vividly to life, peopling them with their authors and sponsors, their triumphs and tribulations, and beautifully illustrated'
Country Life
'Sumptuously presented... A fascinating look at how people in the Middle Ages combined spirituality, symbolism, mathematics and monumental toil to create some of history's grandest buildings'
History Revealed
'This beautifully written and impeccably researched book is an utter joy to read, managing to be both academic and yet accessible to the lay reader'
Yorkshire Life
'Strikingly show[s] the influence these imposing buildings exerted [and] the importance of the people who built these places'
History Today
Emma J. Wells
Emma J. Wells
Dr Emma J. Wells is an award-winning academic, author and broadcaster. She is Lecturer in Ecclesiastical and Architectural History at the University of York. She holds a PhD from Durham University, for which she was awarded a British Archaeological Association Ochs Scholarship and a Society for Church Archaeology research grant. Emma is also a regular contributor to television and radio, and writes for publications including BBC Countryfile, TLS, BBC History and History Today. Her previous book, Pilgrim Routes of the British Isles, was published in 2016.