A to Z Challenge

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge! Today’s letter is G…

Legendary Creatures

gargoyle2A gargoyle is a carved stone grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between. Architects often used multiple gargoyles on buildings to divide the flow of rainwater off the roof to minimize the potential damage from a rainstorm. A trough is cut in the back of the gargoyle and rainwater typically exits through the open mouth. Gargoyles are usually an elongated fantastic animal because the length of the gargoyle determines how far water is thrown from the wall. When Gothic flying buttresses were used, aqueducts were sometimes cut into the buttress to divert water over the aisle walls.

A French legend that sprang up around the name of St. Romanus (“Romain”) (AD 631–641), 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 or Goji. La Gargouille is said to have been the typical dragon with batlike wings, a long neck, and the ability to breathe fire from its mouth. There are multiple versions of the story, either that St. Romanus subdued the creature with a crucifix, or he captured the creature with the help of the only volunteer, a condemned man. In each, the monster is led back to Rouen and burned, but its head and neck would not burn due to being tempered by its own fire breath. The head was then mounted on the walls of the newly built church to scare off evil spirits, and used for protection. 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.


About diannehartsock

Author of paranormal/suspense, fantasy/adventure, m/m romance and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and a floral designer.
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6 Responses to A to Z Challenge

  1. That’s a great legend – I hadn’t heard that one before. Saints are so often pitted against monsters – I love the painting of St Michael Triumphant Over the Devil by Bartoleme Bermejo where the Devil looks like he’s part dragon and part demon – he’d make a great gargoyle.
    Tasha’s Thinkings – AtoZ (Vampires)
    FB3X – AtoZ (Erotic Drabbles)

  2. Elin Gregory says:

    Awww heck, St Romaine/condemned prisoner was a plot bunny I didn’t really need. 🙂

  3. Great post! I love Gargoyles and I love France, a few years ago a tour guide told u each gargoyle on the Notre Dame cathedral has a name, he however did not know them! LOVED the historical input! I simply went with Gourds for #a2zchallenge at http://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/

  4. susan says:

    I love gargoyles and so many fantasies can be written about them

  5. This is the first time I’ve come across this story about gargoyles. If you can believe it, I also didn’t know they actually had a function.

    J.L. Campbell writes at The Character Depot
    and the Jamaican Kid Lit Blog.

  6. Interesting story about the possible beginnings of gargoyles. I’ve always thought that they were such interesting creatures…a lot could definitely be done with them in writing. 🙂

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