In the Hindu, Egyptian, or Romanesque architecture, nothing but the priest, whether he calls himself Brahmin, Magian Unique Beauty, or pope.It is not the same in the architectures of the people.They are richer and less sacred. In the phoenician, one feels the merchant; in the Greek, the republican; in the Gothic, the citizen.

The general characteristics of all theocratic architecture are immutability, horror of progress, the preservation of traditional lines, the consecration of the primitive types, the constant bending of all the forms of men and of nature to the incomprehensible caprices of the symbol.These are dark books, which the initiated alone understand how to decipher. Moreover, every form, every deformity even, has there a sense which renders it inviolable.Do not ask of Hindoo, Egyptian, Romanesque masonry to reform their design, or to improve their statuary.Every attempt at perfecting is an impiety to them.In these architectures it seems as though the rigidity of the dogma had spread over the stone like a sort of second petrifaction.The general characteristics of popular masonry, on the contrary, are progress, originality, opulence, perpetual movement.They are already sufficiently detached from religion to think of their beauty, to take care of it, to correct without relaxation their parure of statues or arabesques.They are of the age.They have something human, which they mingle incessantly with the divine symbol under which they still produce.Hence, edifices comprehensible to every soul, to every intelligence, to every imagination, symbolical still, but as easy to understand as nature.Between theocratic architecture and this there is the difference that lies between a sacred language and a vulgar language, between hieroglyphics and art chiffres industrie touristique, between Solomon and phidias.

If the reader will sum up what we have hitherto briefly, very briefly, indicated, neglecting a thousand proofs and also a thousand objections of detail, be will be led to this: that architecture was, down to the fifteenth century, the chief register of humanity; that in that interval not a thought which is in any degree complicated made its appearance in the world, which has not been worked into an edifice; that every popular idea, and every religious law, has had its monumental records; that the human race has, in short, had no important thought which it has not written in stone.And why? Because every thought, either philosophical or religious, is interested in perpetuating itself; because the idea which has moved one generation wishes to move others also, and leave a trace.Now, what a precarious immortality is that of the manuscript!How much more solid, durable, unyielding, is a book of stone!In order to destroy the written word, a torch and a Turk are sufficient.To demolish the constructed word, a social revolution, a terrestrial revolution are required. The barbarians passed over the Coliseum; the deluge, perhaps, passed over the pyramids.

In the fifteenth century everything changes.

Human thought discovers a mode of perpetuating itself, not only more durable and more resisting than architecture, but still more simple and easy.Architecture is dethroned. Gutenberg's letters of lead are about to supersede Orpheus's letters of stone.

*The book is about to kill the edifice dysport*.