Some explanations for the use of gargoyles are:
- the plumbing of rainwater
- a reminder that evil exists
- warding off evil
- encouragement to come to church
Gargoyles can be used to divert rain water from the roofs of buildings. These types of gargoyles have been around since the Ancient Greeks, or maybe even before that!
Reminders of Evil
Gargoyles could have been placed on buildings to remind people that evil exists in the world. Medieval people were warned that evil can take many forms....You better come into church, you would hate to end up like this....Sounds like something my grandma would say!
Warding off Evil
One of my favorite explanations for gargoyles is protection. They may have been meant to stand guard and ward off evil spirits. If they were ugly, they could scare off anything. Gargoyles were said to have the ability of come to life at nighttime in order to keep people safe while they were sleeping and at their most vulnerable.
Encouragement for Church
In the days when Christianity was trying to become more popular, they may have used gargoyles on their churches in order to encourage pagans to come to church. Not many people during this time were literate, so images would be used instead of words. Since pagans were familiar with images of animals and animal/human mixtures representing their gods, Christians may have used the gargoyles to comfort the people they meant to convert.
There are some other explanations for the use of gargoyles. The ones listed above are only some of the more popular. Can you think of any other possible uses for gargoyles?