Celtic Art in the
Global Village, continued
"The evidence gathered from dated
examples of interlaced-work in Italy tends to show that there was gradual advance in the
elaboration of the patterns as time went on.
Consequently the style could not have been
borrowed en bloc from Italy, or vice versa, at one time; but interlaced ornament must have
been a prevalent form of decoration throughout the whole of the West of Europe, and the
style advanced in all the different countries simultaneously, there always being a
constant communication between Rome and the centers of religious activity abroad.
As for the genius of the insular Celts,
Romilly Allen places it centrally in the mainstream of a universal, pan-European
"Some races, like those in Great Britain,
who now appear to have had a special gift for inventing new patterns and combining them
with a sense of artistic fitness, may have made more rapid strides than their
neighbors and have influenced the development of the style in consequence, but that is all that can
As to why knotwork survived long after other
types of Celtic art faded from Carolingian manuscripts, Romilly Allen speculated that this
was statistically probable due to the almost infinite number of variations can can be made
from even the most basic knot.