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Müller (Archaeologie der Kunst, p. 224) says that: 'From Constantinople as the centre of mechanical skill, a knowledge of art radiated to distant countries, corporations of builders of Grecian birth were permitted to exercise a judicial government among themselves according to the laws of the country to which they owed allegiance;' and Stieglitz, in his History of Architecture, records a tradition that at the time the Lombards were in possession of Northern Italy, i.e. from the sixth to the eighth century, the Byzantine builders 8 formed themselves into guilds and associations, and that on account of having received from the Popes the privilege of living according to their own laws and ordinances, they were called Freemasons. ...Therefore it may be inferred: (1) That architects of the same guild worked in Rome and in Ravenna in the early centuries after Christ; (2) that though the architects were Roman, the decorators up to the fourth century were chiefly Byzantine, or had imbibed that style as their paintings show; (3) that in the time when Rome lay a heap of ruins under the barbarians, the Collegium, or a Collegium, I know not which, fled to independent Como; and there in after centuries they were employed by the Longobards, and ended in again becoming a powerful guild.
About Leader Scott, the Author:
though necessarily based on Merzario’s I Maestri Comacini, the book shows much original observation and research and, if its arguments are not always conclusive, the international scope of the work and its wealth of illustration render it a storehouse of information and a useful introduction to an unfrequented field of speculation. ...The initial version of this article was very closely based on Baxter’s entry in the Second Supplement to the DNB, a work published in 1901 and now in the public domain.