What would you call men who went about with hammers and broke all the statues they could find， and who even went into churches and broke the statues there？ Probably you would say they were bad men or crazy and should be locked up.
You would be right， and they would be locked up nowadays. But long ago （about 800 AD） such men were not bad or crazy， and no one tried to lock them up. They broke statues because they thought statues were too much like idols. They thought a church especially should have nothing like an idol or an image in it. An image is called in Greek an icon and these men were called iconoclasts， which means image smashers. They smashed a great many statues， and the poor sculptors had to move away from the cities where the iconoclasts were if they still wanted to make statue.
However， the iconoclasts didn’t seem to mind small sculptures in relief. And so in the time of the iconoclasts and for many years afterward many beautiful bas reliefs in ivory， silver， and gold were made. The carvings in ivory were used as the covers of books， writing tablets， and little boxes. The place to see them now is in museums where they are kept carefully in glass cases. When you look at them， remember the iconoclasts and why there were no good statues in the full round for a long time after the Romans.
Some sculptors had to leave Byzantium—the old name for Constantinople which was the old name for Istanbul—because of the iconoclasts. They traveled to France and carried on their work there. And it is to France that we turn for our next great statues. They belong to the Middle Ages， several hundred years after the iconoclasts. And， strangely enough， these statues were all carved for churches—just what the iconoclasts didn’t want！ In fact， the churches were simply covered with statues， which were made of the same kind of stone as the buildings and not of marble like the Greek and Roman statues.