The term "Romanesque" means "Romanlike." It is a title that refers to an artistic phenomenon. The art during this time period - the 11th and 12th centuries - very closely resembled the ancient Roman art and architecture. The barrel and groin vaults they used were based on round arches that were similar to the Roman architecture. This term helped to distinguish these centuries' buildings from those of the early medieval and later Gothic buildings. The term Romanesque also is used to set apart the culture and history of the western part of Europe.
The buildings and art created during this time period were the center of the towns and cities and were made huge and elaborate. It also reflected both the relief and the thanks that the people felt because of the fact that the first Christian millennium had not ended the world like they had originally thought. These massive buildings also reflected the huge increase in pilgrimage traffic that had grown in Romanesque Europe. The pilgrims were a big source of funding for the churches and monasteries that contained the relics of other saints.
Romanesque architecture varied. Sometimes the ceilings were vaulted and other times they were not. Some were formed with wooden roofs, but almost all of these Romanesque buildings were made with the new method of design and construction. They very much resembled the Roman architecture, making it unique but similar to other cultures. The Romanesque style was its own kind, but very much derived from the past Romans.