basilica

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basilica

basilica (bəsĭlˈĭkə), large building erected by the Romans for transacting business and disposing of legal matters. Rectangular in form with a roofed hall, the building usually contained an interior colonnade, with an apse at one end or at each end. The central aisle tended to be wide and was higher than the flanking aisles, so that light could penetrate through the clerestory windows. The oldest known basilica was built in Rome in 184 B.C. by the elder Cato. Other early examples are the Basilica Porcia in Rome and one at Pompeii (late 2d cent. B.C.). Probably the most splendid Roman basilica is the one constructed during the reign of Maxentius and finished by Constantine after 313. In the 4th cent. Christians began to build edifices for worship that were related to the form of the basilicas. These had a center nave with one aisle at each side and an apse at one end: on this platform sat the bishop and priests. Basilicas of this type were built not only in Western Europe but in Greece, Syria, Egypt, and Palestine. A good example of the Middle Eastern basilica is the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem (6th cent.). The finest basilicas in Rome were St. John Lateran and St. Paul's-outside-the-Walls (4th cent.), and San Clemente (6th cent.). Gradually there emerged the massive Romanesque churches, which still retained the fundamental plan of the basilica.


Basilicata

Basilicata (bäzēlēkäˈtä), region, 3,856 sq mi (9,987 sq km), S Italy, bordering on the Tyrrhenian Sea in the southwest and on the Gulf of Taranto in the southeast. It forms the instep of the Italian “boot.” Potenza is the capital of Basilicata, which is divided into Potenza and Matera provs. (named for their capitals). The region is crossed by the Lucanian Apennines; its main river is the Bradano. Because of a dry climate and a scarcity of groundwater, farming is difficult, although it is the occupation of most inhabitants of the generally poor region. Olives, plums, and cereals are grown, and sheep and goats are raised. There is also some fishing. The transportation network is very limited, and commerce and industry are minimal, except in the Pisticci zone where a chemical plant is located. Natural gas also has been discovered near Matera. Basilicata corresponds to most of ancient Lucania and to part of ancient Samnium. Rome took the region in 272 B.C.; it later passed in turn to the Lombards, to the Byzantines, and (11th cent.) to the Norman duchy of Apulia, of which Melfi (now in Basilicata) was the capital. Although later a part of the kingdom of Naples, Basilicata was controlled by virtually independent feudal lords. Malaria, still a scourge on the coasts, caused the flourishing coastal towns to be abandoned in the early Middle Ages. In the 20th cent. there were reclamation works and social and land reforms in Basilicata, but many of the inhabitants emigrated to foreign countries (especially the United States) or took jobs in the industrial cities of N Italy. The region has suffered numerous earthquakes.
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Basilica

A Roman hall of justice with a high central space lit by a clerestory with a timbered gable roof. It became the form of the early Christian church, with a semicircular apse at the end preceded by a vestibule and atrium.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Basilica

 

(Greek: Basiliká), last codification of Byzantine law, completed in A.D. 890 during the reign of Emperor Leo VI (the Wise), and consisting of 60 books.

The Basilica is based on Justinian’s code of laws. Nevertheless, certain of the code’s regulations that were outmoded or abolished were not included in the Basilica. Moreover, in the Basilica each legal institution is examined in only one place and not in various books, as was the case with Justinian’s code of laws. In drawing up the Basilica, the Procheiron was also utilized, and in the latest copies of the Basilica excerpts are cited from the works of Byzantine jurists of the 11th and 12th centuries. In its class orientation the Basilica reflected the process of peasant oppression. Serfdom was again legalized, and restrictions were removed on the enlargement of private landholdings.

REFERENCE

Basilicorum libri LX, vols. 1-6, edited by C. G. E. Heimbach; vol. 7, edited by E. G. Terrini and J. Mercati. Leipzig, 1833-97.

Z. M. CHERNILOVSKII

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

basilica

basilica: Typical plan. A, D, apse; B, B’, secondary apse; C, high altar; D, bishop’s throne; G, transept; H, nave; J, J’, aisles
1. A Roman hall of justice, typically with a high central space lit by a clerestory and lower aisles all around it, and with apses or exedrae for the seats of the judges.
2. The form of the early Christian church, a central high nave with clerestory, lower aisles along the sides only,
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

basilica

1. a Roman building, used for public administration, having a large rectangular central nave with an aisle on each side and an apse at the end
2. a rectangular early Christian or medieval church, usually having a nave with clerestories, two or four aisles, one or more vaulted apses, and a timber roof
3. a Roman Catholic church having special ceremonial rights
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The legionary fortress at York was one of the largest in the whole empire, with a dominating facade, eight multi-angular towers facing south across the Ouse, and its headquarters building with a basilican hall supported by columns over thirty feet high.
The churches were usually basilican, with the exception of a small number of trefoil churches, possibly memoriae martyrum.
In towns, such as Thessalonika, the Basilican form remained but elsewhere the defining feature was the main Dome with the Pantokrator, the Apse with the Theotokos, and the triple doors with the Prothesis and the Diakonikon either side of the Royal Door.
Most of the new churches were free-standing and so the architect could indulge in ideal geometrical plans and interpretations of the basilican model, but in Bloomsbury the site purchased by the Church Commissioners was much wider from north to south than from east to west.