1902 Encyclopedia > Basilica (architecture)

Basilica (architecture)

BASILICA, a term denoting (1) in civil architecture, a court of law, or merchants' exchange, and (2) in ecclesiastical architecture, a church of similar form and arrangement.

The name basilica, Baa-iXiK-q (sc. crroa or avX-q), " a royal portico," or " hall," is evidence of a Greek origin. The portico at Athens in which the second archon, apy(m> /Jao-tAeu';, sat to adjudicate on matters touching religion, and in which the council of Areopagus sometimes met, was known as the o-roa BacrlXeios or BacriXiK-q (Pausan., i. 3, § 1 ; Demosth., Aristogit., p. 776 ; Plato, Charmid., ad init.; Aristoph., Ecclesiaz., 685). From this circumstance the term appears to have gained currency as the designation of a law-court, in which sense it was adopted by the Bomans. The introduction of basilica; into Rome was not very early. Livy expressly tells us, when describing the conflagration of the city, 210 B.C, that there were none such then,— " neque enim turn basilicas erant" (xxvi. 27). The earliest named is that erected by M. Porcius Cato, the censor, 183 B.C. (Liv., xxxix. 44), and called after its founder basilica Porcia. When once introduced this form of building found favour with the Romans. As many as twenty basilicae are recorded to have existed within the walls of Rome, erected at different periods, and bearing the names of their founders, e.g.—^Emilia, Julia, Sempronia, Ulpia or Trajani, <fcc. The basilicas were always placed in the most frequented quarter of the city, in the immediate vicinity of a forum, and on its sunniest and most sheltered side, that the merchants and others who resorted thither might not suffer from the severity of the weather (Vitruv., De Architect., v. 1). Originally, the basilicas, like the Royal Exchange in London and the Bourse at Antwerp, were unroofed, consisting of a central area surrounded simply by covered porticoes, without side walls. Subse-quently, side walls were erected and the central space was covered by a roof, which was generally of timber, the beams being concealed by an arched or coved ceiling, orna-mented with lacunaria. Some basilicas (e.g. that of Max-entius or " the Temple of Peace ") were vaulted.

FIG. 1.—Basilica at Pompeii.
1. Portico. I 4. Altar.
2. Hall of Basilica. 5. Tribunal. 8. Side aisles, with galleries over. | 6. Chalcidica.

In plan the basilicas were large rectangular halls, the length of which, according to the rules laid down by Vitruvius (ubi sup.), was not to be more than three times or less than twice its width. In any cases where, from the necessity of the locality, the length exceeded these proportions, the excess was to be masked by the construction of small apartments (chalcidica) at the further end, on both sides of the tribunal. On each side of the central area was one, or sometimes, as in the Ulpian and iEmilian basilicas, two rows of columns. These were returned at either end, cutting off a vestibule at one extremity, and the j tribunal or court proper, forming a kind of transept, elevated above tbe nave, at the other. Above the aisles thus formed (portion) were galleries, formed by a second row of columns supporting the roof, approached by external staircases, for the accommodation of the general public— men on one side, women on the other (Plin., Epist., vi. 33). They were guarded by a parapet wall (pluteus) between the columns, high enough to prevent those in the galleries from being seen by those below. Sometimes, as in Vitruvius's own basilica at Fanum, and in that at Pompeii, instead of a double there was only a single row of columns, the whole height of the building, on which the roof rested. In this case the galleries were supported by square piers (parastatce) behind the main columns. The building was lighted with windows in the side walls, and at the back of the galleries. In the centre of the end-wall were the seats of the judge and his assessors, generally occupying a semicircular apse, the praetor's curule chair standing in the centre of the curve. When the assessors were very numerous (according to Pliny, ii.s., they sometimes amounted to one hundred and eighty), they sat in two or three concentric curves arranged like the seats of a theatre The advocates and other officials filled the rest of the raised platform, divided from the rest of the building by a screen of lattice-work (cancelli). In the centre of the chord of the apse stood an altar on which the Judices took an oath to administer true justice. The tribunal sometimes ended square instead of apsidally. This is so in the basilica at Pompeii (see the plan annexed), where the tribunal is parted from the body of the hall by a podium bearing a screen of six columns, and is flanked by staircases to the galleries and by the c/uilcidica. The larger and more magnificent basilicas were sometimes finished with an apse at each extremity.

The plans of Trajan's basilica usually give this arrangement. The fragment of the ground-plan in the marble tablets pre-served in the Capitol, usually railed that of the iEmilian, but really, as Canina has shown, that of the Ulpian basilica, also shows an apse, designated (Atrium) Libertatis. This, we know from many ancient authorities, was the locality for the manumission of slaves, and, therefore, the tribunal must have been at the other end, and, doubtless, also apsidal. The basilica of Trajan was one of the largest and most magnificent in Rome. From its existing remains we learn that it was 174 feet in breadth, and more than twice as long as it was broad. (The plan and supposed internal arrangements will be seen in the annexed woodcuts from Canina.) The nave, 86 feet in breadth, was divided from the double aisles by rows of granite columns, 35 feet high An upper row of columns in front of the galleries above the aisles supported a ceiling, covered with plates of gilt bronze. The total internal height was about 120 feet. The walls were cased with white marble from Luna. It was paved with giallo autico and purple breccia. A side court, which enclosed the well-known memorial column to Trajan, was flanked by libraries, Bibliotheca Greeca and Latina (Sidon. Apolhnaris, Epigr., is. 16).

FlQ. 4.—Section of the Basilica of Constantiue or Maxentius (Temple of Peace).

The basilica of Maxentius (or of Constantine), usually known as the Temple of Peace, in the Forum at Rome, was on an entirely different plan from those already described. The internal colonnades were dispensed with, the central space being covered by a vast quadripartite brick vault, in three bays; and the aisles were roofed with three huge barrel vaults, each 72 feet in span. Columns were only used for ornament. The tribunal was apsidaL Its width was 195 feet, but it was 100 feet shorter than Trajan's basilica. The ground-plan of a small but interesting basilica, of which the foundations remain at Otricoli (Ocriculum), is given by Agincourt (pi. lxxiii. No. 100). The nave is of four bays; beyond the aisles there is an addi-tional aisle of annexed buildings or chalcidica; the apse is internal. A good example of a provincial basilica remains at Treves. It is a plain hall, about 90 feet long, the walls being 100 feet high, without aisles, and it has an apsidal tribunal elevated considerably above the floor. Under the empire, when architectural magnificence reached an hitherto unparalleled height, basilicos formed a part of the plan of the palaces erected by the emperors and nobles of Rome (Vitruv., vi. 81). A beautiful example on a small scale, the Basilica Jovis, has been recently excavated in the ruins of the palace of the Caesars on the Palatine. Only the lower part of the walls remains, but the arrangements of the building are singularly perfect, even to the pierced marble cancelli, and throw the clearest light on the con-struction of these halls.

On the establishment of Christianity as the imperial religion, these vast halls furnished exactly what was wanted for the religious assemblies of the Christian community. The basilica was, in fact, a ready-made church, singularly adapted for its new purpose. The capacious nave accom-modated the ordinary congregations, the galleries or aisles the females and the more dignified worshippers; while the raised tribunal formed the bema, or sanctuary, separated by lattice-work from the less sacred portion below, the bishop and his clergy occupying the semicircular apsis. The praetor's curule chair became the episcopal throne, the curved bench of his assessors the seat for the presbyters of the church. The inferior clergy, readers, and singers took the place of the advocates below the tribunal; while on the site of the heathen altar rose the holy table of the Eucharistic feast, divided from the nave by its protecting lattice-work screen, from which were suspended curtains guarding the sacred mysteries from the intrusive gaze of the profane.

The words of Ausonius to the Emperor Gratian, in which he speaks of " the basilicas once full of business, but now of prayers for the emperor's preservation " (Grat. Actio pro Consulatu), are a testimony to the general conversion of these civil basilicas into Christian churches. We know this to have been the case with the basilicas of St Cross (S. Croce in Gerusalemme) and St Mary Major's at Rome, which were halls in the Sessorian and Liberian palaces respectively, granted by Constantine to the Christians. We may adduce also as evidence of the same practice a passage from the theological romance known as The Recognition* of Clement (bk. x. ch. 71), probably dating from the early half of the 3d century, in which we are told that Theophilus of Antioch, on his conversion by St Peter, made over " the basilica of his house " for a church But however this may have been, with, perhaps, the single exception of St Cross, the existing Christian basilicas were erected from the ground for their sacred purpose. At Rome the columns, friezes, and other materials of the desecrated temples and public buildings furnished abundant materials for their construction. The decadence of art is plainly shown by the absence of rudimentary architectural know-ledge in these reconstructions. Not only are columns of various heights and diameters made to do duty in the same colonnade, but even different orders stand side by side— (e.g., Ionic, Corinthian, and Composite at St Mary's in the Trastevere); while pilasters assume a horizontal position, and serve as entablatures, as at St Lawrence's. There being no such quarry of ready-worked materials at Ravenna, the noble basilicas of that city are free from these defects, and exhibit greater unity of design and harmony of proportions. In all cases, however, the type of the civil basilica, which had proved so suitable for the requirements of Christian congregations, was adhered to with remarkable uniformity.
An early Christian basilica may be thus described in its main features:—A porch supported on pillars (as at St Clement) gave admission into an open court or atrium, sur-rounded by a colonnaded cloister (St Clement, Old St Peter's, St Ambrose at Milan, Parenzo). In the centre of the court stood a cistern or fountain (cantharus, phiale), for drinking and ablutions. In close contiguity to the atrium, often to the west, was the baptistery, usually octagonal (Parenzo). The church was entered through a long narrow porch (narthex), beyond which penitents, or those under ecclesiastical censure, were forbidden to pass. The narthex was sometimes internal (St Agnes), sometimes an external portico (St Lawrence's, St Paul's). Three or four lofty door-ways, according to the number of the aisles, set in marble cases, gave admission to the church. The doors themselves were of rich wood, elaborately carved with scriptural sub-jects, or of bronze similarly adorned and often gilt. Magnificent curtains, frequently embroidered with sacred figures or scenes, closed the entrance, keeping out the heat of summer and the cold of winter.

The interior consisted of a long and wide nave, often 80 feet across, terminating in a semicircular apse, with one or sometimes (St Paul's, Old St Peter's, St John Lateran) two aisles on each side, separated by colonnades of marble pillars supporting horizontal entablatures (Old St Peter's, St Mary Major's, St Lawrence's) or arches (St Paul's, St Agnes, St Clement, the two basilicas of St Apollinaris at Ravenna). Above the pillars the clerestory wall rose to a great height, pierced in its upper part by a range of plain round-headed windows. The space between the windows and the colonnade (the later trif orium-space) was usually decorated with a series of mosaic pictures in panels (Old St Peter's, St Paul's, St Mary Major's, St Apollinaris within the walls at Ravenna). The upper galleries of the secular basilicas were not usually adopted in the West, but we have examples of this arrangement at St Agnes, St Lawrence's, and the Quattro Santi Coronati. They are much more frequent in the East. The colonnades sometimes extended quite to the end of the church (St Mary Major's), sometimes ceased some little distance from the end, thus forming a transverse aisle or transept (St Paul's, Old St Peter's, St John Lateran). Where this transept occurred it was divided from the nave by a wide arch, the western face and soffit of which were richly decorated with mosaics. Over the crown of the arch we often find a bust of Christ or the holy lamb lying upon the altar, and, on either side, the evangelistic sym-bols, the seven candlesticks, and the twenty-four elders. Another arch spanned the semicircular apse, in which the church always terminated. This was designated the arch of triumph, from the mosaics that decorated it representing the triumph of the Saviour and His church. The conch or semi-dome that covered the apse was always covered with mosaic pictures on a gold ground, usually paintings of our Lord, either seated or standing, with St Peter and St Paul, and other apostles and saints, on either hand. The beams of the roof were generally concealed by a flat ceiling, richly carved and gilt. The altar, standing in the centre of the chord of the apse on a raised platform, reached by flights of steps, was rendered conspicuous by a lofty canopy supported by marble pillars (ciborium, baldacchino), from which depended curtains of the richest materials. Beneath the altar was the confessio, a subterranean chapel, containing the body of the patron saint, and relics of other holy persons. This was approached by descending flights of steps from the nave or aisles. The confessio in some cases reproduced the original place of interment of the patron saint, either in a catacomb-chapel or in an ordinary grave, and thus formed the sacred nucleus round which the church arose. We have good examples of this arrangement at St Peter's, St Paul's, St Pudenziana, and St Lawrence. It was copied, as we will see hereafter, in the original cathedral of Canterbury. The bishop or officiating presbyter advanced from his seat in the centre of the semicircle of the apse to the eastern side (ritually) of the altar, and celebrated the Eucharist with his face to the congregation below. At the foot of the altar steps a raised platform occupying the upper portion of the nave formed a choir for the singers, readers, and other inferior clergy. This oblong space was separated from the aisles and from the western portion of the nave by low marble walls or railings. From these walls projected ambones, or pulpits with desks, also of marble, ascended by steps. That for the reader of the gospel was usually octagonal, with a double flight of steps westward and eastward. That for the reader of the epistle was square or oblong.

The exterior of the basilicas was usually of a repulsive plainness. The vast brick walls were unrelieved by orna

FIG. 5.—Exterior view of St Apollinaris in Classe, Ravenna, ment, without any compensating grace of outline or beauty of proportion. An exception was made for the west front, which was usually covered with plates of marble mosaics or painted stucco (Old St Peter's, St Lawrence's). This part was frequently crowned with a hollow projecting cornice (St Lawrence's, Ara Cceli). But in spite of any decorations the external effect of a basilica must always have been heavy and unattractive. The annexed view of St Apollinaris in Classe at Ravenna affords a typical example.

To pass from general description to individual churches, the first place must be given, as the earliest and grandest examples of the type, to the world-famous Roman basilicas; those of St Peter, St Paul, and St John Lateran, " omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput." It is true that no one of these exists in its original form, Old St Peter's having been entirely removed in the 16th century to make room for its magnificent successor; and both St Paul's and St John Lateran having been greatly injured by fire, and the last named being so completely modernized as to have

FlG. 6.—Facade of old St Peter's, Rome.
d, Narthex. «, Nave. /, /, Aisles. g, Berna.

lost all interest. Of the two former, however, we pos-sess drawings, and plans, and minute descriptions, which give an accurate con-ception of the ori-ginal buildings. To commence with St Peter's, from the woodcuts annexed it will be seen that the church was en-tered through a vast colonnaded atrium, 212 feet by 235 feet, with a fountain in the centre,—the atrium being preceded by a porch mounted by a noble flight of steps. The church was 212 feet wide by 380 feet long; the nave, 80 feet in width, was six steps lower than the side aisles, of which there were two on each side. The four dividing colonnades were each of twenty-two Corinthian columns. Those next the nave supported horizontal entabla-tures. The inner colonnades bore arches, with a second clerestory. The main clerestory walls were divided into two rows of square

containing mosaics, and had windows above. The transept projected beyond the body of the church,—a very un-usual arrangement. The apse, of remarkably small dimen-sions, was screened off by a double row of twelve wreathed columns of Parian marble, of great antiquity, reported

FIG. 8.—Sectional view of the old Basilica of St Peter, before its destruction in the 15th century.

to have been brought from Greece, or from Solomon's
Temple. The pontifical chair was placed in the centre of
the curve of the apse, on a platform raised several steps
above the presbytery. To the right and left the seats of
the cardinals followed the line of the apse. At the centre
of the chord stood the high altar beneath a ciborium, resting
on four pillars of porphyry.
Beneath the altar was the
subterranean chapel, the
centre of the devotion of so
large a portion of the Chris-tian world, believed to contain the remains of St Peter;
a vaulted crypt ran round
the foundation wall of the
apse in which many of the
popes were buried. The roof
showed its naked beams and
rafters. The basilica of St Paul
without the walls, dedicated
324 A.D., rebuilt 388-423,
remained in a sadly neglected
state, but substantially un-altered, till the disastrous fire
of 1823, which reduced the
nave to a calcined ruin. Its
plan and dimensions were
almost identical with those of
St Peter's, as will be seen
from the annexed woodcuts.
d, Altar, c, Berna. f. Apse.
_, Narthex.
_, Nave.
c, er Side aisles.
Its double aisles were formed
by four colonnades, each of
twenty Corinthian pillars, 33
feet high, all supporting arches. Of these pillars twenty-four were of the best period of Roman art, taken from the mausoleum of Augustus, or from the basilica ^Emilia. The contrast between them and those of the 5 th century, standing side by side with them, shows how greatly art had declined. As at St Peter's, the walls above the arches were lined with a double row of mosaic panels, below which was a band of circles containing portraits of the popes, from St Peter downwards. The transept was parted from the nave by a solid wall, with openings pierced in it, and in later times was divided Jown the middle by a transverse colonnade. The high altar rose above a crypt, or eonfessio, traditionally believed to be the catacomb of Lucina, a noble Roman Christian matron, to which the body of the apostle Paul had been removed 251 A.D. The narthex was external. St Paul's had completely lost its atrium. The bronze doors, covered withscripturalreliefs,had beenbrought from Constantinople.

Era. 10.—Section of the Basilica of St Paul, Rome. The only parts of the modernized five-aisled basilica of St John Lateran (of which we have a plan in its original state, Agin court, pi. lxxiii. No. 22) which retain any interest, are the double vaulted aisle which runs round the apse, a most unusual arrangement, and the baptistery. The latter is an octagonal building standing some little distance from the basilica to the south. Its roof is supported by a double range of columns, one above the other, encircling the baptismal basin sunk below the floor.
Of the three-aisled basilicas the best example is the Liberian or St Mary Major's, dedicated 365, and reconstructed 432 A.D. Its internal length to the chord of the apse is 250 feet, by 100 feet in breadth. The Ionic pillars of grey granite, uniform in style, twenty on each side, form a colonnade of great dignity and beauty, unfortunately broken towards the east by intrusive arches opening into chapels. The clerestory, though modern, is excellent in style and arrangement. Corinthian pilasters divide the windows, beneath which are very remarkable mosaic pictures of subjects from Old Testament history, generally supposed to date from the pontificate of Sixtus III., 432-440. The face of the arch of triumph pre-sents also a series of mosaics illustrative of the infancy of our Lord, of great value in the history of art. The apse is of later date, reconstructed by Paschal I. in 818.

The Sessorian basilica, now St Cross (Santa Croce in Gerusalemme), is of exceptional arrangement. Originally a hall of the palace known as Sessorium, it was granted by Constantine for the purposes of Christian worship, and a vast apse, nearly the whole breadth of the hall, was added at the east end. The side walls are pierced by two tiers of large arched openings, originally communicating with a second range of aisles. Of these the lower range has been built up, but the upper is still open, forming im-mense windows.
Among the remaining basilicas of Rome those of St Lawrence (S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura) and St Agnes deserve special mention, as exhibiting a gallery corresponding to those of the civil basilicas and to the later tnforium, carried above the aisles and returned across the west end. The architectural history of St Lawrence's is curious. When originally constructed, 578-590, it consisted of a short nave of six bays, with an internal narthex the whole height of the building. In the 13th century Honorius III. dis-orientated the church, by pulling down the apse, and erecting a nave of twelve bays on its site and beyond it, thus con-verting the original nave into a square-ended choir, the level being much raised, and the magnificent Corinthian columns half buried. As a consequence of the church being thus shifted completely round, the face of the arch of triumph, turned away from the present entrance, but towards the original one, is invested with the usual mosaics (Agincourt, pi. xxviii. Nos. 29, 30, 31). The basilica of St Agnes, 625-638, of which we give a plan and section, is a small but interesting building, much like what St Lawrence's must have been before it was altered. From the fall of the ground the upper galleries are on a level with the road at the east end, and were originally entered from and more convenient to build a new edifice at a higher level, than to repair the old one. The annexed plan and view show the peculiarities of the existing building. The church is preceded by an atrium, the only perfect example remaining in Rome, in the centre of which is the cantharus, or fountain for ablutions. The atrium is entered by a portico made up of earlier fragments very carelessly put together. The chorus cantorum, which occupies about one-third of the nave is enclosed by a low marble screen, about 3 feet high, a work of the 9th century, preserved from the old church, but newly arranged. The white marble slabs are covered with patterns in low relief, and are decorated with ribbons of glass mosaic of the 13th century. These screen-walls stand quite free of the pillars, leaving a pas-sage between. On the ritual north stands the gospel-ambo, of octagonal form, with a double flight of steps westwards and

Though inferior in size, and later in date than most of the basilicas already mentioned, that of St Clement is not surpassed in interest by any one of them. This is due to its having retained its original ritual arrangements and church-fittings more perfectly than any other. These fittings have been removed from the earlier church, lying below the existing building, which at some unknown date and for some unrecorded reason, was abandoned, filled up

Fid. 13.—Plan of Basilica of St Clement in Rome.
1. Porch 5. Aisle for women. 9 Epistle ambo
2. Atrium 6. Chorus cantorum. 1 10. Confessio
S. Nare 7. Altar 11. Bishop's throne
4. Aisle for men 8. Gospel ambo

with earth, and a new building erected upon it as a foundation. The most probable account is that the earlier church was so completely overwhelmed in the ruin of the city in 1084, when Robert Guiscard burnt all the public buildings from the Lateran to the Capitol, that it was found simpler eastwards. To the west of it stands the great Paschal candlestick, with a spiral shaft, decorated with mosaic. Opposite, to the south, is the epistle-ambo, square in plan, with two marble reading-desks facing east and west, for the reading of the epistle and the gradual respectively. The sanctuary is raised two steps above the choir, from which it is divided by another portion of the same marble screen. The altar stands' beneath a lofty ciborium, supported by marble columns, with a canopy on smaller shafts above. It retains the rods and rings for the curtains to run on. Behind the altar, in the centre of the curved line of the apse is a marble episcopal throne, bearing the monogram of Ana-stasius who was titular cardinal of this church in 1108. The conch of the apse is inlaid with mosaics of quite the end of the 13th century. The subterranean church, disinterred by the zeal of Father Mullooly, the prior of the adjacent Irish Dominican convent, is supported by columns of very rich marble of various kinds. The aisle walls, as well as those of the narthex, are covered with fresco-paintings, of various dates from the 7th to the 11th century, in a mar-vellous state of preservation. (See St Clement, Pope and Martyr, and his Basilica in Rome, by Joseph Mullooly, O.P., Rome, 1873).

Out of Rome the most remarkable basilican churches are the two dedicated to St Apollinaris at Ravenna. They are of smaller dimensions than those of Rome, but the design and proportions are better. The cathedral of this city, a noble basilica with double aisles, erected by Archbishop Ursus, 400 A.D. (Agincourt, pi. xxiii, No. 21), was unfortunately destroyed on the erection of the present tasteless building. Of the two basilicas of St Apollinaris, the earlier, S. Apollinare Nuovo, originally an Arian church erected by Theodoric, 493-525, measuring 315 feet in length by 115 feet in breadth, has a nave 51 feet wide, separated from the single aisles by colonnades of twenty-two pillars, supporting arches, a small prismatic block bearing a sculptured cross intervening with very happy effect between the capital and the arch. The clerestory wall is not stilted to the excessive height of the Roman examples. Below the windows a continuous band of saintly figures, male on one side and female on trie other, advancing in stately procession towards Our Lord and the Virgin Mother respectively, affords one of the most beautiful examples of mosaic ornamen-tation to be found in any church. The design of the somewhat later and smaller church of St Apollinaris in Classe, 538-549 A.D., measur-ing 216 feet by 104 feet, is so similar that they must have proceeded from the same archi-tect (Agincourt, pL lxxiii., No 35).
The cathedral on the island of Toroello near Venice, originally built in the 7th cen-tury, but largely repaired circa 1000 A.D., deserves special attention from the fact that it preserves, in a more perfect state than can be seen elsewhere, the arrangements of the seats in the apse. The bishop's throne occupies the centre of the arc, approached by a steep flight of steps. Six rows of stone benches for the presbyters, rising one above another like the seats in a theatre, follow the curve on either side,—the whole being singularly plain and almost rude. The alter stands on a

FIG. 16. —Apse of Basilica, Torcello, with Bishop's throne and seats for the clergy. From a drawing by the late Lady Palgrave.

platform ; the sanctuary is divided from the nave by a screen of six pillars. The walls of the apse are inlaid with plates of marble. The church is 125 feet by 75 feet. The narrow aisles are only 7 feet in width.

Another very remarkable basilica, less known than it deserves to be, is that of Parenzo in Istria, circa 542 A.D. Few basilicas have sustained so little alteration. From the annexed ground-plan it will be seen that it retains its atrium, and a baptistery, square without, octagonal within, to the west of it. Nine pillars divide each aisle from the nave, some of them borrowed from earlier buildings. The capitals are Byzantine. The choir occupies the three easternmost bays. The apse, as at Torcello, retains the bishop's throne and the bench for the presbyters apparently unaltered. The mosaics are singularly gorgeous, and the apse walls, as at Torcello, are inlaid with rich marble and mother-of-pearl. The dimensions are small,—121 feet by 32 feet. (See Kunstdenkmale des Oesterreichischen Kaiser-stadts, by Dr G. Heider and others).


entirely superseded the old one, the basilican form, or as it was then termed dromical, from its shape being that of a race-course (dromos), was originally as much the rule as in the West. The earliest church of which we have any clear account, that of Paulinus at Tyre, 313-322 A.D., described by Eusebius (H. E., x. 4, § 37), was evidently basilican, with galleries over the aisles, and had an atrium in front. That erected by Constantine at Jerusalem, on the site of the Holy Sepulchre, 333, followed the same plan (Euseb., Vit. Const., iii. c. 29), as did the original churches of St Sophia and of the Apostles at Constantinople. Both these buildings have entirely passed away, but we have an excellent example of an Oriental basilica of the same date still standing in the church of the Nativity at Bethlehem, rebuilt by Justinian in the 6th century. Flere we find an oblong atrium, a vestibule or narthex, double aisles with Corinthian columns, and. a transept, each end of which terminates in apse, in addition to that in the usual position. Beneath the centre of the tran-sept is the subterranean church of the Nativity (De Vogu£, Les Eglises de la Terre Sainte, p. 46).
1. Narthex. 2. Nave. 8, 8. Aisles.

Constantinople still preserves a basilican church of the 5 th cen-tury, that of St John Studios, 463, now a mosque. It has a nave and side aisles divided by columns supporting a hori-zontal entablature, with another order supporting arches forming a gallery above. There is the usual apsidal ter-mination. The chief difference between the Eastern and Roman basilicas is in the magnitude of the galleries. This is a characteristic feature of Eastern churches, the galleries being intended for women, for whom privacy was more studied than in the West (Salzenberg, Altchrist. Baudenk-male von Constantinople).

Other basilican churches in the East which deserve notice are those of the monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai built by Justinian, that of Dana between Antioch and Bir of the same date, St Philip at Athens, Bosrah in Arabia, Xanthus in Lycia, and the very noble church of St Demetrius at Thessalonica. Views and descriptions of most of these may be found in Texier and Pullan's Byzantine Architecture, Couchaud's Choix d'Eglises Byzan-tines, and the works of the count de Vogue. We may refer to Fergusson's History of Architecture for views and plans and description of the very interesting early miniature Christian basilicas, some of which are probably the earliest existing Christian buildings in the Mediterranean provinces of Africa. The same work (p. 640) also gives an account of the early French basilica, dating from the 6th or 7th century, known as the Basse Œuvre at Beauvais ; as well as (pp. 550-552) of those belonging to the 8th or 9th century, in the neighbourhood of the Lake of Con-stance at Reichenau and Romain Motier, and at Granson on the Lake of Neufchatel.

Fia. 19.—Ground-Plan of the original Cathedral at Canterbury, as restored by Willis.
G, Our Lady's altar fl, Bishop's throne. K, South tower with altar. L, North tower containing school.

The first church built in England under Roman influence was the original Saxon cathedral of Canterbury. From the annexed ground-plan, as conjecturally restored by Professor

A, High altar.
B, Altar of our Lord.
M, Archbishop Odo's tomb.
C, C, Steps to crypt.
D, Crypt.
pj- Chorus cantorum.

Willis from Eadmer's description, we see that it was an aisled basilica, with an apse at either end, containing altars standing on raised platforms approached by steps. Beneath the eastern platform was a crypt, or confessio, containing relics, " fabricated in the likeness of the confessionary of St Peter at Rome" (Eadmer) The western apse, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, contained the bishop's throne. Prom this and other indications Willis thinks that this was the original altar end, the eastern apse being a subsequent addition of Archbishop Odo, circa 950, the church having been thus turned from west to east, as at the already-described basilica of St Lawrence at Rome The choir, as at St Clement's, occupied the eastern part of the nave, and like it was probably enclosed by breast-high partitions. There were attached towers to the north and south of the nave. The main entrance of the church was under that to the south. At this suthdure, according to Eadmer, " all disputes from the whole kingdom, which could not legally be referred to the king's court, or to the hundreds and counties, received judgment." The northern tower con-tained a school for the younger clergy.

There remains one other English basilican church to be mentioned, that of Brixworth in Northamptonshire, probably erected by Saxulphus, abbot of Peterborough, circa 690 A.D. It consisted of a nave divided from its aisles by quadrangular piers supporting arches turned in Roman brick, with small clerestory windows above, a short chancel terminating in an apse, outside which, as at St Peter's at Rome, ran a circumscribing crypt entered by steps from the chanceL At the west end was a square tower, the lower story of which formed a porch.

Authorities:- Vitruvius, De Architecturae,, v. i ; the same, translated, with notes, by W. Wilkins, K.A. ; Gell, Pompeiana ; Mont-faucon, Antiquités Expliquées, iii. 178 ; Canina, Ediftzii di Roma Antica ; Donaldson, Architectwra Nwmismatica ; Ciainpini, Veteri Monumenti; Allatius, De Recent. Grace. Templis, ep. ii. § 3 ; Seroux d'Agincourt, L'Histoire de l'Art par les Monumens ; Bunsen and Plattner, Beschreibung der Sladt Rom; Gutensohn and Knapp, Basil-iken ; Hubsch, Altchristiiehe Kirche ; Letarouilly, Edifices de Rome moderne; Von Quast, Altchristiiehe Bauwerke von Ravenna; Texier and Pullan, Byzantine Architecture; De Vogué, Eglises de la Terre Sainte; Couchaud,.%Z£se« Byzantines; F ergusson, History of Architec-ture; Milman, History of Christianity, ii. 239- 312; iii. 373. i,E. V,)

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