Religion Past and Present

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I. Art History – II. Church Law

I. Art History

The Latin name “basilica” (Greek βασιλικός, basilikós, “royal”) acquired the meaning “great hall” and was used in reference to a number of public and private buildings that seemed royal because of their unusual architectural form in dimension and purpose. From the 4th century onward, all Christian churches were known as basilicas; in Christian usage, therefore, the word is both an architectural and an ecclesial term, a name from which a specific stylistic form was later derived.


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Charles Murray, Mary and Kalb, Herbert, “Basilica”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 23 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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