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If the employment of these symbols had a tendency to inspire pride, other observances produced humility of mind, as, for example, the symbolic washing at the fountain.Basilica , as a term used by canon lawyers and liturgists, is a title assigned by formal concession or immemorial custom to certain more important churches, in virtue of which they enjoy privileges of an honorific character which are not always very clearly defined. Paul-without-the-Walls ), which among other distinctions have a special "holy door" and to which a visit is always prescribed as one of the conditions for gaining the Roman Jubilee.The old construction of the basilica with an apse was well suited to the service of the altar.A transept extending more or less towards both sides was often placed between the nave and the apse both to serve practical needs and on account of its symbolism.These services, which began with the Last Supper , were often held in large rooms in the dwellings of prosperous Christians.
These are the distinctive features of a basilica which we may venture to define as an oblong structure with columns, having an ambulatory of lower height, receiving light from above, and possessing a projecting addition designed to serve a particular purpose.The back wall of the apse and the "arch of triumph", which opened into the transept, were decorated with mosaics.The altar stood in, or before, the apse under a decorated baldacchino ( ciborium ). The term basilica can indicate either the architectural style of a church, or its canonical status. In architecture, the term basilica signifies a kingly, and secondarily a beautiful, hall. there were built in the Forum at Rome the basilicas of Porcia, Fulvia, Sempronia, and Opimia; after 46 B. the great Basilica Julia of Caesar and Augustus was erected.The name indicates the Eastern origin of the building, but it is in the West, above all in Rome, that the finest examples of the basilica are found. These buildings were designed to beautify the Forum and to be of use both for market purposes and for the administration of justice.
The round form of the arches, of the window-heads, and the ground plan of the basilica were the first indications of the Romanesque style.