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Divine Or Human? Some Remarks On The Design And Layout Of Late Antique Basilicas

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Chapter Summary

Over twenty years ago, Jean-Michel Spieser brilliantly demonstrated the repeated destructions that had affected it had not substantially modified the initial layout. This demonstration was achieved mainly through the study of the building's proportions and more particularly of the rhythm of the much-discussed colonnade. This paper offers an overview of the aesthetic importance of proportions but also of their practical implications as they are brought out both by written sources and by the actual preserved monuments, and thus to give some insights into everyday building procedures in late antiquity. Unfortunately there is much less accurate and systematic work on late antique Christian basilicas than on Greek temples or earlier Roman architecture, so that it remains for the moment impossible to conduct the sort of sophisticated analysis that classical archaeologists have been conducting on monuments of their period.

Keywords: Christian basilicas; Greek temples; Jean-Michel Spieser



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