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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine

Although Maxentius’s rule over Rome was brief, he called for the repair of older buildings which would have a greater effect on future art than could have been expected.  One of the most notable repairs was to the Basilica Nova, now called the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine, which served as an administrative area and an area where the emperor could be the supreme judge.  In the past, most basilicas were simply halls with columns inside, but Maxentius wanted this basilica to be larger and grander, so he used the barrel vaulting technique usually found in baths.  The central hall was covered with groin vaults and the side aisles, which also served as a buttressing system, were barrel vaulted.  The apse at the end of the hall served as a focal point for anyone entering from one of the three entrances on the opposite side.  This basilican style was adopted later by the Early Christians for their church architecture.

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