See Mathilde Blind, A Study of Marie Bashkirtseff (T. Fisher Unwin, 1892); The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff: an Exposure and a Defence, by "S." (showing that there is throughout a mistake of four years in the date of the diary); Black and White, 6th Feb. and 11th April 1891, pp. 17, 304; The Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff, translated, with an Introduction, by Mathilde Blind (2 vols., London, 1890); The Letters of Marie Bashkirtseff (1 vol.).
BASIL, known as BASIL THE GREAT (c. 330-379), bishop of Caesarea, a leading churchman in the 4th century, came of a famous family, which gave a number of distinguished supporters to the Church. His eldest sister, Macrina, was celebrated for her saintly life; his second brother was the famous Gregory of Nyssa; his youngest was Peter, bishop of Sebaste; and his eldest brother was the famous Christian jurist Naucratius. There was in the whole family a tendency to ecstatic emotion and enthusiastic piety, and it is worth noting that Cappadocia had already given to the Church men like Firmilian and Gregory Thaumaturgus. Basil was born about 330 at Caesarea in Cappadocia. While he was still a child, the family removed to Pontus; but he soon returned to Cappadocia to live with his mother's relations, and seems to have been brought up by his grandmother Macrina. Eager to learn, he went to Constantinople and spent four or five years there and at Athens, where he had Gregory (q.v.) of Nazianzus for a fellow-student. Both men were deeply influenced by Origen, and compiled the well-known anthology of his writings, known as Philocalia (edited by J. A. Robinson, Cambridge, 1893). It was at Athens that he seriously began to think of religion, and resolved to seek out the most famous hermit saints in Syria and Arabia, in order to learn from them how to attain to that enthusiastic piety in [v.03 p.0467] which he delighted, and how to keep his body under by maceration and other ascetic devices. After this we find him at the head of a convent near Arnesi in Pontus, in which his mother Emilia, now a widow, his sister Macrina and several other ladies, gave themselves to a pious life of prayer and charitable works. He was not ordained presbyter until 365, and his ordination was probably the result of the entreaties of his ecclesiastical superiors, who wished to use his talents against the Arians, who were numerous in that part of the country and were favoured by the Arian emperor, Valens, who then reigned in Constantinople. In 370 Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, died, and Basil was chosen to succeed him. It was then that his great powers were called into action. Caesarea was an important diocese, and its bishop was, ex officio, exarch of the great diocese of Pontus. Hot-blooded and somewhat imperious, Basil was also generous and sympathetic. "His zeal for orthodoxy did not blind him to what was good in an opponent; and for the sake of peace and charity he was content to waive the use of orthodox terminology when it could be surrendered without a sacrifice of truth." He died in 379.
The principal theological writings of Basil are his De Spiritu Sancto, a lucid and edifying appeal to Scripture and early Christian tradition, and his three books against Eunomius, the chief exponent of Anomoian Arianism. He was a famous preacher, and many of his homilies, including a series of lenten lectures on the Hexaemeron, and an exposition of the psalter, have been preserved. His ascetic tendencies are exhibited in the Moralia and Regulae, ethical manuals for use in the world and the cloister respectively. His three hundred letters reveal a rich and observant nature, which, despite the troubles of ill-health and ecclesiastical unrest, remained optimistic, tender and even playful. His principal efforts as a reformer were directed towards the improvement of the liturgy, and the reformation of the monastic orders of the East. (See BASILIAN MONKS.)
BIBLIOGRAPHY.—Editions of his works appeared at Basel (1532); Paris, by J. Garnier and P. Maranus (1721-1730), and by L. de Sinner (1839). Migne's Patrol. ser. graec. 29-32; De Spiritu Sancto, ed. C. F. H. Johnston (Oxford, 1892); Liturgia, ed. A. Robertson (London, 1894). See also the patrologies, e.g. that of O. Bardenhewer, and the histories of dogma, e.g. those of A. Harnack and F. Loofs.
 The name Basil also belongs to several other distinguished churchmen, (1) Basil, bishop of Ancyra from 336 to 360, a semi-Arian, highly favoured by the emperor Constantine, and a great polemical writer; none of his works are extant. (2) Basil of Seleucia (fl. 448-458), a bishop who shifted sides continually in the Eutychian controversy, and who wrote extensively; his works were published in Paris in 1622. (3) Basil of Ancyra, fl. 787; he opposed image-worship at the second council of Nicaea, but afterwards retracted. (4) Basil of Achrida, archbishop of Thessalonica about 1155; he was a stanch upholder of the claims of the Eastern Church against the widening supremacy of the papacy.
BASIL I. (d. 886), known as the "MACEDONIAN", Roman emperor in the East, was born of a family of Armenian (not Slavonic) descent, settled in Macedonia. He spent a part of his boyhood in captivity in Bulgaria, whither his family was carried by the Bulgarian prince Krum in 813. He succeeded in escaping and was ultimately lucky enough to enter the service of Theophilitzes, a relative of the Caesar Bardas (uncle of Michael III.), as groom. It seems that while serving in this capacity he visited Patrae with his master, and gained the favour of Danielis, a very wealthy lady of that place, who received him into her household, and endowed him with a fortune. He earned the notice of Michael III. by winning a victory in a wrestling match, and soon became the emperor's boon companion and was appointed chamberlain (parakoemōmenos). A man of his stamp, advancing unscrupulously on the road of fortune, had no hesitation in divorcing his wife and marrying a mistress of Michael, Eudocia Ingerina, to please his master. It was commonly believed that Leo VI., Basil's successor and reputed son, was really the son of Michael. The next step was to murder the powerful Caesar Bardas, who, as the emperor was devoted to amusement, virtually ruled the empire; this was done with the emperor's consent by Basil's own hand (April 866), and a few weeks later Basil was raised to the imperial dignity. Hitherto few perhaps had divined in the unprincipled adventurer, who shared in the debauches of the imperial drunkard, the talents of a born ruler. On the throne he soon displayed the serious side of his nature and his exceptional capacities for administration. In September 867 he caused his worthless benefactor to be assassinated, and reigned alone. He inaugurated a new age in the history of the empire, associated with the dynasty which he founded,—"the Macedonian dynasty" it is usually called; it would be more instructive to call it "Armenian." It was a period of territorial expansion, during which the empire was the strongest power in Europe. The great legislative work which Basil undertook and his successor completed, and which may be described as a revival of Justinianean law, entitles him to the designation of a second Justinian (the Basilica, a collection of laws in sixty books; and the manuals known as the Prochiron and Epanagogē. For this legislation see BASILICA and ROMAN EMPIRE, LATER). His financial administration was prudent. His ecclesiastical policy was marked by a wish to keep on good terms with Rome. One of his first acts was to exile the patriarch Photius and restore his rival Ignatius, whose claims were supported by the pope. Yet he had no intention of yielding to Rome's pretensions beyond a certain point. The decision of the Bulgarian tsar Michael to submit the new Bulgarian Church to the jurisdiction of Constantinople was a great blow to Rome, who had hoped to secure it for herself. In 877 Photius became patriarch again, and there was a virtual though not a formal breach with Rome. Thus the independence of the Greek Church may be said to date from the time of Basil. His reign was marked by a troublesome war with the Paulician heretics, an inheritance from his predecessor; the death of their able chief Chrysochir led to the definite subjection of this little state, of which the chief stronghold was Tephrice on the upper Euphrates, and which the Saracens had helped to bid a long defiance to the government of Constantinople. There was the usual frontier warfare with the Saracens in Asia Minor. Cyprus was recovered, but only retained for seven years. Syracuse was lost, but Bari was won back and those parts of Calabria which had been occupied by the Saracens. The last successes opened a new period of Byzantine domination in southern Italy. Above all, New Rome was again mistress of the sea, and especially of the gates of the Adriatic. Basil reigned nineteen years as sole sovereign. His death (29th of August 886) was due to a fever contracted in consequence of a serious accident in hunting. A stag dragged him from his horse by fixing its antlers in his belt. He was saved by an attendant who cut him loose with a knife. His last act was to cause his saviour to be beheaded, suspecting him of the intention to kill and not to rescue. Basil is one of the most remarkable examples of a man, without education and exposed to the most demoralizing influences, manifesting extraordinary talents in the government of a great state, when he had climbed to the throne by acts of unscrupulous bloodshed.
SOURCES.—Vita Basilii, by his grandson Constantine VII. (bk. v. of the Continuation of Theophanes, ed. Bonn); Genesius (ed. Bonn); Vita Euthymii, ed. De Boor (Berlin, 1888). Of the Arabic sources Tabari is the most important.
MODERN WORKS.—Finlay, History of Greece, vol. ii. (Oxford, 1877); Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vols. v. and vi. (ed. Bury, London, 1898); Hergenroether, Photius, Patriarch von Constantinopel, vol. ii. (Regensburg, 1867).
(J. B. B.)
BASIL II. (c. 958-1025), known as BULGAROKTONOS (slayer of Bulgarians), Roman emperor in the East, son of Romanus II. and Theophano, great-great-grandson of Basil I., was born about 958 and crowned on the 22nd of April 960. After their father's death (963) he and his younger brother Constantine were nominal emperors during the actual reigns of Nicephorus Phocas, their stepfather, and John Tzimisces. On the death of the latter (10th of January 976) they assumed the sovereignty without a colleague, but throughout their joint reign Constantine exercised no power and devoted himself chiefly to pleasure. This was in accordance with the Byzantine principle that in the case of two or more co-regnant basileis only one governed. Basil was a brave soldier and a superb horseman; he was to approve himself a strong ruler and an able general. He did not at first display the full extent of his energy. The administration remained in the hands of the eunuch Basileios (an illegitimate son of Romanus I.), president of the senate, a wily and gifted man, who hoped that the young emperors would be his puppets. Basil waited and watched without interfering, and devoted himself to learning the details of administrative business and instructing himself in military science. During this time the throne was seriously endangered by the rebellion of an ambitious general who aspired to play the part of Nicephorus Phocas or Tzimisces. This was Bardas [v.03 p.0468] Sclerus, whom the eunuch deposed from his post of general in the East. He belonged to the powerful landed aristocracy of Asia Minor, whose pretensions were a perpetual menace to the throne. He made himself master of the Asiatic provinces and threatened Constantinople. To oppose him, Bardas Phocas, another general who had revolted in the previous reign and been interned in a monastery, was recalled. Defeated in two battles, he was victorious in a third and the revolt was suppressed (979). Phocas remained general in the East till 987, when he rebelled and was proclaimed emperor by his troops. It seems that the minister Basileios was privy to this act, and the cause was dissatisfaction at the energy which was displayed by the emperor, who showed that he was determined to take the administration into his own hands and personally to control the army. Phocas advanced to the Hellespont and besieged Abydos. Basil obtained timely aid, in the shape of Varangian mercenaries, from his brother-in-law Vladimir, the Russian prince of Kiev, and marched to Abydos. The two armies were facing each other, when Basil galloped forward, seeking a personal combat with the usurper who was riding in front of his lines. Phocas, just as he prepared to face him, fell from his horse and was found to be dead. This ended the rebellion.
The fall of Basileios followed; he was punished with exile and the confiscation of his enormous property. Basil made ruthless war upon the system of immense estates which had grown up in Asia Minor and which his predecessor, Romanus I., had endeavoured to check. (For this evil and the legislation which was aimed at it see ROMAN EMPIRE, LATER.) He sought to protect the lower and middle classes.
Basil gained some successes against the Saracens (995); but his most important work in the East was the annexation of the principalities of Armenia. He created in those highlands a strongly fortified frontier, which, if his successors had been capable, should have proved an effective barrier against the invasions of the Seljuk Turks. The greatest achievement of the reign was the subjugation of Bulgaria. After the death of Tzimisces (who had reduced only the eastern part of the Bulgarian kingdom), the power of Bulgaria was restored by the Tsar Samuel, in whom Basil found a worthy foe. The emperor's first efforts against him were unsuccessful (981), and the war was not resumed till 996, Samuel in the meantime extending his rule along the Adriatic coast and imposing his lordship on Servia. Eastern Bulgaria was finally recovered in 1000; but the war continued with varying successes till 1014, when the Bulgarian army suffered an overwhelming defeat. Basil blinded 15,000 prisoners, leaving a one-eyed man to every hundred to lead them to their tsar, who fainted at the sight and died two days later. The last sparks of resistance were extinguished in 1018, and the great Slavonic realm lay in the dust. The power of Byzantium controlled once more the Illyrian peninsula. Basil died in December 1025 in the midst of preparations to send a naval expedition to recover Sicily from the Saracens.
Basil's reign marks the highest point of the power of the Eastern empire since Justinian I. Part of the credit is due to his predecessors Nicephorus and Tzimisces, but the greater part belongs to him. He dedicated himself unsparingly to the laborious duties of ruling, and he had to reckon throughout with the ill-will of a rich and powerful section of his subjects. He was hard and cruel, without any refinement or interest in culture. In a contemporary psalter (preserved in the library of St Mark at Venice) there is a portrait of him, with a grey beard, crowned and robed in imperial costume.
AUTHORITIES.—Leo Diaconus (ed. Bonn, 1828); Psellus, History (ed. Sathas, London, 1899); George Cedrenus (Chronicle, transcribed from the work of John Scylitzes, vol. ii., ed. Bonn, 1839); Zonaras, bk. xvii. (ed. Bonn, vol. iii., 1897); Cecaumenus, Strategikon (ed. Vasilievski and Jernstedt, St Petersburg, 1896); Yahyā of Antioch (contemporary Asiatic chronicle), extracts with Russian translation by Rosen (St Petersburg, 1883); Al Mekin (Elmacinus), Historia Saracenica, (ed. with Latin translation by Erpenius, Leiden, 1625); "Laws (Novellae) of Basil" (ed. Zachariae von Lingenthal, in Jus Graeco-Romanum, vol. iii., 1853); Finlay, Hist. of Greece; Gibbon, Decline and Fall; G. Schlumberger, L'Epopee byzantine, part i. and part ii. (Paris, 1896, 1900).
(J. B. B.)
BASIL (Russ. VASILY), the name of four grand-dukes of Moscow and tsars of Muscovy.
BASIL I. DMITREVICH (1371-1425), son of Dmitri (Demetrius) Donskoi, whom he succeeded in 1389, married Sophia, the daughter of Vitovt, grand-duke of Lithuania. In his reign the grand-duchy of Muscovy became practically hereditary, and asserted its supremacy over all the surrounding principalities. Nevertheless Basil received his yarluik, or investiture, from the Golden Horde and was compelled to pay tribute to the grand khan, Tokhtamuish. He annexed the principality of Suzdal to Moscovy, together with Murom, Kozelsk Peremyshl, and other places; reduced the grand-duchy of Rostov to a state of vassalage; and acquired territory from the republic of Great Novgorod by treaty. In his reign occurred the invasion of Timur (1395), who ruined the Volgan regions, but did not penetrate so far as Moscow. Indeed Timur's raid was of service to the Russian prince as it all but wiped out the Golden Horde, which for the next twelve years was in a state of anarchy. During the whole of this time no tribute was paid to the khan, though vast sums of money were collected in the Moscow treasury for military purposes. In 1408 the Mirza Edigei ravaged Muscovite territory, but was unable to take Moscow. In 1412, however, Basil found it necessary to pay the long-deferred visit of submission to the Horde. The most important ecclesiastical event of the reign was the elevation of the Bulgarian, Gregory Tsamblak, to the metropolitan see of Kiev (1425) by Vitovt, grand-duke of Lithuania; the immediate political consequence of which was the weakening of the hold of Muscovy on the south-western Russian states. During Basil's reign a terrible visitation of the "Black Death" decimated the population.
See T. Schiemann, Russland bis ins 17. Jahrhundert (Gotha, 1885-1887).
BASIL II., called TEMNY ("the BLIND") (1415-1462), son of the preceding, succeeded his father as grand-duke of Moscow in 1425. He was a man of small ability and unusual timidity, though not without tenacity of purpose. Nevertheless, during his reign Moscow steadily increased in power, as if to show that the personality of the grand-dukes had become quite a subordinate factor in its development. In 1430 Basil was seized by his uncle, George of Halicz, and sent a prisoner to Kostroma; but the nation, dissatisfied with George, released Basil and in 1433 he returned in triumph to Moscow. George, however, took the field against him and Basil fled to Novgorod. On the death of George, Basil was at constant variance with George's children, one of whom, Basil, he had blinded; but in 1445 the grand-duke fell into the hands of blind Basil's brother, Shemyak, and was himself deprived of his sight and banished to Uglich (1445). The clergy and people, however, being devoted to the grand-duke, assisted him not only to recover his throne a second time, but to put Shemyak to flight, and to seize Halicz, his patrimony. During the remainder of Basil II.'s reign he slowly and unobtrusively added district after district to the grand-duchy of Muscovy, so that, in fine, only the republics of Novgorod and Pskov and the principalities of Tver and Vereya remained independent of Moscow. Yet all this time the realm was overrun continually by the Tatars and Lithuanians, and suffered severely from their depredations. Basil's reign saw the foundation of the Solovetsk monastery and the rise of the khanate of the Crimea. In 1448 the north Russian Church became virtually independent of the patriarchal see of Constantinople by adopting the practice of selecting its metropolitan from among native priests and prelates exclusively.
See S. M. Solovev, History of Russia (Russ.), (Petersburg, 1895).
BASIL III., IVANOVICH (1479-1533), tsar of Muscovy, son of Ivan III. and Sophia Palaeologa, succeeded his father in 1505. A crafty prince, with all the tenacity of his race, Basil succeeded in incorporating with Muscovy the last remnants of the ancient independent principalities, by accusing the princes of Ryazan and Syeversk of conspiracy against him, seizing their persons, and annexing their domains (1517-1523). Seven years earlier (24th of January 1510) the last free republic of old Russia, Pskov, was deprived of its charter and assembly-bell, which were sent [v.03 p.0469] to Moscow, and tsarish governors were appointed to rule it. Basil also took advantage of the difficult position of Sigismund of Poland to capture Smolensk, the great eastern fortress of Poland (1512), chiefly through the aid of the rebel Lithuanian, Prince Michael Glinsky, who provided him with artillery and engineers from western Europe. The loss of Smolensk was the first serious injury inflicted by Muscovy on Poland and only the exigencies of Sigismund compelled him to acquiesce in its surrender (1522). Equally successful, on the whole, was Basil against the Tatars. Although in 1519 he was obliged to buy off the khan of the Crimea, Mahommed Girai, under the very walls of Moscow, towards the end of his reign he established the Russian influence on the Volga, and in 1530 placed the pretender Elanyei on the throne of Kazan. Basil was the first grand-duke of Moscow who adopted the title of tsar and the double-headed eagle of the East Roman empire. By his second wife, Helena Glinska, whom he married in 1526, Basil had a son Ivan, who succeeded him as Ivan IV.
See Sigismund Herberstain, Rerum Moscoviticarum Commentarii (Vienna, 1549); P. A. Byelov, Russian History Previous to the Reforms of Peter the Great (Russ.), (Petersburg, 1895); E. I. Kashprovsky, The War of Basil III. with Sigismund I. (Russ.), (Nyezhin, 1899).
BASIL IV., SHUISKY (d. 1612), tsar of Muscovy, was during the reigns of Theodore I. and Boris Godunov, one of the leading boyars of Muscovy. It was he who, in obedience to the secret orders of Tsar Boris, went to Uglich to inquire into the cause of the death of Demetrius, the infant son of Ivan the Terrible, who had been murdered there by the agents of Boris. Shuisky obsequiously reported that it was a case of suicide; yet, on the death of Boris and the accession of his son Theodore II., the false boyar, in order to gain favour with the first false Demetrius, went back upon his own words and recognized the pretender as the real Demetrius, thus bringing about the assassination of the young Theodore. Shuisky then plotted against the false Demetrius and procured his death (May 1606) also by publicly confessing that the real Demetrius had been indeed slain and that the reigning tsar was an impostor. This was the viler in him as the pseudo-Demetrius had already forgiven him one conspiracy. Shuisky's adherents thereupon proclaimed him tsar (19th of May 1606). He reigned till the 19th of July 1610, but was never generally recognized. Even in Moscow itself he had little or no authority, and was only not deposed by the dominant boyars because they had none to put in his place. Only the popularity of his heroic cousin, Prince Michael Skopin-Shuisky, who led his armies and fought his battles for him, and soldiers from Sweden, whose assistance he purchased by a disgraceful cession of Russian territory, kept him for a time on his unstable throne. In 1610 he was deposed, made a monk, and finally carried off as a trophy by the Polish grand hetman, Stanislaus Zolkiewski. He died at Warsaw in 1612.
See D. I. Ilovaisky, The Troubled Period of the Muscovite Realm (Russ.), (Moscow, 1894); S. I. Platonov, Sketches of the Great Anarchy in the Realm of Moscow (Petersburg, 1899); D. V. Tsvyeltev, Tsar Vasily Shuisky (Russ.), (Warsaw, 1901-1903); R. Nisbet Bain, Slavonic Europe, ch. viii. (Cambridge, 1907).
(R. N. B.)
BASILIAN MONKS, those who follow the rule of Basil the Great. The chief importance of the monastic rule and institute of St Basil lies in the fact that to this day his reconstruction of the monastic life is the basis of the monasticism of the Greek and Slavonic Churches, though the monks do not call themselves Basilians. St Basil's claim to the authorship of the Rules and other ascetical writings that go under his name, has been questioned; but the tendency now is to recognize as his at any rate the two sets of Rules. Probably the truest idea of his monastic system may be derived from a correspondence between him and St Gregory Nazianzen at the beginning of his monastic life, the chief portions whereof are translated by Newman in the Church of the Fathers, "Basil and Gregory," ss. 4, 5. On leaving Athens Basil visited the monasteries of Egypt and Palestine; in the latter country and in Syria the monastic life tended to become more and more eremitical and to run to great extravagances in the matter of bodily austerities (see MONASTICISM). When (c. 360) Basil formed his monastery in the neighbourhood of Neocaesarea in Pontus, he deliberately set himself against these tendencies. He declared that the cenobitical life is superior to the eremitical; that fasting and austerities should not interfere with prayer or work; that work should form an integral part of the monastic life, not merely as an occupation, but for its own sake and in order to do good to others; and therefore that monasteries should be near towns. All this was a new departure in monachism. The life St Basil established was strictly cenobitical, with common prayer seven times a day, common work, common meals. It was, in spite of the new ideas, an austere life, of the kind called contemplative, given up to prayer, the reading of the Scriptures and heavy field-work. The so-called Rules (the Longer and the Shorter) are catechisms of the spiritual life rather than a body of regulations for the corporate working of a community, such as is now understood by a monastic rule. Apparently no vows were taken, but obedience, personal poverty, chastity, self-denial, and the other monastic virtues were strongly enforced, and a monk was not free to abandon the monastic life. A novitiate had to be passed, and young boys were to be educated in the monastery, but were not expected to become monks.
St Basil's influence, and the greater suitability of his institute to European ideas, ensured the propagation of Basilian monachism; and Sozomen says that in Cappadocia and the neighbouring provinces there were no hermits but only cenobites. However, the eastern hankering after the eremitical life long survived, and it was only by dint of legislation, both ecclesiastical (council of Chalcedon) and civil (Justinian Code), that the Basilian cenobitic form of monasticism came to prevail throughout the Greek-speaking lands, though the eremitical forms have always maintained themselves.
Greek monachism underwent no development or change for four centuries, except the vicissitudes inevitable in all things human, which in monasticism assume the form of alternations of relaxation and revival. The second half of the 8th century seems to have been a time of very general decadence; but about the year 800 Theodore, destined to be the only other creative name in Greek monachism, became abbot of the monastery of the Studium in Constantinople. He set himself to reform his monastery and restore St Basil's spirit in its primitive vigour. But to effect this, and to give permanence to the reformation, he saw that there was need of a more practical code of laws to regulate the details of the daily life, as a supplement to St Basil's Rules. He therefore drew up constitutions, afterwards codified (see Migne, Patrol. Graec. xcix., 1704-1757), which became the norm of the life at the Studium monastery, and gradually spread thence to the monasteries of the rest of the Greek empire. Thus to this day the Rules of Basil and the Constitutions of Theodore the Studite, along with the canons of the Councils, constitute the chief part of Greek and Russian monastic law.
The spirit of Greek monachism, as regenerated by Theodore, may best be gathered from his Letters, Discourses and Testament. Under the abbot were several officials to superintend the various departments; the liturgical services in the church took up a considerable portion of the day, but Theodore seems to have made no attempt to revive the early practice of the Studium in this matter (see ACOEMETI); the rest of the time was divided between reading and work; the latter included the chief handicrafts, for the monks, only ten in number, when Theodore became abbot, increased under his rule to over a thousand. One kind of work practised with great zeal and success by the Studite monks, was the copying of manuscripts, so that to them and to the schools that went forth from them we owe a great number of existing Greek MSS. and the preservation of many works of classical and ecclesiastical antiquity. In addition to this, literary and theological studies were pursued, and the mysticism of pseudo-Dionysius was cultivated. The life, though simple and self-denying and hard, was not of extreme austerity. There was a division of the monks into two classes, similar to the division in vogue in later time in the West into choir-monks and lay-brothers. The life of the choir-monks was predominantly contemplative, [v.03 p.0470] being taken up with the church services and private prayer and study; the lay-brothers carried on the various trades and external works. There is little or no evidence of works of charity outside the monastery being undertaken by Studite monks. Strict personal poverty was enforced, and all were encouraged to approach confession and communion frequently. Vows had been imposed on monks by the council of Chalcedon (451). The picture of Studite life is the picture of normal Greek and Slavonic monachism to this day.
During the middle ages the centre of Greek monachism shifted from Constantinople to Mount Athos. The first monastery to be founded here was that of St Athanasius (c. 960), and in the course of the next three or four centuries monasteries in great numbers—Greek, Slavonic and one Latin—were established on Mount Athos, some twenty of which still survive.
Basilian monachism spread from Greece to Italy and Russia. Rufinus had translated St Basil's Rules into Latin (c. 400) and they became the rule of life in certain Italian monasteries. They were known to St Benedict, who refers his monks to "the Rule of our holy Father Basil,"—indeed St Benedict owed more of the ground-ideas of his Rule to St Basil than to any other monastic legislator. In the 6th and 7th centuries there appear to have been Greek monasteries in Rome and south Italy and especially in Sicily. But during the course of the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries crowds of fugitives poured into southern Italy from Greece and Sicily, under stress of the Saracenic, Arab and other invasions; and from the middle of the 9th century Basilian monasteries, peopled by Greek-speaking monks, were established in great numbers in Calabria and spread northwards as far as Rome. Some of them existed on into the 18th century, but the only survivor now is the monastery founded by St Nilus (c. 1000) at Grottaferrata in the Alban Hills. Professor Kirsopp Lake has (1903) written four valuable articles (Journal of Theological Studies, iv., v.) on "The Greek monasteries of South Italy"; he deals in detail with their scriptoria and the dispersal of their libraries, a matter of much interest, in that some of the chief collections of Greek MSS. in western Europe—as the Bessarion at Venice and a great number at the Vatican—come from the spoils of these Italian Basilian houses.
Of much greater importance was the importation of Basilian monachism into Russia, for it thereby became the norm of monachism for all the Slavonic lands. Greek monks played a considerable part in the evangelization of the Slavs, and the first Russian monastery was founded at Kiev (c. 1050) by a monk from Mount Athos. The monastic institute had a great development in Russia, and at the present day there are in the Russian empire some 400 monasteries of men and 100 of women, many of which support hospitals, almshouses and schools. In the other Slavonic lands there are a considerable number of monasteries, as also in Greece itself, while in the Turkish dominions there are no fewer than 100 Greek monasteries. The monasteries are of three kinds: cenobia proper, wherein full monastic common life, with personal poverty, is observed; others called idiorrhythmic, wherein the monks are allowed the use of their private means and lead a generally mitigated and free kind of monastic life; and the lauras, wherein the life is semi-eremitical. Greek and Slavonic monks wear a black habit. The visits of Western scholars in modern times to Greek monasteries in search of MSS.—notably to St Catherine's on Mount Sinai, and to Mount Athos—has directed much attention to contemporary Greek monachism, and the accounts of these expeditions commonly contain descriptions, more or less sympathetic and intelligent, of the present-day life of Greek monks. The first such account was Robert Curzon's in parts iii. (1834) and iv. (1837) of the Monasteries of the Levant; the most recent in English is Athelstan Riley's Athos (1887). The life is mainly given up to devotional contemplative exercises; the church services are of extreme length; intellectual study is little cultivated; manual labour has almost disappeared; there are many hermits on Athos (q.v.).
The ecclesiastical importance of the monks in the various branches of the Orthodox Church lies in this, that as bishops must be celibate, whereas the parochial clergy must be married, the bishops are all recruited from the monks. But besides this they have been a strong spiritual and religious influence, as is recognized even by those who have scant sympathy with monastic ideals (see Harnack, What is Christianity? Lect. xiii., end).
Outside the Orthodox Church are some small congregations of Uniat Basilians. Besides Grottaferrata, there are Catholic Basilian monasteries in Poland, Hungary, Galicia, Rumania; and among the Melchites or Uniat Syrians.
There have been Basilian nuns from the beginning, St Macrina, St Basil's sister, having established a nunnery which was under his direction. The nuns are devoted to a purely contemplative life, and in Russia, where there are about a hundred nunneries, they are not allowed to take final vows until the age of sixty. They are very numerous throughout the East.
AUTHORITIES.—In addition to the authorities for different portions of the subject-matter named in the course of this article, may be mentioned, on St Basil and his Rules, Montalembert, Monks of the West, second part of bk. ii., and the chapter on St Basil in James O. Hannay's Spirit and Origin of Christian Monasticism (1903). On the history and spirit of Basilian Monachism, Helyot, Hist. des Ordres Religieux, i. (1714); Heimbucher, Orden und Kongregationen (1907), i., s. 11; Abbe Marin, Les Moines de Constantinople (1897); Karl Holl, Enthusiasmus und Bussgewalt beim griechischen Moenchtum (1898); Otto Zoeckler, Askese und Moenchtum, pp. 285-309 (1897). For general information see Wetzer und Welte, Kirchenlexicon (ed. ii.), art. "Basilianer," and Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopaedie (ed. iii.), in articles "Moenchtum," "Orientalische Kirche," and "Athosberg," where copious references will be found.
(E. C. B.)
 Specimen passages, and also a general picture of the life, will be found in Miss Alice Gardner's Theodore of Studium, ch. v.
BASILICA, a word of Greek origin (see below), frequently used in Latin literature and inscriptions to denote a large covered building that could accommodate a considerable number of people. Strictly speaking, a basilica was a building of this kind situated near the business centre of a city and arranged for the convenience of merchants, litigants and persons engaged on the public service; but in a derived sense the word might be used for any large structure wherever situated, such as a hall of audience (Vitruv. vi. 5. 2) or a covered promenade (St Jerome, Ep. 46) in a private palace; a riding school (basilica equestris exercitatoria, C.I.L. vii. 965); a market or store for flowers (basilica floscellaria [Notitia]), or other kinds of goods (basilica vestiaria, C.I.L. viii. 20156), or a hall of meeting for a religious body. In this derived sense the word came naturally to be applied to the extensive buildings used for Christian worship in the age of Constantine and his successors.
The question whether this word conveyed to the ancients any special architectural significance is a difficult one, and some writers hold that the name betokened only the use of the building, others that it suggested also a certain form. Our knowledge of the ancient basilica as a civil structure is derived primarily from Vitruvius, and we learn about it also from existing remains and from incidental notices in classical writers and in inscriptions. If we review all the evidence we are led to the conclusion that there did exist a normal form of the building, though many examples deviated therefrom. This normal form we shall understand if we consider the essential character of the building in the light of what Vitruvius tells us of it.
Vitruvius treats the basilica in close connexion with the forum, to which in his view it is an adjunct. In the earlier classical times, both in Greece and Italy, business of every kind, political, commercial and legal, was transacted in the open forum, and there also were presented shows and pageants. When business increased and the numbers of the population were multiplied, it was found convenient to provide additional accommodation for these purposes. Theatres and amphitheatres took the performances and games. Markets provided for those that bought and sold, while for business of more important kinds accommodation could be secured by laying out new agorae or fora in the immediate vicinity of the old. At Rome this was done by means of the so-called imperial fora, the latest and most splendid of which was that of Trajan. These fora corresponded to the later Greek or Hellenistic agora, which, as Vitruvius tells us, was of regular form and surrounded by colonnades in two stories, and they had the practical use of relieving the pressure on the [v.03 p.0471] original forum (Cic., ad Att., iv. 16). The basilica was a structure intended for the same purposes. It was to all intents and purposes a covered forum, and in its normal form was constituted by an arrangement of colonnades in two stories round a rectangular space, that was not, like the Greek agora, open, but covered with a roof. Vitruvius writes of it as frequented by merchants, who would find in it shelter and quiet for the transaction of their business. Legal tribunals were also set up in it, though it is a mistake to suppose the basilica a mere law court. The magistrates who presided over these tribunals had sometimes platforms, curved or rectangular in plan, provided as part of the permanent fittings of the edifice.
According to Vitruvius (v. 1. 4, cf. also vi. 3. 9) the building is to be in plan a rectangle, not more than three times nor less than twice as long as it is broad. If the site oblige the length to be greater, the surplus is to be cut off to form what he calls chalcidica, by which must be meant open vestibules. The interior is divided into a central space and side aisles one-third the width of this. The ground plan of the basilica at Pompeii (fig. 1) illustrates this description, though the superstructure did not correspond to the Vitruvian scheme. The columns between nave and aisles, Vitruvius proceeds, are the same height as the width of the latter, and the aisle is covered with a flat roof forming a terrace (contignatio) on which people can walk. Surrounding this on the inner side is a breastwork or parapet (pluteum), which would conceal these promenaders from the view of the merchants in the basilica below. On the top of this parapet stood the upper row of columns, three-quarters as high as the lower ones. The spaces between these columns, above the top of the pluteum, would be left free for the admission of light to the central space, which was covered by a roof called by Vitruvius (v. 1. 6) mediana testudo. Nothing is said about a permanent tribunal or about an apse.
How far existing remains agree with the Vitruvian scheme will be seen as we proceed. We have now to consider the derivation of the word "basilica," the history of the form of building, and its architectural scheme as represented in actual relics.
The word "basilica" is a Latinized form of the Greek adjective [Greek: basilike], "royal," and some feminine substantive, such as domus, or stoa, must be understood with it. A certain building at Athens, wherein the [Greek: archon basileus] transacted business and the court of the Areopagus sometimes assembled, was called [Greek: basileios stoa], and it is an accredited theory, though it is by no means proved, that we have here the origin of the later basilica. It is difficult to see why this was called "royal" except for some special but accidental reason such as can in this case be divined. There are other instances in which a term that becomes specific has been derived from some one specimen accidentally named. "Labyrinth" is one case in point, and "basilica" may be another. It is true that we do not know what was the shape of the King Archon's portico, but the same name ([Greek: basileios stoa]) was given to the grand structure erected by Herod the Great along the southern edge of the Temple platform at Jerusalem, and this corresponded to the Vitruvian scheme of a columned fabric, with nave and aisles and clerestory lighting.
Whether the Roman basilicas, with which we are chiefly concerned, were derived directly from the Athenian example, or mediately from this through structures of the same kind erected in the later Greek cities, is hard to say. We should naturally look in that direction for the prototypes of the Roman basilicas, but as a fact we are not informed of any very early basilicas in these cities. The earliest we know of is the existing basilica at Pompeii, that may date back into the 2nd century B.C., whereas basilicas made their appearance at Rome nearly at the beginning of that century. The first was erected by M. Porcius Cato, the censor, in 184 B.C., and was called after his name Basilica Porcia. Cato had recently visited Athens and had been struck by the beauty of the city, so that it is quite possible that the importation was direct.
Rome soon obtained other basilicas, of which the important Basilica Fulvia-Aemilia came next in point of time, till by the age of Augustus there were at least five in the immediate neighbourhood of the forum, the latest and most extensive being the Basilica Julia, which ran parallel to its southern side, and is shown in plan in fig. 2. The great Basilica Ulpia was built by Trajan in connexion with his forum about A.D. 112, and a fragment of the Capitoline plan of Rome gives the scheme of it (fig. 3), while an attempted restoration of the interior by Canina is shown in fig. 4. The vaulted basilica of Maxentius or Constantine on the Via Sacra dates from the beginning of the 4th century, and fig. 5 gives the section of it. The number of public basilicas we read of at Rome alone amounts to about a score, while many private basilicas, for business or recreation, must also have existed, that in the palace of Domitian on the Palatine being the best known. In provincial cities in Italy, and indeed all over the empire, basilicas were almost universal, and in the case of Italy we have proof of this as early as the date of the death of Augustus, for Suetonius (Aug. 100) tells us that the body of that emperor, when it was brought from Nola in Campania to Rome, rested "in basilica cujusque oppidi."
As regards existing examples, neither in the peninsula nor the provinces can it be said that these give any adequate idea of the former abundance and wide distribution of basilicas. Northern Africa contributes one or two examples, and a plan is given of that at Timgad (fig. 6). The Gallic basilicas, which must have been very numerous, are represented only by the noble structure at Trier (Treves), which is now a single vast hall 180 ft. long, 90 ft. wide and 100 ft. high, commanded at one end by a spacious apse. There is reason to conjecture that this is the basilica erected by Constantine, and some authorities believe that originally it had internal colonnades. In England basilicas remain in part at Silchester (fig. 7), Uriconium (Wroxeter), [v.03 p.0472] Chester (?) and Lincoln, while three others are mentioned in inscriptions (C.I.L. vii. 287, 445, 965).
A comparison of the plans of existing basilicas shows considerable variety in form. Some basilicas (Julia, Ulpia, Pompeii) have the central space surrounded by galleries supported on columns or piers, according to the normal scheme, and the newly excavated Basilica Aemilia, north of the Roman forum, agrees with these. In some North African examples, in the palace basilica of Domitian, and at Silchester, there are colonnades down the long sides but not across the ends. Others (Trier [?], Timgad) have no interior divisions. One (Maxentius) is entirely a vaulted structure and in form resembles the great halls of the Roman Thermae. At Pompeii, Timgad and Silchester, there are fixed tribunals, while vaulted apses that may have contained tribunals occur in the basilica of Maxentius. In the Basilica Julia there was no tribunal at all, though we know that the building was regularly used for the centumviral court (Quint. xii. 5. 6), and the same was the case in the Ulpia, for the semicircular projection at the end shown on the Capitoline-plan, was not a vaulted apse and was evidently distinct from the basilica.
In view of the above it might be questioned whether it is safe to speak of a normal form of the basilica, but when we consider the vast number of basilicas that have perished compared to the few that have survived, and the fact that the origins and traditions of the building show it to have been, as Vitruvius describes it, essentially a columned structure, there is ample justification for the view expressed earlier in this article. There can be little doubt that the earlier basilicas, and the majority of basilicas taken as a whole, had a central space with galleries, generally in two stories, round it, and some arrangement for clerestory lighting. Later basilicas might vary in architectural scheme, while affording the same sort of accommodation as the older ones.
The relation of the civil basilica of the Romans to the Christian church has been extensively discussed, and the reader will find the controversy ably summarized in Kraus's Geschichte der christlichen Kunst, bk. 5. There is nothing remarkable in the fact that a large church was called a basilica, for the term was applied, as we have seen, to structures of many kinds, and we even find "basilica" used for the meeting-place of a pagan religious association (Roem. Mitt. 1891, p. 109). The similarity in some respects of the early Christian churches to the normal form of the columned basilica is so striking, that we can understand how the theory was once held that Christian churches were the actual civil basilicas turned over from secular to religious uses. There is no evidence for this in the case of public basilicas, and it stands to reason that the demands on these for secular purposes would remain the same whether Christianity were the religion of the empire or not. Moreover, though there are one or two civil basilicas that resemble churches, the latter differ in some most important respects from the form of the basilica that we have recognized as normal. The early Christian basilicas, at any rate in the west, had very seldom, if ever, galleries over the side aisles, and their interior is always dominated by the semi-dome of an apse that terminates the central nave, whereas, with the doubtful exception of Silchester (Archaeologia, liii. 549), there is no instance known of a vaulted apse in a columned civil basilica of the normal kind.
When buildings were first expressly erected for Christian worship, in the 3rd or perhaps already in the 2nd century A.D. (Leclercq, Manuel, ch. iii. "Les edifices chretiens avant la paix de l'eglise"), they probably took the form of an oblong interior [v.03 p.0473] terminated by an apse. After the time of Constantine, when the numbers of the faithful were enormously increased, side aisles were added, and in this way the structure came to assume an appearance similar to that of the civil basilica. A striking confirmation of this view has recently come to light at S. Saba on the Aventine at Rome, where a small and very early church, without aisles, has been discovered beneath the floor of the present basilica.
There are, on the other hand, instances in which private basilicas in palaces and mansions were handed over to the Christians for sacred uses. We know that to have been the case with the basilicas of S. Croce in Gerusalemme and S. Maria Maggiore at Rome, which originated in the halls of the Sessorian and Liberian palaces respectively, granted by Constantine to the Christians. We may adduce also as evidence of the same practice a passage in bk. x. ch. 71 of the theological romance known as The Recognitions of Clement, probably dating from the early half of the 3rd 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 S. Croce, 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 knowledge 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 S. Maria in Trastevere); while pilasters assume a horizontal position and serve as entablatures, as at S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura. 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.
An early Christian basilica may be thus described in its main features:—A porch supported on pillars (as at S. Clemente) gave admission into an open court or atrium, surrounded by a colonnaded cloister (S. Clemente, Old St Peter's, S. Ambrogio 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. Three or more lofty doorways, 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 subjects (S. Sabina on the Aventine), 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, sometimes as much as 80 ft. 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, S. Maria Maggiore, S. Lorenzo) or arches (St Paul's, S. Agnese, S. Clemente, the two basilicas of S. Apollinare 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 triforium-space) was usually decorated with a series of mosaic pictures in panels. The colonnades sometimes extended quite to the end of the church (the Ravenna basilicas), sometimes ceased some little distance from the end, thus admitting the formation of 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 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 symbols, the seven candlesticks and the twenty-four elders. Another arch spanned the semicircular apse, in which the church always terminated. From Carolingian times this was designated the arch of triumph, because a cross was suspended from it.
The conch or semi-dome that covered the apse was always covered with mosaic pictures, 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 sometimes 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 and St Paul's at Rome, and S. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna. It was copied 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 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 (cancelli). From these walls projected ambones or pulpits with desks, also of marble, ascended by steps.
The exterior of the basilicas was usually of an extreme plainness. The vast brick walls were unrelieved by ornament, save occasionally by arcading as at S. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, and had no compensating grace of outline or beauty of proportion. An exception was made for the entrance front, which was sometimes covered with plates of marble mosaics or painted stucco (Old St Peter's, S. Lorenzo). But in spite of any decorations the external effect of a basilica must always have been heavy and unattractive. S. Apollinare in Classe at Ravenna (fig. 8) affords a typical [v.03 p.0474] example. The campanile is a later addition. Within, apart from the beautiful mosaic decoration, a fine effect was produced by the arch of triumph and the apse, which terminated the nave and dominated the whole vast space of the interior.
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 lost all interest. Of the two former, however, we possess drawings and plans and minute descriptions, which give an accurate conception of the original buildings. To commence with St Peter's, from the illustrations annexed (figs. 9, 10, 11) it will be seen that the church was entered through a vast colonnaded atrium, 212 ft. by 235 ft., with a fountain in the centre,—the atrium being preceded by a porch mounted by a noble flight of steps. The church was 212 ft. wide by 380 ft. long; the nave, 80 ft. 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 entablatures. The inner colonnades bore arches, with a second clerestory. The main clerestory walls were divided into two rows of square panels containing mosaics, and had windows above. The transept projected beyond the body of the church,—a very unusual arrangement. The apse, of remarkably small dimensions, was screened off by a double row of twelve wreathed columns of Parian marble. 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 Christian 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 unaltered, till the disastrous fire of 1823, which reduced the nave to a calcined ruin. Its plan and dimensions (figs. 12, 13) were almost identical with those of St Peter's.
The only parts of the modernized five-aisled basilica of St John Lateran (of which we have a plan in its original state, Agincourt, pl. 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 S. Maria Maggiore dedicated 365, and reconstructed 432 A.D. Its internal length to the chord of the apse is 250 ft. by 100 ft. 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 [v.03 p.0475] date from the pontificate of Sixtus III., 432-440. The face of the arch of triumph presents 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.
Of the remaining Roman basilicas that of S. Sabina on the Aventine is of special interest as its interior, dating from about A.D. 430, has preserved more of the primitive aspect than any other. Its carved wooden doors of early Christian date are of unique value, and in the spandrils of its inner arcades, upborne by splendid antique Corinthian columns, are some good specimens of opus sectile or mosaic of cut marble. The ancient roof is an open one. The basilicas of S. Lorenzo fuori le Mura and S. Agnese deserve particular notice, as exhibiting galleries corresponding to those of the civil basilicas and to the later triforium, carried above the aisles and returned across the entrance end. It is doubtful, however, whether these galleries are part of the original schemes. The architectural history of S. Lorenzo's is curious. When originally constructed in A.D. 432, 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. disorientated the church by pulling down the apse and erecting a nave of twelve bays on its site and beyond it, thus converting 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, pl. xxviii. Nos. 29, 30, 31). The basilica of S. Agnese, of which we give a section (fig. 14), is a small but interesting building, much like what S. Lorenzo must have been before it was altered.
Though inferior in size, and later in date than most of the basilicas already mentioned, that of S. Clemente 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 and filled up with earth, while a new building was 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 and more convenient to build a new edifice at a higher level than to repair the old one. The annexed plan (fig. 15) and view (fig. 16) 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 ft. 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 passage between. On the ritual north stands the gospel-ambo, of octagonal form, with a double flight of steps westwards and 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 Anastasius 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 marvellous state of preservation (See St Clement, Pope and Martyr, and his Basilica in Rome, by Joseph Mullooly, O.P., Rome, 1873.)
The fullest lists of early Christian basilicas outside Rome are given in Kraus's Realencyklopaedie der christlichen Alterthuemer, Freiburg i. B., 1882, art. "Basilica," and more recently in Leclercq's Manuel d'archeologie chretienne, Paris 1907, vol. i. App. i., "Essai de Classement des Principaux Monuments." Only a few characteristic specimens in different regions can here be noticed. In Italy, apart from Rome, the most remarkable basilican churches are the two dedicated to S. Apollinare 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, A.D. 400 (Agincourt, pl. xxiii. No. 21), was unfortunately destroyed on the erection of the present tasteless building. Of the two basilicas of S. Apollinare, the earlier, S. Apollinare Nuovo, originally an Arian church erected by Theodoric, 493-525, measuring 315 ft. in length by 115 ft. in breadth, has a nave 51 ft. 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. Below the windows a continuous band of saintly figures, male on one side and female on the other, advancing in stately procession towards Our Lord and the Virgin Mother respectively, affords one of the most beautiful examples of mosaic ornamentation to be found [v.03 p.0476] in any church (fig. 17). The design of the somewhat later and smaller church of S. Apollinare in Classe, A.D. 538-549, measuring 216 ft. by 104 ft., is so similar that they must have proceeded from the same architect (Agincourt, pl lxxiii. No. 35).
The cathedral on the island of Torcello near Venice, originally built in the 7th century, but largely repaired c. A.D. 1000, 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 (fig. 18). 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 altar stands on a 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 ft. by 75 ft. The narrow aisles are only 7 ft. in width.
Another very remarkable basilica, less known than it deserves to be, is that of Parenzo in Istria, c. A.D. 542. Few basilicas have sustained so little alteration. From the annexed ground-plan (fig. 19) 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 ft. by 32 ft. (See Kunstdenkmale des oesterreichischen Kaiserreichs, by Dr G. Heider and others.)
In the Eastern church, though the erection of St Sophia at Constantinople introduced a new type which almost 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, A.D. 313-322, described by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. x. 4 s. 37), was evidently basilican, with galleries over the aisles, and had an atrium in front. That erected by Constantine at Jerusalem, on the side 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 (fig. 20). Here we find an oblong atrium, a vestibule or narthex, double aisles with Corinthian columns, and a transept, each end of which terminates in an apse, in addition to that in the usual position. Beneath the centre of the transept is the subterranean church of the Nativity (Vogue, Les Eglises de la Terre Sainte, p. 46).
Constantinople preserved till recently a basilican church of the 5th century, that of St John Studios, 463, now a ruin. It had a nave and side aisles divided by columns supporting a horizontal entablature, with another order supporting arches forming a gallery above. There was the usual apsidal termination. The chief difference between the Eastern and Roman basilicas is in the galleries. This feature is very rare in the West, and only occurs in some few examples, the antiquity of which is questioned at Rome but never at Ravenna. It is, on the other hand, a characteristic feature of Eastern churches, the galleries being intended for women, for whom privacy was more studied than in the West (Salzenberg, Altchrist. Baudenkmale von Constantinople).
Other basilican churches in the East which deserve notice are those of the monastery of St Catherine on Mt. Sinai built by Justinian, that of Dana between Antioch and Bir of the same date, St Philip at Athens, Bosra 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 byzantines, and the works of the count de Vogue. In the Roman province of North Africa there are abundant remains of early Christian churches, and S. Gsell, Les Monuments antiques de l'Algerie, has noticed more than 130 examples. Basilicas of strictly early Christian date are not now to be met with in France, Spain or Germany, but the interesting though very plain "Basse Oeuvre" at Beauvais may date from Carolingian times, while Germany can show at Michelstadt in the Odenwald an unaltered basilica of the time of Charles the Great. The fine-columned basilica of St Mauritius, near Hildesheim, dates from the 11th century, and the basilican form has been revived in the noble modern basilica at Munich.
England can show more early Christian survivals than France or Germany. In the course of the excavation of the Roman city of Silchester, there was brought to light in 1892 the remains of a small early Christian basilica dating from the 4th century of which fig. 21 gives the plan (Archaeologia, vol. liii.). It will be [v.03 p.0477] noted that the apse is flanked by two chambers, of the nature of sacristies, cut off from the rest of the church, and known in ecclesiastical terminology as prothesis and diaconicon. These features, rare in Italy, are almost universal in the churches of North Africa and Syria. Another existing English basilica of early date is that of Brixworth in Northamptonshire, probably erected by Saxulphus, abbot of Peterborough, c. A.D. 680. It consisted of a nave divided from its aisles by quadrangular piers supporting arches turned in Roman brick, with clerestory windows above, and 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 porch, the walls of which were carried up later in the form of a tower.
The first church built in England under Roman influence was the original Saxon cathedral of Canterbury. From the annexed ground-plan (fig. 22), as conjecturally restored 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. From this and other indications Willis thinks that this was the original altar end, the eastern apse being a subsequent addition of Archbishop Odo, c. 950, the church having been thus turned from west to east, as at the already-described basilica of S. Lorenzo at Rome. The choir, as at S. Clemente's, occupied the eastern part of the nave, and like it was probably enclosed by breast-high partitions. There were attached porches to the north and south of the nave. The main entrance of the church was through 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 porch contained a school for the younger clergy.
AUTHORITIES.—Vitruvius, De Architectura, v. 1, vi. 3, 9; Huelsen, The Roman Forum (1906); Mau, Pompeii: its Life and Art; C. Lange, Haus und Halle; Canina, Edifizii di Roma Antica; Ciampini, Vetera Monimenta; Seroux d'Agincourt, L'Histoire de l'art par les monumens; Bunsen and Plattner, Beschreibung der Stadt Rom; Gutensohn and Knapp, Basiliken des christlichen Roms; Zestermann, Die antiken u. die christlichen Basiliken; Huebsch, Die altchristlichen Kirchen; Messmer, Ueber den Ursprung, &c., der Basilica; Letarouilly, Edifices de Rome moderne; Von Quast, Altchristliche Bauwerke von Ravenna; Texier and Pullan, Byzantine Architecture; Vogue, Eglises de la Terre Sainte; Syrie Centrale, Architecture, &c.; Couchaud, Choix d'eglises byzantines; Dehio und von Bezold, Die kirchliche Baukunst des Abendlandes; Holtzinger, Die altchristliche Architectur in systematischer Darstellung; Kraus, Geschichte der christlichen Kunst; Leclercq, Manuel d'archeologie chretienne (Paris, 1907).
(E. V.; G. B. B.)
BASILICA, a code of law, drawn up in the Greek language, with a view to putting an end to the uncertainty which prevailed throughout the East Roman empire in the 9th century as to the authorized sources of law. This uncertainty had been brought about by the conflicting opinions of the jurists of the 6th century as to the proper interpretation to be given to the legislation of the emperor Justinian, from which had resulted a system of teaching which had deprived that legislation of all authority, and the imperial judges at last were at a loss to know by what rules of law they were to regulate their decisions. An endeavour had been made by the emperor Leo the Isaurian to remedy this evil, but his attempted reform of the law had been rather calculated to increase its uncertainty; and it was reserved for Basil the Macedonian to show himself worthy of the throne, which he had usurped, by purifying the administration of justice and once more reducing the law into an intelligible code. There has been considerable controversy as to the part which the emperor Basil took in framing the new code. There is, however, no doubt that he abrogated in a formal manner the ancient laws, which had fallen into desuetude, and the more probable opinion would seem to be, that he caused a revision to be made of the ancient laws which were to continue in force, and divided them into forty books, and that this code of laws was subsequently enlarged and distributed into sixty books by his son Leo the Philosopher. A further revision of this code is stated to have been made by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, the son and successor of Leo, but this statement rests only on the authority of Theodorus Balsamon, a very learned canonist of the 12th century, who, in his preface to the Nomocanon of Patriarch Photius, cites passages from the Basilica which differ from the text of the code as revised by the emperor Leo. The weight of authority, however, is against any further revision of the code having been made after the formal revision which it underwent in the reign of the emperor Leo, who appointed a commission of jurists under the presidency of Sympathius, the captain of the body-guard, to revise the work of his father, to which he makes allusion in the first of his Novellae. This latter conclusion is the more probable from the circumstance, that the text of the code, as revised by the emperor Leo, agrees with the citations from the Basilica which occur in the works of Michael Psellus and Michael Attaliates, both of them high dignitaries of the court of Constantinople, who lived a century before Balsamon, and who are silent as to any second revision of the code having taken place in the reign of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, as well as with other citations from the Basilica, which are found in the writings of Mathaeus Blastares and of Constantine Harmenopulus, both of whom wrote shortly after Balsamon, and the latter of whom was far too learned a jurist and too accurate a lawyer to cite any but the official text of the code.
Authors are not agreed as to the origin of the term Basilica, by which the code of the emperor Leo is now distinguished. The code itself appears to have been originally entitled The Revision of the Ancient Laws ([Greek: he anakatharsis ton palaion nomon]); next there came into use the title [Greek: he hexekontabiblos], derived from the division of the work into sixty books; and finally, before the conclusion of the 10th century, the code came to be designated [Greek: ho basilikos], or [Greek: ta basilika], being elliptical forms of [Greek: ho basilikos nomos] and [Greek: ta basilika nomima], namely the Imperial Law or the Imperial Constitutions. This explanation of the term "Basilica" is more probable than the derivation of it from the name of the father of the emperor Leo, inasmuch as the Byzantine jurists of the 11th and 12th centuries ignored altogether the part which the emperor Basil had taken in initiating the legal reforms, which were completed by his son; besides the name of the father of the emperor Leo was written [Greek: basileios], from which substantive, according to the genius of [v.03 p.0478] the ancient Greek language, the adjective [Greek: basilikos] could not well be derived.
No perfect MS. has been preserved of the text of the Basilica, and the existence of any portion of the code seems to have been ignored by the jurists of western Europe, until the important bearing of it upon the study of the Roman law was brought to their attention by Viglius Zuichemus, in his preface to his edition of the Greek Paraphrase of Theophilus, published in 1533. A century, however, elapsed before an edition of the sixty books of the Basilica, as far as the MSS. then known to exist supplied materials, was published in seven volumes, by Charles Annibal Fabrot, under the patronage of Louis XIII. of France, who assigned an annual stipend of two thousand livres to the editor during its publication, and placed at his disposal the royal printing-press. This edition, although it was a great undertaking and a work of considerable merit, was a very imperfect representation of the original code. A newly-restored and far more complete text of the sixty books of the Basilica was published at Leipzig in six volumes (1833-1870), edited by K. W. E. Heimbach and G. E. Heimbach. It may seem strange that so important a body of law as the Basilica should not have come down to us in its integrity, but a letter has been preserved, which was addressed by Mark the patriarch of Alexandria to Theodoras Balsamon, from which it appears that copies of the Basilica were in the 12th century very scarce, as the patriarch was unable to procure a copy of the work. The great bulk of the code was an obstacle to the multiplication of copies of it, whilst the necessity for them was in a great degree superseded by the publication from time to time of synopses and encheiridia of its contents, composed by the most eminent jurists, of which a very full account will be found in the Histoire au droit byzantin, by the advocate Mortreuil, published in Paris in 1846.
BASILICATA, a territorial division of Italy, now known as the province of Potenza, which formed a part of the ancient Lucania (q.v.). It is bounded N. by the province of Foggia, N E. by those of Bari and Lecce, E. by the Gulf of Taranto (for a distance of 24 m.), S. by the province of Cosenza, and W. by the Mediterranean (for a distance of 10 m. only), and by the provinces of Salerno and Avellino. It has an area of 3845 sq. m. The province is as a whole mountainous, the highest point being the Monte Pollino (7325 ft.) on the boundary of the province of Cosenza, while the Monte Vulture, at the N.W. extremity, is an extinct volcano (4365 ft.). It is traversed by five rivers, the Bradano, Basento, Cavone or Salandrella, Agri and Sinni. The longest, the Bradano, is 104 m. in length; all run S.E. or E. into the Gulf of Taranto. The province is traversed from W. to E. by the railway from Naples to Taranto and Brindisi, which passes through Potenza and reaches at Metaponto the line along the E. coast from Taranto to Reggio di Calabria. A branch line runs N. from Potenza via Melfi to Rocchetta S. Antonio, a junction for Foggia, Gioia del Colle and Avellino (the second of these lines runs through the province of Potenza as far as Palazzo S. Gervasio), while a branch S. from the Naples and Taranto line at Sicignano terminates at Lagonegro, on the W. edge of the province. Communications are rendered difficult by the mountainous character of the interior. The mountains are still to some extent clothed with forests; in places the soil is fertile, especially along the Gulf of Taranto, though here malaria is the cause of inefficient cultivation. Olive-oil is the most important product. The total population of the province was 490,705 in 1901. The chief towns are Potenza (pop. 1901, 16,186), Avigliana (18,313), Matera (17,237), Melfi (14,649), Rionero in Vulture (11,809), Lauria (10,099).
BASILIDES, one of the most conspicuous exponents of Gnosticism, was living at Alexandria probably as early as the first decades of the 2nd century. It is true that Eusebius, in his Chronicle, dates his first appearance from A.D. 133, but according to Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. iv. 7 ss. 6-8, Agrippa Castor, who lived under Hadrian (117-138), already wrote a polemic against him, so that his activity may perhaps be set back to a date earlier than 138. Basilides wrote an exegetical work in twenty-four books on "his" gospel, but which this was is not known. In addition to this there are certain writings by his son Isidorus [Greek: Peri prosphuous psuches]; [Greek: Exegetika] on the prophet Parchor ([Greek: Parchor]); [Greek: Ethika]. The surviving fragments of these works are collected and commented on in Hilgenfeld's Ketzergeschichte, 207-218. The most important fragment published by Hilgenfeld (p. 207), part of the 13th book of the Exegetica, in the Acta Archelai et Manetis c. 55, only became known in its complete form later, and was published by L. Traube in the Sitzungsbericht der Muenchener Akad., phil. histor. Kl. (1903), pp. 533-549. Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. i. 24 ss. 3-7) gives a sketch of Basilides' school of thought, perhaps derived from Justin's Syntagma. Closely related to this is the account in the Syntagma of Hippolytus, which is preserved in Epiphanius, Haer. 24, Philaster, Haer. 32, and Pseudo-Tertullian, Haer. 4. These are completed and confirmed by a number of scattered notices in the Stromateis of Clemens Alexandrinus. An essentially different account, with a pronounced monistic tendency, is presented by the so-called Philosophumena of Hippolytus (vii. 20-27; x. 14). Whether this last account, or that given by Irenaeus and in the Syntagma of Hippolytus, represents the original system of Basilides, has been the subject of a long controversy. (See Hilgenfeld p. 205, note 337.) The most recent opinion tends to decide against the Philosophumena; for, in its composition, Hippolytus appears to have used as his principal source the compendium of a Gnostic author who has introduced into most of the systems treated by him, in addition to the employment of older sources, his own opinions or those of his sect. The Philosophumena, therefore, cannot be taken into account in describing the teaching of Basilides (see also H. Stachelin, "Die gnostischen Quellen Hippolyts" in Texte und Untersuchungen, vi. 3; and the article GNOSTICISM). A comparison of the surviving fragments of Basilides, moreover, with the outline of his system in Irenaeus-Hippolytus (Syntagma) shows that the account given by the Fathers of the Church is also in the highest degree untrustworthy. The principal and most characteristic points are not noticed by them. If we assume, as we must needs do, that the opinions which Basilides promulgates as the teaching of the "barbari" (Acta Archelai c. 55) were in fact his own, the fragments prove him to have been a decided dualist, and his teaching an interesting further development of oriental (Iranian) dualism. Entirely consistent with this is the information given by the Acta Archelai that Basilides, before he came to Alexandria, had appeared publicly among the Persians (fuit praedicator apud Persas); and the allusion to his having appealed to prophets with oriental names, Barkabbas and Barkoph (Agrippa in Eusebius Hist. Eccl. iv. 7 s. 7). So too his son Isidorus explained the prophecies of a certain Parchor ( = Barkoph) and appealed to the prophecies of Cham (Clemens Alexandrinus, Stromat. vi. 6 s. 53). Thus Basilides assumed the existence of two principles, not derivable from each other: Light and Darkness. These had existed for a long time side by side, without knowing anything of each other, but when they perceived each other, the Light had only looked and then turned away; but the Darkness, seized with desire for the Light, had made itself master, not indeed of the Light itself, but only of its reflection (species, color). Thus they had been in a position to form this world: unde nec perfectum bonum est in hoc mundo, et quod est, valde est exiguum. This speculation is clearly a development of that which the Iranian cosmology has to tell about the battles between Ahura-Mazda and Angro-Mainyu (Ormuzd and Ahriman). The Iranian optimism has been replaced here by a strong pessimism. This material world is no longer, as in Zoroastrianism, essentially a creation of the good God, but the powers of evil have created it with the aid of some stolen portions of light. This is practically the transference of Iranian dualism to the more Greek antithesis of soul and body, spirit and matter (cf. Irenaeus i. 24 s. 5: animae autem eorum solam esse salutem, corpus enim natura corruptibile existit). The fundamental dualism of Basilides is confirmed also by one or two other passages. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Basilides saw the proof of naturam sine radice et sine loco rebus supervenientem (Acta Archelai). According to Clemens, Strom. iv. 12 s. 83, &c., Basilides taught that even those who have not sinned in act, even Jesus himself, possess a sinful nature. It is possibly also in connexion with the dualism of his fundamental [v.03 p.0479] views that he taught the transmigration of souls (Origen in Ep. ad Rom. lib. v.; Opp. de la Rue iv. 549; cf. Clemens, Excerpta ex Theodoto, s. 28). Isidorus set up celibacy, though in a modified form, as the ideal of the perfect (Clemens, Strom. iii. 1 s. 1, &c.) Clemens accuses Basilides of a deification of the Devil ([Greek: theiazein ton diabolon]), and regards as his two dogmas that of the Devil and that of the transmigration of souls (Strom. iv. 12 s. 85: cf. v. 11 s. 75). It is remarkable too that Isidorus held the existence of two souls in man, a good and a bad (Clemens, Strom. ii. 20 113); with which may be compared the teaching of Mani about the two souls, which it is impossible to follow F, Ch. Baur in excluding, and also the teaching of the Pistis Sophia (translated by C. Schmidt, p. 182, &c.). According to Clemens (Strom. ii. 20 s. 112), the followers of Basilides spoke of [Greek: pneumata tina prosertemena tei logikei phuchei kata tina tarachon kai sunchusin archiken]: that is to say, here also is assumed an original confusion and intermingling. Epiphanius too tells us that the teaching of Basilides had its beginning in the question as to the origin of evil (Haer. xxiv. 6).
Now, of this sharply-defined dualism there is scarcely a trace in the system described by the Fathers of the Church. It is therefore only with caution that we can use them to supplement our knowledge of the true Basilides. The doctrine described by them that from the supreme God (the innatus pater) had emanated 365 heavens with their spirits, answers originally to the astronomical conception of the heavens with their 365 daily aspects (Irenaeus i. 24. 7; Trecentorum autem sexaginta quinque caelorum locales positiones distribuunt similiter ut mathematici). When, therefore, the supreme God is called by the name [Greek: Abrasax] or [Greek: Abraxas], which contains the numerical value 365, it is worthy of remark that the name of the Persian god Mithras ([Greek: Meithras]) also was known in antiquity to contain this numerical value (Jerome in Amos 3; Opp. Vallarsi VI. i. 257). Speculations about the Perso-Hellenistic Mithras appear to have been transferred to the Gnostic Abraxas. Further, if the Pater innatus be surrounded by a series of (from five to seven) Hypostases (according to Irenaeus i. 24. 3; [Greek: Nous, Logos, Phronesis, Sophia, Dunamis]; according to Clemens, Strom. iv. 25 s. 164, [Greek: Dikaiosune] and [Greek: Eirene] may perhaps be added), we are reminded of the Ameshas-spentas which surround Ahura-Mazda. Finally, in the system of Basilides, the (seven ?) powers from whom this world originates are accepted as the lowest emanations of the supreme God. This conception which is repeated in nearly every Gnostic system, of (seven) world-creating angels, is a specifically oriental speculation. The seven powers which create and rule the world are without doubt the seven planetary deities of the later Babylonian religion. If, in the Gnostic systems, these become daemonic or semi-daemonic forces, this points to the fact that a stronger monotheistic religion (the Iranian) had gained the upper hand over the Babylonian, and had degraded its gods to daemons. The syncretism of the Babylonian and the Persian religion was also the nursing-ground of Gnosticism. When, then, Basilides identified the highest angel of the seven, the creator of the worlds, with the God of the Jews, this is a development of the idea which did not occur until late, possibly first in the specifically Christian circles of the Gnostics. We may note in this connexion that the system of Basilides ascribes the many battles and quarrels in the world to the privileged position given to his people by the God of the Jews.
It is at this point that the idea of salvation is introduced into the system. The confusion in the world has meanwhile risen to such a pitch that the supreme God sends his Nous, who is also called Christ, into the world (Irenaeus i. 24. 4). According to Clemens, the Saviour is termed [Greek: pneuma diakonoumenon] (Strom. ii. 8 s. 36) or [Greek: diakonos] (Excerpta ex Theodoto, s. 16). It is impossible certainly to determine how Basilides conceived the relation of this Saviour to Jesus of Nazareth. Basilides himself (Strom. iv. 12 s. 83) knows of an earthly Jesus and denies the principle of his sinlessness (see above). According to the account given by Irenaeus, the Saviour is said to have appeared only as a phantasm; according to the Excerpta ex Theodoto, 17, the Diakonos descended upon Jesus at His baptism in the form of a dove, for which reason the followers of Basilides celebrated the day of the baptism of Jesus, the day of the [Greek: epiphaneia]. as a high festival (Clemens, Strom. i. 21 s. 18). The various attempts at combination probably point to the fact that the purely mythical figure of a god-saviour (Heros) was connected first by Basilides with Jesus of Nazareth. As to what the conception of Basilides was of the completion of the process of redemption, the available sources tell us next to nothing. According to an allusion in Clemens, Strom. ii. 8 s. 36, with the mission of the Saviour begins the great separation of the sexes, the fulfilment and the restoration of all things. This agrees with the beginning of the speculation of Basilides. Salvation consists in this, that that which was combined for evil is once more separated.