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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/437

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Bk. I. Ch. II.
405
BASILICAS

is small, being only 57 ft. in length externally, but is remarkable for being built with something of the solidity of the Egyptian edifices among which it stands.

The next example which it may be necessary to quote to make this early form intelligible, is that of the church of St. Reparatus, near Orleansville—the ancient Castellum Tingitanum. According to an inscription still existing, it was erected a. d. 252. but the second apse seems to have been added afterwards, about the year 403, to contain the grave of the saint. As it now stands, it is a double-apsed basilica 80 ft. long by 52 broad, divided into five aisles, and exhibiting on a miniature scale all the peculiarities of plan which we have hitherto fancied were not adopted until some centuries later. In this instance both the apses are internal, so that the side-aisles are longer than the centre one, no portion of them appearing to have been cut off for calcidica or vestries, as was very generally the case in this age.

Plan of Church at Ibrim in Nubia. No scale.

Plan of Basilica at Orleansville. Scale 50 ft. to 1 in.

Another example, very much like this in arrangement, but on a larger scale, is found at Ermet, the ancient Hermonthis in Egypt. It measures over all 150 ft. by 90, and, if the plan in the great French work[1] is to be depended upon, is one of the most complete examples of its class. It has four ranges of columns, taken apparently from more ancient examples, and two apses with all the usual appurtenances.

Another two-aisled and single-apse church, measuring 100 feet by 65, called Dyer Abou Taneh, as represented in the same work; [2] but perhaps the most interesting of these churches is that known as the White Convent, situated on the edge of the Libyan Desert, above Siout. Externally it measures 215 ft. by 122, and is enclosed in a solid wall, surmounted by an Egyptian cornice, so that it looks much more like an ancient temple than a Christian church. Originally it had six doors, but all are now walled up, except one in the centre of the southern face; and above, a series of small openings, like loopholes, admitted light to apartments which apparently occupied the upper story of lateral corridors. Light to the church was, of course,

  1. "Antiques," vol i, pl. 97.
  2. Eodem, vol iv. pl 67.