The book which was assigned to me bears the title “Delle Basiliche Antiche”, written by Enea Arnaldi. Using the Xenotheka library search engine “Ask Alice”, I devoured myself to seek relations of this book and its topics to other books in the library.
Personally, I wanted to grasp a deeper understanding of the term “basilica” to further ground my knowledge of the diagrams and proportions noted and drawn out in “Delle Basilica Antiche”, regardless of my language barrier. Thus, I searched for “What is a basilica” on the Ask Alice website using the topic of conversation “Architecture” in the Xenotheka library.
My first answer stems from the book “Modern Architectural Theory” by Harry Francis Malgrave, in which he states the following:
“150 The leading example is the Palazzo della Ragione, the basilica like structure in the heart of Padua, which has served a multitude of functions over the centuries and still acts as a vital urban center and focus.”
From this we could conclude that a basilica acts as an urban center and communal gathering space for the inhabitants of a particular urban environment.
For the second answer I made an interesting discovery, as I had asked myself over a long time, why Roman (antique) basilicas are nowadays synonymous with ancient and medieval churches, even though the original function of these Roman basilicas were usually secular compared to the temples of the time. The answer to this question could be explained in the following quote found in the book “Late Gothic Architecture” by Robert Bork:
“It is worth emphasizing, first of all, that Early Christian builders generally took pains to differentiate their churches from pagan temples; they erected their buildings over different holy sites, usually over old burial grounds rather than at the centers of town, and they drew more directly on Roman secular building types such as the basilica than they did on the pagan temple tradition.”
So it could be concluded that the function of a basilica is also deeply intertwined with the function of the Early Christian churches, which meant that they usually took over antique basilicas, explaining the modern usage of the term “basilica” for churches, at least in the historical context of “Delle Basilica Antiche”