Small Basilica

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Donation inscription of BasiliscusDonation inscription of Basiliscus


But the mosaics were not yet finished. Some sections of the floor were already covered with intricate designs of compositions of triangles, circles and rhombuses; of vases and garlands; of swastika meanders; of rosettes which symbolized Heaven and Christ's blood, and of Solomon's knots which symbolized the strength of true faith. The mosaics were among the best made by the local Philippopolis mosaic school, which had practiced its craft on a number of buildings, both private and public.

The most important part of the mosaic in the basilica was yet undone. It was a  six-line donor's inscription in front of the altar. The inscription hailed Basiliscus, the chief military commander of the province of Thrace. The man had a mansion in Philippopolis and gained the local people's respect in 471, when he saved the city from the rebelling Goths. The basilica was built in his honor.

We do not know which saint was chosen to protect the church and its congregation. The church was discovered in 1988-1989 during the construction of a block of flats, and archaeologist Mina Bospachieva, who surveyed it, named it the Small Basilica. In close proximity, there are two other basilicas, one of them considered to be the metropolitan church of the city.

In 475, Basiliscus became the emperor, but after only 20 months he was toppled by his predecessor, Zeno (474-491). The new-old emperor ordered every trace of his enemy to be destroyed. So, the first lines of the mosaic inscription in the Small Basilica were removed.

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