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apse, apsis (pl. apses, apsides). Recess, generally semicircular on plan, and vaulted, projecting from an external wall, the interior forming a large, deep volume. It is often a feature terminating the nave of a basilica, containing the high altar. Apses forming chapels were built on the eastern sides of transepts of larger churches (e.g. Lincoln Cathedral), and some, termed apse-chapels, were arranged round a semicircular apse-aisle or ambulatory as in the complex chevet form of larger French churches. Some apses are canted rather than curved on plan.

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apse, the termination at the sanctuary end of a church, generally semicircular in plan but sometimes square or polygonal. The apse appeared early in Roman temples and basilicas; it was originally a semicircular recess with a half dome as ceiling and contained the monumental statue of the deity. The motif was adopted in the early Christian churches; in these the apse occupied the eastern end of the building where the altar, the bishop's throne, and the seats of the clergy were placed. A fine example of this early form is in the cathedral of Torcello near Venice. Because of its location and function in the church services, the apse became the architectural climax of the church interior and was richly ornamented. In the early churches, the half-dome ceiling was incrusted with handsome mosaics, the walls were veneered with fine marbles, and the altar and pulpits were also richly decorated. As the apse steadily increased in liturgical and architectural emphasis, chapels were added to it. In English Gothic architecture the apse was in most cases a square termination, and in Italy its form remained a simple semicircle, as the chapels were in another part of the church. In France the entire choir—composed of apse, ambulatory, and radiating chapels (the whole termed a chevet)—attained, in the 12th and 13th cent., its great splendor.

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apse / aps/ • n. 1. a large semicircular or polygonal recess in a church, arched or with a domed roof, typically at the eastern end, and usually containing the altar. 2. another term for apsis. DERIVATIVES: ap·si·dal / ˈapsidl/ adj.

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APSE Acronym for Ada programming support environment. The PSE that was intended to be used for software development using Ada.

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apse a large semicircular or polygonal recess in a church, arched or with a domed roof and typically at the church's eastern end. Recorded from the early 19th century, the word comes from Latin apsis (denoting in the early 17th century the orbit of a planet), from Greek apsis, hapsis ‘arch, vault’, perhaps from haptein ‘fasten, join’).

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Apse (Gk., apsis). The rounded end of a church, especially in Greek Orthodoxy: it is derived from the Constaninian basilicas which incorporated the pagan apsis where judges and legal advisers sat.

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apse arched or domed recess in a church. XIX (in L. - Gr. form apsis XVIII). — L. apsis, apsid- — Gr. hapsís vault, etc.
Hence apsidal XIX.

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apsidiole. Apse-chapel, or small apsidal chapel projecting from a larger apse.

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APSE (æps) Computing Ada programming support environment