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CHAPTER (a shortened form of chapiter...

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 855 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHAPTER (a shortened form of chapiter, a word still used in architecture for a capital; derived from O. Fr. chapitre, Lat. capitellum, diminutive of caput, head), a principal division or section of a book, and so applied to acts of parliament, as forming " chapters " or divisions of the legislation of a session of parliament. The name " chapter " is given to the permanent body of the canons of a cathedral or collegiate church, presided over, in the English Church, by the clean, and in the Roman communion by the provost or the dean, and also to the body of the members of a religious order. This may be a " conventual " chapter of the monks of a particular monastery, " provincial " of the members of the order in a province, or " general " of the whole order. This ecclesiastical use of the word arose from the custom of reading a chapter of Scripture, or a head (capitulum) of the regula, to the assembled canons or monks. The transference from the reading to the assembly itself, and to the members constituting it, was easy, through such phrases as convenire ad capitulum. The title " chapter " is similarly used of the assembled body of knights of a military or other order. (See also CANON; CATHEDRAL; DEAN). CHAPTER-HOUSE (Lat. capitolium, Ital. capitolo, Fr. chapitre, Ger. Kapitelhaus), the chamber in which the chapter or heads of the monastic bodies (see ABBEY and CATHEDRAL) assembled to transact business. They are of various forms; some are oblong apartments, as Canterbury, Exeter, Chester, Gloucester, &c.; some octagonal, as Salisbury, Westminster, Wells, Lincoln, York, &c. That at Lincoln has ten sides, and that at Worcester is circular; most are vaulted internally and polygonal externally, and some, as Salisbury, Wells, Lincoln, Worcester, &c., dependon a single slight vaulting shaft for the support of the massive vaulting. They are often provided with a vestibule, as at Westminster, Lincoln, Salisbury and are almost exclusively English.
End of Article: CHAPTER (a shortened form of chapiter, a word still used in architecture for a capital; derived from O. Fr. chapitre, Lat. capitellum, diminutive of caput, head)
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