Definitions

Tulsi

basil

[baz-uhl, bas-, bey-zuhl, -suhl]

Herb consisting of the dried leaves of Ocimum basilicum, an annual herb of the mint family, native to India and Iran. The dried large-leaf varieties have a fragrant aroma faintly reminiscent of anise, with a warm, sweet, aromatic, mildly pungent flavour. The dried leaves of common basil are less fragrant and more pungent. Basil is widely grown as a kitchen herb. Tea made from basil leaves is a stimulant. The heart-shaped basil leaf is a symbol of love in Italy.

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(born Oct. 31, 1895, Paris, France—died Jan. 29, 1970, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, Eng.) British military historian and strategist. He left Cambridge University to join the British army at the outbreak of World War I and retired as a captain in 1927. He was an early advocate of air power and mechanized tank warfare. He wrote for London newspapers from 1925 to 1945. His writings on strategy, which emphasized the elements of mobility and surprise, were more influential in Germany than in France or England; his “expanding torrent” theory of attack became the basis for German blitzkrieg warfare in 1939–41. The author of more than 30 books, he was knighted in 1966.

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St. Basil, detail of a mosaic, 12th century; in the Palatine Chapel, Palermo, Sicily, Italy.

(born AD 329, Caesarea Mazaca, Cappadocia—died Jan. 1, 379, Caesarea; Western feast day January 2; Eastern feast day January 1) Early church father. Born into a Christian family in Cappadocia, he studied at Caesarea, Constantinople, and Athens and later established a monastic settlement on the family estate at Annesi. He opposed Arianism, which was supported by the emperor Valens and his own bishop Dianius, and organized resistance to it after 365. He succeeded Eusebius as bishop of Caesarea in 370. He died shortly after Valens, whose death in battle opened the way for the victory of Basil's cause. More than 300 of his letters survive; several of his Canonical Epistles have become part of canon law in Eastern Orthodoxy.

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(born Oct. 31, 1895, Paris, France—died Jan. 29, 1970, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, Eng.) British military historian and strategist. He left Cambridge University to join the British army at the outbreak of World War I and retired as a captain in 1927. He was an early advocate of air power and mechanized tank warfare. He wrote for London newspapers from 1925 to 1945. His writings on strategy, which emphasized the elements of mobility and surprise, were more influential in Germany than in France or England; his “expanding torrent” theory of attack became the basis for German blitzkrieg warfare in 1939–41. The author of more than 30 books, he was knighted in 1966.

Learn more about Liddell Hart, Sir Basil (Henry) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

St. Basil, detail of a mosaic, 12th century; in the Palatine Chapel, Palermo, Sicily, Italy.

(born AD 329, Caesarea Mazaca, Cappadocia—died Jan. 1, 379, Caesarea; Western feast day January 2; Eastern feast day January 1) Early church father. Born into a Christian family in Cappadocia, he studied at Caesarea, Constantinople, and Athens and later established a monastic settlement on the family estate at Annesi. He opposed Arianism, which was supported by the emperor Valens and his own bishop Dianius, and organized resistance to it after 365. He succeeded Eusebius as bishop of Caesarea in 370. He died shortly after Valens, whose death in battle opened the way for the victory of Basil's cause. More than 300 of his letters survive; several of his Canonical Epistles have become part of canon law in Eastern Orthodoxy.

Learn more about Basil the Great, Saint with a free trial on Britannica.com.

known as Basil Bulgaroctonus (“Slayer of the Bulgars”)

(born 957/958—died Dec. 15, 1025) Byzantine emperor (976–1025). Crowned coemperor with his brother in 960, he had to exile the grand chamberlain (985) and defeat rival generals (989) in order to gain the authority to rule. Basil became one of the strongest Byzantine emperors, winning territory in the Balkans, Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Georgia. He was noted for his victory (1014) in the war with Bulgaria, which ended with his blinding all the soldiers in the defeated Bulgarian army. He increased his domestic authority by attacking the landed interests of the military aristocracy and of the church. Because Basil left no able successor, the gains of his rule were soon undone.

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known as Basil the Macedonian

(born 826/835, Thrace—died Aug. 29, 886) Byzantine emperor (867–86) and founder of the Macedonian dynasty. Born into a peasant family in Macedonia, he won employment in official circles in Constantinople and was made chamberlain by the reigning emperor, Michael III. He became coemperor with Michael in 866 and murdered him the next year. Basil won victories against Muslim forces along the eastern borders of Asia Minor and asserted control over Slavs in the Balkans. He gained ground in southern Italy but lost Syracuse (878) and other key cities in Sicily to the Muslims. He also formulated the Greek legal code known as the Basilica. In later life Basil showed signs of madness.

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