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Moreover, the instances in which it has lately been possible to determine the unknown god occupying a temple of known position, so as to test the correctness of this hypothesis, have proven unfavorable to it. At the same time, however, it remains a fact that the orientation of the temple was universally customary, just as it was later in the case of the Christian church.Among the Romans when the building of the temple was completed it was dedicated to the divinity by the public authorities or by a person specially delegated for this office, while the priests only pronounced the formulæ without personally completing the sacred act.He claimed that the position of the front depended on the altitude of the sun of the feast day of the respective god.Nissen started from the assumption that the Greeks and Romans regarded the gods and manifestations of the world-preserving spirit, and as such subordinated them to the original symbol of the world-spirit, the sun.The massive altar, as mentioned above, did not stand in the temple but before it.Either it was built upon a high stone platform, and thus united architecturally with the temple, or it stood in front of the steps or in the portico.The Latin form, templum , from which the English temple is derived, originally signified an uncovered area marked off by boundaries; especially the place marked off by the augurs to be excepted from all profane uses.

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The temple for worship was small and its cella contained only the statue of the god that was the object of veneration; it served religious uses exclusively.In the Homeric age, the temple as a space set apart and containing an altar, which was perhaps shaded by a group of trees, was more commonly found than the temple built by man.If actual temples are mentioned by Homer, as at Troy and the fabulous city of the Phæacians, the circumstance is probably attributable to oriental influence.When the augurs had determined the boundaries of a temple-enclosure, the boundaries could not lawfully be interrupted except at one point, which was to serve as an entrance.To mark these boundaries no walls were needed; a formula spoken by the augur was sufficient, and from this ceremony came the phrase effari locum , literally, "to proclaim a place", hence, to define and dedicate.

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