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Taking their use as the basis of classification, three kinds of temples may be distinguished: temples for worship, for use in connexion with the agones , or festival games, and for the mysteries.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.Among the equipments of the temple was a massive altar, sacrificial tables, movable heaths for fire, sacrificial utensils and other objects, which were dedicated at the same time as the temple.They formed a temple property that could not be sold.
The anniversary of the dedication was celebrated annually by a sacrifice.Among the Greeks, also, the worship of trees seems to be indicated by the word for temple, naos , which according to some authorities originally signified "tree" or "tree trunk".It is certain that the Greeks believed that at Dodona they hear the voice of the gods foretelling the future from the rustling of the sacred oaks.If the temple could not be erected on an open space dedicated to the divinity, it was customary to surround the temple by an enclosed precinct, whereby it was separated from all that was profane.
Still other buildings were frequently inside this enclosure, as the houses for the priests, or the stalls for the sacrificial animals.
Vessels containing water were placed at the entrance; from these, those entering sprinkled themselves to be purified from all guilt, as nothing impure was permitted to enter the precincts. The point towards which a Roman temple faced varied, according to the theory of H.