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(the Greek τέμενος). Originally a space marked out with the lituus (q. v.) by the augur (see Augur) according to a certain fixed procedure when he pitched his tent (tabernaculum capere). It was then regarded as separate from any other land (locus liberatus et effatus). Its ground-plan was a square or rectangle, having its four sides turned to the different points of the compass; its front, however, according to strict Roman custom, faced towards the west, so that any one entering the temple had his face turned towards the east. It was not until later that the front was frequently made to face the east. The building erected on this space, and corresponding to it in plan, did not become a fanum, or sanctuary of the gods, until it had been consecrated by the pontifices. See Dedicatio.

As, however, there were fana which were not templa—e. g., all circular buildings—so there were templa which were not fana. Of this sort were the places where public affairs were transacted, such as the Rostra in the Forum, the places where the Comitia met or the Senate assembled, and even the city of Rome itself. The sanctuaries of the gods were designed as templa if they were intended to serve for meetings of the Senate, and if the form of worship prescribed for such sanctuaries were appropriate to the definition of a templum. For the word as used to designate a building, see the next article.

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