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p996 Sacellum

Article by Leonhard Schmitz, Ph.D., F.R.S.E., Rector of the High School of Edinburgh
on p996 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

SACELLUM is a diminutive of sacer, and signifies a small place consecrated to a god, containing an altar, and sometimes also a statue of the god to whom it was dedicated (Gellius, VII.12).º Festus (s.v.) completes the definition by stating that a sacellum never had a roof. It was therefore a sacred enclosure surrounded by a fence or wall to separate it from the profane ground around it, and answers to the Greek περίβολος. The form of a sacellum was sometimes square and sometimes round. The ancient sacellum of Janus which was said to have been built by Romulus, was of a square form, contained a statue of the god, and had two gates (Ovid, Fast. I.275; Terent. Maur. in Wernsdorf's Poet. Min. II. p279). Many Romans had private sacella on their own estates; but the city of Rome contained a great number of public sacella such as that of Caca (Serv. ad Aen. VIII.190), of Hercules in the Forum Boarium (Solin. I; Plin. H. N. X.29),º of the Lares (Solin. 2), of Naenia (Fest. s.v. Naeniae deae), of Pudicitia (Liv. X.23), and others.


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Page updated: 26 Nov 06