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date: 06 December 2022

altars, Greeklocked

altars, Greeklocked

  • Frederick Norman Pryce,
  • John Boardman,
  • Antony Spawforth
  •  and J. Linderski


Indispensable adjunct of *sacrifice in ancient religion.The chief type was the raised bōmos (βωμός) on which a wood fire was lit for the cremation of the victim's thigh-bones and spit-roasting of the entrails; *hero-cults by contrast commonly employed the eschara (ἐσχάρα), a low altar onto which the victim's blood was made to flow; the domestic altar was for bloodless offerings (natural produce, *cakes, etc.). In Greek *sanctuaries monumental open-air bōmoi, usually of dressed stone (the ash altar of Zeus at *Olympia seems to have been unusual), are well attested archaeologically from the 6th cent. bce onwards; they were typically rectangular and sometimes approached by a flight of steps. Independent altars on a spectacular scale are a feature of the Hellenistic age—e.g. the so-called Great Altar of *Pergamum (early 2nd cent. bce), incorporating a sculptured frieze c.120 m. (130 yds.) long; the tradition was continued in the Roman east with the so-called Great Antonine Altar of *Ephesus (begun c.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

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