Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2020. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 30 October 2020

altars, Romanlocked

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


The Latin terms altaria (plur.) and ara (variously explained by Roman antiquarians) derive from the roots denoting ‘burning’ (of sacrificial offerings). Normally of stone, of varying size, from small cippi (stone-markers) to large structures (as the *Ara Pacis), most often quadrangular (occasionally round), and decorated with reliefs, they were dedicated to a particular deity, and stood either separately or in front of temples (inside only for incense and bloodless offerings). A separate category consists of funerary altars (also cinerary urns often had the shape of altars).


  • Religion in the Ancient World

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription