Religion Past and Present

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[German Version]

I. Religious Studies – II. Israel – III. Christianity

I. Religious Studies

The term comes from the Lat. “altare,” which is derived from “adolere,” “burn” (thus already Sextus Pompeius Festus, De verborum significatione, v. 14: “altaria sunt in quibus igne adoletur”). In addition to “altare/altaria”, the common term “ara” (from “areo,” “burn”) has the same meaning. Accordingly, the Roman altar could be defined as “place of fire” or “sacrificial hearth.”

In Greek, there are a number of alternat…

Cite this page
Sfameni Gasparro, Giulia, Fritz, Volkmar, Häußling, Angelus A., Schmidt-Lauber, Hans-Christoph, Plank, Peter and Volp, Rainer, “Altar”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 20 July 2024 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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