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If the temple could not be erected on an open space dedicated to the divinity, it was customary to surround the temple by an enclosed precinct, whereby it was separated from all that was profane.Still other buildings were frequently inside this enclosure, as the houses for the priests, or the stalls for the sacrificial animals.However, in times of necessity, especially in war, these treasures were often melted down, as were the costly church utensils of the medieval era and of later periods.
Consequently among the ancient Germans the conception of a grove was identified with that of a temple.He claimed that the position of the front depended on the altitude of the sun of the feast day of the respective god.Nissen started from the assumption that the Greeks and Romans regarded the gods and manifestations of the world-preserving spirit, and as such subordinated them to the original symbol of the world-spirit, the sun.It was also customary to select the highest spot in a city, the acropolis, as the general,preference at that time was for high, open spaces.
Further the kind of divinity had also influence on the choice of the spot: thus Zeus preferred the heights, Mars the marketplaces, Hercules the gymnasium, others, the fortified castle, the gates of the city, the plain.Vessels containing water were placed at the entrance; from these, those entering sprinkled themselves to be purified from all guilt, as nothing impure was permitted to enter the precincts. The point towards which a Roman temple faced varied, according to the theory of H.