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The pagan Germans were never able to bring themselves to give up their worship of the gods in groves to any such extent as the Greeks and Remans did under the influence of the East.Still the German peoples were hardly entirely without temples, any more than the Scandinavians, although these temples could only have been of wood.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.
Among the Remans the precincts of a temple were always quadrangular in ground plan; hence the so-called temple of Vesta, one of the most famous sanctuaries in Rome, being circular in plan, was not strictly a temple, but only an oedes sacra , or sacred building.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.There was, as a rule, only one sacrificial table in the temple and only one altar in front of it.
The cella of the temple contained the most important object, the statue of the divinity, which stood on a pedestal against the rear wall opposite the entrance.
It is certain that the Indo-Germanic peoples originally had no buildings for the worship of their gods, but worshiped the gods upon mountains, as Herodotus expressly says of the Persians, or believed the supernatural beings were present in groves or trees.