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A templum was the sacred space defined by an augur for ritual purposes, a place "cut off" as sacred: compare Greek temenos, from temnein to cut. It could be created as temporary or permanent, depending on the lawful purpose of the inauguration. Auspices and senate meetings were unlawful unless held in a templum; if the senate house (Curia) was unavailable, an augur could apply the appropriate religious formulae to provide a lawful alternative.

To create a templum, the augur aligned his zone of observation (auguraculum, a square, portable surround) with the cardinal points of heaven and earth. The altar and entrance were sited on the east-west axis: the sacrificer faced east. The precinct was thus "defined and freed" (effatum et liberatum). In most cases, signs to the augur's left (north) showed divine approval and signs to his right (south), disapproval. Stone-built temples followed this ground-plan and were sacred in perpetuity.

Rome itself was a kind of templum, with the pomerium as sacred boundary and the arx (citadel), and Quirinal and Palatine hills as reference points for the creation of any further templum within. Augurs had authority to establish multiple templa beyond the pomerium, using the same augural principles. See also Roman temple.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Templum" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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