ALTAR A place, structure, or table on which sacrifices are offered to a divinity. The word comes from the Latin altare related to the verb adolere, to “burn up.” Pagan Altars Since prehistoric times, offerings to subterranean gods were made in pits, and offerings to heavenly gods were presented on altars raised above the ground. …

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ELEPHANTINE An island at the level of Aswan, and the most southerly town in Egypt. In the pharaonic period, it was the capital of the Elephant nome, but from Ptolemaic times, it was reduced to a temple town and the administration was transferred to Syene, today Aswan, on the eastern riverbank. The two main temples …

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