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An altar is a structure upon which offerings such as sacrifices are made for religious purposes. Altars are found at shrines, temples, churches and other places of worship. They are used particularly in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism (until the destruction of the Second Temple), and Modern Paganism. Many historical faiths also made use of them, including Roman, Greek and Norse religion.


Old English had various spellings alter, altar etc. Finally "altar" may have been influenced by the French autel derived from from Latin words altare meaning podium or stage and adolere to adore, in this sense meaning to worship, honour and offer sacrifices to influence forces beyond human understanding.

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