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Encyclopedia > Sacred grove

Sacred groves were a feature of the mythological landscape and the cult practice of Old Europe, of the most ancient levels of Scandinavian mythology, Greek mythology, Slavic mythology, Roman mythology, and in Druidic practice. In traditional usage, the cult of a religion, quite apart from its sacred writings (scriptures), its theology or myths, or the personal faith of its believers, is the totality of external religious practice and observance, the neglect of which is the definition of impiety. ... Some archaeologists and ethnographers use the term Old Europe to characterize the autochthonous (aboriginal) peoples who were living in Neolithic southeastern Europe before the immigration of Indo-European peoples (for this reason also called Pre-Indo-European). ... Norse mythology, Viking mythology or Scandinavian mythology refer to the pre-Christian religion, beliefs and legends of the Scandinavian people. ... The Oricoli bust of Zeus, King of the Gods, in the collection of the Vatican Museum. ... Problems The Pagan ideas have went into the wind, Poland is now a very large Catholic Populous. ... Roman mythology, the mythological beliefs of the people of Ancient Rome, can be considered as having two parts. ... In the Celtic religion, the modern words Druidry or Druidism denote the practices of the ancient druids, the priestly class in ancient Celtic societies through much of Western Europe north of the Alps and in the British Isles. ...


Northern Europe

The most famous sacred grove of Northern Europe was at the Temple at Uppsala in Old Uppsala, which was described by Adam of Bremen. The Temple at Uppsala was a temple in Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala), near modern Uppsala, Sweden, that was created to worship the Norse gods of ancient times. ... Gamla Uppsala is an area rich in archaeological remains seen from the grave field whose larger mounds (left part) are close to the royal mounds. ... Adam of Bremen (also: Adam Bremensis) was one of the most important German medieval chroniclers. ...

Central Europe

The Celts used sacred groves, called nemeton (of Celtic mythology). Celtic mythology is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. ...

Mediterranean Europe

The most famous sacred grove in mainland Greece was the oak grove at Dodona. Outside the walls of Athens, the site of the Academy was a sacred grove of olive trees, still recalled in the phrase "the groves of Academe." Theatre of Pyrrhus in Dodona. ... Raphaels portrait of Plato, a detail of The School of Athens fresco An an institution for the study of (usually) higher learning. ...

In central Italy, the town of Nemi recalls the Latin nemus Aricinum, or "grove of Ariccia", a small town a quarter of the way around the lake. In Antiquity the area had no town, but the grove was the site of one of the most famous of Roman cults and temples: that of Diana Nemorensis, a study of which served as the seed for Sir James Frazer's seminal work on the anthropology of religion, The Golden Bough. Nemi, an old town and comune of Italy, is in the province of Rome, on the Alban Hills, in central Lazio, 41°43′N 12°43′E, at 521 metres (1709 ft) above sea-level overlooking Lake Nemi. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ... Ariccia is a commune in the province of Rome, in the Province of Rome of the Lazio (Latium) region. ... Diana Nemorensis was a deity of classical antiquity, also known as “Diana of the Wood”. Her sanctuary was found on the northern shore of a lake beneath the cliffs of the modern city Nemi. ... Sir James George Frazer (January 1, 1854, Glasgow, Scotland – May 7, 1941), was a Scottish social anthropologist influential in the early stages of the modern studies of mythology and comparative religion. ... The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion is a wide-ranging comparative study of mythology and religion by Scottish anthropologist Sir James George Frazer (1854–1941). ...

A sacred grove behind the House of the Vestal Virgins on the edge of the Roman Forum lingered until its last vestiges were burnt in the Great Fire of Rome in 64 CE. A vestal Virgin, engraving by Sir Frederick Leighton, ca 1890: Leightons artistic sense has won over his passion for historical accuracy in showing the veil over the Vestals head at sacrifices, the suffibulum, as translucent, instead of fine white wool In Ancient Rome, the Vestal Virgins were the... This page refers to the main forum in the centre of Rome. ... The Great Fire of Rome erupted on the night of 19 July in the year 64, among the shops clustered around the Circus Maximus. ...

In the town of Spoleto, Umbria, two stones from the late third century BCE, inscribed in archaic Latin, established punishments for the profanation of the woods dedicated to Jupiter (Lex Luci Spoletina) have survived; they are preserved in the National Archeological Museum of Spoleto (ref.). Spoleto (Latin: Spoletium), 42°44′ N 12°44′ E, an ancient town in the Italian province of Perugia in east central Umbria, at 385 meters (1391 ft) above sea-level on a foothill of the Apennines. ... Umbria is a region of central Italy, bordered by Tuscany to the west, the Marche to the east and Lazio to the south. ...


In India sacred groves are locally called Devarakadus (literally, forest of the Gods). They were maintained by local communities with hunting and logging strictly prohibited within these patches.

See also

  • The Sacro Bosco at Bomarzo, Italy

Bomarzo is a town and comune of Viterbo province (Lazio, central Italy), in the lower valley of the Tiber at 42°29′N 12°15′E, 263 m (863 ft) above mean sea level, with 1609 inhabitants according to the 2003 census. ...

External links

  • M. D. Subash Chandran Madhav Gadgil, "Sacred Groves and Sacred Trees of Uttara Kannada"
  • Sacred Groves in garden history
  • (Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Umbria) National Archeological Museum of Spoleto



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