American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The sanctum in an ancient temple.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In ancient worship, a sacred place which the worshipers might not enter, or which might be entered only by those who had performed certain rites, or only by males or by females, or only on certain appointed days, etc.; also, a secret sanctuary or shrine open only to the priests, or whence oracles were delivered; hence, in general, the most sacred or reserved part of any place of worship. In Greece an adytum was usually an inner recess or chamber in a temple, as in that of Hera at Ægium; but it might be an entire temple, as that of Poseidon at Mantinea, or a grove, inclosure, or cavern, as the sacred inclosure of Zeus on the Lycæan mount in Arcadia. The most famous adytum of Greece was the sanctuary of the Pythic oracle at Delphi. The Jewish holy of holies in the temple at Jerusalem may be considered as an adytum. The word is also applied sometimes to the chancel of a Christian church, where the altar stands.
- n. Figuratively, the innermost or least accessible part of anything; that which is screened from common view; hidden recess; occult sense.
- n. The innermost sanctuary or shrine in ancient temples, whence oracles were given.
- n. by extension A private chamber; a sanctum.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. The innermost sanctuary or shrine in ancient temples, whence oracles were given. Hence: A private chamber; a sanctum.
- Latin, from Greek aduton, from adutos, not to be entered : a-, not; see a-1 + duein, to enter. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“In the adytum are the remains of columns, lying on the ground, the only instance of the kind I have seen in any Egyptian temple: in its walls are some low dark recesses, and windows or loop-holes like those in the temple at Tintyra: its roof is formed of single blocks of stone reaching the whole breadth, and upwards of three feet in thickness.”
“On one side of the adytum is a small dark chamber, in which is a deep sepulchre, with a large lion sculptured in the wall immediately over it; and, on the other side, behind the wall, is a passage, communicating with the pronaos, and containing a staircase which leads up to the top of the building.”
“The adytum, which is entered through a narrow chamber, three paces in breadth, is ten feet in length by nine in breadth; in its posterior wall are two fine monolith temples of granite, the largest of which is eight feet in height by three in breadth; the winged globe is sculptured over each of them.”
“Goddess of the Temple very cordially received her in her adytum, that is to say, the kitchen.”
“On the lower part of the side walls of the adytum are single human figures, each with an animal by its side, generally an ox, a gazell, or a goose.”
“But it was in quite a different place from that indicated by them, for Mr. Belzoni found it under ground far to the east of the adytum of Karnak.”
“Behind the cella, and communicating with it by a door, is the adytum, on each side of which is a small chamber, also opening into the cella, exactly like those in the temple at Derr.”
“Next follows the cella, and beyond that, the adytum; there are a few sculptures on the walls of the adytum; on those of the pronaos”
“The adytum is seven feet square; the remains of a statue, cut out of the rock, are visible in the back wall, and in the floor is a deep sepulchral excavation.”
“There is an ascent by three low steps from the cella into the adytum, in which is a deep sepulchral excavation; there is also a similar but smaller one in the cella itself.”
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