from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. a meteorite or similar-looking rough stone thought to be of divine origin and worshipped as sacred.
Such stones were thought to be the residence of a god hence the term applied to them by Byzantine Christian writers of the fifth and sixth centuries: 'baetyl', from bet'el, 'the house of god'.'
At the foot of one of the trilithons was found a baetyl 51 inches in height, now in the museum at
In Malta Sir Arthur Evans sees signs of a baetyl-worship very similar to this.
This latter was an aneiconic worship developed out of the cult of the dead; in it the deity or hero was represented by a baetyl, i.e. a tree or pillar sometimes standing free, sometimes placed in a 'dolmen-like' cell or shrine, in which latter case the pillar often served to support the roof of the shrine.
If the pillar which supports the slab is, like the free-standing pillars, a baetyl, the slab is probably a mere roof to cover and protect it; if not, the slab is almost certainly a table.
It has been suggested that this pit was made to hold the base of the cult-object, whether it was a baetyl or an idol.
This pillar can hardly be anything but a baetyl, or sacred stone.
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