Temenos/pomerium

Lesley
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Lesley
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Joined: October 10th, 2009, 4:30 pm

December 2nd, 2010, 5:58 pm #1

Could someone please explain the difference between a pomerium and a temenos?
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NicC
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NicC
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Joined: November 8th, 2006, 1:27 pm

December 2nd, 2010, 8:39 pm #2

I looked up both terms on google and they each have an entry in wikipedia but I do not know how to paraphrase the entries but they do seem to be completely different to each other!
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ericjacobson
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Joined: November 1st, 2006, 10:41 am

December 3rd, 2010, 12:57 pm #3

A 'temenos' was an area dedicated to religious uses, usually around a temple or other area of worship. The idea of 'consecrated ground' in which a church and churchyard sit might be the closest modern approximation.

A 'pomerium' was the formal boundary of a city, and possessed both legal and religious aspects. Rome's pomerium defined the entity known as 'Roma urbs', and within its boundary were located both secular and sacred spaces. However, Rome's pomerium did not enclose all that we might consider to be 'the City', as Rome grew well beyond its pomerium, laid down long before the Republic. The pomerium not only defined the City's boundaries, it also acted as a legal and religious barrier to those possessing certain offices.

During the Republic, no monarch could cross the pomerium into Rome. No general possessing imperium could do so, either, until he relinquished that authority. Thus, triumphing generals must perforce wait outside the pomerium until their triumph, at which time they surrendered their imperium. Lesser officials possessing imperium might enter the City, but their powers to chastise and execute (the 'rods and axe' forming the fasces) were circumscribed within the pomerium--specifically, they could no longer sentence a citizen to death. The axes were removed from the rods before such an official crossed the pomerium into the City.

Here's a further discussion:

The Etymological Meaning of Pomerium

Last edited by ericjacobson on December 3rd, 2010, 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Badger
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Badger
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Joined: May 12th, 2008, 1:10 pm

December 3rd, 2010, 9:50 pm #4

I suppose this tradition is continued to the current era, in that the British monarch cannot enter the City of London without the specific permission of the Lord Mayor.

T.Wolter
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Lesley
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Lesley
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Joined: October 10th, 2009, 4:30 pm

December 4th, 2010, 11:19 am #5

Many thanks all of you. All is now clear.
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