Moreover, the instances in which it has lately been possible to determine the unknown god occupying a temple of known position, so as to test the correctness of this hypothesis, have proven unfavorable to it. At the same time, however, it remains a fact that the orientation of the temple was universally customary, just as it was later in the case of the Christian church.Among the Romans when the building of the temple was completed it was dedicated to the divinity by the public authorities or by a person specially delegated for this office, while the priests only pronounced the formulæ without personally completing the sacred act.However, in times of necessity, especially in war, these treasures were often melted down, as were the costly church utensils of the medieval era and of later periods.
In the earliest period it was made of wood or clay, later it was cast from bronze or made of marble.
Besides the statue of the god to whom the temple was dedicated, statues of other gods were at times placed in the temple, partly as ornaments, partly because of their connexion with the principal god.
Among the Greeks, also, the worship of trees seems to be indicated by the word for temple, naos , which according to some authorities originally signified "tree" or "tree trunk".
It is certain that the Greeks believed that at Dodona they hear the voice of the gods foretelling the future from the rustling of the sacred oaks.
Consequently, according to his theory, the temples were so placed that on the day settled on the calendar as the birthday and feast day of the god the rays of the rising sun fell along the axis of the temple and thus also on his statue.