Marae is the name given in the South Sea islands to a heathen temple. All were uncovered, and resembled oratories rather than temples. The form of the interior or area was frequently that of a square or parallelogram, the sides of which extended forty or fifty feet. Two sides of this space were enclosed by a high stone wall; the front was protected by a low fence; and opposite, a solid pyramidal structure was raised, in front of which the images were kept and the altars fixed. These piles were often immense. Within the enclosure, the houses of the priests and keepers of the idols were erected. Ruins of these temples are found in every situation; on the summit of a hill, on the extremity of a point of land extending into the sea, or in the recesses of an extensive and overshadowing grove.

Definition of mar

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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