philae Temple – Isis Temple in Aswan

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Agilqiyyah Island (Philae).

The island of Agilqiyyah, onto which the structures from the submerged island of Philae have been transferred, has been reshaped to resemble the conformation of Philae as closely as possible. With the building of the first Aswan Dam, Philae was submerged for part of the year, and with the equalization of the water flow produced by the High Dam, it would have been permanently below water. Thus it was decided to move all the buildings and reconstruct them on this neighboring island.

This was a massive project taking over ten years. A great cofferdam was erected around Philae and the temples were dismantled and transferred. It was finally opened on the new site in 1980. The earliest remains on the original island were of Taharqa (25 Dyn.).

In 1962 President Nasser announced the construction of a dam that would give total control of the Nile. The result was the Aswan High Dam.

 

Philae, which lay next to Bigah, the island of Osiris, was dedicated to Isis, and the largest and most important among the complex of temples and chapels in the Temple of Isis which occupies about one-quarter of the island.

At the SE end of the island is a Kiosk of Nectanebo I (30 Dyn.), beyond which is a long court bounded by two Roman colonnades. At the S end of the latter is a small Temple of Arensnuphis (a Nubian deity), Ptolemaic and Roman in date, while halfway up is a Chapel of Manduljs (a Nubian deity) which is Roman.

At the N end stands the Temple of Imhotep, the deified architect of Zozer, here worshipped as a healing god. It was built by Ptolemy V Epiphanes. The colonnade court ends in front of the First Pylon of Ptolemy XIII Neos Dionysius.

Two obelisks from here are now in Kingston Lacey, Dorset. On the E side is a Gate of Ptolemy II Philadelphus but the main entrance is through the Gate of Nectanebo II (30 Dyn.).

This leads to a large forecourt. On the W is the Mammisi built by Ptolemy VII Euergetes II and added to in Roman times. The opposite side of the court is occupied by the Second East Colonnade which is late Ptolemaic. This court leads to the Second Pylon built by Ptolemy XIII Neos Dionysius although the gateway is of Ptolemy VII Euergetes II.

 

The explanation of the image is written below

(1—2) Above lintel, winged vultures and cartouches of Ptolemy Euergetes II. (3) Granite stele of year 24 of Ptolemy VI, PhiIometer text. (4) Upper register, the king offers to the gods, Horus and Isis, Geb, Nut and Horus the Elder; base, a procession of the king followed by offering bearers, Osiris, Isis, and Horus. (5—6) Grooves for flagstaffs. (7) The king offers to Osiris, Isis, and the young Horus. Beyond the gate is the Hypostyle Hall with ten columns, mainly the work of Ptolemy VII Euergetes II.

(8—9) Ptolemy and Cleopatra II offer vases to Khnum-Re and Hathor. (10) Upper register, the king offers libations to Khepera, incense to Khnum and Satet, and grape juice to Horus and Hathor. (11) The king offers incense and libations to Osiris and Isis, wine to Horus and Nephthys, (12) The king offers wine to Atum and meat to Geb and Nut, four calves are offered to Osiris and victims to Isis, Sekhmet, and Horus the Elder. (13) The king offers green and white linen to Re-Harakhte and Nut. (14—15) The king followed by Wadjet receives life from Tefnut, and runs with an oar, N of the hypostyle hall is a chamber with a small room to the W, from which stairs lead to the roof. This is followed by three chambers. (16—17) Isis seated before standards, the king offers myrrh and wine. (18) The king offers flowers to Isis. (19) The king offers collar to Isis, Osiris, and Nephthys, and pectorals to Osiris, Isis, and Hathor. (20) The king offers libations before a heap of offerings, (21—22) Double scene on the outer lintel, the king offers wine to Osiris and Isis, menat to Hathor, and bread to Isis. (23) The king before Isis. (24) Doorway to stairs, (25-26) Double scene, the king offers sistrum on left and wine on right to Isis and Harpocrates; on W jamb the king offers leaves to Min. a basket to Sekhmet and wine to Osiris Behind is the sacred bull and seven cows. The central room leads into a transverse room from which three rooms lead to the N.

(27) The king offers wine, necklaces, and eye paint to Osiris, Isis, Hathor, and Nephthys. (28-29) The king in three scenes offers cloth to Isis and Nut, a box to Osiris and Isis suckling boy, and an image of Ma’at to Isis and Nephthys. He also offers linen to Osiris and a winged Isis. (ЗО—31] Тор register, three scenes, the king before Isis and Nephthys, adores Amun-ReC and Mut, offers to Isis and Tefnut, including collar.

Round the base of the Sanctuary are fertility gods of the country. (32) Ptolemy II offers incense to Satet and ointment to Isis. (33) The king offers cloth and wine to Isis and Sekhmet. (34) The king before ram-headed Sheshmu (usually shown in lion form). (35—36) The king offers menat to Isis, incense to Nekhbet, and wine to Nephthys. (37—38) The king offers a mirror to Anuket, a basket to Wadjet, and wine to Isis.

The outside of the temple was decorated by Augustus. (39—40) Augustus followed by fertility gods and goddesses before Osiris, Isis, and the young Horus. (41—42) Augustus offers Ma’at to Amun—Re, and Mut and makes libation to Isis and Nephthys, offers vase to Khnum and Hathor. The most important of the other chapels around the main complex is the unfinished Chapel of Hathor on the E side of the island. Built by Ptolemy VI Philometer and added to by Augustus, it has an interesting scene of musicians including the god Bes playing the harp. Just S of this is the Kiosk of Trajan with a charming façade on the river bank.

The Kiosk of Trajan

The Kiosk of Trajan

The larger island to the S is Bigah. This was held to have been the burial place of Osiris and was for long a cult center.

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