TemplesThe Buildings - Builders & Buildings
What is a Temple?
The Mansion Home of the Gods and Goddess
On average a stone, purpose-built building; erected and maintained with an enormous budget on the instructions of the Pharaoh who remained the link between the Pharaoh and the Deity. To be used for the official worship of the Egyptian Deities, also, at times, in remembrance of the Pharaoh where offerings were made to sustain their spirits in the afterlife, often linked with or located near their tombs.
The larger Temples would own land which often was gifted to them by benefactors and would employ 1,000s for its daily needs. Temples quickly became key economic centres and the Priests held unlimited influence with the Pharaoh and the populace.
Above: Karnak Temple for the God Amun
Below: Mortuary Temple for Pharaoh Hatshepsut
What is a Mortuary Temple?
A stone, purpose-built building; erected and maintained on the instructions of the Pharaoh during Pharaoh’s lifetime. After Pharaoh’s death, the Mortuary Temple became the place to venerate the deceased Pharaoh.
The Cult of the Pharaoh would be established here before the death of the Pharaoh and usually all the Priests would be picked by Pharaoh directly.
The Priests dedicated to the Cult would be responsible for the well being of the Pharaoh’s Soul which was represented within the Temple by his Ka Statue or a Statue which represented his Soul.
This would include the waking, bathing, dressing, feeding, praying for and singing to the Statue which represented Pharaoh’s Soul during the day, and the putting to bed of the “Pharaoh” at night.
All this was completed to appease and venerate Pharaoh’s Soul and asking for Pharaoh to intervene on behalf of Egypt with the Deities.
Temple of Horemheb, Gebel el Silsila
To find out about the 2 remaining Sun Temples, click on the image of the God Ra who they were dedicated to.
Temple of Heryshaf, Het Nesut-Herakleopolis Magna
Constructed at the end of the First Intermediate Period to honour the God Heryshaf, a creator and fertility deity who was born in the primordial waters.
Pharaoh Ramses II’s son, Prince Khaemwaset, better known as High Priest of Memphis or the first Egyptologist, significantly extended the Temple which remained well used throughout the remaining Dynasties.
Pharaoh Merenptah, son and successor of Pharaoh Ramses II also made additions to the Temple, linking his name and using propaganda to add his father’s successes to that of his own to enhance his reign.
The Ptolemies favoured Heryshaf and ensured the Temple continued in its prominence for its namesake deity.
Zau Sais Temple
The Temple had a Medical School attached to it and was particularly devoted to female medicine. Sais was the home of Goddess Neith, the Goddess of War and the Cobra Headed Goddess Wadjet, patroness of Lower Egypt and in particular the Nile Delta region
Due to robbing away and wear it is impossible to see the absolute floor plan of the Temple. The area currently known as the Great Pit, is thought to be the place where one of the largest Temples in the Capital would have been located: Approx. 400m by 400m, huge stone-built buildings once stood in the “Pit”. Limestone blocks that probably would have been the flooring of buildings still remain on the ground, and there is the final parts of a Pylon estimated to have been 40m high in its heyday.
Temple at Sebennytos
The Temple at Sebennytos is now in ruins due to an earthquake. The majority of the Temple was probably constructed by Pharaoh Nectanebo II, and further decorated and added to by Pharaoh Ptolemy II. On the Façade of the Temple, Pharaoh Ptolemy II and his Sister Queen are shown to the Deities by Goddess Isis, the Great and Divine Mother.