The Temple's InteriorTemple of Hathor - Temples - The Buildings - Builders & Buildings
“Castle of the Sistrum” or “Pr Hathor”, the House of Hathor
The First and Second Ante Chambers would have potentially been Offering Rooms which doubled as the areas where the Priesthood, the Royal Family, and during the Ptolemaic Eras some pilgrims would have been allowed to view and potentially approach the Goddess’ Barque Shrine.
The home of the Goddess Hathor which would have originally held the highly and expensively decorated Wooden Sacred Barque of the Goddess, which would have been in front of the Niche where the 2 meter tall Golden Statue of the Goddess’s Earthly Spirit was contained.
A Relief showing the Barque can be seen in the Photo to the right.
The Niche is 3 meters above ground level so we can extrapolate that there would have been some sort of wooden or moveable stone object for the priests to stand on to allow access.
Inner Hall or Small Hypostyle Hall
Walking on into the inner Temple from the Hypostyle Hall, you reach a smaller Hypostyle Hall or the Inner Hall, which has 6 granite bottomed Columns which are again topped in sandstone with the image of the Goddess Hathor.
This Inner Hall was originally the front of the Temple before the additional Hypostyle Hall and the original Courtyard were added. The Wall decorations in the Inner Hall show the Pharaoh at and involved with the initial construction of the Temple. Today we would refer to this as the Laying of the Foundation Stone Ceremony.
The Hall has 3 chambers off to either side. Looking towards the Temple’s Inner Sanctum, on the left-hand side is the Temple’s “Laboratory”, a storeroom and the “Offering” room; on the right-hand side is the Temple’s “Treasury”, a storeroom and another “Offering” room.
The Temple’s “laboratory”, which conjures the most amazing and evocative images, but it is unfortunately simpler than this! The Temple used the room to host their recipes and ingredients for “brewing” their own incense and perfumes. The room would then be used to store the brewed items until they were ready for use.
The Treasury would be used for all manner of monetary matters, not just where the equivalent of money was paid out to contractors etc but also where the proof of wealth for the Temple would be kept in papyrus scrolls i.e., their ownership of farmlands and who they tenants were.
The Offering Rooms are where any offerings brought to the Goddess would be held and then dispersed back out again.
Each of the Rooms on either side had an access doorway to the exterior of the Temple allowing easy contact to the Well for water which would have been needed in the Laboratory; as well as entry for people bringing in or exiting out with Offerings.
Surrounding the Inner Sanctum are 11 Chapels and Hathor’s Room which is situated directly behind the Inner Sanctum itself. The Chapels are dedicated to other Ancient Deities who were affiliated in the religion with the Goddess Hathor. Many of these rooms had their own names which are shown on the Plan of the Temple which can be seen to the left of this text.
Chapel of the New Year
One of the most distinct Chapels is named the Chapel of the New Year. See the pictures below.
The Zodiac is known as a Bas Relief which was added to the Chapel of Osiris in Hathor Temple. It is known as the Zodiac as it contains images of what we know today as “Horoscope’s Signs” i.e., Scorpio, Capricorn, Libra and Taurus. The original Zodiac is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris where it was removed to after one of the Scientists on Napoleon’s campaign drew an image of it and an Antique Dealer commissioned Claude Lelorrain to bring it back to France.
The Zodiac is depicted as a disk and its centre contains the North Pole Star; 4 women and pairs of Falcon Headed Deities hold the Sky Disc “up”.
The Corridors and Crypts
Underneath the Temple’s ‘floor level’ are 14 Crypts which are connected by the fully decorated Corridors. The access allowed to visitors at Dendera Temple is fairly unique in Egypt so provided you are not claustrophobic a visit to the underground Crypts is a must! When the Temple was in use the Crypts would have primarily been used for storage of the most important Cult equipment and statuary.