Egyptian / Egyptian Revival Architecture - Table of Contents ................Architecture Around the World

Horus Temple at Edfu - Table of Contents

Entrance Pylon - Horus Temple at Edfu, Egypt
TEXT Beneath Illustrations

Click on illustrations for larger size -- and additional information







Pharaoh Ptolomy XII


Nekhbet ... Atef Crown

Horus and Hathor


Solar disk flanked by 2 cobras and vulture with outspread wings

Horus (granite) depicted as a falcon



Ptolomy XII, a right, defeating his enemies in front of Horus and Hathor

Hathor and Horus


Horus wearing Pschent Crown

Pharaoh Ptolomy XII


Of all the temples of ancient Egypt, the one at Edfu is the most complete and best preserved when uncovered by Auguste Mariette in the 1860s. The reason is that the temple had been totally submerged under the desert except for the very top of the pylon entrance. A small amount of stone had been removed from the exposed part, but when excavated it was found to be in near perfect condition. It is the second largest temple in Egypt after Karnak.

Horus temple

Important sacred site for ancient Egyptians because, according to ancient myth, this is where the falcon-headed god, Horus, fought a battle with his uncle, Seth, who had cruelly murdered Horus's father Osiris.

This is the largest temple dedicated to Horus and Hathor of Dendera. It was the center of several festivals sacred to Horus. During the third month of summer, the priests at the Dendera complex would place the statue of Hathor on her barque (a ceremonial barge) and would thus bring the statue to the Edfu Temple, where it was believed that Horus and Hathor shared a conjugal visit. Each night, the god and goddess would retire to the mamissi, or berthing house. This event marking their sacred marriage was the occasion of a great festival and pilgrimage.

Ptolemaic builders

Edfu was one of several temples built during reigns of the six Ptolemies, including Dendera, Esna, Kom Ombo and Philae. The building was started during the reign of Ptolemy III in 237 BC and completed in 57 BCE under Ptolemy XII. (The high first pylon is decorated with scenes of Ptolomy XII defeating his enemies in front of Horus and Hahor.)

Ptolemy I Soter was the son of Lagos, an advisor to Alexander the Great and was the first pharaoh of the well-known Ptolemy dynasty. He was a veteran soldier and accomplished commander. Ptolemy I ruled first as a governor for the kings of Macedon, then from about 305 BCE he ruled as the king in Egypt (hence the two sets of dates).

Ptolemy I was the first of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which lasted almost 300 years. He was a very businesslike pharaoh, running the conquered country for profit once he received Egypt as part of the spoils of war after the death of Alexander. He managed to keep control of the country despite the continuing warfare. In addition to setting the foundation of the dynasty, he continued to enhance the reputation and power of Alexandria by founding the library there.

Photos and their arrangement © 2009 Chuck LaChiusa
| ...Home Page ...| ..Buffalo Architecture Index...| ..Buffalo History Index... .|....E-Mail ...| ..

web site consulting by ingenious, inc.