July 25, 2012

Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Pylons | Temple Of Amon At Karnak

Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Pylons
We now proceed to a much ruined part of the temple. The fourth pylon {P.4), built by Thutmose I, is followed by a colonnade with a strange and interesting history. Within this enclosed area are clues to family feuds, petty jealousies and religious differences, to say nothing of Pharaonic vanity. The colonnade was originally designed by Thutmose I and it was planned to have a roof of cedar. In it stands an obelisk (Plan 6 m). This lofty spire was one of two erected by Queen Hatshepsut, who removed part of the roof of her father’s colonnade to place them there. Hatshepsut’s co-regent and successor, Thutmose III, at a later date in the family feud had a wall built to hide the obelisks of his predecessor, this being a simpler expedient than their removal and destruction. The wall covered most of the obelisk, masking it from people within the temple. The figure of Amon was obliterated by Akhenaten and restored by Seti I, thus putting an end to the vicissitudes suffered for two hundred years by the colonnade of Thutmose I.

Temple Of Amon At Karnak
The beautiful towering obelisk of Hatshepsut was erected in the 16th year of her reign. It was made of a single block of pink Aswan granite of the finest quality. The apex was once covered with a mixture of gold and silver. This lofty spire records the fact that it was made in seven months. It weighs something like 317,515 kilogrammes (700,000 lbs). One cannot but marvel at the tenacity required merely to quarry it, let alone to cart it to the Nile, transport it along its waters, disembark it and finally erect it with perfect accuracy on a pedestal.

Forming the rear wall of the colonnade is the fifth pylon (P.5), also erected by Thutmose I. Passing through it we enter Thutmose I’s second colonnade, which originally comprised twenty sixteen sided columns. It is now very much in ruin. On each side of the central passage Thutmose III constructed a pair of chambers and beyond this rises the last and smallest pylon, the sixth pylon (Plan 7 P.6) erected by Thutmose III. On each face of the pylon (n) are lists of tribes of the south which were subjugated by Thutmose Ill’s army, and also those of Syria, which alone number 119. The conquered territories are shown as an elliptical hieroglyph character surmounted by a human bust with arms bound behind the back. The Syrians are depicted with pointed beards and heavy robes. In long processions they bear their tributes to be recorded by the vizier.

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