August 16, 2013

Monuments in Philae

Monuments in Philae
The monuments of Philae cover four major epochs: the last part of the Pharaonic era, the Ptolemaic period, the Roman epoch and the Christian period. The chief monuments are the Temple of Isis (i) and her son Horus (Harendotus) (2), the beautiful Arch of Hadrian (3), the Temple of Hathor (4) and the Kiosk (5), which is also known as Pharaoh’s Bed.

Philae Island
The Entrance to the island (a) was originally constructed by Nektanebos, the first ruler of the last Dynasty; it was designed with fourteen columns and two sandstone obelisks on the river front. Unfortunately, a particularly high flood swept the structure away soon after it was completed, and it lay in ruin until Ptolemy II had it restored; some of the columns were reconstructed. These have double capitals; the lower parts are decorated with different floral forms and the upper bear heads of Hathor. The screen walls between the columns, crowned with concave cornices bearing rows of uraeus serpents, show Nektanebos making offerings to the deities.

Philae Temples
We now stand on the threshold of Philae. Before us a great Outer Court (b) opens up. This leads to the Temple of Isis about one hundred metres ahead. The court is flanked by colonnades. On the right only half a dozen of the planned sixteen columns were completed; also to the right are the temples of Arhesnofer (d), Mandolis (e) and Imhotep (f).

Philae Temples
To the left, the thirty-two columns of the colonnade follow the shore line. No two capitals are alike. The shafts show Tiberius making offerings to the Egyptian gods. The ceiling is decorated with stars and flying vultures. The representations are all finely executed and mostly well preserved. For example, between the first two columns (c), above the window, Nero is depicted offering two eyes to Horus, Isis and ‘The Lord of the Two Lands’.

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