Historien

Isis -templet på øen Philae



Isis -templet i Philae

Templet var primært dedikeret til Isis, men hendes mand Osiris og hendes søn Horus blev også tilbedt der. Både Isis og Osiris ses som guddommelige herskere, og derfor vises deres navne i en kartouche. Det nuværende Isis -tempel er en især ptolemaisk struktur. Bygningens hovedkrop blev bygget af Ptolemaios II (bag den gamle helligdom Amasis, som derefter blev revet ned).

    af Ptolemaios II (fødselshus)
  1. Indre gård
  2. Sanctuary if Isis of Horus the Avenger
  3. Hadrians port
  4. Nilometer

Philae - Isis -templet

Bygget under Ptolemaios II (Egypten og den græsk-romerske periode), er Isis-templet i Philae dedikeret til Isis, Osiris og Horus. Tempelvæggene indeholder scener fra egyptisk mytologi om Isis, der bringer Osiris tilbage til live, fødte Horus og mumificerede Osiris efter hans død.

Fra tidlig tid var øen hellig for gudinden Isis. Komplekset af strukturer i Isistemplet blev fuldført af Ptolemaios II Philadelphus (regerede 285 og ndash246 fvt) og hans efterfølger, Ptolemaios III Euergetes (regerede 246 og ndash221 fvt). Dens dekorationer, der stammer fra perioden med de senere Ptolemæer og af de romerske kejsere Augustus og Tiberius (27 fvt-37 e.Kr.) blev aldrig færdige. Den romerske kejser Hadrian (regerede 117-138 CE) tilføjede en port vest for komplekset. Andre små templer eller helligdomme dedikeret til egyptiske guder inkluderer et tempel til Imhotep, et til Hathor og kapeller til Osiris, Horus og Nephthys.

Obeliskerne foran templet blev fjernet i 1918 af den britiske konsul Henry Salt og hans assistent Giovanni Belzoni, og befinder sig nu i en have i Dorset, England.

Templet var i fare for at blive nedsænket for evigt med opførelsen af ​​den nye Aswan-dæmning (1960-1970), som oversvømmede området. Heldigvis arbejdede den egyptiske regering og UNESCO sammen for at pumpe området tørt og flytte hele templet, sten for sten (50.000 sten!), Til en nærliggende ø ved navn Agilka, hvor det står i dag.

Billede: Philae Temple Complex. Taget af Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum.

Det rosiskruciske egyptiske museum er en uddannelsesinstitution, der bruger tværfaglige tilgange til at øge viden om fortid, nutid og fremtid, især relateret til mangfoldigheden og relationerne i naturen og blandt kulturer.

Følg os på .

Tilmeld dig e -mailopdateringer om museumsbegivenheder, udstillingshøjdepunkter og særtilbud.

Copyright 2021 Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum | Alle rettigheder forbeholdes | design af Placemaking Group


Indhold

Philae nævnes af mange gamle forfattere, herunder Strabo, [3] Diodorus, [4] Ptolemaios, [5] Seneca, [6] Plinius den Ældre. [7] Det var, som flertalsnavnet angiver, betegnelsen for to små øer, der ligger 24 ° nordlig bredde, lige over den første grå stær nær Aswan (oldtidens egyptiske: Swenet, “Trade ” Gammel græsk: &Υήνη – Syene ). Groskurd [8] beregner afstanden mellem disse øer og Aswan på omkring 100 km.

På trods af at den var den mindre ø, var den egentlige Philae fra de mange og maleriske ruiner der tidligere var den mere interessante af de to. Før oversvømmelsen var den ikke mere end 380 meter lang og cirka 120 meter bred. Den er sammensat af syenitsten: dens sider er stejle, og på deres topmøder blev der bygget en høj mur, der omfattede øen.

Da Philae siges at være et af Osiris 'begravelsessteder, blev det holdt i stor ærbødighed både af egypterne mod nord og nubierne (ofte omtalt som etiopier på græsk) mod syd. Det blev anset for vanhyggeligt for alle, bortset fra præster, at bo der og blev derfor sekvestreret og denomineret “the U utilnærmelige ” (oldgræsk: ἄβατος). [9] [10] Det blev også rapporteret, at hverken fugle fløj hen over det, eller at fisk nærmede sig kysterne. [11] Disse var i sandhed traditionerne i en fjerntliggende periode, da Philae på tidspunktet for Egyptens ptolemæer så meget blev ty til, dels af pilgrimme til Osiris grav, dels af personer i sekulære ærinder, at præsterne anmodede Ptolemaios Physcon (170-117 f.Kr.) for at forbyde offentlige funktionærer i det mindste at komme der og bo for deres regning. I 1800 -tallet e.Kr. tog William John Bankes Philae -obelisken, som denne andragende blev indgraveret til England. Da dets egyptiske hieroglyffer blev sammenlignet med Rosetta -stenens, kastede det stort lys over det egyptiske konsonantalfabet.

Philae -øerne var imidlertid ikke kun hellige steder, de var handelscentre også mellem Meroë og Memphis. For stærene af grå stær var i de fleste sæsoner upraktiske, og de varer, der blev udvekslet mellem Egypten og Nubia, blev landet og indført igen i Syene og Philae.

De tilstødende granitbrud tiltrak også en lang række bestande af minearbejdere og stenhuggere, og af hensyn til denne trafik blev der dannet et galleri eller en vej i klipperne langs Nilens østbred, hvis dele stadig findes.

Philae var også bemærkelsesværdig for de enestående virkninger af lys og skygge som følge af dens position nær kræftens vendekreds. Da solen nærmede sig sin nordlige grænse, synker skyggerne fra de fremspringende gesimser og lister af templerne lavere og lavere ned på væggenes almindelige overflader, indtil solen når den højeste højde, de lodrette vægge er overdækket med mørke skygger og danner en slående kontrast til det voldsomme lys, der oplyser alle omkringliggende objekter. [12]

Konstruktion

Det mest iøjnefaldende træk ved begge øer var deres arkitektoniske rigdom. Monumenter fra forskellige epoker, der strækker sig fra faraoerne til kejserne, indtager næsten hele deres område. De vigtigste strukturer lå imidlertid i den sydlige ende af den mindre ø.

Den ældste var et tempel for Isis, bygget i Nectanebo I's regeringstid i løbet af 380-362 f.Kr., som blev nærmet sig fra floden gennem en dobbelt søjlegang. Nekhtnebef er hans navn, og han blev grundlægger for den trediverende og sidste dynasti af indfødte herskere, da han afsatte og dræbte Nefaarud II. Isis var gudinden, som de oprindelige bygninger var dedikeret til. Se Gerhart Haeny ’s ‘A Short Architectural History of Philae ’ (BIFAO 1985) og mange andre artikler, der ubestrideligt identificerer Isis (ikke Hathor) som den hellige øs primære gudinde.

For det meste stammer de andre ruiner fra den ptolemaiske tid, især med regeringerne i Ptolemaios Philadelphus, Ptolemy Epiphanes og Ptolemy Philometor (282-145 f.Kr.), med mange spor af romersk arbejde i Philae dedikeret til Ammon –Osiris.

Foran propylen var to kolossale løver i granit, bagved stod et par obelisker, hver 13 meter høje. Propylen var pyramideformet og kolossal i dimensioner. Den ene stod mellem dromos og pronaos, en anden mellem pronaos og portico, mens en mindre førte ind i sekos eller adytum. I hvert hjørne af adytum stod en monolitisk helligdom, buret af en hellig høg. Af disse helligdomme er den ene nu i Louvre, den anden i museet i Firenze.

Ud over indgangen til hovedretten er små templer, hvoraf det ene, dedikeret til Isis, Hathor og en bred vifte af guder relateret til jordemoder, er dækket med skulpturer, der repræsenterer fødslen af ​​Ptolemaios Philometor, under figuren af ​​guden Horus. Historien om Osiris er overalt repræsenteret på væggene i dette tempel, og to af dets indre kamre er særligt rige på symbolske billeder. På de to store profiler er græske inskriptioner skæret og delvist ødelagt af egyptiske figurer skåret over dem.

Inskriptionerne tilhører slet ikke den makedonske æra og er af tidligere dato end skulpturerne, [ citat nødvendig ] som sandsynligvis blev indsat i løbet af dette renæssanceinterval for den indfødte religion, som fulgte udryddelsen af ​​det græske dynasti i Egypten i 30 f.Kr. af romerne. [ citat nødvendig ]

Monumenterne på begge øer bekræftede faktisk, ud over alle andre i Nildalen, overlevelsen af ​​ren egyptisk kunst århundreder efter at den sidste af faraoerne var ophørt med at regere. Der er gjort store smerter for at lemlæst skulpturerne i dette tempel. Nedrivningsarbejdet kan i første omgang tilskrives de tidlige kristnes nidkærhed og bagefter ikonoklasternes politik, der bad med sig selv om den byzantinske domstol ved ødelæggelse af såvel hedenske billeder som kristne . [ citat nødvendig ] Det er bemærkelsesværdigt, at billeder/ikoner af Horus ofte er mindre lemlæstet end de andre udskæringer. I nogle væg scener, hver figur og hieroglyf tekst undtagen at Horus og hans vingede sol-disks repræsentation er blevet omhyggeligt kradset ud af tidlige kristne. Dette er formodentlig fordi de tidlige kristne havde en vis respekt for Horus eller legenden om Horus, og det kan være fordi de så paralleller mellem historierne om Jesus og Horus (se Jesus Kristus i komparativ mytologi).

Jorden i Philae var blevet omhyggeligt forberedt til modtagelse af dens bygninger - blev nivelleret, hvor den var ujævn, og understøttet af murværk, hvor den smuldrede eller var usikker. For eksempel blev den store mur i det store tempel og den tilsvarende dromos-mur understøttet af meget stærke fundamenter, bygget under vandets forudindvandingsniveau og hvilede på granitten, som i denne region danner bunden af Nilen. Her og der blev der hugget trin ud af væggen for at lette kommunikationen mellem templet og floden.

I den sydlige ende af dromoserne i Det Store Tempel var et mindre tempel, der tilsyneladende var dedikeret til Hathor, i det mindste de få søjler, der var tilbage af det, blev overvundet med hovedet på denne gudinde. Dens portik bestod af tolv søjler, fire foran og tre dybe. Deres hovedstæder repræsenterede forskellige former og kombinationer af palmegrenen, doum-palmegrenen og lotusblomsten. Disse såvel som skulpturerne på søjlerne, lofterne og væggene blev malet med de mest levende farver, som på grund af klimaets tørhed lidt har mistet deres oprindelige glans.


Philaes templer

Philae er en egyptisk ø beliggende i Nasser -søen. I oldtidens egyptiske tid var Philae kultens centrum for Isis. Den måler kun omkring 1.500 fod ved 500 fod. På grund af dens sårbarhed over for oversvømmelser blev høje vægge med granitfundamenter konstrueret omkring øen og dens templer.

Den nærliggende konstruktion af High (Aswan) dæmningen i 1970 efterlod øen Philae og dens templer forsvarsløse mod oversvømmelse hele året rundt. UNESCO udførte en "redningsmission" for at flytte øens templer fra Philae til en tørre, mere stabil ø i nærheden kaldet Agilika.

Isis -templet i Philae

Selvom der er flere templer og bygninger på Philae, er det største og måske det mest berømte Isis -tempel. Her tilbad de gamle egyptere både Isis og Osiris og Horus (hendes søn). Ptolemaios II, Nectanebo I byggede templet omkring 370 f.Kr.

Hovedtrækkene i dette tempel omfatter:

Port of Ptolemy II: To lyserøde granitløver står foran den første pylon ved denne port. To lyserøde granitobelisker på én gang sluttede løverne sammen. Disse obelisker er betydningsfulde, fordi hieroglyferne på bunden af ​​obeliskerne blev sammenlignet med Rosetta -stenen og var medvirkende til at dechifrere det egyptiske konsonantalfabet.

Første Pylon: Relieffer og inskriptioner er rigelige i Isis -templet. For eksempel på det østlige tårn på den første pylon er Dionysus afbildet som at holde Egyptens fjender i håret, mens han hævede sin kølle. Andre i scenen omfatter Hathor, Horus og Isis. Over denne truende skildring er der to mindre scener. Den ene er af faraoen, der ofrer sin krone til Horus og nevøer, og den ene er af faraoen, der tilbyder røgelse til Isis og Horus som barn.

Siden af ​​den første pylon og templets forplads

Fødselshus: Fødselshuset i Isis -templet er et fælles træk i ptolemaiske templer og skildrer Horus som en høg iført en dobbeltkrone, der står blandt papyrus. Der er også en lettelse af Isis, der bærer en nyfødt Horus i armene, mens hun er beskyttet af Wadjet, Nekhbet, Amun-Ra og Thoth. Her gennemførte kongen ritualer for at validere hans efterkommer fra Horus.

Andet Pylon: Det vestlige tårn skildrer Ptolemaios XII, der tilbyder dyr og røgelse til forskellige guder, herunder Hathor og Horus. Kongen skildrer også blomster til Nephthys og Horus, og en anden af ​​kongen hælder vand og præsenterer røgelse på et alter, mens han er i Horus, Isis og Osiris 'nærvær. Et stykke granit langs det østlige tårn kaldet en stele er udskåret af Ptolemaios VI Philometor, der står sammen med Cleopatra II og Isis og Horus. Indskriften er bemærkelsesværdig, fordi den indeholder det, der er kendt som tildeling af Dodekaschoinoi, der gør krav på det land, der er nødvendigt til templet.

Indre gårdhave: En Hypostyle -hal står gennem en port fra den anden pylon. Ti søjler forbliver her, og alle er malet for at ligne og repræsentere en række af de første blomster og planter. Gulvet repræsenterede urhøjen og loftet himlen med billeder af dagbåden (Madjet) og natbåden (Semektet).

Helligdom: Gennem den indre gård er Isis ’fristed. Selve helligdommen er et lille kammer med to vinduer. En piedestal, der er placeret her af Ptolemaios III Euergetes I, forbliver i dag. Det bærer billedet af Isis i hendes hellige barque (båd).

Nectanebos kiosk

Nectanebo's Kiosk er en søjlefri, tagløs hal, der oprindeligt havde 14 søjler, hvoraf seks er tilbage. Væggene i denne vestibule er dekoreret med relieffer af kongen, der ofrede forskellige ting til guderne. Kioskens skærmvægge er forbundet med Hathor -søjler og toppet med uraei (serpentin) udskæringer.

Hathors tempel i Philae

Bygget af Ptolemaios VI Philometor og Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II, består Hathors tempel af en søjlegangssal og en forplads. Augustus dekorerede salen for at ære Isis og Hathor med skildringer af festivaler. Augustus er også afbildet som en gave til Isis og Nephthys. I Hathors tempel i Philae drak, spiste og dansede de gamle egyptere til musik spillet af Bes (dværgens humor, dans og musik) og hans harpe og tamburin.

Trajans kiosk

Af mange betragtes som den mest tiltalende struktur på Philae, er Trajans kiosk i dag en tagløs struktur. I oldtidens egyptiske tid var det sandsynligvis overdækket og brugt som husly for Isis ’bark ved de østlige bredder. Det kaldes undertiden "Faraos seng" Trajan var en romersk kejser, men kiosken selv stammer sandsynligvis tilbage til tidligere tider. Det er stærkt dekoreret med relieffer af Trajanus, der brænder røgelse for at ære Osiris og Isis, mens det også tilbyder vin til Isis og Horus.

Yderligere strukturer på Philae

Øen Philae har meget at tilbyde med ikke kun Isis-templet, men også Hoe-Anhur-templet og Augustus-templet. Der er også kapeller dedikeret til Mandulis (solguden i Nedre Nubia) og Imhotep (en almindelig mand, der opnåede guddommelig status efter døden, han var vizier for Djoser).


Philae og Isis -templet

Da vi var i Aswan, Egypten, tog vi en båd ud til Philae, som er en ø med forskellige templer. Det var et meget interessant sted med masser af ting at se og bestemt en halv dag at besøge værd. Templerne blev flyttet til højere terræn efter at højdæmningen blev bygget for at redde dem, og det var umagen værd. Da Aswan er i den sydlige del af Egypten, kan temperaturerne være ret varme, så vær forberedt og medbring masser af vand.

Det er klart, at Isis -templet er højdepunktet ved at besøge øen, men der er også Hathor -templet og Trajans kiosk. Kolonnerne, hieroglyferne og indgangen var yderst imponerende. Vi tog os tid til at gå rundt i templerne og se dem fra alle vinkler, men at se dem fra båden, da vi nærmede os øen, var virkelig fantastisk. Der forekommer stadig arkæologiske aktiviteter på stedet, og vi så folk aktivt arbejde, mens vi var der.

Der er et par andre steder, der er værd at se i Aswan, men Philae var det, der stod mest for os. Templernes historie går tilbage over 2500 år, og at se, hvor godt bevarede de var, var fascinerende. Vi vil helt sikkert anbefale et besøg på øen til alle, der lægger vejen ned ad Nilen for at besøge Aswan.


Isis - Isis -templet i Philae

Efter at have været i så mange dage inden for rækkevidde af Philæ, er det ikke til at antage, at vi hidtil havde været tilfredse med kun lejlighedsvis at få et glimt af dets tårne ​​i det fjerne. Tværtimod havde vi fundet vejen dertil mod slutningen af ​​næsten hver dags udflugt. Vi havde nærmet os det fra land fra ørkenen med vand i feluccaen fra Mahatta ved stien mellem klipperne og floden. Når jeg tilføjer, at vi fortøjede her en nat og den bedste del af to dage på vej op ad floden, og igen i en uge, da vi kom ned, vil det ses, at vi havde tid til at lære den dejlige ø udenad.

Tilgangen til vand er ganske den smukkeste. Set fra en lille båds niveau synes øen med sine håndflader, sine søjlegange, sine pyloner at stige ud af floden som en hælde. Bunke sten indrammer det på hver side, og lilla bjerge lukker afstanden. Da båden glider nærmere mellem glitrende kampesten, stiger de skulpturelle tårne ​​højere og stadig højere mod himlen. De viser ingen tegn på ødelæggelse eller alder. Alt ser solidt, stateligt, perfekt ud. Man glemmer for øjeblikket, at noget ændres. Hvis en lyd af antikt sang skulle bæres langs den stille luft-hvis et optog af hvidklædte præster, der bar den tilslørede Guds ark, skulle komme fejende rundt mellem håndfladerne og stolperne-skulle vi ikke synes det var mærkeligt .

De fleste rejsende lander i slutningen nærmest grå stær, så de kommer over hovedtemplet bagfra og ser det i omvendt rækkefølge. Vi bød dog vores arabere at ro rundt til den sydlige ende, hvor der engang var et stateligt landingssted med trin ned til floden. Vi omkranser de stejle bredder og passerer tæt under det smukke lille tagløse tempel, almindeligvis kendt som Faraos seng - det tempel, der har været så ofte malet, så ofte fotograferet, at hver sten af ​​det og platformen, hvor det står, og de tuftede palmer, der klynger sig om det, har været lige siden barndommen lige så velkendte for vores sinds øje som Sfinxen eller Pyramiderne. Det er større, men ikke et prik mindre smukt, end vi havde forventet. Og det er præcis som fotografierne. Alligevel er man bevidst om at opfatte en forskellig nuance for subtil til analyse som forskellen mellem et velkendt ansigt og refleksionen af ​​det i et spejlglas. Under alle omstændigheder føler man, at den ægte Pharoah's Bed fremover vil fortrænge fotografierne i det uklare mentale duehul, hvor man indtil nu har været vant til at gemme det velkendte billede, og at selv fotografierne har undergået en eller anden form for ændring.

Og nu er hjørnet afrundet, og floden udvider sig sydpå mellem bjerge og palmelunde, og panden berører affaldet af en ødelagt kaj. Banken er stejl her. Vi klatrer og en vidunderlig scene åbner sig for vores øjne. Vi står i den nedre ende af en gårdhave op til propylonerne i det store tempel. Gården er uregelmæssig i form og lukket på hver side af overdækkede søjlegange. Kolonnaderne er af ulige længder og indstillet i forskellige vinkler. Den ene er simpelthen en overdækket gåtur, den anden åbner på en række små kamre, som et klosterkloster, der åbner på en række celler. Tagstenene på disse søjlegange er delvist forskudt, mens der hist og her mangler en søjle eller en hovedstad, men propylons tvillingetårne, der skiller sig ud i skarpe ubrudte linjer mod himlen og dækket af kolossale skulpturer, er lige så perfekte, eller næsten lige så perfekt, som i de dage af Ptolemæerne, der byggede dem.

Det brede område mellem søjlegangene er honningkamret med råstensfundamenter, der er rester af en koptisk landsby i den tidlige kristne tid. Blandt disse træder vi os til foden af ​​hovedpropylonen, hvis hele bredde er 120 fod. Tårnene måler 60 fod fra base til brystning. Disse dimensioner er ubetydelige for Egypten, men propylonen, der ville se lille ud i Luxor eller Karnak, ser ikke lille ud på Philæ. Nøglenoten her er ikke størrelse, men skønhed. Øen er lille - det vil sige, at den dækker et område, der er omtrent lig med toppen af ​​Akropolis i Athen, og bygningenes størrelse er blevet bestemt af øens størrelse. Som i Athen er jorden besat af et hovedtempel af moderat størrelse og flere underordnede kapeller. Perfekt nåde, udsøgt andel, mest varieret og lunefuld gruppering, her indtager massivitetens sted, så udlån til egyptiske danner en uregelmæssighed af behandling, der er næsten gotisk, og en lethed, der er næsten græsk.

Og nu får vi et glimt af en indre forgård, af en anden propylon, af en søjleportik derude, mens vi ser op til de kolossale basrelieffer over vores hoveder, vi ser de sædvanlige mystiske former for konger og guder, kronet, tronet, tilbedt og tilbad. Disse skulpturer, der ved første øjekast så ikke mindre perfekte ud end tårnene, viser sig at være lige så møjsommeligt lemlæstede som Denderahs. Høghovedet til Horus og kohovedet i Hathor er her og der undsluppet ødelæggelse, men de menneskelige ansigter er bogstaveligt talt & quotsans øjne, sans næse, sans ører, sans alt. & Quot

Vi går ind i den indre forgård-en uregelmæssig firkant, der er omsluttet mod øst af en åben søjlegang, mod vest af et kapel foran med Hathor-hovedede søjler og på nordsiden og sydsiden af ​​den anden og første propylon. I denne firkant råder en klosterlig stilhed. Den blå himmel brænder over - skyggerne sover nedenunder - en øm tusmørke ligger om vores fødder. Inde i kapellet sover der evig dysterhed. Det blev bygget af Ptolemaios Euergetes II, og er en af ​​den rækkefølge, som Champollion gav navnet Mammisi. Det er et meget nysgerrigt sted, dedikeret til Hathor og erindringsmærke for Horus 'pleje. På de sorte vægge indenfor, svagt synlige af det svage lys, der kæmper gennem skærm og døråbning, ser vi Isis, konen og søsteren til Osiris, der fødte Horus. På skærmpanelerne udenfor sporer vi historien om hans barndom, uddannelse og vækst. Som en baby ved brystet bliver han ammet i skødet på Hathor, den guddommelige plejemor. Som et lille barn står han ved sin mors knæ og lytter til spillet af en kvindelig harpespiller (vi så en barbenet dreng forleden i Kairo trumme på en harpe med samme form og med lige så mange strenge) som ung sår han korn til ære for Isis og tilbyder en juveleret krave til Hathor. Denne Isis, med sin lange akviline næse, tynde læber og hovmodige aspekt, ligner et af de gratis portrætter, der så ofte blev introduceret blandt templets skulpturer i Egypten. Det kan repræsentere en af ​​de to Cleopatras, der var gift med Ptolemaios Physcon.

To mynde med kraver om halsen er skulpturelle på ydervæggen i et andet lille kapel, der støder op til. Disse ligner også portrætter. Måske var de yndlingshunde hos en eller anden ypperstepræst i Philæ.

Tæt på greyhounds og på det samme vægrum er der indgraveret den berømte kopi af inskriptionen af ​​Rosetta-stenen, der først blev observeret her af Lepsius i 1843 e.Kr. en Champollionist og en franskmand) har så ondt at finde ud af. Man ville have sagt, at det var i en tilstand af mere end normalt god bevarelse.

Som en gengivelse af Rosetta -dekretet er Philæ -versionen imidlertid ufuldstændig. Rosetta-teksten, efter med officiel pompøsitet at have fremlagt sejrene og munifikationen af ​​kongen, Ptolemaios V, den evigtlevende, Egyptens hævner, afsluttes med at ordinere, at optegnelsen heraf skal være indgraveret i hieroglyfiske, demotiske og græske tegn, og oprettet i alle templer i første, anden og tredje klasse i hele imperiet. Brudt og voldsomt, som det er, opfylder den dyrebare sorte basalt1 på British Museum disse betingelser. De tre skrifter er der. Men hos Philæ, selvom de originale hieroglyfiske og demotiske tekster gengives næsten ordret, mangler den uvurderlige græske udskrift. Den findes, som på Rosetta -stenen, i præamblen. Der er plads til det i bunden af ​​tabletten. Vi forestillede os endda, at vi her og der kunne skelne spor af rødt blæk, hvor stregerne skulle komme. Men ikke et ord af det er nogensinde blevet skåret i stenens overflade.

I sig selv er der ikke noget mærkeligt i denne udeladelse, men taget i forbindelse med en præcis lignende udeladelse i en anden indskrift et par meter væk, bliver det til noget mere end en tilfældighed.

Denne anden indskrift er skåret på forsiden af ​​en blok af levende klipper, der udgør en del af fundamentet for det østligste tårn i den anden propylon. Efter at have opregnet visse tildelinger af jord givet til templet af den 7. og 7. ptolemæer, konkluderer den, ligesom den første, ved at bestemme, at denne optegnelse over den kongelige dusør skal være indgraveret i den hieroglyfiske, demotiske og græske: det vil sige, i præstenes gamle hellige skrift, folkets almindelige skrift og hoffets sprog. Men her har billedhuggeren igen ladet sit arbejde stå ufærdigt. Her bryder igen inskriptionen i slutningen af ​​demotikken og efterlader et tomt rum til det tredje transskript. Denne anden undladelse antyder forsætlig forsømmelse, og motivet for en sådan forsømmelse ville ikke være langt at søge. Den dominerende racers tunge har sandsynligvis nok været upopulær blandt de gamle adels- og sakerdotale familier, og det kan meget vel være, at Præstedømmet i Philæ, sikkert i deres fjerne, ensomme ø, ustraffet kunne unddrage sig en klausul, som deres brødre i Delta var forpligtet til at adlyde.

Det følger ikke, at den græske regel var lige så upopulær. Vi har grund til at tro helt anderledes. Erobreren af ​​den persiske invader var i sandhed befrier af Egypten. Alexander genoprettede freden i landet, og Ptolemæerne identificerede sig med folkets interesser. Et dynasti, der ikke kun lettede de fattiges byrder, men respekterede de riges privilegier, der hædrede præstedømmet, gav templerne og tvang tigrisen til at genoprette byttet fra Nilen, kunne næppe undlade at vinde alle klassers valg. Præsterne i Philæ kunne foragte Homers sprog, mens de hædrede efterkommerne af Filip af Makedonien. De kunne naturalisere kongen. De kunne skjule hans navn i hieroglyfisk stavning. De kunne skildre ham i faraoernes traditionelle kjole. De kunne krone ham med den dobbelte krone og repræsentere ham ved at tilbede guderne i hans adoptivland. Men de kunne hverken naturalisere eller skjule sit sprog. Talt eller skrevet, det var en fremmed ting. Skåret i høje steder, stod det for et tjenestemærke. Hvad kunne et konservativt hierarki gøre andet end at afsky og, når det er muligt, ignorere det?

Der er andre skulpturer i denne firkant, som man gerne vil blive hængende over som f.eks. Hovedstæderne i den østlige søjlegang, hvoraf ikke to er ens, og de groteske basrelieffer fra Mammis frise. Af disse er en kvasi-heraldisk gruppe, der repræsenterer den hellige høg, der sidder i midten af ​​et fanformet persea-træ mellem to tilhængere, en af ​​de mest nysgerrige, at tilhængerne er på den ene side en galningsløve og på den anden en Tyfonisk flodhest, der hver tager fat i en saks.

Går vi nu gennem døren til den anden propylon, befinder vi os overfor portiklen - den berømte malede portik, som vi havde set så mange skitser af, at vi fantiserede, at vi allerede vidste det. Denne brugte viden går imidlertid ikke på noget i nærvær af virkeligheden, og vi er lige så overraskede, som om vi var de første rejsende, der satte deres fod inden for disse fortryllede områder.

For her er et sted, hvor tiden synes at have stået lige så stille som i det udødelige palads, hvor alt gik i søvn i hundrede år. Basreliefferne på væggene, de indviklede malerier på lofterne, farverne på hovedstæderne er utroligt friske og perfekte. Disse udsøgte hovedstæder har længe været rejsendes undren og glæde i Egypten. De studeres alle ud fra naturlige former - fra lotus i knop og blomst, papyrus og håndflade. Konventionelle med fuldstændig dygtighed er de på samme tid så rimeligt proportioneret med søjlernes højde og omkreds, så de giver en struktur af vidunderlig lethed til hele strukturen. Men frem for alt er det med farven - farven opfattet i den ømme og patetiske minor af Watteau og Lancret og Greuze - at man er mest fascineret. Af disse sarte halvtoner formidler faxen i & quotGrammar of Ornament & quot ikke den fjerneste idé. Hver farvetone er blødgjort, blandet, nedbrudt. De lyserøde er koralline, de grønne er dæmpet med verditer, de blå er af en grønlig turkis, som den vestlige halvdel af en efterårlig aftenhimmel.

Senere, da vi vendte tilbage til Philæ fra den anden grå stær, dedikerede forfatteren den bedste del af tre dage til at foretage en grundig undersøgelse af et hjørne af denne portik tålmodigt, der matchede de subtile variationer af farvetone, og forsøgte at mestre hemmeligheden ved deres kombination . Det vedlagte træsnit kan ikke gøre mere end at gengive formerne.

Arkitektonisk set er denne domstol ulig enhver, vi endnu har set, ganske lille og åben for himlen i midten, som atriumet i et romersk hus. Det således indrømmede lys lyser over hovedet, ligger i en firkantet plet på jorden nedenfor og reflekteres over loftets afbildede fordybninger. I den øverste ende, hvor søjlerne står to dybe, var der oprindeligt en interkolonnær skærm. De ru sider af søjlerne viser, hvor forbindelsesblokkene er revet væk. Fortovet er også blevet trukket op af skattesøgere, og jorden er overstrøet med ødelagte plader og fragmenter af knust gesims.

Dette er de eneste tegn på ødelæggelse - tegn, der ikke spores af tidens finger, men af ​​spoilerens hånd. Så frisk, så fair er alt det andet, at vi er i stand til at snyde os selv et øjeblik i troen på, at det, vi ser, er arbejde ikke ødelagt, men arresteret. Disse spalter, afhængig af det, er endnu ufærdige. Det belægning er ved at blive relay. Det ville ikke overraske os at finde murerne her i morgen formiddag eller billedhuggeren med hammer og mejsel, der bærer det bånd af lotusknopper og bier. Langt vanskeligere er det at tro, at de alle ramte arbejde for altid for omkring to og tyve århundreder siden.

Here and there, where the foundations have been disturbed, one sees that the columns are constructed of sculptured blocks, the fragments of some earlier Temple while, at a height of about six feet from the ground, a Greek cross cut deep into the side of the shaft stamps upon each pillar the seal of Christian worship.

For the Copts who choked the colonnades and courtyards with their hovels seized also on the Temples. Some they pulled down for building material others they appropriated. We can never know how much they destroyed but two large convents on the eastern bank a little higher up the river, and a small basilica at the north end of the island, would seem to have been built with the magnificent masonry of the southern quay, as well as with blocks taken from a structure which once occupied the south-eastern corner of the great colonnade. As for this beautiful painted portico, they turned it into a chapel. A little rough-hewn niche in the east wall, and an overturned credence-table fashioned from a single block of limestone, mark the sight of the chancel. The Arabs, taking this last for a gravestone, have pulled it up, according to their usual practice, in search of treasure buried with the dead. On the front of the credence-table, and over the niche which some unskilled but pious hand has decorated with rude Byzantine carvings, the Greek cross is again conspicuous.

The religious history of Philæ is so curious that it is a pity it should not find an historian. It shared with Abydos and some other places the reputation of being the burial-place of Osiris. It was called "The Holy Island." Its very soil was sacred. None might land upon its shores, or even approach them too nearly, without permission. To obtain that permission and perform the pilgrimage to the tomb of the God, was to the pious Egyptian what the Mecca pilgrimage is to the pious Mussulman of to-day. The most solemn oath to which he could give utterance was "By Him who sleeps in Philæ."

When and how the island first came to be regarded as the resting-place of the most beloved of the Gods does not appear but its reputation for sanctity seems to have been of comparatively modern date. It probably rose into importance as Abydos declined. Herodotus, who is supposed to have gone as far as Elephantine, made minute enquiry concerning the river above that point and he relates that the Cataract was in the occupation of "Ethiopian nomads." He, however, makes no mention of Philæ or its Temples. This omission on the part of one who, wherever he went, sought the society of the priests and paid particular attention to the religious observances of the country, shows that either Herodotus never got so far, or that the island had not yet become the home of the Osirian mysteries. Four hundred years later, Diodorus Siculus describes it as the holiest of holy places while Strabo, writing about the same time, relates that Abydos had then dwindled to a mere village. It seems possible, therefore, that at some period subsequent to the time of Herodotus and prior to that of Diodorus or Strabo, the priests of Isis may have migrated from Abydos to Philæ in which case there would have been a formal transfer not only of the relics of Osiris, but of the sanctity which had attached for ages to their original resting-place. Nor is the motive for such an exodus wanting. The ashes of the God were no longer safe at Abydos. Situate in the midst of a rich corn country on the high road to Thebes, no city south of Memphis lay more exposed to the hazards of war. Cambyses had already passed that way. Other invaders might follow. To seek beyond the frontier that security which might no longer be found in Egypt, would seem therefore to be the obvious course of a priestly guild devoted to its trust. This, of course, is mere conjecture, to be taken for what it may be worth. The decadence of Abydos coincides, at all events, with the growth of Philæ and it is only by help of some such assumption that one can understand how a new site should have suddenly arisen to such a height of holiness.

The earliest Temple here, of which only a small propylon remains, would seem to have been built by the last of the native Pharaohs (Nectanebo II, B.C. 361) but the high and palmy days of Philæ belong to the period of Greek and Roman rule. It was in the time of the Ptolemies that the Holy Island became the seat of a Sacred College and the stronghold of a powerful hierarchy. Visitors from all parts of Egypt, travellers from distant lands, court functionaries from Alexandria charged with royal gifts, came annually in crowds to offer their vows at the tomb of the God. They have cut their names by hundreds all over the principal Temple, just like tourists of to-day. Some of these antique autographs are written upon and across those of preceding visitors while others – palimpsests upon stone, so to say – having been scratched on the yet unsculptured surface of doorway and pylon, are seen to be older than the hieroglyphic texts which were afterwards carved over them. These inscriptions cover a period of several centuries, during which time successive Ptolemies and Cæsars continued to endow the island. Rich in lands, in temples, in the localisation of a great national myth, the Sacred College was yet strong enough in A.D. 379 to oppose a practical resistance to the Edict of Theodosius. At a word from Constantinople, the whole land of Egypt was forcibly Christianised. Priests were forbidden under pain of death to perform the sacred rites. Hundreds of temples were plundered. Forty thousand statues of divinities were destroyed at one fell swoop. Meanwhile, the brotherhood of Philæ, entrenched behind the Cataract and the desert, survived the degradation of their order and the ruin of their immemorial faith. It is not known with certainty for how long they continued to transmit their hereditary privileges but two of the above-mentioned votive inscriptions show that so late as A.D. 453 the priestly families were still in occupation of the island, and still celebrating the mysteries of Osiris and Isis. There even seems reason for believing that the ancient worship continued to hold its own till the end of the sixth century, at which time, according to an inscription at Kalabsheh, of which I shall have more to say hereafter, Silco, "King of all the Ethiopians," himself apparently a Christian, twice invaded Lower Nubia, where God, he says gave him the victory, and the vanquished swore to him "by their idols" to observe the terms of peace.

There is nothing in this record to show that the invaders went beyond Tafa, the ancient Taphis, which is twenty-seven miles above Philæ but it seems reasonable to conclude that so long as the old gods yet reigned in any part of Nubia, the island sacred to Osiris would maintain its traditional sanctity.

At length, however, there must have come a day when for the last time the tomb of the God was crowned with flowers, and the "Lamentations of Isis" were recited on the threshold of the sanctuary. And there must have come another day when the cross was carried in triumph up those painted colonnades, and the first Christian mass was chanted in the precincts of the heathen. One would like to know how these changes were brought about whether the old faith died out for want of worshippers, or was expelled with clamour and violence. But upon this point, history is vague and the graffiti of the time are silent. We only know for certain that the old went out, and the new came in and that where the resurrected Osiris was wont to be worshipped according to the most sacred mysteries of the Egyptian ritual, the resurrected Christ was now adored after the simple fashion of the primitive Coptic Church.

And now the Holy Island, near which it was believed no fish had power to swim or bird to fly, and upon whose soil no pilgrim might set foot without permission, became all at once the common property of a populous community. Courts, colonnades, even terraced roofs, were overrun with little crude-brick dwellings. A small basilica was built at the lower end of the island. The portico of the Great Temple was converted into a Chapel, and dedicated to Saint Stephen. "This good work," says a Greek inscription traced there by some monkish hand of the period, "was done by the well-beloved of God, the Abbot-Bishop Theodore." Of this same Theodore, whom another inscription styles "the very holy father," we know nothing but his name.

The walls hereabout are full of these fugitive records. "The cross has conquered, and will ever conquer," writes one anonymous scribe. Others have left simple signatures as, for instance – "I, Joseph," in one place, and "I, Theodosius of Nubia," in another. Here and there an added word or two give a more human interest to the autograph. So, in the pathetic scrawl of one who writes himself "Johannes, a slave," we seem to read the story of a life in a single line. These Coptic signatures are all followed by the sign of the cross.

The foundations of the little basilica, with its apse towards the east and its two doorways to the west, are still traceable. We set a couple of our sailors one day to clear away the rubbish at the lower end of the nave, and found the font – a rough stone basin at the foot of a broken column.

It is not difficult to guess what Philæ must have been like in the days of Abbot Theodore and his flock. The little basilica, we may be sure, had a cluster of mud domes upon the roof and I fancy, somehow, that the Abbot and his monks installed themselves in that row of cells on the east side of the great colonnade, where the priests of Isis dwelt before them. As for the village, it must have been just like Luxor – swarming with dusky life noisy with the babble of children, the cackling of poultry, and the barking of dogs sending up thin pillars of blue smoke at noon echoing to the measured chime of the prayer-bell at morn and even and sleeping at night as soundly as if no ghost-like, mutilated Gods were looking on mournfully in the moonlight.

The Gods are avenged now. The creed which dethroned them is dethroned. Abbot Theodore and his successors, and the religion they taught, and the simple folk that listened to their teaching, are gone and forgotten. For the church of Christ, which still languishes in Egypt, is extinct in Nubia. It lingered long though doubtless in some such degraded and barbaric form as it wears in Abyssinia to this day. But it was absorbed by Islamism at last and only a ruined convent perched here and there upon some solitary height, or a few crosses rudely carved on the walls of a Ptolemaic Temple, remain to show that Christianity once passed that way.

The mediæval history of Philæ is almost a blank. The Arabs, having invaded Egypt towards the middle of the seventh century, were long in the land before they began to cultivate literature and for more than three hundred years history is silent. It is not till the tenth century that we once again catch a fleeting glimpse of Philæ. The frontier is now removed to the head of the Cataract. The Holy Island has ceased to be Christian ceased to be Nubian contains a mosque and garrison, and is the last fortified outpost of the Moslems. It still retains, and apparently continues to retain for some centuries longer, its ancient Egyptian name. That is to say (P being as usual converted into B) the Pilak of the hieroglyphic inscriptions becomes in Arabic Belak which is much more like the original than the Philæ of the Greeks.

The native Christians, meanwhile, would seem to have relapsed into a state of semi-barbarism. They make perpetual inroads upon the Arab frontier, and suffer perpetual defeat. Battles are fought tribute is exacted treaties are made and broken. Towards the close of the thirteenth century, their king being slain and their churches plundered, they lose one-fourth of their territory, including all that part which borders uppon Assûan. Those who remain Christians are also condemned to pay an annual capitation tax, in addition to the usual tribute of dates, cotton, slaves, and camels. After this we may conclude that they accepted Islamism from the Arabs, as they had accepted Osiris from the Egyptians and Christ from the Romans. As Christians, at all events, we hear of them no more for Christianity in Nubia perished root and branch, and not a Copt, it is said, may now be found above the frontier.

Philæ was still inhabited in A.D. 1799, when a detachment of Desaix's army under General Beliard took possession of the island, and left an inscription on the soffit of the doorway of the great pylon to commemorate the passage of the Cataract. Denon, describing the scene with his usual vivacity, relates how the natives first defied and then fled from the French flinging themselves into the river, drowning such of their children as were too young to swim, and escaping into the desert. They appear at this time to have been mere savages – the women ugly and sullen the men naked, agile, quarrelsome, and armed not only with swords and spears, but with matchlock guns, which they used to keep up "a brisk and well-directed fire."

Their abandonment of the island probably dates from this time for when Burckhardt went up in A.D. 1813, he found it, as we found it to this day, deserted and solitary. One poor old man – if indeed he still lives – is now the one inhabitant of Philæ and I suspect he only crosses over from Biggeh in the tourist-season. He calls himself, with or without authority, the guardian of the island sleeps in a nest of rags and straw in a sheltered corner behind the great Temple and is so wonderfully wizened and bent and knotted up, that nothing of him seems quite alive except his eyes. We gave him fifty copper paras for a parting present when on our way back to Egypt and he was so oppressed by the consciousness of wealth, that he immediately buried his treasure and implored us to tell no one what we had given him.

With the French siege and the flight of the native population closes the last chapter of the local history of Philæ. The Holy Island has done henceforth with wars of creeds or kings. It disappears from the domain of history, and enters the domain of science. To have contributed to the discovery of the hieroglyphic alphabet is a high distinction and in no sketch of Philæ, however slight, should the obelisk that furnished Champollion with the name of Cleopatra be allowed to pass unnoticed. This monument, second only to the Rosetta Stone in point of philological interest, was carried off by Mr. W. Bankes, the discoverer of the first Tablet of Abydos, and is now in Dorsetshire. Its empty socket and its fellow obelisk, mutilated and solitary, remain in situ at the southern extremity of the island.

And now – for we have lingered over long in the portico – it is time we glanced at the interior of the Temple. So we go in at the central door, beyond which open some nine or ten halls and side-chambers leading, as usual, to the sanctuary. Here all is dark, earthy, oppressive. In rooms unlighted by the faintest gleam from without, we find smoke-blackened walls covered with elaborate bas-reliefs. Mysterious passages, pitch-dark, thread the thickness of the walls and communicate by means of trap-like openings with vaults below. In the sanctuary lies an overthrown altar while in the corner behind it stands the very niche in which Strabo must have seen that poor sacred hawk of Ethiopia which he describes as "sick, and nearly dead."

But in this Temple dedicated not only to Isis, but to the memory of Osiris and the worship of Horus their son, there is one chamber which we may be quite sure was shown neither to Strabo nor Diodorus, nor to any stranger of alien faith, be his repute or station what it might a chamber holy above all others holier even than the sanctuary – the chamber sacred to Osiris. We, however, unrestricted, unforbidden, are free to go where we list and our books tell us that this mysterious chamber is somewhere overhead. So, emerging once again into the daylight, we go up a well-worn staircase leading out upon the roof.

This roof is an intricate, up-and-down place and the room is not easy to find. It lies at the bottom of a little flight of steps – a small stone cell some twelve feet square, lighted only from the doorway. The walls are covered with sculptures representing the shrines, the mummification, and the resurrection of Osiris. These shrines, containing each some part of his body, are variously fashioned.

His head, for instance, rests on a Nilometer his arm, surmounted by a head, is sculptured on a stela, in shape resembling a high-shouldered bottle, surmounted by one of the head-dresses peculiar to the God his legs and feet lie at full length in a pylon-shaped mausoleum.

Upon another shrine stands the mitre-shaped crown which he wears as Judge of the Lower World. Isis and Nephthys keep guard over each shrine. In a lower frieze we see the mummy of the god laid upon a bier, with the four so-called canopic jars ranged underneath. A little farther on, he lies in state, surrounded by lotus buds on tall stems, figurative of growth, or returning life. Finally, he is depicted lying on a couch his limbs reunited his head, left hand, and left foot upraised, as in the act of returning to consciousness. Nephthys, in the guise of a winged genius, fans him with the breath of life. Isis, with outstretched arms, stands at his feet and seems to be calling him back to her embraces. The scene represents, in fact, that supreme moment when Isis pours forth her passionate invocations, and Osiris is resuscitated by virtue of the songs of the divine sisters.

Ill-modelled and ill-cut as they are, there is a clownish naturalness about these little sculptures which lifts them above the conventional dead level of ordinary Ptolemaic work. The figures tell their tale intelligibly. Osiris seems really struggling to rise, and the action of Isis expresses clearly enough the intention of the artist. Although a few heads have been mutilated and the surface of the stone is somewhat degraded, the subjects are by no means in a bad state of preservation. In the accompanying sketches, nothing has been done to improve the defective drawing or repair the broken outlines of the originals. Osiris in one has lost his foot, and in another his face the hands of Isis are as shapeless as those of a bran doll and the naiveté of the treatment verges throughout upon caricature. But the interest attaching to them is altogether apart from the way in which they are executed.

And now, returning to the roof, it is pleasant to breathe the fresher air that comes with sunset – to see the island, in shape like an ancient Egyptian shield, lying mapped out beneath one's feet. From here, we look back upon the way we have come, and forward to the way we are going. Northward lies the Cataract – a network of islets with flashes of river between. Southward, the broad current comes on in one smooth, glassy sheet, unbroken by a single rapid. How eagerly we turn our eyes that way for yonder lie Abou Simbel and all the mysterious lands beyond the Cataracts! But we cannot see far, for the river curves away grandly to the right, and vanishes behind a range of granite hills. A similar chain hems in the opposite bank while high above the palm-groves fringing the edge of the shore stand two ruined convents on two rocky prominences, like a couple of castles on the Rhine. On the east bank opposite, a few mud houses and a group of superb carob trees mark the site of a village, the greater part of which lies hidden among palms. Behind this village opens a vast sand valley, like an arm of the sea from which the waters have retreated. The old channel along which we rode the other day went ploughing that way straight across from Philæ. Last of all, forming the western side of this fourfold view, we have the island of Biggeh – rugged, mountainous, and divided from Philæ by so narrow a channel that every sound from the native village on the opposite steep is as audible as though it came from the courtyard at our feet. That village is built in and about the ruins of a tiny Ptolemaic Temple, of which only a screen and doorway and part of a small propylon remain. We can see a woman pounding coffee on the threshold of one of the huts, and some children scrambling about the rocks in pursuit of a wandering turkey. Catching sight of us up here on the roof of the temple, they come whooping and scampering down to the water-side, and with shrill cries importune us for bakhshîsh. Unless the stream is wider than it looks, one might almost pitch a piastre into their outstretched hands.

Mr. Hay, it is said, discovered a secret passage of solid masonry tunnelled under the river from island to island. The entrance on this side was from a shaft in the Temple of Isis. We are not told how far Mr. Hay was able to penetrate in the direction of Biggeh but the passage would lead up, most probably, to the little Temple opposite.

Perhaps the most entirely curious and unaccustomed features in all this scene are the mountains. They are like none that any of us have seen in our diverse wanderings. Other mountains are homogeneous, and thrust themselves up from below in masses suggestive of primitive disruption and upheaval. These seem to lie upon the surface foundationless rock loosely piled on rock, boulder on boulder like stupendous cairns, the work of demigods and giants. Here and there, on shelf or summit, a huge rounded mass, many tons in weight, hangs poised capriciously. Most of these blocks, I am persuaded, would "log," if put to the test.

But for a specimen stone, commend me to yonder amazing monolith down by the water's edge opposite, near the carob trees and the ferry. Though but a single block of orange-red granite, it looks like three and the Arabs, seeing in it some fancied resemblance to an arm-chair, call it Pharaoh's throne. Rounded and polished by primæval floods, and emblazoned with royal cartouches of extraordinary size, it seems to have attracted the attention of pilgrims of all ages. Kings, conquerors, priests, travellers, have covered it with records of victories, of religious festivals, of prayers, and offerings, and acts of adoration. Some of these are older by a thousand years and more than the temples on the island opposite.

Such, roughly summed up, are the fourfold surroundings of Philæ – the cataract, the river, the desert, the environing mountains. The Holy Island – beautiful, lifeless, a thing of the far past, with all its wealth of sculpture, painting, history, poetry, tradition – sleeps, or seems to sleep, in the midst.

It is one of the world's famous landscapes, and it deserves its fame. Every sketcher sketches it every traveller describes it. Yet it is just one of those places of which the objective and subjective features are so equally balanced that it bears putting neither into words nor colours. The sketcher must perforce leave out the atmosphere of association which informs his subject and the writer's description is at best no better than a catalogue raisonnée.


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 & her son Horus, the beautiful arch of Hadrian, the Temple of Hathor and the Kiosk of Trajan which is also known as Pharaoh's Bed. The kiosk is rectangular in shape & surrounded by 14 columns with floral capitals. This is the most graceful of the many elegant buildings on the island, and the one for which Philae is most remembered.

The huge entrance pylon of Isis temple is 18 m high and 45 m wide. Each of the 2 towers is decorated with mighty figures of Neos Dionysos, Ptolemy XII, depicted as pharaoh and wearing the Double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt Two granite lions guard the entrance, they are of late Roman times and reflect Byzantine influence. Passing through the gateway, we come to the Great Court. To the right is a colonnade and priests? kvartaler. To the left is the Birth House which is an elegant little building. The colonnade surrounding the Birth House is completely decorated. The Second Pylon of the temple is smaller in size than the entrance one and is not aligned with it.

The Temple of Isis comprises a tiny open court, hypostyle hall, an ante-chamber and a sanctuary. The walls have fine reliefs of the Ptolemaic kings and Roman emperors repeating traditional ritual scenes relating to offerings to the Egyptian gods, staking out the temple and consecrating the sacred area. The Hypostyle hall is separated from the court by screen walls between the 1st row of columns and adored with coloured relief. In Christian period the hall was converted into a church, the wall reliefs were covered with stucco and painted. Christian crosses were chiseled in the walls and on some of the columns.


The Temple of Isis at Philae

The Temple of Isis originally sat on the island of Philae in the middle of the Nile River in the southern part of the ancient Egyptian empire. The temple was the built by followers of the cult of Isis, a goddess often referred to as the mother of the gods. Its walls portray scenes of the resurrection of her husband Osiris, his later mummification, and the birthing of their son Horus, one of the most prominent gods in the ancient Egyptian pantheon.

The original island of Philae was considered sacred due it being one of the many legendary burial places of Osiris, a god of fertility, death and rebirth. Since only the religiously devout were allowed to live there, it was referred to as “the Unapproachable” by ancient Romans who later conquered and occupied Egypt. It was said that fish never swam close and fowl refused to fly above the sacred land. While remaining a holy site, the island itself also functioned as part a major trade route and was often visited by merchants and those vacationing on pilgrimage.

Although shrines dedicated to the worship of Isis were built earlier on the island, major construction of the temple was carried out by Ptolemy II and later his successor Ptolemy III, whose reigns lasted from 285-221 BC. Later Roman leaders Augustus and Tiberius continued to decorate the site from 27-37 BC, but their works were never completed. A western gate was added to the complex by the Romans in between 117 AD and 138 AD. Following the rise of Christianity, the temple was officially closed in 537 AD and rededicated to the worship of Saint Stephen.

At the very beginning of the 1900s, the temple complex was flooded due to the construction of the Aswan Low Dam. By the 1960s, a third of Philae’s ancient structures were permanently submerged, and underwater damage stripped the site of its vegetation and colorful reliefs. In 1960, UNESCO began a 20-year rescue project that lowered the inundation and saw around 50,000 stones moved to its current site on nearby Agilkia Island where you can still visit and explore the temple to this day.

Other Neat Stuff

New archaeological finds in Egypt continue to astonish

Important discoveries out of Egypt have again been flooding the global news as archaeologists continue to explore beneath the sands of the Saqqara necropolis near Cairo, which is home to temples, burial grounds, and pyramids of the once-mighty ancient empire. Over the last year, researchers have unearthed at least 210 sarcophagi not touched since their burial two millennia ago, including the coffin of Queen Neit, [&hellip]

More Unsealed Mummies Discovered at Saqqara

If you’ve ever wandered around the rocky grounds of the Saqqara royal necropolis, the site of the Pharaoh Djoser’s famous Step Pyramid just south of the most famous pyramids at Giza, you’ve likely walked above hundreds of undiscovered treasures, mummies, and noble tombs still hidden in the ground beneath your feet. Frequent readers of the [&hellip]

Step Pyramid Interior Reopens to the Public

The Step Pyramid of Djoser at Sakkara is one of the most unique pyramids in Egypt and the oldest pyramid still standing anywhere in the world. While most of the other famous pyramids nearby at Giza and Dashur have been generally open for the public to go inside of them to explore the narrow passageways [&hellip]

Mummies on the Move

There have been quite a few recent developments about mummies in Egypt lately, including the largest discovery of mummies in over a century near Luxor, which was followed by the eruption of a minor a controversy over where those mummies will now be housed (national officials prefer the new Grand Egyptian Museum while local Luxor [&hellip]

Pet Mummies

We all know that the ancient Egyptians mummified the dead bodies of their loved ones with elaborate rituals and scientific rigor, whether they were a revered pharaoh or, if non-royal Egyptians could afford it, a beloved family member. But even in modern times, we can understand that human love and affection extend beyond just our [&hellip]

New Major Mummy Discovery Unveiled in Luxor

The largest new discovery of ancient Egyptian mummies in over a century has been revealed to the public by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities at a ceremony in the southern city of Luxor, resting place to hundreds of ancient pharaohs, other royalty, high court officials, and evidently more middle class folks as well. The discovery, which [&hellip]

Fun Facts about the new Grand Egyptian Museum

When it is completed, the Grand Egyptian Museum just outside of Cairo on the Giza Plateau (and next door to the Pyramids) will not only be the new crown jewel of Egypt, but it will also be one of the largest, most modern, and most renowned museums in the entire world. For those interested in [&hellip]

New Discovery Makes Pharaohs Look Modern, Sort Of

A team of archaeologists work in northern Egypt have discovered the site of an ancient settlement that makes even the Pharaohs and the Pyramids look young, relatively speaking. The discovery was made in the town of Tel el-Samara, which is located north of Cairo in the fertile Nile Delta region. Egypt’s most famous pyramids at [&hellip]

Tracing the Physical Legacy of Cleopatra

On this year’s International Women’s Day today, Egypt Travel Blog would like to pay homage to one of ancient Egypt’s most famous figures and a woman whose life and legacy are worthy of remembrance. Cleopatra is one of the most famous women in all of human history. She was a beloved queen of an ancient [&hellip]

New Discoveries

One of the amazing things about Egypt is that the entire country is still an active archaeological site. With over five thousand years of history under its sands, the slice that we know about and have uncovered so far is by no means all there is to be discovered. When you visit the Pyramids couples, [&hellip]

Ancient Knowledge and Modern Remembrance

It’s National Library Week in the United States, so it’s as good of a time as any to talk about one of the world’s most famous libraries – the ancient Library of Alexandria. After the death of Alexander the Great and the founding of the Ptolemaic Dynasty in Egypt, the Library of Alexandria was created [&hellip]

Visiting the Pyramids of Giza

Egypt’s most popular historical site, and one of the most well known the world over, is of course the Pyramids, the most famous of which are located just outside of Cairo. The greater Cairo area is a sprawling metropolis of nearly 20 million people spread out over dozens of suburbs on both sides of the [&hellip]

Luxor -templet

Despite its prominent name, Luxor Temple is actually the second most famous temple in Luxor behind the much larger and greater Temple of Karnak just down the road. However, Luxor Temple has several unique features of its own that merit a visit and some independent attention. The first and most obvious aspect of Luxor Temple [&hellip]

The Valley of the Queens

The Valley of the Queens in the area of Luxor is a lesser visited royal necropolis in which various family members of several dynasties of pharaohs were laid to rest. As the name suggests, many queens were buried here in elaborate tombs befitting their status and wealth, but many princesses and even princes had dedicated [&hellip]

World’s Oldest Haute Couture

Anyone a fan of vintage fashion? How about 5000 year old couture? One of the neat things about Egypt is that its advanced civilization was good at both recording and preserving its own history. Unlike most other of the world’s great ancient civilizations whose moist climates caused the disintegration of its remnants thousands of years [&hellip]


Temple of Isis (Philae)

The Temple of Isis at Philae, now located at the Agilkia Island, was built to honour the goddess Isis, this was the last temple built in the classical Egyptian style. Construction began around 690 BCE, and it was one of the last outposts where the goddess was worshipped.

The temple complex was dismantled and moved to Agilkia Island as part of the UNESCO Nubia Campaign project, protecting this and other complexes before the 1970 completion of the Aswan High Dam.

The first pylon consists of two 60 foot towers with a gate between them. There are grooves cut into each side of the pylon to support flag poles. In front of the main gateway to the first pylon stand two Roman style lions carved from pink granite. Parts of this pylon date back as early as to the time of Nectanebo I. At the base of the first pylon a series of small personified Nile figures present offerings.

The Second pylon is approximately 105 foot wide and 40 foot high and is not set parallel to the First Pylon. A series of small steps lead to the gateway between the two towers. The pylon towers depict scenes of Pharoahs making offerings to the gods. A staircase in the western tower leads to the roof and the “Osirian Chambers”. Both towers have grooves for flagpoles just like those on the First Pylon.

The Mammisi (birth-house) is located on the western flank of the inner courtyard. It is surrounded on three sides by a colonnade of floral topped columns each crowned with a sistrum and Hathor-headed capital. The Mammisi (birth house) was a common feature of Ptolemaic temples and the example on Philae is similar in layout and decoration to examples at Dendera and Edfu.

On the eastern side of the inner courtyard (opposite the Mammisi) there is a colonnade with access to a few small storerooms and in the north the Second Pylon provides access to the main structure of the Temple of Isis.

Forecourt or the 'dromos' is the large, paved, trapezoidal area in front of the Temple of Isis. This forecourt is flanked by two colonnades on its eastern and western ends. The court, perhaps inspired by Hellenistic public spaces was created under Ptolemy VI or VIII and destined to receive visitors during festivities.

The 77 m long western colonnade with 32 columns and 12 openings in the rear wall was decorated under Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, and Nero and served as a pronaos of the sanctuaries located on the neighboring abaton.

The 42 meter long, largely unfinished first eastern colonnade with 16 columns functioned as a common vestibule for the sanctuaries located behind the rear wal, which were accessible through six doors.

Beyond the hypostyle hall there lie three vestibules, leading into the Inner Sanctuary of Isis.

Originally two granite shrines stood here, one containing a gold statue of Isis and another containing the barque in which the statue travelled, but these were long ago moved to Florence and Paris, and only the stone pedestal for the barque remains, inscribed with the names of Ptolemy III and his wife, Berenice.

List of site sources >>>


Se videoen: Kerri Powers at Isis Music Hall (Januar 2022).