Sunday, May 22, 2011

Page 9: Introduction: Temple, Land and Cosmos

The forest of columns with papyrus-bud capitals supporting the roof of the Karnak's Great Hypostyle Hall.
the wealth of ancient Egypt itself were brought to the ancient Egyptian temples. The ancient Egyptian texts describe - and archaeology confirms - the magnificence of some of the great wonders created on behalf of the Egyptian gods. Vast edifices set within even vaster estates, the largest of the ancient Egyptian temples grew into institutions which rivalled, and sometimes even came close to surpassing, the power of the pharaoh himself (check Akhenaten's story).

ALthough the physical treasures of these great monuments vanished as history enveloped them, many of the architectural wonders of ancient Egypt's temples are still extant. Much of their art remains to impress and to instruct us, and temple texts still inform us of wide-ranging historical matters and of the deepest spiritual and philosophical concerns of the ancient Egyptian mind. Shattered though they may be, as remnants of profound religious machinery, the ancient Egyptian temples remain - and are still accessible - as eternal symbols in stone.

Picture (up right): Relief of Sethos I from the Great Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Amun at Karnak. Sethos and Ramesses II decorated the hall, and their military campaigns in Syria and  Palestine are shown on the exteerior walls.
The prostrate head of Ramesses II, from one of his colossal statues in the Temple of Luxor . Ramesses, together with Amenophis III, was largely responsible for building much of the temple that we see today.