An image of Mandulis from the Temple of Kalabsha in Nubia
An image of Mandulis from the Temple of Kalabsha in Nubia

Mandulis was a god of ancient Nubia also worshipped in Egypt. The name Mandulis is the Greek form of Merul or Melul, a non-Egyptian name. The centre of his cult was the Temple of Kalabsha at Talmis, but he also had a temple dedicated to him at Ajuala.[1]

Egyptian hieroglyphs

The worship of Mandulis was unknown in Egypt under the native Pharaohs, the Temple of Kalabsha being constructed under the Ptolemies (305 to 30 BC). The temple was popular during the Roman period. It was expanded under the emperors Augustus (27 BCAD 14) and Vespasian (AD 69–79). A series of dated inscriptions can be found in the temple from the reign of Vespasian down to AD 248 or 249. In one of these he is identified as the "Sun, the all-seeing master, king of all, all-powerful Aion."[2]

Besides his own temples at Kalabsha and Ajuala, Mandulis was worshiped in the Temple of Petesi and Pihor at Dendur and at Philae. An inscription at Dendur identifies him as the "great god, lord of Talmis", clearly indicating the centre of his cult. At Philae, he is depicted on a wall next to the last known hieroglyphic inscription, which was dedicated to him in AD 394.[1]

Mandulis was often depicted wearing an elaborate headdress of ram's horns, cobras and plumes surmounted by sun discs. He was sometimes shown in the form of a hawk, but with a human head.[3]


  1. ^ a b Nock 1934, p. 53.
  2. ^ Potter 2012.
  3. ^ Oakes 2003, p. 209.

Further reading

  • Nock, Arthur Darby (1934). "A Vision of Mandulis Aion". The Harvard Theological Review. 27 (1): 53–104. JSTOR 1508171.
  • Oakes, Lorna (2003). Pyramids, Temples and Tombs of Ancient Egypt: An Illustrated Atlas of the Land of the Pharaohs. Hermes House.
  • Potter, David S. (2012). "Mandulis". In Simon Hornblower; Antony Spawforth (eds.). The Oxford Classical Dictionary (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.