Mortuary temples (or funerary temples) were temples that were erected adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, royal tombs in Ancient Egypt. The temples were designed to commemorate the reign of the Pharaoh under whom they were constructed, as well as for use by the king's cult after death. Some refer to these temples as a cenotaph.[1] These temples were also used to make sacrifices of food and animals.

A mortuary temple is categorized as a monument.

History

Deir el-Bahari

Mortuary temples were built around pyramids in the Old Kingdom and Middle Kingdom. However, once the New Kingdom pharaohs began constructing tombs in the Valley of the Kings, they built their mortuary temples separately. These New Kingdom temples were called "mansions of millions of years" by the Egyptians.[2]

The mortuary temples were also used as a resting place for the boat of Amun at the time of the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, during which the cult statue of the deity visited the west bank of Thebes.

It was a part of the king's job to ensure that these mortuary temples would be built for the gods. The Egyptian word for temple even means "gods house". The king wanted to build his mortuary temple so that he could continue to carry out his cult even after he died.[3]

Some of the first mortuary temples were built with mud, bricks, or reeds; these temples were discovered through artwork including pottery. Mortuary temples were not made out of stone until the age of the Middle Kingdom.[3]

The first mortuary temple was built for Amenhotep I of the 18th Dynasty during the New Kingdom. Several other rulers of this dynasty built temples for the same purpose, the best known being those at Deir el-Bahari, where Hatshepsut built beside the funerary temple of Mentuhotep II,[4] and that of Amenhotep III, of which the only major extant remains are the Colossi of Memnon.

The mortuary temple of Hatshesput was built around 1490 B.C. It is the only royal funerary temple from the time period to remain in good condition.[5] Later rulers of the 18th Dynasty either failed to build here at all or, in the case of Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb, their construction was not completed. The 19th Dynasty ruler Seti I constructed his mortuary temple at what is now known as Gurna.[6] Part of his "Glorious temple of Seti Merenptah in the field of Amun which resides at the West of Thebes" was dedicated to his father Ramesses I, whose short reign prevented him from building his own, and was completed by his son Ramesses II.

Ramesses II constructed his own temple, referred to as the Ramesseum (a name given to it by Champollion in 1829): "Temple of a million years of Usermaatre Setepenre which is linked with Thebes-the-Quoted in the Field of Amun, in the West".[7]

Much later, during the 20th Dynasty, Ramesses III constructed his own temple at Medinet Habu.[8]

Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III

Main article: Mortuary Temple of Amenhotep III

This is right outside of where the Mortuary Temple once was
This is right outside of where the Mortuary Temple once was

This was the largest mortuary temple to be built.[9] The construction began during the reign of Amenhotep II and continued to be changed by Amenhotep III. There is evidence that he changed some of it for his daughter Sitamun.[10] The temple had gates, a hall, a courtyard, sphinxes and a list of Amenhotep III's achievements when he was king. The temple is 100m by 600m.

It is believed that this temple was also constructed for celebration hosted by Amenhotep III.[10] One symbolic feature in this temple was its correlation with the floods. It was designed so that all outer courts and halls would flood except for the inner hall. It was designed around their belief of the emergence of the world. When inside, you could see yourself be able to be let out again after the tide went back down.

Discovery and preservation

Scientists began to work on conserving this beautiful temple around the 1950s. It did not go so well, as it is buried in mud, has plants growing around it, and has been vandalized.[11]

This temple was particularly destroyed compared to others because it is so close to the Nile. The temple had been flooded countless times since it was built leading to a lot of damage. In order to prevent more water damage a drainage system was built. This helps to release the saltwater that is hurting this historical site.[9]

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

Main article: Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

The mortuary temple of Hatshepsut was built around 1490 B.C. It is the only royal funerary temple from the time period to remain in good condition.[12] This temple is connected to two others temples: the temple of King Mentuhotep II and the temple of King Thutmose III.

Temple of Hatshepsut
Temple of Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut's temple was inspired by the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II. The queen wanted to build this copy of a temple much grander and right next to it. As queen, she did this to improve her public image.[13] Her steward Senenmut designed the temple for her. He copied the Mentuhotep II temple, but made everything grander. Hatshepsut inscribed her divine conception on the walls of the temple, describing that the god Amun fathered her.

Restoration

A Polish archaeological mission began maintaining this temple in 1968. The temple had been destroys by rocks falling on top of it from the cliffs above, as you can see in the picture of the temple.[14]

Mortuary Temple of Seti I

Main article: Mortuary Temple of Seti I

The 19th Dynasty ruler Seti I constructed his mortuary temple at what is now known as Gurna.[15] This temple is in upper Egypt. This temple was used for the worship of the god Osiris,[16] which is the god of the afterlife.[17]

Temple of Seti
Temple of Seti

Later rulers of the 18th Dynasty either failed to build here at all or, in the case of Tutankhamun, Ay, and Horemheb, their construction was not completed. Part of his "Glorious temple of Seti Merenptah in the field of Amun which resides at the "West of Thebes" was dedicated to his father Ramesses I, whose short reign prevented him from building his own, and was completed by his son Ramesses II.

Design of the temple

This temple was built out of limestone. The courtyard is decorated with scenes from a battle. The temple consists of three entrances, thirty-six pillars, and a grand hypostyle hall, defined by Britannica as an interior space whose roof rests on pillars or columns.[18] This hall is used for worshiping the gods.[16]

Mortuary Temple of Hawara

This temple is right next to the Hawara pyramid. In Late Antiquity (284AD - 700AD) it was considered one of the wonders of the world. This temple has a complicated labyrinth in it. It has been said that you could not enter without a guide, because it is simply too confusing. This temple had twelve main courts with rooms, galleries, and courtyards. The dimensions of the temple were about 120m by 300m.

The temple was discovered by Richard Lepsius around 1840. The area around the temple has been almost completely demolished, but he was able to make many discoveries through portraits.[19]

Ramesses II

Main article: Ramesseum

Ramesses II constructed his own temple, referred to as the Ramesseum (a name given to it by Champollion in 1829): "Temple of a million years of Usermaatre Setepenre which is linked with Thebes-the-Quoted in the Field of Amun, in the West".[20] He built this temple meant for himself after he died.[12] It is located on the west bank of the Nile. The temple has a 20-meter statue of Ramses II.[21] The temple itself is 210 by 178 meters. This was the first temple of its kind to be built out of stone instead of mudbrick.

Temple of Ramesses
Temple of Ramesses

Much later, during the 20th Dynasty, Ramesses III constructed his own temple at Medinet Habu.[10]

This temple has become very deteriorated over time. It is located in the floodplain of the Nile which has led to erosion. Some of the buildings around this temple were also used for stone so much of it was purposefully destroyed.[22]

Restoration

The temple was discovered in 1798 during the Napoleon invasion.[22] Most of this temple needed to be rebuilt. In the second palace there were only a few of the stone parts left. Archeologists used iron clamps and brick to rebuild a foundation for the temple.[23]

Temple of Amun

This mortuary temple served as inspiration; it was built with the Sun God Amun in mind. It is located on the west bank of the Nile. It was built during the New Kingdom (1550-1070 BC).

Temple of Amun
Temple of Amun

The Temple of Amun is the central and most important temple of the Temples of Karnak.[24] It is famous for its Hypostyle Hall. The Karnak Temple was added to from 2080 to 1640 BC which is a reason for its size and complexity. This temple has proven especially helpful for research, because Egyptians practiced their religion here from the beginning of the period to the end.

Preservation

Much of the stone, foundation, and columns had begun to deteriorate over the last century. This is because of rising waters and more chemicals. Preservation to remove salts and chemicals from the structures occurred from 2001 to 2003 with the help of the Robert W. Wilson Challenge to Conserve Our Heritage and the University of Chicago. They partnered for this grand restoration project and will continue to monitor the conditions of the site.[25]

Temple of Khufu

Khufu Temple and Pyramid
Khufu Temple and Pyramid

This mortuary temple is located at the Giza Complex, which is where some of the most famous pyramids are located. Pharaoh Chephren built this temple around 2520 BC.[26] This temple was the location for the sed festival. This mortuary temple is up against the west side of the Khufu pyramid.

It is believed that in the layout that there was a false door and a correct door to the area where the king worshiped gods. There were two other temples in this complex and the mortuary temple of Khufu had a smaller offering place.[27] The temple was built with 2,300,000 stone blocks.

Much of the temple has been destroyed since it was built. In 1303 many stones were destroyed by the large earthquake.[26] Most of the temple needed to be reconstructed because most had been destroyed in the thousands of years since it had been built.[27]

References

  1. ^ "Authentication is required to access this site". login.ezproxy2.library.drexel.edu. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  2. ^ Wilkinson, Richard H. (2000). The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. p. 25
  3. ^ a b "Temple Architecture and Symbolism". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  4. ^ K. Kris Hirst. "Pharaoh Hatshepsut's Deir el-Bahri". Retrieved 2008-04-20.
  5. ^ Wood, Pamela (Student of art) (1980). "The mortuary temple of Hatshepsut at Deir El Bahri : an example of innovaton and change in royal Egyptian funerary architecture". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "Creatness eclipsed by magnitude". Al-Ahram Weekly. Archived from the original on 2006-12-10. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  7. ^ Guy Lecuyot. "THE RAMESSEUM (EGYPT), RECENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESEARCH". Archéologies d'Orient et d'Occident. Archived from the original on 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
  8. ^ Uvo Hölscher (1929). "Medinet Habu 1924-1928. II The Architectural Survey of the Great Temple and Palace of Medinet Habu (season 1927-28)". OIC. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. No. 5.
  9. ^ a b Stiftung, Gerda Henkel. "Conservation work at the temple of Amenhotep III at Thebes, By The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project". L.I.S.A. WISSENSCHAFTSPORTAL GERDA HENKEL STIFTUNG (in German). Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  10. ^ a b c "The house of rejoicing: Malqata as the festival palace of Amenhotep III". ProQuest. ProQuest 1559962080.
  11. ^ Stiftung, Gerda Henkel. "Conservation work at the temple of Amenhotep III at Thebes, By The Colossi of Memnon and Amenhotep III Temple Conservation Project". L.I.S.A. WISSENSCHAFTSPORTAL GERDA HENKEL STIFTUNG (in German). Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  12. ^ a b Wood, Pamela (Student of art) (1980). "The mortuary temple of Hatshepsut at Deir El Bahri : an example of innovaton and change in royal Egyptian funerary architecture". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "The Temple of Hatshepsut". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  14. ^ "Dayr al-Baḥrī | archaeological site, Egypt". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  15. ^ "Creatness eclipsed by magnitude". Al-Ahram Weekly. Archived from the original on 2006-12-10. Retrieved 2007-02-15.
  16. ^ a b "The Temple of Seti I in Abydos". American Research Center In Egypt. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  17. ^ "Osiris - Explore Deities of Ancient Egypt". egyptianmuseum.org. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  18. ^ "hypostyle hall". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
  19. ^ Khalil, Mohamed Ahmed; Abbas, Abbas Mohamed; Santos, Fernando A. Monteiro; Mesbah, Hany S.A.; Massoud, Usama (2010-01-01). "VLF-EM study for archaeological investigation of the labyrinth mortuary temple complex at Hawara area, Egypt". Near Surface Geophysics. 8 (3): 203–212. doi:10.3997/1873-0604.2010004. ISSN 1569-4445.
  20. ^ "Amenhotep III's 'Lost Golden City' the most". ProQuest. ProQuest 2515338154.
  21. ^ "Ramesseum | temple, Egypt". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  22. ^ a b "Ramesseum". Ancient Egypt Online. Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  23. ^ Wilson, John (1941). The Mortuary Temple of Ramses III. The University of Chicago Oriental Institute Publications. pp. 56–57.
  24. ^ "Exploring Karnak's Great Temple of Amun, Luxor | PlanetWare". www.planetware.com. Retrieved 2021-10-31.
  25. ^ "Karnak Temple". World Monuments Fund. Retrieved 2021-11-01.
  26. ^ a b Hemeda, Sayed; Sonbol, Alghreeb (December 2020). "Sustainability problems of the Giza pyramids". Heritage Science. 8 (1): 8. doi:10.1186/s40494-020-0356-9. ISSN 2050-7445. S2CID 210954333.
  27. ^ a b Nell, E., & Ruggles, C. (2014). THE ORIENTATIONS OF THE GIZA PYRAMIDS AND ASSOCIATED STRUCTURES. Journal for the History of Astronomy, 45(3), 304-360. ProQuest 1550829724