The Temple

The Temple is orientated from north to south, i.e. it is entered from the north, the site most remote from the river. Unlike the normal Egyptian temple, it is strangely asymmetrical.

The main entrance is imposing with monumental stone door-jambs bearing the cartouches of Ramesses VI and the figure and name of a hitherto unknown viceroy of Nubia. The gateway is flanked on each side by a niche in which is a large stela of Ramesses II. One of these stelae still contains 31 lines of hieroglyphs, and when complete each must have stood some 12 feet high. The texts are full of the fulsome praises of Ramesses II, describe his marriage with the daughter of the king of the Hittites, and one of them reproduces the celebrated dialogue of the king with the god Ptah. In addition to these monuments, inscription and historical records of Merneptah and Ramesses IX were discovered.

The walls of the Temple, both on the inside and the outside, are covered with reliefs and inscriptions, and in the interior it is certain that the whole of the lower register is preserved and that the scenes still retain their original brilliant colouring.

From the Sanctuary came a small sandstone stela which throws an interesting sidelight on life in Ancient Egypt. The text is that of an agreement between a mother, son and daughter. The mother and son renounce all claims to the property of the father (who was presumably dead) in favour of the daughter, who undertakes to support her mother in her old age. On one side of the stela is engraved a curse, couched in racy and vivid terms, against whosoever shall dispute the terms of this agreement.


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