Friday, April 12, 2013

Preparing for Egypt, Part Seven (Temple of Kom Ombo/Temple of Horus at Edfu)


Look at the photo above and tell me what you see. Spoons, scissors, knives (one is clearly a scalpel), scales, forceps, a sponge, a container for grinding herbs into medicines, perhaps even dental instruments. These are carved into a rear wall at the Temple of Kom Ombo.

Like the Temple of Isis, this temple was constructed during the dynasty of the Ptolemies, and is also of interest because it is a "mirror image" temple dedicated to two sets of gods--the southern side is for the crocodile god Sobek, and the northern side is for the falcon god Horus. Everything in the temple is perfectly symmetrical along the main axis. Egypt's Crocodile Museum displays some of the 300 crocodile mummies that were found there, and it is said that crocodiles basked there and young ones were even raised in a small pool at the site. The twinned sanctuary of the temple shows Ptolemy XII in reliefs participating in various religious ceremonies. Ptolemy XII, of course, was Cleopatra VII's father (yes, THAT Cleopatra).

The temple was also considered to be a place of healing, where everyday folk came to have their various ailments tended to (this explains, I would suppose, the wall of surgical instruments).

The same day we visit this temple, we'll also be visiting the more famous Temple of Horus at Edfu. Since it was also built by the Ptolemies (ie, late in Ancient Egyptian history) and was well away from the Nile and thus not subjected to continual flooding, it is probably the best preserved temple in all of Egypt. The temple itself is dedicated to the triumph of light over darkness. Depicted in the temple's Passage of Victory are reliefs showing the triumph of Horus over Set (see the Osiris/Isis story below), who is depicted as a hippo that Horus harpoons. Then the temple priests devour him.

Ana 'agebni dah yummy.

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