Kom Ombo Temple

Kom Ombo Temple

Kom Ombo Temple is the give temple is magnificently located on elevated rock, but the Nile has more lately changed its course and many of the temple’s outer edifices have been clean away  or  seriously  denuded.  These  include  the  so-called  mammisi (birth house), which was begun during the reign of Ptolemy VIII Evergetes II (170–163 BC and again 143–116 BC), and parts of the mudbrick envelopment wall. The construction of the modern quay where tour boats moor has cut the risk of further erosion of the river bank. Past wrong has been conglomerate by the recent earthquake. 

Despite these problems, the temple of Kom Ombo still continues several distinctive features. Front among these is its base plan, which reveals that the temple is really divided into two halves down its central axis. Such a “double temple” is rare in Egyptian architecture. The north half of the temple is gave to the god Harwer (“Horus the Elder”) and his associate Tasentnefert (“the beautiful sister”), who is placed with the goddess  Tefnut,  and  their  offspring,  the  child  god,  Panebtawy  (“the  lord  of  the  two lands”). Panebtawy shares some of the features of Sobek, to whom the southern half of the temple is dedicated. Sobek, the crocodile god, is likewise a member of a triad of  deities  comprising  his  consort,  Hathor,  and  their  offspring,  Khonsu.  A  careful examination of the temple dedications and their location reveals that primacy is agreed to Harwer. This is particularly plain in the arrangement of the hieroglyphs on the outer hypostyle  hall’s  double  architrave,  beneath  which  are  twin  entrances  leading  to  each parallel half of the temple. Passing through the outer, central and inner vestibules, one eventually comes to the sanctuary, divided in half by a hollow central wall, perhaps to give approach to the now broken roof from which extended observations could be made. Some scholars maintain, however, that this passage was intended to hide a priest who would be the voice of an oracle in the name of either deity. Within each sanctuary is a  black  granite  stone,  incorrectly  called  an  altar.  These  were  originally  the  stands  on which rested the sacred barks of Harwer and Sobek, which were used in processions. A series of underground crypts, of versatile function but perhaps used to store worthy ritual objects, and a suite of symmetrically arranged rooms are discovered at the rear of the temple.

The temple itself is included on three faces by a corridor formed by extending the outer  walls  of  the  first  hypostyle  hall.  This  is  again  another  unusual  hold  of  the temple’s  architectural  design,  and  one  which  is  without  parallel  in  other  temples of Ptolemaic and Roman date. 

Other structures include a small chapel dedicated exclusively to the god Sobek in the northwest  of  the  temple  precinct,  bounded  by  the  enclosure  wall.  To  the  west  of  this structure is a curious pit, cut into the living rock and drawn with blocks of stone. This have has sometimes been named as a water tank, but some scholars, mentioning the analogy of the precinct of the Apis Bull at Memphis, have indicated that it was a devoted precinct where a keep crocodile, thematerialization of the god Sobek, was housed. In the southeast is the lateral gateway of the temple’s enclosure wall. This gateway was built by Ptolemy XII (80–57 BC and once again 55 BC) and is now the great entry to the temple. In the vicinity of this gateway and almost edging the enclosure wall is a small chapel to the goddess Hathor. The chapel has been regenerate into a museum which houses a choice of mummified crocodiles located in the vicinity of the temple.

Some of the temple reliefs are extraordinarily crafted and reveal a sensitivity to spatial concerns that is indebted to advances already abused in the reliefs of the temple of Seti I (19th Dynasty) at Abydos. One significant example is a scene on the west wall of the inside hypostyle hall where Ptolemy VIII Evergetes II is showed with his wife, Cleopatra II, and his daughter, Cleopatra III. The queens, each bearing the characteristically tightly right  sheaths  and  holding  floral  scepters,  form  the  left  hand  side  of  a  harmonious composition. The  contours  of  their  floral  crowns  are  harmoniously  balanced  by  the arrangement of their cartouches introductory their heads. Next comes Ptolemy VIII Evergetes II, who takes in his close hand a scepter shaped like the hieroglyph w3s and continues his far hand toward Harwer in a gesture of adoration. Ptolemy here wears a festive, light apparel which reveals the contours of his legs beneath. Delicate as these refers are, they should not unknown the fact that the imbrications of the properties held by Harwer in the far right of the composition thinks the arrangement of the properties held by Seti I and the deities he adores at Abydos. The three notched palm fronds held by the near hand of Harwer device in space and go beneath his spread far arm, which offers the scimitar to  Ptolemy  VIII  Evergetes  II.  This  contemporaries  of  space  is  a  masterful  induction  of pharaonic artistic tenets. 

The west wall of the Kom Ombo temple as well contains a rare, cultic relief, identified on the  important  axis  of  the  temple,  which  is  dated  by  its  accompanying  letterings  to  the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan (AD 98–117). A winged sun-disc hovers over images of the wadjet eye (a protective symbol) and an array of charitable animal-form deities. The  center  of  the  relief  contains  a  hollowed-out  shrine,  flanked by pictures of ears, while images of Sobek, left, and Harwer, right, serve as vigilant pickets. In the lowest register are representations of bound prisoners. It has been suggested that this relief was created to meet the spiritual needs of lower status individuals who were unable to gain admission to the temple proper. They would make their supplications to an image of Ma’at, the  goddess  of  truth,  which  was  originally  placed  within  the  niche.  The  depicted  ears were there to guarantee that she would indeed hark to their prayers, and in so doing would  serve  them  in  wallowing  over  hardship  (in  the  form  of  the  bound  captives below). The entire scene may have been framed by a system of shutters which could be open  as  needed  by  specially  appointed  priests,  who  may  also  have  engaged  a balustrade to keep the petitioners at some length from the relief and the see of Ma’at.