Temple of Khnum at Esna


Temple of Khnum at Esna

The Temple of Khnum at Esna,  or  Isna,  was  constructed about  50  Kilometres  south  of  ancient Thebes,  better  knew  today  as  Luxor. The temple was devoted to the ram-headed deity Kum or Khnum, a female counterpart,  the  goddess  Neith,  and their son, leaving in a triad construction similar to Edfu.

It  has  3  precept  entrance doors and, as strange as it sounds, with some Inca  style  construction  of  unadorned design,  as  in  earlier  Egyptian  times  at the  Koricancha  temple  in  Cuzco,  Peru. Although there are older sophistications, most of the temple was primitively built during the (Greco - Roman) period, the Greek penchant for this place likely was to do with the fact that Greeks concerned the Egyptian goddess Neith with their goddess Athena, the goddess of wisdom.

Dedicated to Khnum, the creator god who fashioned human-kind on  his  potter’s  wheel  using  Nile  clay,  the  temple  was  began  by Ptolemy  VI  Philometor  (180-145  BC)  and  built  over  the  ruins  of previous temples.  The hypostyle Hall, as it stands today, was constructed by Romans.  Parts of the ornaments date from as late as the 3 rd  Century  AD.  

In  the  design  of  this  temple  there  were  great  astrological imports as Khnum in a way is also a god of the universe on account  that  occasionally  he  is  was  as  a  ram  with  4 heads.  The ram in hieroglyphs acts spirit and as such each head is thought to represent the spirit of a several Egyptian god, Ra, Shu, Seb and Osiris as the four elements: "fire, air, earth and water",  all  of  which  make  the  easy  universe  or  Zodiac.  Khnum was  also  strongly  tied  to  Osiris  as  both  were  river  gods  that finally  got  the  Nile,  these  gods  were  eventually  merged and  worshiped  in  a  various  way.

The columns at the entry represent lotus flowers, a mythological symbolism of the birth of Ra, the Sun  god  that  supposedly  sprang  from  one  of  these  flowers  at  the  beginning  of  the  creation  of  the universe.  Likewise in the walls of this temple are engraved a great number of calendars, and in the cap appears  a  great  Zodiac  agency  with  Egyptian  and  Roman  symbols.

Two pictures of the goddess Hathor at each face of the ceiling look giving birth to the sun, and the 37 men navigating in a boat representing the Dekans are depicted at her belly.  Inside of the Dekans (sky divisions) are the 12 Zodiacal symbols very similar to how they are known today.

On the temple’s eastward wall are colourful scenes  showing  the  pharaoh  catching  fish with the deities Horus and Khnum.  Some of the  royal  enemies  are  trapped  in  the  net with  the  fish.    Next  to  this  the  pharaoh  is shown confronting the temple to Khnum. Reliefs on the outside walls have scenes of the  pharaoh  taking  captives  by  the  hair, terrible  to  strike  them.    The  branches  of prisoners  are  shown  being  fed  to  lions. Whole that has been excavated of the Temple of  Khnum  is  the  hypostyle  hall,  which  sits rather incongruously in its big excavation pit among the houses and narrow alleys in the center of town.