The meaning of the buildings in the royal cult complexes of the Old and Middle Kingdoms is so multilayered that it cannot be accurately expressed by the conventional term "mortuary temple," which captures but one aspect of the much larger whole. The overall architectural program of the complex not only provided a burial place for the king but more importantly supplied a framework for the rites that transformed the human and mortal king into an immortal and divine being. 1 The king's supernatural powers could range from mere magical capabilities to divine kingship and union with the gods. 2 His transformation could be achieved by complicated rituals like the Sed-festival, or it could be set in motion by erecting everlasting symbolic architecture that guaranteed the continuity of the king's divine rule. 3
In principle, all Egyptian temples contributed to the deification of the pharaoh. The complexes surrounding the royal burial were especially suited to this purpose, because their connection to the royal tomb opened the gates into another world and addressed eternity. One should not forget, however, that the accommodation of the king's burial was not the prima
The author owes important contributions to discussions with Gerhard Haeny, James Allen, and especially Felix Arnold on the Sed-festival rituals, the chapels of the gods, the presentation of palm leaves, and the Mansions of Millions of Years. The author is very grateful to Adela Oppenheim for numerous suggestions concerning the content and form, and to Byron E. Shafer for editing the manuscript.
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Publication information: Book title: Temples of Ancient Egypt. Contributors: Dieter Arnold - Author, Lanny Bell - Author, Ragnhild Bjerre Finnestad - Author, Gerhard Haeny - Author, Byron E. Shafer - Author, Byron E. Shafer - Editor. Publisher: Cornell University Press. Place of publication: Ithaca, NY. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 31.
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