The Temple of Edfu: A Guide by an Ancient Egyptian Priest

The Temple of Edfu: A Guide by an Ancient Egyptian Priest

The Temple of Edfu: A Guide by an Ancient Egyptian Priest

The Temple of Edfu: A Guide by an Ancient Egyptian Priest

Synopsis

"This is the oldest and most authentic guide to an ancient Egyptian temple ever written - its author was an ancient Egyptian priest who lived in the first century B. C., under the last kings of the Ptolemaic dynasty, when the construction and decoration of the huge temple of Edfu was completed. The anonymous priest's tasks was to compose a text long enough to make up a line of hieroglyphic inscription on the girdle wall of the temple, stretching around it to a length of some 300 meters, and in it describe the temple in detail - its layout and construction, the functions of its chambers and chapels, and its external appearance and the impression it conveyed to the faithful. The language of the text, arising within the long tradition of Egyptian temple building, is stylized and poetic, but remarkably, the priest fulfilled his assignment with such accuracy, devotion, and enthusiasm that the monumental inscription can be used today by the modern visitor as a reliable and informative guide to the temple. The inscription is here translated in full, and appears with notes by the translator on the essentials of ancient Egyptian religion and ritual and on the discovery and documentation of Edfu Temple, while a comprehensive glossary explains unfamiliar terms and concepts. Illustrations of the temple, the original hieroglyphs, and the kings who build the temple complement the text." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The central part of this little book contains a translation of the hieroglyphic text copied from the enclosure wall of the temple of Edfu (fig. 1). It has been a long journey from the first copies made in the nineteenth century—in successive stages, each stage preparing the way for the next one—to the translation presented here. The Egyptologists Heinrich Karl Brugsch and Johannes Dümichen copied the text in the nineteenth century, which was a pioneer achievement; the many errors were due largely to the difficult working conditions of the time. The copy of the hieroglyphic text that has now become standard and is considered reliable was made in 1932 by Émile Chassinat (fig. 2). The first reliable translation was made in 1961 by Constant de Wit.

The Edfu Project, which I initiated in 1986, was very generously supported by the German Research Council (DFG) and thereafter taken over into the program of the Göttingen Academy of Humanities and Sciences. This support has enabled us to continue the long-term work involved in achieving a secure epigraphic basis for the temple inscriptions and carrying out systematic philological work on the corpus of Edfu texts, which have both had a beneficial effect on the translation of the text that forms the core of this small volume.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.