The Temple of Ramesses II in Abydos Volume 3: Architectural and Inscriptional Features


Sameh Iskander
Ogden Goelet


Of all the enormous monuments throughout Egypt and Nubia that Ramesses II (the Great; ca. 1279–1212 BCE) left behind, his temple at Abydos, built early in his reign, stands as one of his most elegant, with its simple architectural layout and dramatic and graceful painted relief scenes. Though best known for its dramatic reliefs depicting the battle of Kadesh, the temple also offers a wealth of information about religious and social life in ancient Egypt. It reflects, for example, the strenuous efforts of the early Ramessides to reestablish the Osiris cult in Egypt—and particularly at Abydos—in the aftermath of the Amarna period.     Building on the comprehensive photographic and epigraphic documentation of the temple presented in The Temple of Ramesses II at Abydos volumes 1 (Wall Scenes) and 2 (Pillars, Niches, and Miscellanea), volume 3 (Architectural and Inscriptional Features) offers a detailed analysis of the overall architectural layout and decorative program of the temple and its symbolism. This discussion approaches the religious history of the site through its archaeology, its inscriptions—both planned and secondary (graffiti)—and its situation in the complex religious landscape of Abydos. Of particular interest are the temple’s role as a staging point for the great Osiris Festival and its procession, among the most important of all ritual events in the Egyptian religious calendar during the Ramesside period; the promotion of an active, unbound form of Osiris; and the evidence for important cult activities that took place on the rooftop of the temple, the presence of which is documented today by the staircase that accessed it from Court B.


Cover for Temple of Ramesses II in Abydos vol. 3


May 25, 2022


Details about the available publication format: print edition

print edition

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