Edfu Temple

The site of ancient Djeba (Coptic Etbo, Arabic Edfu) was the traditional location of the mythological battle between the gods Horus and Seth; and its sandstone Ptolemaic temple, dedicated to Horus, is the most complete and best preserved of all the temples of Egypt. Built on the site of a New Kingdom temple which was oriented east to west, the Ptolemaic structure follows instead a north axis and thus left the remains of the old (and apparently much smaller) temple's entrance pylon standing at a 90-degree angle to its own entrance. Due to an unusually high number of building inscriptions preserved here, we know many of the details of the newer temple's history. It was evidently begun by Ptolemy III in 237 BC and completed 180 years later in 57 BC. The inner part of the structure, with its decoration, was finished in 207 BC, though political unrest in Upper Egypt (especially in the time of Ptolemies IV and V) meant that the dedication of the temple did not occur until 142 BC and some final work was not accomplishes till 140 BC. In the following decades the hypostyle hall was built (completed in 122 BC); and the outermost elements - the peristyle court and entrance pylons - were then added and finally completed ir 57 BC, in the reign of Ptolemy XII Auletes, the father of the last Cleopatra.

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