Temple Complex (page 2 of 4 pages)

4th century BCE-Ptolemaic

The largest and main temple on the island is the Temple of Isis, "started under Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-247 B. C.) and completed in all its essential details by Ptolemy III Euergetes I (247-221 B. C.) Its decoration, both inscriptions and reliefs, proceeded gradually" (Kamil 71).

The Temple of Isis: angle view; side view, frontal view with courtyard and colonnades

At the southern end of the western colonnade (far left), the oldest temple in the complex still exists--or at least the vestibule to this temple. This is the so-called Pavilion of Nektanebo I with elegant bell columns and Hathor capitals. This small building has screen walls between the columns (originally 14), crowned with a uraeus frieze and Nektanebo making offerings to the gods.

The western colonnade with the Pavilion of Nektanebo at the southern end; the Pavilion; detail of Hathor capital

The courtyard before the temple is 100 meters long, flanked by two colonnades, the one on the west (left) with 32 columns, the one on the east (right) unfinished. The western portico follows the shoreline. Although all the column capitals are different (with floral motifs), the shafts depict scenes of offerings to the gods.

The western colonnade


Details of the western colonnade

Continue to page 3.

Work Cited: Jill Kamil. Aswan and Abu Simbel: History and Guide. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1993.

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© 2001 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.

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