Temple of Isis at Philae

3d model and reconstruction

Temple of Isis at Philae

The images show the courtyard with the pillar and the inside of the hypostyle hall whose columns, with inscriptions and drawings, were painted and have been virtually restored.

The island, which can still be visited today, is intended to appear it did in the Roman age.

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Short history of

Temple of Isis at Philae

The great temple of Isis in Philae has a south-north orientation. The worship of the goddess here was associated with that of her son Arpocrates, Greek form of “Horus the child”. Construction work was started by Ptolemy II Philadelphus and completed by Ptolemy III Euergetes (III century B.C.); however the decoration with reliefs and inscription gradually continued and remained partly incomplete.

The main access to the temple enclosure was the kiosk of Nectanebo I of the XXX dynasty, the reconstructed by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, a structure with 14 columns with a bell-shaped capital onto which another capital rested with the face of Hathor on the four opposing side. The columns were connected by intercolumn walls decorated with offering scenes. The second pylon of the Isis temple is 32 metres wide and 22 m tall. A staircase led to its summit. It is not parallel to the first pylon and the facade shows a double scene of enemy massacre by Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos, who lived in the 1st century B.C. Above it there is a series of reliefs showing the sovereign in front of various deities, in the act of bearing gifts of burning incense. In the eastern turret (to the right) there is an enormous granite block in the shape of a stele where a royal edict is engraved: it is a donation of lands to the temple made by Ptolemy VI Philometor (2nd century B.C.). The affected area was the so-called Dodekaschenos, that is to say “the region of 12 schene (= about 120 km)” which reached from Assuan to southern Nubia, where rich gold mines are found.

The hypostyle hall of the Isis temple in Philae has ten columns, whose floral capitals, extremely composite, are one different from the other. The walls show offering scenes, while the ceiling is decorated with astronomic images. Reliefs and inscriptions also cover the external walls. The hypostyle hall then leads to the innermost rooms of the temple which culminated with the sanctuary.