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Hieroglyphic Wall & Hypaethral Court, Island of Philae
[Photographic views taken in Egypt and Greece by C. G. Fontaine]
27.2 x 34.4 cm (image)
The Royal Collection
View of the south-western wall of the temple of Arensnuphis, part of the temple complex of Isis on the Island of Philae. On the background, to the right, stands Trajan's kiosk. Arensnuphis was a god from the Kingdom of Kush, usually represented as a human figure wearing a feathered crown, whose cult was first attested during the reign of Arnakamani (235-218 BC) and later associated with the Egyptian gods Shu and Onuris. His temple at Philae was built and partially decorated by Ptolomey IV Philopator (221-205 BC), with later additions from other members of the Ptolemaic dynasty. The photograph shows scenes of offerings to the gods. Nectanebo I (380-362 BC) was responsible for the earliest visible remains of the temple complex on the island but traces of worship of Isis at Philae can be dated back as early as the XXV Dynasty (747-656 BC). Most of the temple, though, was built between the reigns of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC) and Diocletian (AD 284-305) while the cult of Isis seems to have survived on the site until at least the 6th century and it was indeed in Philae that the latest surviving hieroglyphic inscription was found. In the 1970s the whole complex was dismantled and relocated to the nearby island of Agilqiyya during a UNESCO project to save a series of ancient monuments from the rising waters of Lake Nasser, following the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
Acquired by King Edward VII when Prince of Wales