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Island of Philae from the South, Nubia
[Photographic views taken in Egypt and Greece by C. G. Fontaine]
20.9 x 33.1 cm (image)
The Royal Collection
View across the water of the Temple of Isis in its original location of Philae, an island in the First Cataract of the river Nile. On the left-hand side, on the terrace on top of a wall, it is possible to discern the hall of Nectanebo and the west colonnade as well as the first and second pylons. On the right-hand side stands the kiosk of Trajan. 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