Ptolemaic temple of Hathor

The most prominent temple is the Ptolemaic temple dedicated to goddesses Hathor and 
Maat. The building itself is small but is one of the best preserved examples of a temple 
from that period still standing. It stands within a mud brick enclosure wall. Its compound 
embraces the site of several New Kingdom temple structures and small chapels erected 
by Deir el-Medina inhabitants.
The view of the 
northern side of the 
settlement. Within the 
mud-brick wall stands 
the small building of 
the Ptolemaic temple

The mud-brick enclosure 
wall and the entrance gate

The temple was built and decorated in the 3rd century 
BC. The work was started during the reign of Ptolemy 
IV Philopater and it was continued for the next 60 
years under Ptolemy VI Philometer and Ptolemy VIII 
Euergetes II.

It is a small building lying within a 
mud brick enclosure wall within 
which there are also tiny New 
Kingdom chapels erected by Deir 
el-Medina’s occupants.

Dozens of Greek, demotic and 
Coptic Christian graffiti cover the 
temple’s outer walls

View towards mammisi (the birth 
house) of Ptolemy IX Soter and 
Cleopatra III. Both visible here, 
facing Amun, Mut and Khonsu are 
not visible in the photo.

The temple itself is a small 
building which you enter via a 
vestibule that has two papyrus 
columns. The pronaos is defined by 
a pair of columns, pillars, and 
curtain walls.
This is a view looking through 
pronaos into the central chapel.

Figures on the columns show 
Amenhotep, son of Hapu, and 
Imhotep, both architects who 
were deified after their death. 
The photo is taken in the 
vestibule, looking through pronaos 
into the North chapel.

Hathoric and floral columns and 
extensive decoration are 
characteristic for this temple. 
This is the view looking through 
pronaos into the central chapel.

The curtain wall is covered with reliefs 
showing the king offering to various deities. 
Below is the eastern face of the curtain wall 
– Ptolemy VI Philometor, Amun-Ra, Hathor

Below is a painting of David 
Roberts (1796-1864) as he 
showed himself sketching in the 
vestibule of the temple in 1838

…to the interior of the temple as recorded 
by the Commission des arts et des sciences in 
Description de l’Egypte by the artists, who 
arrived in Egypt with Napoleon’s army in July 
of 1798. They called the site “du temple de 
l’ouest” in their publication.

This offering scene comes from 
the bottom part of the portico of 
the pronaos. It dates to Ptolemy 
VI Philometer. Maat and Hathor 
(pictured as a cow)

This is a sweet and unusual detail from a 
hieroglyphic inscription on the southern side 
of the doorway to the pronaos. I did not 
find this double glyph in Gardiner’s list

This is the western wall in the 
pronaos. Hathor column on the left 
and a staircase leading up to the 
roof in the foreground.

The western wall of the pronaos is 
covered in hieroglyphic inscriptions 
and a deep relief depicting the king 
Ptolemy VI Philometer making 
offerings to Hathor-Isis and 
Maat. Detail of the window – 
there are two Hathors and a lotus 
between them.

Author: DonFletcher

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