North Tour of Abydos
You're just in time for a tour. Today we will start in North Abydos,
and will go south. Abydos covers over 5 miles, but today, we are
focusing on the temples and tombs. Abydos is the main cult center
for Osiris, and his tomb is here. Pilgrims from all over Kemet come
and leave offerings here. Abydos is also the burial place of our earliest
kings. Saqqara also claims this honor, but of course we know that they
are buried here. If you have a chance, go on our south
tour as well.
We are now 1/3 of a kilometer or 300 yards northwest of the Temple of Seti I. The priests say the artistic quality of this limestone temple is close to that of the Seti I temple. It has bright reds, yellows, and greens inside. The doorframes are of pink and black granite, and the pillars are of sandstone. The sanctuary is of alabaster. Although we cannot enter, since we are not priests, the priests have honored us by graciously telling me the floorplan of this lovely temple. You won't find the information anywhere else. There is the first granite pylon, a peristyle court, a second pink granite pylon, and a second court that is surrounded by pillars decorated with Ramesses in an Osirid pose (arms crossed in front of his chest like a mummy)on the north, east, and south sides. Then there is a portico leading to two halls with pillars and chapels off of the halls. In this temple is a king list that a seer says will be called the Abydos King List and will end up in the British Museum. But the seer must be wrong, because how can it move out of the temple? Rameses duplicates the list in the more famous Seti I temple. Rameses lists the kings of Kemet in three rows. Reliefs include the Battle of Kadesh, where Ramesses fought the Hittites around 1285 BC.Now let's go south to the Temple of Seti I.
The priests were kind enough to tell me the floorplan of this temple as well. One enters through two courtyards and a portico. After that, the temple proper begins. One enters through the first hypostyle hall, which is an interior section with columns supporting the roof. Our temple has twelve pairs of papyrus-style columns forming seven aisles that eventually lead to seven chapels, but more on that later. It orginally had seven doorways, but most have been filled in by Ramesses. The second hypostyle hall was almost completed under Seti I. There are 36 beautiful lotus-bud columns. The relief carvings created during the reign of Seti I are of the highest quality, even higher than under Ramesses II, who often used sunken relief. Scenes include fertility figures with nome standards above their heads. The seven chapels are a rare feature in our temples. From east to west, we have chapels for the deified Seti I, Ptah, Re Harakhte, Amun Re, Osiris, Isis, and Horus. Six of the chapels have false doors, but the Osiris chapel has a real door that leads to more rooms for Osiris, where mysterious rites are performed. The seven sanctuaries are like caverns, and they each have a stele. They are divided into two by pilasters, and the walls are decorated with scenes of rituals and the use of euipment like barques.
Notice the unusual L-shape to the building. The section that juts
out has rooms for Sokar, Nefertum, and other funerary gods. There
is a king list in the narrow passageway of the Hall of Ancestors that
is said to be so wonderful it will be famous throughout time. It
lists 76 kings in two rows, from the first king, Menes, to Seti. (There
is a third row, but it repeats Seti's information). Only infidels claim
that not all kings are mentioned, that the kings of the Second Intermediate
Period are skipped, as well as the kings at the end of the 18th dynasty
after Amenhotep III (Akhenaten, Smenkhare, Tutankhamen, and Ay). There
are other rooms, including a court of sacrificial butchery and a hall
of ritual barques.
Although Seti I built this beautiful building, the architectural style harkens back to the Old Kingdom. It is like a tomb for Osiris. It is made of quartzitic sandstone and granite. Some say Seti I only added inscriptions to himself long after the building was constructed. South of the Osireion will be a long passage, which Ramesses II says will be added by his successor, Merneptah. Some speculate that he will decorate the passageway with scenes from the Book of Gates. Since the Osireion isn't decorated yet, it will probably all be decorated by him, as well. The Osireion has a 10 meter deep shaft going to a long passageway of mud-brick and then sandstone. Then there is an antechamber, a short corridor, a narthex area, and in the center, a rectangular tomb with pink granite columns, with a pseudo-sarcophagus and canopic chest on an island surrounded by water, which probably refer to Nun, the primeval ocean. There are secondary, transverse rooms at each end of a hall that will have astronomical and funerary texts.
Now let's go to Senwosret
IIIs Mortuary Temple.
Now let's go back to town. If you want, you can join our south
tour, which takes you south of the current town.
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