Thursday, 5 August 2010

The Great Egyptian Temples

House of the God
Egyptian temples were thought to be the house of the god worshipped there. When the god came to Earth he would stay in the temple. A special statue of the god was kept in a sealed room and the deity was thought to inhabit this statue when in residence. The statue was dressed in fine robes and offered food and drink every day.

Karnak of Amun
The great temple of Karnak is the largest complex of religious buildings in the world. The buildings include not just the main temple but also store rooms, dormitories, processional ways and open courtyards. Every pharaoh of the New Kingdom added something to the building to show his devotion to the great god Amun.

Border Temple
The mighty temple of Osiris at Abu Simbel was built by Raises II overlooking the river Nile to mark the border between Nubia and Egypt. The four statues that guard the front of the temple are each 20 metres tall. They are statues not of Osiris, but of Raises II himself.

Sacred Writing
The walls of most temples are covered with a form of writing known as hieroglyphic. This writing uses pictures to represent sounds, words or ideas. The writings praise the powers of the deity, record who built the temple and give information about events that took place.

Mortuary Temples
When a pharaoh died a temple called a mortuary temple was built close to his tomb. When they died, pharaohs were believed to go to join their divine father in the next life. The mortuary temple was dedicated to the god that the dead pharaoh had become. Priests carried out daily rituals to ensure that the pharaoh-god remained happy in the afterlife.

Most temples had an annual festival which attracted huge crowds of worshippers. The statue of the god was carried out of the temple to be paraded round so that ordinary people could see it. The details of the festivals varied from place to place, but most of them involved offering sacrifices and saying prayers.

Quiz Question
What is the name given to the type of writing found on temple walls?

Games of Ancient Egypt
Temple Raider
A game for 2 to 4 players
For this game you will need a flight of stairs and a coin for each player.
One player is the temple guard. The other players are robbers trying to steal the temple treasure.
The guard stands at the bottom of the stairs. The robbers stand on the second stair from the bottom. Starting with the first robber the players take it in turns to toss a coin. If they get a head they climb up one step. If they throw a tail they go down one step. If the guard stands on the same step as a robber, the robber is captured and is out of the game. If the guard captures all the robbers he wins the game. But if one robber gets to the top of the stairs then the robbers have won.

This is an extract from Action Files Egypt by Rupert Matthews

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