Temple of Hathor (Philae)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

Built by Ptolemy VI Philometor and Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II, it is located on the eastern side of the Temple of Isis and north of the Trajan's Kiosk. It is part of the Philae Temple Complex which was dedicated to the goddess Isis, one of the most ancient divinity of Egypt its origins dates back to the earliest Egyptian dynasties.


On the east side of the Temple of Isis stands the temple of Hathor which was decorated under Ptolemy VI, Ptolemy VIII, and Augustus and once had its own mud-brick enclosure wall. A block built into walls close to the temple also mentions Ptolemy XII. The cult of the temple focused on Hathor as embodiment of the Sun’s Eye that was brought back from Nubia.


circa 180 BCE

The temple consists of a colonnaded kiosk bearing 14 Hathor-headed pillars, a pronaos (vestibule) and a cult terrace facing the Nile River. The columned vestibule on its west was added under Augustus or earlier, rather than Tiberius. In the mid-first century CE, a quay-platform was annexed on the east side.

circa 180 BCE

Main Chamber
The best-preserved part of the structure is the main temple chamber, on the front of which are two plant columns linked to the walls by screens. Among the temple's most impressive reliefs is one depicting a group of musicians performing before an assembly of ancient Egyptian deities.

circa 180 BCE

Eastern Platform
The platform on the eastern side of the temple was possibly either a cult-platform or a quay. As it faces the Nile at one time it might have been a quay.

circa 180 BCE

Western Forecourt
The western forecourt of the temple was added to the Ptolemaic building under Emperor Augustus at the very beginning of Roman rule in Egypt. The structure was integrated into the existing building, both from the architectural point of view and in respect to the subject matter of its decoration. The forecourt of the temple is delimited on the north and south by a series of 6 columns with intercolumnar constructions (screen walls) bearing reliefs and inscriptions.

circa 180 BCE

Relief Inscriptions
On the columns are representations of musicians and the texts of the songs they intoned during the celebrations on the occasion of the mythical return of the goddess Hathor to Philae from her tour of devastation in the south. The reliefs on the blocks between the columns depict Emperor Augustus presenting ritual offerings (wine, oil, sistra,

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