Kom Ombo

Back to Egypt.  This is gonna be a short entry because quite honestly I’ve gotten caught up in NBC’s gazillion hours of comedy shows tonight.

After we left the Edfu Temple in Esna, we went a couple more hours down the river to Kom Ombo.  The Kom Ombo Temple was much closer to the river than Edfu and could be seen from the water as we approached the shore.  This temple looked more like a typical ruin than Edfu.  There was almost nothing left of the roof and the walls were falling apart.  But not all was in ruins and there were several interesting parts of the temple that remained intact.

The first was the fact that the temple was in fact two identical temples adjacent to one another.  Each temple mirrored the other precisely.  The reason for this was because the original temple was for the crocodile god Sobek (Ironically through this trip, we visited a temple dedicated to a crocodile god and was on a ship called the crocodile, yet we didn’t see one crocodile the entire time), but the Egyptians didn’t want one temple dedicated to this evil deity.  So they created the other side for the god of fertility, Hathor in order to essentially feel better about themselves.

Here are a few more interesting points of the temple:

-The temple was also another example of a Greek temple, which was evident in the amount of nudity in the carvings of the people on the walls.

-There is an ancient Egyptian calendar on one of the ruins.  Archaeologists were able to figure out that on the calendar a single line represented a day.  An upside down “U” represented ten days.   By adding up the segments you could see that the Egyptians had ten day weeks, three weeks a month, for a 360 day year.  And that year was split into three parts for the harvest.  We later found out that the other five days were used for holiday purposes (e.g. a pharaoh wanted to celebrate himself when he felt like it, or a party for a big wedding, etc.).  It was actually pretty amazing how sophisticated their understanding of time was even thousands of years ago.

-There was a grand segment of the temple with a row of faceless men with cartouches (essentially a persons name written in hieroglyphic in the form of a dog-tag) underneath them.  These men were the thieves of the area who the king decided didn’t deserve to have faces.  Only their names would be known to the people in shame.  The wall also depicted a rather gruesome illustration of how thieves in ancient Egypt would have one hand tied behind their backs while a lion came up and ate it.

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