Temple of Suchos and Haroeris, Kom Ombo
The great Temple of Suchos and Haroeris was built to a unified plan, which in effect accommodated two temples in a single building, and embellished with reliefs by Philometor, Euergetes II and Neos Dionysos; the reliefs in the court and on the outer walls were added by various Roman Emperors, in particular Tiberius. The general plan is similar to that of other Ptolemaic temples (Dendera, Edfu, Philae); but since it was dedicated to two principal deities, each with his own rites and festivals, it was divided by an imaginary line along its longitudinal axis into two halves, each of which had its own gateways and doors and its own chapel. The right hand (south) half belongs to Sobek (Suchos), the left hand half to Haroeris.
Temple of Suchos and Haroeris - Pylon
The Pylon by which the court is entered had two gateways; but the left hand half has completely disappeared and only the lower parts of the central pillar and the right wing survive. On the right hand front wall are, from left to right, Sobek, Hathor and Khons, a hieroglyphic text of 52 lines and a relief of the Emperor Domitian, wearing the crown of Upper Egypt, and 14 deities making offerings to the two principal gods. Above this last scene, at the right hand end of the pylon, are other reliefs: six spirits (the three to the rear being the dog headed "souls of Hieraconpolis") bearing the newly crowned King (destroyed) in a throne to the palace, followed by the hieroglyphic signs for "life" and "well being" borne by gods on long poles; and a large figure of the King making his way from the palace to the temple, preceded by a priest burning incense and followed by his ka bearing a scepter topped by a King's head.
Temple of Suchos and Haroeris Court
The Court, as at Edfu, was surrounded on three sides by colonnades, but only the lower halves of the 16 columns are left. The reliefs, which depict Tiberius making offerings, are remarkable for the freshness of their coloring. On the inner side of the right hand wing of the pylon are two doors, one of which (nearer the entrance) leads into a small chamber, the other (at the corner of the court) to a staircase mounting to the roof. The ancient paving of the court, like that of the temple itself, is excellently preserved. In the center of the court is a square base, perhaps for an altar; and let into the pavement on either side of this are two small granite troughs. Along the far side of the court are stone screens, between which are two large and two smaller doorways. On the right-hand screen the falcon headed Horus and the ibis headed Thoth are depicted pouring the water of consecration over King Neos Dionysos, with the crocodile headed Sobek, lord of the right hand half of the temple, standing on the left. On the left hand screen is the same scene, watched by the falcon headed Haroeris (upper part of body destroyed), lord of the left hand half of the temple. Along the tops of the screens are a row of serpents with solar discs on their heads.
Temple of Suchos and Haroeris - Vestibule
The Vestibule has ten columns with rich foliage and palm capitals and is embellished with reliefs by Neos Dionysos (incised reliefs on the columns, bas-reliefs on the walls). On the shafts of the columns the King is depicted making offerings to the gods. On the ceiling over the two main aisles are flying vultures. On the underside of the architraves, which are borne on abaci, are astronomical representations (star gods in their boats, etc.). The grids used by the artists in setting out the picture can still be seen in some cases, as well as sketches which were never carried to completion. The mural reliefs are very fine, in particular the one to the left of the north doorway, which depicts Neos Dionysos, in the presence of Haroeris (on the right), being blessed by a lion headed Isis and the falcon headed Harsiesis (on the right) and by the goddess Nut and the ibis headed Thoth (on the left).
Temple of Suchos and Haroeris - Reliefs
lf time permits it is worth while looking carefully at the other mural reliefs as well. On the rear side of the east screen between the court and the vestibule: the King being blessed by the tutelary goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt, with the crocodile headed Sobek and Hathor standing on the left. Next to this, above the small doorway: Neos Dionysos making offerings to four fabulous beasts, including a four headed winged lion (the animals have been obliterated). On the opposite wall (the outer wall of the hypostyle hall): bottom row, on right, Euergetes II and Cleopatra VIl (upper parts missing) in the presence of Suchos and his two fellow deities Hathor and Penebtawi; center, the King in the presence of the falcon headed Haroeris and the "Good Sister"; on left, Euergetes presenting the Temple of Ombos to Sobek and Hathor; middle row, right, the King (missing) making offerings to Osiris, seated on a throne, to Isis and her young son and to Nephthys; center, Euergetes presenting flowers to the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut; left, the King offering two jars to Shu and the lion headed Tefnut; top row, right, the King (missing) in the presence of Haroeris, the "Good Sister" and Penebtawi; center, the King presenting an ornament to Sobek and Khons-Hor; left, Euergetes II offering milk to Sobek and Hathor (badly damaged). On the corresponding wall on the left hand side are three rows of similar scenes.
Temple of Suchos and Haroeris Hypostyle Hall
Two doorways lead into the Hypostyle Hall, the roof of which (lower than that of the vestibule) was supported on ten papyrus columns with floral capitals.On the column shafts Euergetes is depicted making offerings to various gods. The reliefs on the walls show him in converse with the gods. Note particularly the relief on the left hand (north) wall: the falcon headed Haroeris presenting to the King, behind whom are his sister Cleopatra VII and his wife Cleopatra, the curved sword of victory and the hieroglyph for eternal life. Between the doors from the vestibule is the sacred crocodile of Ombos. Between the doors leading into the rear part of the temple are reliefs of Euergetes II's elder brother Philometor making an offering to the falcon headed Haroeris.
Temple of Suchos and Haroeris Antechambers
The three Antechambers to the rear of the hypostyle hall, each slightly higher than the one before, also have fine reliefs. The small rooms on the left hand side, which served as store rooms, have almost completely disappeared. On the rear wall of the third antechamber, between two doors, is a fine relief of Philometor in a long white mantle, with Cleopatra behind him, standing before the falcon headed moon god Khons, who is writing the King's name on a palm branch with the symbol for a long reign; to the rear are the principal gods of Ombos, Haroeris and Sobek.
Temple of Suchos and Haroeris Chapels
The two doors in the rear wall of the third antechamber lead into the Chapels (only foundations preserved) of Haroeris (left) and Sobek (right). The black granite base in each chapel was for the sacred barque with the image of the god. Around the chapels were a number of smaller rooms with crypts.
Temple of Suchos and Haroeris Inner Passage
From the vestibule two doors open into the inner passage round the temple, at the far end of which are seven small chambers. The unfinished reliefs in these chambers are of interest as showing different stages in the artists' work; there are also inscriptions sketched out but never completed. From the central chamber a staircase mounts to the upper floor.
Temple of Suchos and Haroeris - Outer Passage
The east walls of the outer passage round the temple are covered with reliefs depicting the Emperor Trajan making offerings to Egyptian gods. At the northeast corner he is shown kneeling before two deities; beside this scene is a set of medical instruments.
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