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The Egyptian Temple of Esna, south of Luxor.
Erected in the Ptolemaic Period, this temple was the last Egyptian temple to be decorated with hieroglyphic texts.
The site was an important cultural center in the Ptolemaic Period, although archaeological evidence dates from as early as the Middle Kingdom. […] It was erected in the Ptolemaic Period and enlarged with a hypostyle hall, decorated mainly in Roman times. The temple was dedicated to an androgynous, nameless, omnipotent creator god, which manifested itself as both the male god Khnum/ Khnum-Ra and the female deity Neith.
Nothing more than the hypostyle hall has survived from the temple. Its walls are decorated with some unique ritual scenes, such as the dance of the pharaoh before the gods, and the catching of fishes and birds with a clap net. The temple’s columns, decorated mainly with inscriptions, display the only temple ritual known from ancient Egypt that is preserved in its entirety. The inscriptions are written in Middle Egyptian with some Demotic influence.
[…] The existing temple of Esna was built during the reign of Ptolemy V (205-180 BCE) and decorated by his successor, Ptolemy VI (180-145 BCE), during that ruler’s coregency with Ptolemy VIII and Cleopatra II (170-163 BCE).
The shown relief in the fourth photo is from the north side of the temple, and shows Roman emperor Trajan subduing the enemies of Egypt -a traditional Pharaonic image in Egyptian art.
Photos taken by Brian Ritchie.
The Temple of Seti I at Abydos, Egypt.
This temple consists of seven sanctuaries lined up in a row, each of which are dedicated to a different deity (the southernmost of these honours 19th Dynasty Pharaoh Seti I himself). The purpose for the construction of this building was to act as a funerary shrine for Seti I, as confirmed by the name of the building: "The house of millions of years of the King Men-Ma’at-Re [Seti I], who is contented at Abydos." Although he was actually buried in the Valley of the Kings at Thebes, Seti followed the royal tradition of constructing a second funerary complex at Abydos -the cult centre of the Egyptian god Osiris.
The bas-reliefs of this temple are some of the best persevered from ancient Egypt, and many retain the original paint work. A classical, traditional style is evoked by the raised relief decoration carved under Seti I on fine white limestone.
From north to south, the temple is dedicated to the following Egyptian deities: Horus, Isis, Osiris, Amen-Re, Re-Horakhty, and Ptah. Seti restoring the worship of the traditional gods of Egypt after the Amarna period could explain this combined dedication. The aftermath of the Amarna period is also reflected in the "king’s gallery". This is a rather selective list of legitimate pharaohs from Egyptian history, with the names of Akhenaten, Smenkhkare and Tutankhamen excluded -as though erasing their reigns from recorded history.
The first photo was taken by Irene Soto, and the rest by Kyera Giannini, all courtesy the New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World via Flickr. When writing up this post, Kathryn A. Bard’s Encyclopaedia of the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt (2005) was of use.
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