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January 17, 2021
, Temple artwork often shows the king presenting an image of the goddess Maat to the temple deity, an act that represented the purpose of all other offerings. , Pharaohs also built temples where offerings were made to sustain their spirits in the afterlife, often linked with or located near their tombs.  Of those gods who did have temples of their own, many were venerated mainly in certain areas of Egypt, though many gods with a strong local tie were also important across the nation.  Maintaining maat was the entire purpose of Egyptian religion, and it was the purpose of a temple as well. Each stone was dressed to fit with its neighbors, producing cuboid blocks whose uneven shapes interlocked. These temples are traditionally called "mortuary temples" and regarded as essentially different from divine temples. The exact order of events in these rituals is uncertain and may have varied somewhat each time they were performed.  Although this practice was distinct from the worship of single divine representatives, some temples kept stocks of animals that could be selected for either purpose. It is, without a doubt, their greatest treasure. Colonnaded hall, 3. Temple of Horus. The pylon is known from only scattered examples in the Old and Middle Kingdoms, but in the New Kingdom it quickly became the distinctive and imposing façade common to most Egyptian temples.  This crucial place, the Egyptians believed, had to be insulated from the impure outside world. Built by Hatshepsut, the first pharaoh in history, this temple of fine geometric lines is radically different from all the others since it was not built by dragging stones and raising pylons and columns, but was excavated on the Deir el-Bahari escarpment, behind the Valley of the Kings. The most numerous statues were votive figures donated to the temple by kings, private individuals, or even towns to gain divine favor. , Once Egypt became a Roman province, Roman officials sought to limit temples' power and independence. The first stop of its 642 blocks was the island of Elephantine. Some damaged or destroyed structures, like the temples of Akhenaten, are even being reconstructed. The enclosure where the Karnak Temple has located measures 2,400 meters in perimeter and is surrounded by an 8-meter thick adobe wall.  Not all deities had temples dedicated to them. Priests interpreted the movements of sacred animals or, being asked questions directly, wrote out or spoke answers that they had supposedly received from the god in question. They are made of gray granite and measure more than 15 meters and a half high. , Temple construction did not end once the original plan was complete; pharaohs often rebuilt or replaced decayed temple structures or made additions to those still standing. Lesser appointments he delegated to his vizier or to the priests themselves. Part of a series on. Image credit: Aline Fortuna/Shutterstock.com. [Note 3], Temples were built throughout Upper and Lower Egypt, as well as at Egyptian-controlled oases in the Libyan Desert as far west as Siwa, and at outposts in the Sinai Peninsula such as Timna. They used much the same layout as free-standing temples but used excavated chambers rather than buildings as their inner rooms.  They could also be ordered to provide supplies for some specific purposes. Egyptologists continue to study the surviving temples and the remains of destroyed ones as invaluable sources of information about ancient Egyptian society. Other statues served as gifts to the temple god, and inscribed stelae conveyed to the resident deity the donors' prayers and messages of thanks. , Much of a temple's economic support came from its own resources. These open courts, which had been a part of Egyptian temple design since the Old Kingdom, became transitional areas in the standard plan of the New Kingdom, lying between the public space outside the temple and the more restricted areas within. Karnak Temple. The entire area enclosed by these walls is sometimes called the temenos, the sacred precinct dedicated to the god.  In late temples the ritual areas could extend to chapels on the roof and crypts below the floor.  Limestone was especially useful as a source of lime, so temples built of limestone were almost all dismantled. The priest performing the ritual was identified with Horus, the living son of Osiris, who in mythology sustained his father after death through offerings. 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