Temple of Isis at Philae

Temple of Isis at Philae
Temple of Isis at Philae

The immense heritage of Ancient Egypt practically unfolds around the Nile River. However, the appearance of this immense channel has changed a lot since then. Especially because of the presence of the gigantic Aswan Dam, in southern Egypt. The construction of this double infrastructure, the upper and the lower, prevented the annual floods, but it meant the creation of a huge lake that left many lands submerged.


Isis Temple at Philae

One of them was the ancient island of Philae, where there was a large group of temples, among which the one dedicated to the goddess Isis stands out, although there were others such as the one in Hathor or the well-known Trajan's Kiosk.

Fortunately, all that heritage was dismantled stone by stone and transferred to another island where floods do not threaten it. It is the islet of Agilkia, where the entire complex was rebuilt with an aspect and orientation practically identical to the original.

As we say, the most important building is the Temple of Isis, one of the main ones dedicated to this goddess. Which, according to the religion of Ancient Egypt, collected the body of her husband Osiris, who had been killed by her brother Seth, who also he had dismembered it and distributed it throughout the kingdom. However, Isis was in charge of gathering all the remains of her and set out to unite themprecisely on the island of Philae.

Hence the importance of this island for the rites of this goddess, to whom tribute was paid even long after the pharaohs exercised their absolute power in Egypt. The proof is that we are facing a time of the Ptolemaic period, that is, coinciding with Hellenistic times like other “modern” temples in Egypt, such is the case of the Temple of Edfu.

However, the cult in Philae continued for a long time afterwards. In fact, there are reliefs in which various Roman emperors were represented, such as Augustus himself, thus paying homage to the pharaonic gods. Or we have already mentioned that one of the most distinguished constructions is the so-called Trajan's Kiosk.

Among all the decorations of the temple and the rituals of Isis there is the last one dated in the 6th century, and in it it is read that the monks reinforce the idea that this divinity was always worshiped there. However, they were wrong, since a few decades later, during the reign of Emperor Justinian, Christianity was declared the only religion in all his domains, and the worship of other gods was prohibited. In fact, the temple of Isis in Philae, became a church and over the centuries many of the faces of the characters and ancient myths were damaged trying to erase their presence. Although unfortunately for all those fundamentalist acts, today we continue to honor those figures, not from a religious point of view, but as jewels.historical and artistic.

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