Reliefs of the Temple of Hathor

Reliefs of the Temple of Hathor
Reliefs of the Temple of Hathor

In the temples and tombs of Ancient Egypt the paintings, hieroglyphics or reliefs either describe their religious beliefs or present us with historical events that really happened. And both aspects generally coexist in the same place.

That is the case of the reliefs of the Temple of Hathor in Dendera, a work carried out between the years 40 and 30 before Christ and where we can see a scene of howCleopatra presents her son Caesarion to the gods Hathor and Ihi.


Cleopatra presenting Caesarion to the goddess Hathor

The mythical Cleopatra was the last representative of the dynasty of the Ptolemies of Macedonian origin to reach Egyptfrom the hand of Alexander the Great. This woman reigned with the name of Cleopatra VII, and had come to the throne in the year 51 a. C.

Soon, in order to resist power, she allied herself withJulius Caesar, but that alliance would turn into a love relationship from whichCesarionwould be born in 47 a. C. The truth is that that union could have been more lasting, in fact they moved to Rome, where the Egyptian queen lived until Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. C.

However, that was not Cleopatra's only relationship with a Roman ruler, as she would later joinMark Antony, with whom she would end up having three more sons. And so much Marco Antoniolike Cleopatra committed suicide after being defeated in the famous Battle of Actio of the year 31 a. C against Octavian, the future Emperor Caesar Augustus, who also had Caesarion assassinated to avoid dynastic trouble.

Well, before that happened, Cleopatra wanted to guarantee her son's reign and that's why she presented him to the Egyptian gods, and that's what we see in the reliefs of this temple. Some reliefs in which despite being much more modern than those of the time of the great pharaohs, the truth is that there are stylistic characteristics that survive. Mainly the lack of perspective and the fact that the figures are presented in very forced and unnatural profile postures, since their extremities are always seen complete, while the torso appears from the front and the face in profile.

In these reliefs, whose background is completely plagued with hieroglyphics, we see two couples, on the one hand Cleopatra and Cesarion, and on the other Hathor, goddess of motherhood and her son Ihi. And really the figures of the queen and the goddess can almost be confused, since they are dressed with the same sacred symbols: the horns and the solar disk. While young Cesarion is dressed as a pharaoh.

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