It is known that six years ago, a joint German-Egyptian mission was to be represented on the German side (University of Tubingen) and represented on the Egyptian side (Antiquities Registration Center and Projects Sector) through an Egyptian team of fellow restorers at the Esna Temple, under the supervision of our colleague Al-Uzayr and dear friend Professor Ahmed Hassan, Director of the Esna Antiquities District.
Since 2018, scientists and the restoration team began unveiling inscriptions and drawings after removing the dirt that had accumulated on them for more than two thousand years. This resulted in amazing discoveries, as the names of many previously unknown zodiac signs appeared.
Christian Leitz, an Egyptologist at the University of Tubingen, who is leading the project from the German side, says (Pledge Times), says: “We have so far managed to register more than 60 names of ancient Egyptian constellations and star deities, many of which were unknown before. The scholars have restored only two of the seven sections of the huge roof of the temple, as inscriptions and their names were attached to the ceiling.
The length of the main hall of the temple, whose ceiling is adorned with an astronomical figure, is 37 meters, 20 meters wide, and 15 meters high. Twenty-four columns support its roof, and the ends of the 18 freestanding columns are designed with floral motifs different from each other; each column capital has a different decoration, and this is one of the most important features of the Esna Temple.
The Temple of Esna was discovered during Napoleon Bonaparte’s expedition to Egypt at the end of the eighteenth century. However, the scientific publication of the temple was revealed at the end of the sixties of the twentieth century by the director of the French Institute of Oriental Archeology in Egypt (Serge Soneron), but his project was not completed as it stopped after his sudden death in 1976.
German Egyptologist Leitz says: “Because of the thick sediments, Serge Soneron was unable to reveal many of the hieroglyphic inscriptions written in ink next to the many constellations on the ceiling of the hall, since only the astronomical constellations were designed as inscriptions and then decorated with colors, so their names were written next to them casually.”
After the purification and restoration, it became clear – for example – that the ancient Egyptians called the strange constellation of serpents with two human heads and two geese at each end Geese Ra.
Despite this, scientists in Esna have yet to clean five sections of the roof, says Leitz. “We assume we’ll find many previously unknown names for constellations.”
This discovery could be a key to a comparison with the astronomical images in the Temple of Dendera, which is located about 120 km north of the Temple of Esna, which is the temple dedicated to the worship of the goddess of heaven, Hathor. It was covered by the dome of the heavenly constellations that now adorns the Louvre Museum in Paris!!
It known that the temple of Esna (the Temple of Khnum) considered one of the greatest buildings of the Ptolemaic period. It is also worth noting; that the idol of Khnum; is the figure of humans on a pottery wheel as the creator deity (according to the ancient Egyptian belief). He also had the critically important task of providing the annual flood of the Nile, which was of existential importance to the fertility of the land of Egypt, and still is.
Does he reveal the secrets of the heavenly constellations?
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