Universitätsbibliothek HeidelbergUniversitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

Naville, Edouard
The Festival-Hall of Osorkon II. in the Great temple of Bubastis: (1887 - 1889) — London, 1892

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Thh festival hall is the most interesting part of
the great temple of Bubastis. To relate its
history would be to go over again that of the
whole edifice, which I have told elsewhere.
Let us remember that it was the second hall,
entering from the east, and that judging from
the heap of stones, which is all that remains of
it, it had an approximate length of 80 feet
and a breadth of 120. There the excavations
began, and it is the part of the temple which
gave the richest crop of monuments. We may
sum up briefly the chief facts of its history.

The festival hall dates from the Old Empire.
It contained a doorway with an inscription of
Pepi I. I even believe that it was the sanc-
tuary of the original temple. "We do not know
exactly the architectural plan of the temples
of the Old Empire, as very little of them
is still extant. They had a fate similar to
that of most of our places of worship.
They underwent considerable changes, which
perhaps wiped out entirely all traces of the
original buildings. The great cathedrals of
our days are generally constructed on the site
of much smaller edifices. If anything of the
primitive sanctuary has been preserved, it is
in the crypt, hidden under the pavement, on
which rest stately columns and majestic arches.
It was the same with the temples of Egypt.
Moreover, the great simplicity of the construc-
tions of the Old Empire, the absence of orna-
ment and of inscriptions on the walls of the

temples, prevent us from assigning their
proper date to fragments which have been re-
used in constructions of a more recent date. It
seems probable that the temple on which were
inscribed the names of Cheops and Ohefren con-
sisted of two chambers, the eastern one beingthe
entrance, while the western was the sanctuary,
the abode of a divinity, which one we do not
know. This divinity was not Bast under the
fourth or the sixth dynasty, not even perhaps
under the twelfth. It was only much later
that Bast became the chief goddess of the city
to which she gave her name.

This small temple lasted until Usertesen III.,
who raised architraves of large dimensions,
and who probably altered entirely the old con-
struction. He added to it the colonnade which
may have been an entrance to the sanctuary on
the western side. We cannot say what form
the great king of the twelfth dynasty gave to
his renovated hall. Undoubtedly it contained
a shrine, in the neighbourhood of which the
kings placed their statues ; for in the great
number of them which were unearthed among
the ruins, there were some going back to the
twelfth dynasty, although they had the name
of Rameses II. ; for instance, the statue the
head of which is in Sydney,1 and the base still
on the spot, perhaps also the colossi,2 frag-
ments of which only remain.

After the twelfth dynasty a king of the
thirteenth left his name in the sanctuary; but

Bubastis, pi. xxy. c.

2 Id. pi. xxiii. c.