Horemheb Temple, Silsila Quarry and Kom Ombo Temple
05/08/2011 92 °F
Another great night being rocked to sleep by the boat. We are up early and having breakfast at 7:30 a.m. so we have some time to explore the temple and quarry. On the boat Ismail gives us a short lecture about the history of Silsila then we are off to explore. All of the granite used in the temples in Luxor and Cairo was cut and brought up the Nile from Aswan.
During the early afternoon we tie up along side the shore and we go swimming in the Nile. Well, I just go wading because I forgot to pack my bathing suit. But Tim goes for a swim and he has a great time.
We arrive at Kom Ombo (48 kilometers south of Edfu) late in the afternoon and have time to visit the temple before dinner. Kom Ombo is a double temple dedicated to two separate divine triads: Horus the Elder and Sobek, the crocodile god. Lots of crocodiles in this area so it was important they give offerings regularly to Sobek. Everyone loved Horus but the Temple of Edfu, dedicated to Horus, was just up the Nile. What to do? They "made up" Horus the Elder so they could worship their beloved Horus close by.
This Greco-Roman temple was begun and mostly completed under the Ptolemies. The reliefs in the courtyards and the outer walls were carved under the Romans. Inscriptions name Tiberius (14-37 A.D.), Domitian (81-96 A.D.), Trajan (98-17 A.D.), and finally Macrinus (217-218 A.D.). A lot of the reliefs were deliberately damaged once Justinian, 6th century Byzantine emperor, took over and decreed that all of the temples were to be converted to Christianity. Part of the conversion work would included chiseling out the parts of the reliefs that showed skin - faces, arms, hands, legs and feet - leaving only the body that was covered by the tunic and the crown.
After our visit to Kom Ombo we continue sailing down the Nile where we tie up at a small island and have a barbeque dinner on the island. This is the last night for our Austrian shipmates so after dinner the crew treats us to a medley of Egyptian songs and music.