The Temple of Luxor is interesting for several reasons, because it is older than Phylae, it is largely intact though defaced, because the architecture is typical New Kingdom instead of Ptolmaic and because the front of the temple is built by Ramesses II (1303-1213 BCE) with his exuberant love for enormous things with his image and name on them. This was a king who understood, as never before, the power of scale, the purpose of awe. Ramesses thought large, and this extended to his family, since he boasted that he was the father of more than 100 sons and 60 daughters. As I said before, the temple was built for the festival of Opet cementing the God-like status of the living pharoah. During the 18th Dynasty (1503-1292 BCE) the festival lasted eleven days, but had grown to twenty-seven days by the reign of Ramesses III (1186-1155 BCE) in the 20th Dynasty. At that time the festival included the distribution of over 11,000 loaves of bread, 85 cakes and 385 jars of beer. The procession of images of the current royal family began at Karnak and ended at the Temple of Luxor. By the late 18th Dynasty the journey was being made by barge, on the Nile River. Each god or goddess was carried in a separate barge that was towed by smaller boats.
When I visited the sanctuary of the Temple of Isis from Philae, I was struck by the maze of cramped corridors with walls covered with hieroglyphics. While I have photographs, they would be difficult if not impossible to understand. In this post I thought I would explore some of the sacred ancient Egyptian symbols that appear in this sanctuary. To do this, I am going to interpret the symbols surrounding Ptolemy II (the Egyptian Pharoah from 283-246 BC) depicted above. I have decided to take this approach as an introduction to the symbols of ancient Egypt instead of making a list with descriptions because the symbols themselves were rarely used in isolation in actual practice. I hope this approach will be more informative and less confusing but you will have to let me know.