Egyptian temple culture was thought to be declining in the Ptolemaic era, after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. Nothing could be further from the truth, says Egyptologist Carina van den Hoven. Temple culture was very much alive and kicking. PhD defense 16 February.
Carina van den Hoven travelled to Egypt every year for her PhD research, to study temples and photograph what she saw. Having studied the ritual scenes depicted on the walls of the temples and deciphering the texts written in hieroglyphics, she discovered that innovations were introduced into the contemporary temple culture that were rooted in ancient traditions. These innovations reflected the much broader context of innovations that had been taking place in Egypt over a longer period.
Reconstruction work on a pylon at Karnak. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
After Alexander's sudden death, the region underwent a period of turbulence. His Macedonian empire stretched over 4,000 kilometers, from the Ionian Sea to the Himalayas. There being no capable successor, Alexander's former generals were appointed as governors of different parts of the empire, but all too soon they were waging bloody wars to annex parts of one another's territory.
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