Sharjah Archaeology Authority (SAA) organized a virtual lecture entitled ‘The archaeological and cultural heritage of the ancient city of Luxor’, for the researcher Dr Khaled Essam El-Din, from the Grand Egyptian Museum in the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. During which, he talked about the history of the ancient city of Luxor, and the religious, cultural and social heritage during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras. He discussed the military archaeological legacy in ancient Luxor during the Roman era, in addition to the artistic and cultural heritage during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras.
The lecture was part of a series of specialized weekly scientific lectures, organized by the SAA in the framework of spreading awareness of the restoration and maintenance of antiquities. The number of attendees exceeded 140 and was made up of participants interested in preserving antiquities from inside and outside the country.
In the details, researcher Dr Khaled Essam El-Din pointed out that the ancient city of Luxor has played a major religious and political role throughout history, especially from the era of the Pharaonic families. Until the Ptolemaic and Roman eras, it was a major player in the political scene, as it was the main centre of worship of the god Amun Ra. Also, it was the seat of the most important and most sacred Egyptian temples in ancient Egypt. The religious and political role that the city played in the ancient world contributed to gain the attention of tourists and historians who addressed the mention of the city in their books and writings that still tell us much about the secrets of the ancient city and its main sights.
The shortest in history
Dr Khaled Essam El-Din said that the city of Luxor was known in ancient Egyptian texts as the ‘Province of Wast’, and during the era of the Middle Kingdom, it was called ‘Iono South’ to distinguish it from the northern city of Iono. During the era of the modern state, it bore the title ‘Wast the victorious, the lady of all cities’. During the Ptolemaic and Roman periods, it was known as the ‘City of Dius Paul Magna’, after the name of the deity Zeus, whose worship was associated with the worship of the god Amun Ra, the local deity in the city.
He continued: “The Arabs called it ‘Luxor’, which is the plural of a few. This was in reference to its large temples with tall gates, and this name was mentioned by Ibn al-Rumi and Ibn al-Khardadhaba, and sometimes it was called the name Luxor, in a clear reference to the temple of the god Amun in Luxor at the Karnak Temples Complex.”
He added: “Despite the Ptolemy’s earnest attempts to win priests to their side, this matter did not prevent the Egyptians from defending their legitimate rights, which led to repeated revolutions during the Ptolemaic era. The most important of which, was the revolution that broke out in 205 BC, where the leaders declared the revolution separated from the authority of the Ptolemies in the north, but this revolution did not complete its path, as King Ptolemy V was able to put it down and restore matters to what they were.”
He pointed out that in the year 88 BC another revolution broke out in Thebes against the Ptolemaic rule more powerful than its predecessors, forcing the kings to besiege the city, and Plato bin Plato, who was ruling the province of Thebes at the time, tells us the circumstances and circumstances of that revolution, as he considered it one of the most difficult and darkest. The situations that Thebes experienced throughout its history were mentioned along with events and many details on the back pillar in his famous statue preserved in the Cairo Museum.
The researcher Essam El-Din touched on the religious legacy through his talk about the Karnak temple, which includes several chapels, temples, towers, and other buildings, and about the importance and status of the Serapis Temple, which the Ptolemies built mainly in Memphis. He showed pictures of Serapis’ head from the Carlsberg Museum and the Naples City Museum. From the Grand Egyptian Museum, he also touched on the social-cultural heritage in the ancient Luxor through the building of the Ptolemaic and Roman baths in Karnak as a model for that heritage. As for the artistic and cultural heritage in Luxor during the Ptolemaic and Roman eras, it was demonstrated through several models and referenced the statue of Queen Arsenoy II, which is located in the Miho Museum in Japan. It also referenced the base of the statue of Queen Arsenoy II, located in the Museum of Art in Chicago.