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d’archéologie orientale - Le Caire

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Le mercredi 4 mars 2015 à 18h00, IFAO géolocalisation IFAO

The Sun Temples. Ideology and Architecture of the Fifth Dynasty Pharaohs

Massimiliano Nuzzolo (Université de Naples - Université d'Alexandrie)

The sun temples of the fifth dynasty represent one of the most intriguing, and strictly unparalleled, monuments of Ancient Egypt. Despite several studies conducted in the last century, the meaning and reasons for their building and sudden disappearance are still far from clear, especially the issue of whether the temples had a solely funerary nature. This idea, mainly due to their location in close proximity with the contemporary pyramids, on the west bank of the Nile, seems to fail when compared with the archaeological and epigraphic evidences.

This lecture will show how the significance and evolution of these solar temples in the architectural and religious history of the Old Kingdom were closely connected to the contemporary pyramids and the general, defining process of the royal ideology during the Old Kingdom. A special focus will be also set on the examination of some elements of the decorative program of the best preserved sun temple, that of Niuserra, and in particular the sed festival representation which seems to be, in the present author’s opinion, the actual clue of the puzzle.