Pylon (architecture)

Last updated
Temple of Isis first pylon, Philae Insel Philae.JPG
Temple of Isis first pylon, Philae

Pylon is the Greek term (Greek: πυλών) for a monumental gateway of an Egyptian temple (Egyptian: bxn.t in the Manuel de Codage transliteration [1] ). It consists of two tapering towers, each surmounted by a cornice, joined by a less elevated section which encloses the entrance between them. [2] The entrance was generally about half the height of the towers. Contemporary paintings of pylons show them with long poles flying banners.

Contents

Egyptian architecture

Pylon (architecture)
Akhet (horizon)
in hieroglyphs

In ancient Egyptian religion, the pylon mirrored the hieroglyph for 'horizon' or akhet , which was a depiction of two hills "between which the sun rose and set." [2] Consequently, it played a critical role in the symbolic architecture of a cult building which was associated with the place of recreation and rebirth.

Luxor Temple Pylons and obelisk Luxor temple.JPG
Luxor Temple

Pylons were often decorated with scenes emphasizing a king's authority since it was the public face of a cult building. [2] On the first pylon of the temple of Isis at Philae, the pharaoh is shown slaying his enemies while Isis, Horus and Hathor look on. Other examples of pylons can be seen in Karnak, Luxor, and Edfu.

Rituals to the god Amun who became identified with the sun god Ra were often carried out on the top of temple pylons. In addition to standard vertical grooves on the exterior face of a pylon wall which were designed to hold flag poles, some pylons also contained internal stairways and rooms. [2] The oldest intact pylons belong to mortuary temples from the 13th and 12th century BCE Ramessside period. [2] A pair of obelisks usually stood in front of a pylon.

Athenian Acropolis

A single stone pillar standing at the Propylaea of the Acropolis in Athens is known as the pylon.[ citation needed ]

Revival architecture

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Sydney harbour bridge new south wales.jpg
The Sydney Harbour Bridge

Both Neoclassical architecture and Egyptian Revival architecture employ the pylon form, with Boodle's gentlemen's club in London being an example of the Neoclassical style. The 19th and 20th centuries saw pylon architecture employed for bridge building with the Sydney Harbour Bridge being one of the largest examples.

In 1928, a Pylon was erected by public subscription to commemorate the extension of the County Borough of Brighton on 1 April of that same year. The two stone towers known locally as "the Pylons" (sic) still stand and are clearly visible to travellers on either carriageway of the A23 road. The Patcham Pylon towers flank the southbound carriageway of the A23 just outside the city of Brighton and Hove and are listed Grade II: of special interest warranting every effort to preserve them. [3]

Many cathedrals have a similar western end, such as Elgin Cathedral in Elgin, Moray.

See also

Related Research Articles

Thebes, Egypt Ancient Egyptian city

Thebes, known to the ancient Egyptians as Waset, was an ancient Egyptian city located along the Nile about 800 kilometers (500 mi) south of the Mediterranean. Its ruins lie within the modern Egyptian city of Luxor. Thebes was the main city of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome and was the capital of Egypt for long periods during the Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom eras. It was close to Nubia and the Eastern Desert, with its valuable mineral resources and trade routes. It was a cult center and the most venerated city during many periods of ancient Egyptian history. The site of Thebes includes areas on both the eastern bank of the Nile, where the temples of Karnak and Luxor stand and where the city proper was situated; and the western bank, where a necropolis of large private and royal cemeteries and funerary complexes can be found.

Nephthys Ancient Egyptian goddess

Nephthys or Nebet-Het in ancient Egyptian was a goddess in ancient Egyptian religion. A member of the Great Ennead of Heliopolis in Egyptian mythology, she was a daughter of Nut and Geb. Nephthys was typically paired with her sister Isis in funerary rites because of their role as protectors of the mummy and the god Osiris and as the sister-wife of Set.

An obelisk is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape or pyramidion at the top. Originally they were called tekhenu by their builders, the Ancient Egyptians. The Greeks who saw them used the Greek term obeliskos to describe them, and this word passed into Latin and ultimately English. Ancient obelisks are monolithic; that is, they consist of a single stone. Most modern obelisks are made of several stones.

Karnak Ancient Egyptian temple complex

The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak, comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings near Luxor, in Egypt. Construction at the complex began during the reign of Senusret I in the Middle Kingdom and continued into the Ptolemaic period, although most of the extant buildings date from the New Kingdom. The area around Karnak was the ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut and the main place of worship of the eighteenth dynasty Theban Triad with the god Amun as its head. It is part of the monumental city of Thebes. The Karnak complex gives its name to the nearby, and partly surrounded, modern village of El-Karnak, 2.5 kilometres north of Luxor.

Luxor Temple Ancient Egyptian temple

Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the Nile River in the city today known as Luxor and was constructed approximately 1400 BCE. In the Egyptian language it is known as ipet resyt, "the southern sanctuary". In Luxor there are several great temples on the east and west banks. Four of the major mortuary temples visited by early travelers include the Temple of Seti I at Gurnah, the Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahri, the Temple of Ramesses II, and the Temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu; the two primary cults' temples on the east bank are known as the Karnak and Luxor. Unlike the other temples in Thebes, Luxor temple is not dedicated to a cult god or a deified version of the pharaoh in death. Instead, Luxor temple is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship; it may have been where many of the pharaohs of Egypt were crowned in reality or conceptually.

Philae Island in the Nile, Egypt

Philae is an island in the reservoir of the Aswan Low Dam, downstream of the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser, Egypt. Philae was originally located near the expansive First Cataract of the Nile in Upper Egypt and was the site of an Egyptian temple complex. These rapids and the surrounding area have been variously flooded since the initial construction of the Aswan Low Dam in 1902. The temple complex was dismantled and moved to nearby Agilkia Island as part of the UNESCO Nubia Campaign project, protecting this and other complexes before the 1970 completion of the Aswan High Dam. The hieroglyphic reliefs of the temple complex are being studied and published by the Philae Temple Text Project of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna.

Luxor Museum Egyptology, history museum, archaeological museum in Luxor, Egypt

Luxor Museum is an archaeological museum in Luxor, Egypt. It stands on the corniche, overlooking the west bank of the River Nile.

Precinct of Amun-Re building in Egypt

The Precinct of Amun-Re, located near Luxor, Egypt, is one of the four main temple enclosures that make up the immense Karnak Temple Complex. The precinct is by far the largest of these and the only one that is open to the general public. The temple complex is dedicated to the principal god of the Theban Triad, Amun, in the form of Amun-Re.

Ancient Egyptian architecture Aspect of architecture

Ancient Egyptian architecture is the architecture of Ancient Egypt. Spanning over two thousand years, ancient Egypt was not one stable civilization but in constant change and upheaval, commonly split into periods by historians. Likewise, ancient Egyptian architecture is not one style, but a set of styles differing over time but with some commonalities.

Nectanebo I Egyptian pharaoh

Kheperkare Nakhtnebef, better known by his hellenized name Nectanebo I, was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, founder of the last native dynasty of Egypt, the XXXth.

The history of the Karnak Temple complex is largely the history of Thebes. The city does not appear to have been of any significance before the Eleventh Dynasty, and any temple building here would have been relatively small and unimportant, with any shrines being dedicated to the early god of Thebes, Montu. The earliest artifact found in the area of the temple is a small, eight-sided column from the Eleventh Dynasty, which mentions Amun-Re. The tomb of Intef II mentions a 'house of Amun', which implies some structure, whether a shrine or a small temple is unknown. The ancient name for Karnak, Ipet-Isut only really refers to the central core structures of the Precinct of Amun-Re, and was in use as early as the 11th Dynasty, again implying the presence of some form of temple before the Middle Kingdom expansion.

Temple of Ptah (Karnak) building in Africa

The Temple of Ptah is a shrine located within the large Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak, in Luxor, Egypt. It lies to the north of the main Amun temple, just within the boundary wall. The building was erected by the Pharaoh Thutmose III on the site of an earlier Middle Kingdom temple. The edifice was later enlarged by the Ptolemaic Kingdom.

Temple of Edfu Ancient Egyptian temple, located on the west bank of the Nile in Edfu, Upper Egypt

The Temple of Edfu is an Egyptian temple located on the west bank of the Nile in Edfu, Upper Egypt. The city was known in the Hellenistic period in Koinē Greek: Ἀπόλλωνος πόλις and in Latin as Apollonopolis Magna, after the chief god Horus, who was identified as Apollo under the interpretatio graeca. It is one of the best preserved shrines in Egypt. The temple was built in the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 237 and 57 BC. The inscriptions on its walls provide important information on language, myth and religion during the Hellenistic period in Egypt. In particular, the Temple's inscribed building texts "provide details [both] of its construction, and also preserve information about the mythical interpretation of this and all other temples as the Island of Creation." There are also "important scenes and inscriptions of the Sacred Drama which related the age-old conflict between Horus and Seth." They are translated by the German Edfu-Project.

A Mammisi (Mamisi) is an ancient Egyptian small chapel attached to a larger temple, built from the Late Period, and associated with the nativity of a god. The word is derived from Coptic – the last phase of the ancient Egyptian language – meaning "birth place". Its usage is attributed to the French egyptologist Jean-François Champollion (1790–1832).

Scottish Rite Temple (Mobile, Alabama) United States historic place

Scottish Rite Temple, also known as The Temple Downtown, is a historic former masonic building in Mobile, Alabama, United States. It was built to serve as the meeting place for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. The building was designed by George Bigelow Rogers, a local Mobile architect who was responsible for designing many of the city's buildings during this period. The cornerstone was laid on November 30, 1921, with the building completed in 1922. It is the only intact example of the Egyptian Revival style in Mobile. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 5, 1984. It was sold in 1996 to a private citizen and reopened as a banqueting venue.

Temple of Dakka building in Egypt

Ad-Dakka was a place in Lower Nubia. It is the site of the Greco-Roman Temple of Dakka, dedicated to Thoth, the god of wisdom in the ancient Egyptian pantheon. The temple was initially a small one-room shrine or chapel, first begun in the 3rd century BC by a Meroitic king named Arqamani in collaboration with Ptolemy IV who added an antechamber and a gate structure. Ptolemy IX "subsequently enlarged the temple by adding a pronaos with two rows of probably three columns." During the Roman period, the Emperors Augustus and Tiberius further enlarged the structure with "the addition, at the rear, of a second sanctuary as well as inner and outer enclosure walls with a large pylon. The sanctuary contained a granite naos." The Temple of Dakka was transformed into a temple fortress by the Romans and surrounded by a stone wall, 270 by 444 metres long, with an entrance along the Nile.

Trajans Kiosk ancient building on Philae, Egypt

Trajan's Kiosk, also known as Pharaoh's Bed by the locals, is a hypaethral temple currently located on Agilkia Island in southern Egypt. The unfinished monument is attributed to Trajan, Roman emperor from 98 to 117 AD, due to his depiction as pharaoh seen on some of the interior reliefs. However, the majority of the structure dates to an earlier time, possibly to the reign of Augustus. The temple was originally built on the island of Philae, near the lower Aswan Dam, and served as main entrance to the Philae Island Temple Complex from the Nile river. It was relocated to Agilika Island in the 1960s by UNESCO to save it from the rising waters of the Nile that followed the construction of the Aswan High Dam.

Deir el-Shelwit Archaeological site in Egypt

Deir el-Shelwit is an ancient Egyptian temple to Isis from the Greco-Roman period. It stands on the West bank of the Nile at Luxor, 1 km from Malkata and about 4 km south of Medinet Habu.

Egyptian temple Structures for official worship of the gods and commemoration of pharaohs in Ancient Egypt

Egyptian temples were built for the official worship of the gods and in commemoration of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt and regions under Egyptian control. Temples were seen as houses for the gods or kings to whom they were dedicated. Within them, the Egyptians performed a variety of rituals, the central functions of Egyptian religion: giving offerings to the gods, reenacting their mythological interactions through festivals, and warding off the forces of chaos. These rituals were seen as necessary for the gods to continue to uphold maat, the divine order of the universe. Housing and caring for the gods were the obligations of pharaohs, who therefore dedicated prodigious resources to temple construction and maintenance. Out of necessity, pharaohs delegated most of their ritual duties to a host of priests, but most of the populace was excluded from direct participation in ceremonies and forbidden to enter a temple's most sacred areas. Nevertheless, a temple was an important religious site for all classes of Egyptians, who went there to pray, give offerings, and seek oracular guidance from the god dwelling within.

Behbeit El Hagar Village in Gharbia Governorate, Egypt

Behbeit El Hagar is an archaeological site in Lower Egypt that contains the remains of an ancient Egyptian temple to the goddess Isis, known as the Iseion. The site lies along the Damietta branch of the Nile, 7 kilometers northeast of Sebennytos and 8 kilometers west of Mansoura. In ancient times it was part of the nome of Sebennytos, the Twelfth Lower Egyptian Nome. Ancient Egyptian texts refer to the site as early as the New Kingdom, but it may have been simply an offshoot of Sebennytos rather than a full-fledged town.

References

  1. Ermann & Grapow, Wörterbuch der ägyptischen Sprache, vol.1, 471.9-11
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Toby Wilkinson, The Thames and Hudson Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson, 2005. p.195
  3. Public Sculptures of Sussex