Room 3: The Sanctuary

This room is in the same size as the previous one: 7.45m north-south, 3.55m east-west and 3.6m high. Its significance as the sanctuary of the temple is no longer questionable following the work of Youri Volokhine.
The Djhwty-stm epithet , found throughout, must be understood as "Thoth, the setem priest" and not "Thoth, the one who listens".

There are two additional doorways in the room, both at the western (far) end, on the south and north walls. These were cut through after their decoration was complete, as will be seen from the evidence when these walls are examined below. The room was originally enclosed, with the exception of the entry from room 2. Oracular communications could not have been held here because it was not accessible to the public.

This room is distinctly better preserved than the previous one: reliefs and figures were, for the most part, finished. As always, the craftsmen and their privileged employers constructed and decorated this most sacred part of the temple first.


As previously mentioned in relation to room 2, this area is located below the normal decorated register/s level, in the location normally reserved for the undecorated dado (less than one metre in height). In this room the decoration of this area had been started but not fully finished. All have been sculpted, but their deterioration is such that only a few recognisable areas have survived.

It is worthwhile reproducing here the description given by Mallet: "In each of them (the preserved scenes), the personified nome (a standing man, with the small breast pendant), holds in front of him, on a plate, the offerings which he brings to the main god of the temple, Thoth-setem, whose name is engraved at the top, following the king's cartouches. All these characters wear the klaft on their heads, surmounted with the group of symbols or hieroglyphs characterising the nome which they personify. But most of these distinctive signs have been erased, leaving only the support which held them.
On the left-hand walls, which means in the part to the south, are represented the nomes of Upper Egypt, on those of the right, the north side, those of Lower Egypt. Without the space to represent them all, the predominant ones chosen to decorate the walls were those where the cult of Thoth prevailed, whilst grouping around them those which were in close proximity".

The current contents, of what remains in the base register of each wall, is as follows:

East wall, south:

This contained the representatives of four nones
Of the first (on the left) the figure is complete, however, the sign of the nome, the offerings, the royal cartouches are erased. The actual name of the nome is still recognisable; it is that of the Gazelle, the XVIth nome of Upper Egypt.
Of the following scene nothing much has survived, but again the name remains. This is the nome of the Hare, which means the Hermopolite nome, the administrative centre of the cult of Thot. This this the XVth nome of Upper Egypt.
Nothing much remains of the final two nomes; but if the order of the geographical position of the nomes was maintained, they must have been the XIVth and the XIIIth nomes of Upper Egypt.

South wall:

Nearly all of the scenes are destroyed, although two nome figures are still partially visible. Considering that the last nome of the south wall was the XIIIth, and that the one of the southern end of the west wall is the Vth, then this wall must have contained seven nomes.

East wall, north:

Of the four scenes, the first is totally lost and the second only remains in part.
The two scenes closest to the north wall are better preserved.
The first (right) represents the XVth nome of Lower Egypt, the Ibis, again a nome of Thoth.
Finally, and closest to the north wall, is the XVI nome of Lower Egypt, the Dolphin.
It should be noted that the representation of the nomes on this part of the east wall are in the wrong order, increasing (right to left) from XIII to XVI, instead of decreasing.

North wall:

Considering that the lowest numbered nome of the south wall would have been the XIIIth, and that the one of the northern end of the west wall is the Vth, then this wall must have again contained seven nomes.
Most are more or less completely erased. Only the two scenes closest to the later inserted door, have less damage. These still shows the remains of the two nome characters, one of which still retains most of his distinctive symbol, but not the identifying section.

West wall:

This wall has however survived better than the others. One section is certainly worth being discussed in more detail. This is located to the left of the centre line of the wall (see and of the wall). To either side are 5 smaller scenes, each containing a single character representing a nome: of Upper Egypt on the left and Lower Egypt on the right. This leaves an area at the northern end, which is the same size as that of the previously mentioned more central scene; this will be discussed below.

The first scene on the south side of the wall, represents the 5th nome of Upper Egypt. From this scene, only the nome respresentative has survived, together with two royal cartouches and the name of Thoth. The nome insignia has survived on the character's head, two sparrow hawks, the rest of the scene is lost. Not much remains of the next four panels before the large scene, towards the middle of the base register.

To the left of centre (shown above) is a complete scene, analogous to those which fill the upper registers. Its right edge is at the centre of the wall.
The main figure is the temple god, Thoth-setem, with the head of an ibis, seated on a throne, sceptre and ankh in his hands, crowned with the Atef diadem. Behind Thoth, stands his companion, Nehemauait, who wears a sistrum crown on her head. On the left, facing Thoth, stands Euergetes wearing the white crown of Upper (southern) Egypt, the direction from which he approaches. He holds on his two hands a plate, on which are two flowers and two vases of libation; his cartouches are above him. Behind him is his wife Cleopatra (II), Hathoric hairstyle, carrying a plate, on which can be seen the top of some round breads; the bottom part of her body is lost. Since the time of Mallet, when the scene was first described, the block containing the upper parts of Euergetes and Cleopatra has been either "lost" or destroyed; this is also true for the sistrum crown of Nehemauait (again see for the missing areas).

Of the five nomes represented to the right of the central scene, very little is identifiable, except for the first, the one closest to the centre of the wall. This represents the 1st of the nomes of Lower Egypt, but even the emblem and text for this is missing.
As already mentioned, there is space at the extreme north end for an additional scene, of the same size as the large scene ending the southern half of the wall. This possibly showed important offerings from the king and the queen. However, nothing now exists due to the surface of the wall being damaged completely.

At the top of these base registers is an illegible horizontal inscription, above which today begins the large main registers. These two main registers, which extend all around the room, are not the same height as each other, the top one (approx. 1m) being only three-quarters the height of the lower one (approx. 1.3m).


The wall is divided in two main registers, each including two scenes. Those of the lower register are of unequal in length, those of the upper are equal. In all four scenes the king approaches from the left (i.e. the entrance doorway).

Lower register:

First scene:
Ptolemy wears the crown of the North, the red crown surmounted by a triple variant atef-crown. He presents two vases (now destroyed) to the god in front of him. From the text behind his cartouches, he is identified as "Protective genius of Egypt, who supplies the two regions of the temple". The god, of whom only the head and crown (with its two large feathers) have survived, is Amon "living image of Horus, son of Isis", wearing a large crown with two tall feathers.

Second scene:
The king, this time, wears the pschent (the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt). Instead of the fitting firmly on his head, it rests on top of his short wig. He offers with one hand a folded strip of cloth and with the other probably a vase. The god, whose head is missing, is wrapped in a tight-fitting shroud and in his hands he holds the Osirian attributes, the hook and the flail. The accompanying text confirms his identity: "Osiris Wennefer, justified (lit. "just of voice") ". The goddess who stands at the rear cannot be identified because her texts have been lost.

Upper register:

Here, in both scenes, is displayed the cult worship by Ptolemy to his ancestors.

First scene:
Ptolemy VIII Euergetes II wears the pschent. He raises his arms in worship to his divine ancester.

This is Ptolemy II, great-great-grandfather of Euergetes II. Philadelphus is represented as a god seated on an archaic chair. He wears the atef-type crown, not a royal crown, because he now belongs in the realm of the gods. The text identifies him as: "The divine father of his fathers, Ptolemy, the divine god Philadelphus".

Behind Philadelphus stands his wife Arsinoe (I) ("the mother of his mothers"). Her head is adorned by a complex crown which includes the red crown of the North. She holds the long lotus-topped sceptre and an ankh in her hands.

Second scene:
This time Euergetes II offers a vase in which burns incense, and into which he also throws more. On his head he has the adornment used elsewhere by Amon. The offering is identified as "To perform the incense ceremony to the father of his fathers and to the mother of his mothers".

Seated opposite him is the divine king, wearing the klaft, on which rests the diadem formed from the horns of ram supporting the solar disk between two ostrich feathers. He holds the was-sceptre and ankh. He is: "The divine father of his fathers, Ptolemy, the god Euergetes". He is Ptolemy VIII's great-grandfather, Ptolemy III Euergetes I; son of Philadelphus (seen in the previous scene), father of Philopator. The divine Ptolemy tells his great-grandson: "I grant to you that the uraeus, which spills terror, sits on your head".

Behind her husband stands "the divine mother of his mothers, Berenice, the goddess Euergetes", wearing the Hathoric headdress and holding in her hand the lotus-topped sceptre and ankh in her hands.


Above the base register, the wall is divided into the two original main registers, containing, two scenes in the lower register and three in the upper.

At the western end of the wall is a doorway, 2.3m high by 0.7m wide, . This was created after completion of the decoration, at some undetermined time. It has partially destroyed the western end of the base register, the lower main register and the long inscription located between the two.

Positioned centrally, at the top of the wall, is a small window. This divides the frieze and the long inscription, both of which are described fully, below.

Lower register:

First scene:
The king, wearing a wig with a head band, at the front of which is a uraeus, has no crown. His right hand is raised, the left inclined towards the ground. He advances towards a shrine, under which stands the god Thoth, as if stepping forth. Thoth's is surmounted by the lunar disk. He holds the usual was-sceptre and the ankh, the sign of life.
Above the king, the contents of his cartouches have disappeared, but the vertical column in front of the shrine holds the words of the god: "I grant to you that the sky is stable, with the splendours of Horus".

Second scene:
This is much longer than the preceding scene, but it is however mutilated by the cutting of the doorway.
Euergetes stands on the left, wearing the pschent (the double crown). In his open left hand he holds a censer. Into this he throws, with the right, perfumed resins. He holds it up towards a sacred barque, whose prow is decorated with the head of ram, on top of which is the lunar disk. The whole of the centre section of the barque is missing, because of the introduction of the doorway. This missing section would have contained a shrine. Towards the front, facing forwards, is an effigy of a ram standing on a support. At the rear, at the other side of the doorway, is a large oar/rudder. Under the rear of the barque can be seen, two more rams on supports.
Above the king, his cartouches are followed by a horizontal line: "In the residence which rejoices of his father".
Several columns of text extended above the barque, some are now missing. The first two contain the god's address to the king. The first says: "I grant to you that the South brings the great white crown"; the following column is now unreadable, but possibly promised him the red crown, brought in the same way by the North. The king actually wears these two crowns.
The remaining columns (5 in front of the doorway and 3 behind) provide the following, somewhat damaged text: "Thoth-setem, great god, Lord of Khmun (aka: Hermopolis) , sovereign of Hosrit, the judge between the two adversaries, who puts the gods in peace, who began… in Dja-Mut, the doctor living with truth". Then beyond the doorway: "… life of all people, who organises…; father of the fathers of the Eight (the Ogdoad of Hermopolis) ".

Upper register:

First scene:
Euergetes wears a short wig surmounted by ram horns with the two ostrich feathers, a solar disk and two uraei. He makes an offering to the god and goddess who face him. From what remains of the text under the king's arms, he offers shepu plants, which are ingredients used in the preparation of kyphi, an incense compound.

The seated god is Montu, who also wears two large feathers and solar disc. Most of his image is destroyed. Montu was the god of war. He is identified as: "Lord of Thebes, Lord of [Hermonthis], Horus, strong bull against the barbarians, sovereign of…; Amon-Ra at the good hour". He tells the king: "I give you domination over all of the double lands, the power of Sibu over all men".

Standing behind Montu is a goddess with a solar disk between the horns of a cow on her head. From what remains of her identifying text, she is: "Rait-taui, eye of Ra, lady of the sky, regent of all gods".

Second scene:
Euergetes supports an atef-type crown on his head. He holds a sistrum in his left hand (the top of which is destroyed) and raises his right hand in homage to the seated goddess, Mut. The beginning of his words to the goddess state: "I acclaim your Duplicate, I shake the sistrum for the goddess".

Mut wears the pschent on her head and her hairstyle is that of the normal queens and goddesses. The legend which relates to the goddess calls her: "Mut the great, lady of Ashrit…, lady of the sky and of all who reside in Dja-Mut". She tells the king: "I give that your strength penetrates into the double lands…". Behind her, in the long vertical column which closes the scene, she is further identified as: "The majestic one, the regent of the gods and goddesses, the lady of the pink veil, who loves splendour, and who pays homage to all gods and who glorifies the goddesses, Mut the powerful who likes Nekhen (Hieraconpolis), the great regent in Thebes, the victorious".

Third scene:
Nothing much remains of the king, except for his hands which pour water from flat-bottomed vessels (the text mentions four of them). The water is poured in front of the seated figure of the ibis-headed Thoth.
Under the king's arms the text reads: "Turning round four times, with the four vases of water". Behind him, the column of text reads: "The king of the South and the North, Ptolemy is on his throne, he purifies the gods in their chapel, just as Horus purifies the one who has the vases…".

The god is identified as: "Thoth, the very great, Lord of Khmun, who judges between the two adversaries, who gives peace to the gods of the cycle, in the funerary region, in Dja-Mut". Only part of his words to the king has survived, but the beginning reads: "Accomplish your turning around with what comes out of Nu, make all purification whilst pouring….