Jurman the Osiris Chapels

Osiris cult
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  107   Aegyptus et Pannonia 3, 2006 It has long been acknowledged by scholars interested in Egyptian reli-gion that there is a remarkable proliferation of Osirian cult facilities at Karnak dur-ing the first half of the first millennium BC. 1 These monuments give proof of theincreasing importance Osirian beliefs held during that period even at the centreof the old solar god of state Amun-Re, thereby bringing into focus one of the mostsignificant developments in Late Egyptian religion, namely, the rise of Osiris andhis paredroi to the principal deities of the country's temple cults.Despite this fact, however, the individual Theban Osiris chapels havenever received appropriate scholarly treatment, and still less attention has beenaccorded to the group as a whole. While some monuments have at least beenpartly excavated and more or less superficially published by French Egyptologistssuch as Mariette, Legrain, Pillet, Chevrier or Leclant 2 , others have escaped fur-ther notice until now. 3 Fortunately enough, this unsatisfactory situation is likely to improve withthe forthcoming, long-awaited publications of the chapel of Osiris Heqadjet (Pl. THE OSIRIS CHAPELS OF THE THIRD INTERMEDIATE PERIOD AND THE LATE PERIOD  ATKARNAK SOME ASPECTS OF THEIR RELIGIOUS AND HISTORICALSIGNIFICANCE* * This paper deals with some issues of my master's thesis Die Osiris-Kapellen der Dritten Zwischenzeit undder Spätzeit in Karnak. Vorarbeiten zu einer Gesamtanalyse des Denkmälerbestands which was written under the supervision of Prof. Manfred Bietak at the Institute of Egyptology, University of Vienna and was approvedin August 2004. For their support during my work in Karnak I am especially indebted to Dr. Holeil Ghaly, Dr.François Larché, Dr. Aurelia Masson, Dr. Alain Arnaudiès, and Dr. Ibrahim Soliman.1 To give only two examples: GABALLA- KITCHEN 1969, 32; and more recently: TAYLOR 2000, 362. 2 The most important accounts are: MARIETTE 1875, vol. I, 9-10; 68-69; 76-70; MARIETTE 1889, 28;LEGRAIN, 1900, 125-136; 146-149; LEGRAIN 1902, 208-214; LEGRAIN 1903, 181-184; PILLET1925, 19-24;LECLANT1950, 365; LECLANT1951, 458-465; CHEVRIER 1949, 255; CHEVRIER 1950, 437-439; LECLANT1965, vol. I, passim; esp. 262-264.3 The chapel of Osorkon III near the Sacred Lake, for instance, was accorded only a paragraph in the accountsof the Prussian Expedition. Cf. LD I/2, pl. 75, no. 10; LD III, 42. Jurman.qxp 2006.10.24. 17:52 Page 107  CLAUS JURMAN 108  31, background) by Lyla Brock, Donald Redford, and Gerald Kadish 4 , as well asthe recently excavated chapel of Osiris Nebdjefau by Laurent Coulon, who is alsosupervising a French-Egyptian research project concerned with the Osiris cults of Thebes in general. In the following I will highlight some results of my master's thesis, inwhich I tried to establish a corpus of source material pertaining to the Osirianmonuments of Late Period Thebes. By taking into account – as far as possible –the archaeological, topographical, epigraphic, and historical contexts of thesestructures, it was aimed at preparing the ground for a future multi-approach inte-grative analysis which seems to me the only way to deal with this complex issue.Q UESTIONSOFNUMBERANDDISTINCTION One of the first questions that arose during the course of my studies wasthe one about the srcinal number and location of the chapels. Looking at thegeneral map of Karnak on T.1, one can see that the monuments referred to areto be found in many different places, mainly interspersed within the templeprecincts of the Late and Graeco-Roman periods. The topographical situation atthe time the chapels were built is a different matter, however. Unfortunately,unless further excavations are conducted one has great difficulties to gauge thelocation of the contemporary temenoi and has therefore to be cautious when try-ing to assess the relations between the chapels and other (cult-)topographic enti-ties. At present, at least, it seems that most chapels were srcinally situated out-side the temple compounds. 64 The book was scheduled to be published in spring 2005, but so far has not appeared. For the excavationsconducted in the early seventies cf. REDFORD 1973, 16-30; LECLANT1971-75, 236; 260; 408; 189; 212respectively. 5 I thank Dr. Coulon for the provided information. For preliminary reports on the Nebdjefau chapel see LAUF-FRAY1980, 58, §27 w. fig. 23; LECLANT- MINAULT-GOUT2001, 409; MATHIEU 2001, 565; MATHIEU 2003,599-600; COULON 2003, 47-60; GRIMAL- ADLY, 2005, 268-269. 6There has been a long debate on whether the brick enclosure with buttresses, which can be seen north of theEastern Temple of Ramesses II, and which is recognizable on aerial photographs even further to the north, shouldbe dated to the Third Intermediate Period or to later times (Kushite, connected with reconstruction work byMontuemhat? For the discussion see BARGUET1962a, 33-38; SPENCER 1979, 74; COULON - LECLÈRE -MARCHAND 1995, 223-225). The bastion built of bricks stamped with the name of the high priest Menkheperre,which is situated immediately north of Ramesses' high-gate ( sbA-Hrj  ), does at least point to building activity in thisarea during the early Third Intermediate Period (cf. also the famous stela of Menkheperre mentioning the erection Jurman.qxp 2006.10.24. 17:52 Page 108  109  Aegyptus et Pannonia 3, 2006 THE OSIRIS CHAPELS OF THE TIPAND LPIN KARNAK In the list accompanying T.1. a number of provisional designationshave been used which are not always in accordance with the ones employedin other works and therefore call for a brief comment. 7 Because the structuresin question do only seldom provide us with enough inscriptional material to beassociated with a specific cult form of a deity, one has to resort to other modesof appellation (e.g. conforming to the principal officiate: chapel of Amenirdis etc.). But even if a monument does offer inscriptional material in reasonablequantities, the identification of the deity it was dedicated to often proves to bea daunting task indeed. For instance, in the Kushite building commonly labelled chapel of Osiris Nebankh – in fact one of the smallest religious structures inKarnak – Osiris is provided with no fewer than five epithets, of which four areto be found in other chapels as well. 8 So the distinction we are used to makebetween epitheta ornantia and cult-designations that are specific to a certainreligious structure does not always seem to be applicable to the source mate-rial. Bearing in mind that many chapels also show strong ties with the royal(funerary) cult (or quasi-royal  in the case of the God's Wives), the picturebecomes even more blurred. From a certain point of view the tomb chapels of the God's Wives at Medinet Habu too can be read as sanctuaries dedicatedto Osiris, because the god is not only extensively worshipped in the relief scenes, but also commemorated above the entrances to the offering chapelswith a central cartouche flanked by those of the deceased. Whether this prox-imity implies a mergence of identities is not so much of relevance here. Whatcounts is that these funerary chapels were considered by the Ancient Egyptians of a new enclosure wall: BARGUET1962a, 36-38; see also REDFORD 1973, 17). In any case, repair work con-ducted during the centuries has made it extremely difficult to date the remains of these mudbrick walls. Additionally there is a certain possibility that the eastern perimeter of the enclosure of Amun was situated fur-ther to the east in the late New Kingdom and was transferred west only during the 21stDynasty. The remnantsof east-west oriented brickwalls in the north-eastern sector of the Amun enclosure, which appear to predate theOsiris chapels situated immediately north of them, may speak in favour of this interpretation. By contrast, thebases of the sphinxes and obelisks with cartouches of Ramesses II before the present eastern gate cannot beconsidered as a proof that Ramesses II enlarged the precinct of Amun (as suggested by BARGUET1962a,36), since they may have been relocated there in the 30thDynasty. For a comparable situation at the southerngate of the Montu-enclosure see CHRISTOPHE 1951, 10-13.7 For instance, I have chosen to designate the building south of the chapel of Osiris Nebdjefau as chapel of Osiris Nebneheh (in PM II.2, 192 it is called B. Chapel of Amasis and Nitocris ), thereby using the first dis-tinctive epithet of the Osirian hymn engraved left of the entrance to the sanctuary. This is, of course, a purelyprovisional designation, as the more cult-specific cartouche-name of the god, which was most probably pre-sent on the lintel (cf. the chapel of Nebdjefau: COULON 2003, 52-3, fig. 5-6), has not been preserved.8 Cf. LECLANT1965, vol. I, 23-36; 269-273; LECLANT1955, 202-203. Jurman.qxp 2006.10.24. 17:52 Page 109  CLAUS JURMAN 110  to be cult places of Osiris or of an Osirian aspect. In this regard they have aprecursor in the so-called funerary apartments of the House of million years of Ramesses III, the innermost rooms of which (nos. 23-27) are almost exclusivelydedicated to the worship of Osiris and his consorts. 9 Turning to the corpus of Theban Osiris monuments of the 1 st millenniumBC, it is important to differentiate between 1) in situ monuments which can beattributed to Osiris without any doubt (T.1, red circles), 2) in situ monumentswhich owe their attribution to secondary contextual criteria such as topographicsequence (T.1, turquoise circles) – for instance, in the case of the so-called Anepigraphic chapel in the north-eastern sector of the Amun-precinct – and 3)monuments which exhibit some features of Osirian chapels without definite proof of their Osirian nature (T.1, violet circles). In addition, one has to consider numer-ous dislocated and reused blocks of the periods in question (T.1, green circles)whose decoration is either of explicitly Osirian character or is rendered in a man-ner comparable to the known Osiris chapels (what exactly is meant by this, shallbe demonstrated by an example below). Such blocks have been found not onlyin Karnak itself, but also in Medamud, on the West Bank and even in Luxor. 10 Since many chapels were constructed almost entirely of mudbricks andhave suffered corresponding deterioration, the present picture of the Karnak tem-ple compounds is somewhat misleading. Originally, nearly all of the little stonesanctuaries in the area were preceded by mudbrick halls and courts withcolumns, giving them the appearance of temples in their own right. It is thereforenot surprising that we know of specially appointed priests for some of them. 11  As 9 In these rooms the king is never depicted receiving offerings, provided that one does not consider thevignettes of BD 110 and 148 on the lateral walls of room 24 and 25 as latent representations of the royal offer-ing cult (cf. LESKO 1969, 455-456). Accordingly, Hölscher designates the complex as a cult place of Osiris.HÖLSCHER 1941, 30; see also ARNOLD 1962, 59; HAENY1998, 124-126. On the sacralisation of the tombconcept during the Ramesside period see ASSMANN 1991, vol. I, 7.10 Cf. for instance: Karnak: LECLANT1965, vol. I, 54-56; BARGUET- LECLANT1954, vol. I, 109-135; LAUF-FRAY- SA’AD - SAUNERON 1975, 18-20; CHRISTOPHE 1951, 117-118, no. 22; Medamud: BISSON DE LAROQUE 1926, 47; BISSON DE LAROQUE 1930, 47; BISSON DE LAROQUE 1931, 70-76; BISSON DE LAROQUE 1933, 59-65. It may well be that the blocks of the 25thand 26thDynasties found reused in severalstructures at Medamud do srcinally stem from the Karnak temple compounds. Western Thebes: NAGEL1929,12-15, pl. 5-6; DEWACHTER 1986, 159-163. The blocks were found inside a shaft tomb behind the village of Deir el-Medineh but could, in fact, srcinate from Medinet Habu. Luxor: LECLANT1965, vol. I, 142, §41 C; ABDUL-QADER 1968, 255. 11 Cf. for instance the title Hm-nTr Wsjr HqA-D.t n dwA.t-nTr ( ^p-n-wp.t  )| , which is ascribed to a certainDjedkhonsiuefankh on a cuboid statue from the Karnak Cachette (Cairo Museum JE 37196). It can clearly berelated to the chapel of Osiris Heqadjet, the inner parts of which were built under the auspices of the God's WifeShepenupet I. Cf. BRESCIANI 1976, 13-21; on the date of the statue recently: JANSEN-WINKELN 2003, 35-36. Jurman.qxp 2006.10.24. 17:52 Page 110
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