The Temple of Amenhotep III has an exciting story in Egyptian history. Amenhotep III, pharaoh of the Dynasty XVIII, built this temple in about 1400 BC. However, the Colossi of Memnon are two massive mono stone statues of king Amenhotep III. These colossi are the significant remains of this vast mortuary temple.
At that time, this temple complex was the largest in Egypt. It covered a total area of 35 hectares. No wonder all the templesbuilt after this one could not reach the exact sizes.Even the Temple of Karnak, as it stood during Amenhotep’s reign, was smaller.
Regrettably, natural phenomena have dramatically destroyed that massive temple. Soon after the construction, an earthquake destroyed it around 1200 BC.As a result, this earthquake left only the two giant colossi standing at the entrance. Once again, in 27 BC, an earthquake devastated these colossi, after which the Roman authorities partly reconstructed them.
The scientific studies showed that the complex consisted of three pylons, each fronted by colossal statues. And that, at the far end of this rectangular, there was a peristyle court with surrounding columns. Recently, archaeologists re-erected four figures. Further, they will be working on eight more statues in the future. Additionally, the Luxor Museumhomes some 200 statues the expedition found in this temple.
Herein, we will give an idea about the most exciting pieces that are still standing in this temple:
The Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon are these twin statues that depict Amenhotep III in a seated position. Two shorter figures carved into the front throne alongside his legs successively belong to his wife Tiye and mother Mutemwiya. The side panels depict the Nile god Hapi.
The Ancient Egyptian builders raised these statues from blocks of quartzite sandstone. They quarried the obstructions of these statues at el-Gabal el-Ahmar. And then they transported them 675 km overland to Luxor. After the 27th earthquake, Roman engineers reconstructed the northern colossus.
Archaeologists think that the Roman engineers used blocks that may have come from Edfu. Also, they assume that giants reached a towering 18 m in height and weighed an estimated 720 tons each. In case, we include the stone platforms on which they stand. However, if apart, the bases of these statues have about 4 m in height, and the two figures are about 15 m.
The southern statue still comprises a single piece of stone, while in 27 BC, a large earthquake shattered the northern colossus, collapsing it from the waist up and cracking the lower half. In present times, archaeologists have added five sandstone blocks to the latter one to restore it.
1 thought on “Temple of Amenhotep III”
A great temple was built but unfortunately could not withstand natural calamities. But the remnants in the form of Colossi of Memnon show us that what a great piece of architecture they were a part of. Thanks to the Romans and later modern-day archaeologists for reconstructing them as much as possible. One thing was very clear, from these ruins that every piece was a masterpiece of architecture!