Location of the Temple of Zeus
The Temple of Zeus stands between the Pelesium Citadel and a memorial church in Tell El Farma, Port Said Governorate.
Zeus, in ancient Greek religion, chief deity of the pantheon, a sky and weather god who was identical to the Roman god Jupiter. His name may be related to the sky god Dyaus of the ancient Hindu Rigveda. Greek regarded Zeus as the sender of thunder and lightning, rain, and winds, and his traditional weapon was the thunderbolt. He was called the father (i.e., the ruler and protector).
Greece, which owes a great deal to Egyptian culture, absorbed many influences from its southern neighbour. One example is the Greek oracular cult of the syncretic god Zeus-Amun. God, spanning the different cultures, ancients worshipped him, especially in the Greek colony of Cyrenaica on the North African coast and Sparta and Thebes (Luxor). While Zeus was the most powerful god in the Greek pantheon, the sun god Amon (Amun-Re) dominated ancient Egypt wholly religiously and politically.
Discovery of the Temple of Zeus
Excavations in the area date back to early 1900. In 1910, French Egyptologist Jean Clédat uncovered a collection of engraved blocks confirming the temple’s existence in the area, but he could not find it.
In March 2022, an Egyptian archaeological mission uncovered the remains of the Graeco-Roman temple in the Tell el Farama site. First, the Egyptian mission found mud-brick remains of a 170 cm tall mount of debris and rubble. The mission also found a collection of marble blocks that might have once formed a staircase to enable worshippers to reach the temple.
Later, on 25 Monday, 2022, the ministry of antiquities announced the discovery of the Temple of Zeus Caseous. The temple was still unknown until the Egyptian mission discovered a collection of red granite blocks that once formed the temple’s entrance gate. In ancient times, an earthquake destroyed the gate of the temple.
Plan of the Temple
The entrance gate comprises a few red granite columns, each 8m tall. And it includes an upper lintel decorated with Roman text about the construction day of the Zeus Caseous Temple. It was not until last month that the Egyptian archaeological mission stumbled upon the blocks of the temple gate. Currently, archaeologists are conducting a photogrammetry survey on the blocks to understand the temple’s architectural design.
Archaeologists found a set of granite blocks probably used to build a staircase for worshipers to reach the temple.
Zeus-Kasios is a conflation of Zeus, the God of the sky in ancient Greek mythology, and Mount Kasios in Syria, where Zeus once worshipped.
Tell el-Farma, also well-known by its ancient name Pelusium, dates back to the late Pharaonic period and was also used during Greco-Roman and Byzantine times. There are also remains dating to the Christian and early Islamic periods.
Inscriptions found in the area show that Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-138) renovated the temple. Experts would study the unearthed blocks and do a photogrammetry survey to help determine the temple’s architectural design.
The temple ruins are the latest in a series of ancient discoveries Egypt has touted in the past couple of years in the hope of attracting more tourists.