The Temple of Khonsu
Son of Amun and Mut, Khonsu is the moon-god and third member of the Theban Triad. His Temple lies in the southwestern corner of Karnak Temple, immediately north of the gateway that is 2I meters high, built by Ptolemy III Euergetes, called the Bab Al-Amara. The gate also leads to the avenue of sphinxes of nearly three kilometers that goes southward to Luxor Temple, built by Nectanebo I in Dynasty 30. The Temple of Khonsu is an important monument for Egyptologists because it is well-preserved and its walls and ceiling are still intact. The temple was begun in the Eighteenth Dynasty by Amenhotep III, and then enlarged and decorated by later rulers. Ramses III built the main structure of the temple. Herihor (the High Priest of Amun) and Pinedjem were responsible for building the temple's pylons and its Peristyle Court. The temple thus represents a sincere testimony for the changes of this epoch that witnesses the beginning of the decadence of Egypt. On the Walls of the temple, Herihor represents himself at the same size as Ramses XI and wore royal costumes. The temple's First Pylon is 17 meters high, 32 meters wide. Scenes of Pinedjem I of Dynasty XXI and his wife, Henuttawi, making offerings to Amun, Mut, and Khonsu, decorate its face. On the jambs of the doorway, Alexander the Great is making offerings to the sacred family of Amun. The Peristyle Court has double rows of columns on three sides. On the right wall, Herihor is depicted with the goddess Hathor making offerings to the Theban Triad. To the right of this scene, the Temple of Khonsu itself is shown, and one can identify the facade of the First Pylon with flagpoles standing in its four niches. After the Peristyle Court, a doorway inscribed with the name of Ptolemy IV leads to the Hypostyle Hall. It has eight columns, each of 7 meters high with papyrus capitals. The four columns along the main axis are higher than those on the sides. The columns are carved with figures of Ramses II and Herihor. On the Hypostyle Hall, we find also a statue of god Khonsu in the form of a baboon. The next chamber, originally made by Amenhotep II and then usurped by Ramses IV, was used to house the sacred bark of Khonsu. The Walls are decorated with scenes of Ramses IV and various deities. The colors of the chapels around the sanctuary are well-preserved. On the left (west) wall, in the right (eastern) chapel, we can see one of the most interesting scenes that has a figure of an 'ithyphallic', a female lion-god, because most lion deities were females. Behind the sanctuary, we find scenes of Ramses III and Augustus Caesar in a small chamber of sixteen-sided columns. To its northeast, another chamber is decorated with figures of Isis and Nephthys in the presence of god Osiris, god of the Hereafter.