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Dendera: Temple of Hathor, relief on rear facade (1849 photo)

Relief with hieroglyphic inscriptions on rear facade of the Temple of Hathor (photo: du Camp, 1852, pl.19).

This relief on the rear facade of the Temple of Hathor at Dendera shows three Egyptian deities, Thoth, Isis, and Horus. This early photo was taken by Maxime du Camp in 1849, and published in
Egypte, Nubie, Syrie et Palestine (1852).
Du Camp's caption (p.57) reads: "Great Temple of Dendera (Tentyris): sculptures on the rear facade.  Thoth the Ibis-headed" [at left, holding a staff] "is determining the Panegyric period, facing Isis" [the goddess seated at center] "and a god" [the lion-headed figure at right] "who, according to the inscription, must be a form of Horus."

This underscores the fact that, by the time of du Camp's visit, the Egyptian hieroglyphic script had already been deciphered as a syllabic writing system by Champollion in 1822, and translation of inscriptions by him, Lepsius, and others was by then well underway. This is a significant difference from conditions in the French expedition, whose scholars, some 20 years before the breakthroughs by Champollion, were handicapped by having no real understanding of the nature or meaning of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

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