picture of Eighth Nome symbol hieroglyph of Abydos
  Eighth Nome Abydos

Abydos in the New Kingdom

We have a wonderful city that has been honored and expanded by kings from all time. Ahmose, who drove out the Hyksos, built a terraced temple here. Ahmose also has a royal stela here. He built two brick cenotaphs in southern Abydos, one for himself, and one for his grandmother Tetisheri. She not only has a cenotaph here, she has a funerary estate.

Amenhotep I built a chapel that remembered his father Ahmose. Tuthmosis I built a stelae and contributed statues and cult objects to the Temple of Osiris. Amenhotep III also built in Abydos.

Seti I built a cenotaph temple for Osiris and gave priests at the temple the right to gold mines in the Eastern Desert. He also gave them workmen and a settlement at the mines.

Seti I's temple is of limestone. It has seven sanctuaries and Sety's funerary shrine. It has a wings with rooms for Sokar and Nefertum. Sety died before it was finished, so his son, Ramesses II finished it. The temple has a House of Life, which is a library/scriptorium/educational institution. Medical, magical, and sacred writings are compiled, copied, and stored here. There are niches for storing scrolls. Many towns have a House of Life, but it is particularly appropriate that Abydos does, because the life associated with sacred texts links with Osiris, who is part of the resurrection. Our composing and copying of texts help the god in some way in his annual festival.

The Osireion is right by the temple. It's made of limestone, bread, and black granite, and alabaster masonry. Priests enter through a long descending gallery. Architects built it in the old-style, so it looks like something that came from the Old Kingdom. In one of its rooms, there is a mound in the midst of a moat, symbolizing the land arising from the waters of Chaos at creation.

Seti I also has a palace at Abydos. The palace or "great house" is called the per-aa. From the New Kingdom onwards the king can be called the Great House, per-aa, or pharaoh. The palace isthe king's residence as well as the administrative headquarters.

Ramesses II also built a temple here. Tuthmosis III built to chapels of mudbrick that lead to the processional route from the Temple of Osiris to his tomb. The northern chapel is of white limestone and is beautifully carved and painted. To the north and south of the route, private people with enough means are building mud-brick offering chapels, just like we did in the Middle Kingdom. The chapels have stelae as part of the chapel. Ordinary people cannot go inside the temple, of course, because that is where the gods live. But we can bring an offering as a way to participate. If you take the tour, you will have that opportunity. Or you can do it yourself.

Go to Abydos

To the Eighth Nome


Grimal, Nicolas. (1992, 1994). A History of Ancient Egypt. New York: Barnes and Noble.

Shaw, Ian. (Ed.) (2000). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. NY: Oxford University Press.