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“Of Fish and Vendors: The Khnum Temple Graffiti Project”

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Koffler House Auditorium

569 Spadina Crescent

Room 108

Toronto, Ontario M5S 2J7

Canada

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“Of Fish and Vendors: The Khnum Temple Graffiti Project”

Abstract
In antiquity, it was common practice for visitors to leave graffiti on the walls of Egyptian temples during festivals or on other occasions. Like modern graffiti, graffiti from Egyptian temples often consist of informal writings, but unlike today these ancient graffiti have usually been incised with religious intentions. They are therefore a treasure trove for the study of the personal piety of ordinary visitors of temples in Ancient Egypt. In this paper, we will concentrate on the 195 graffiti recorded on the forecourt of the temple of Khnum at Elephantine, one of the most imposing temple complexes in southern Egypt. The forecourt formed a forum-like open space lined with huge statues of Egyptian gods alongside Roman emperors and was accessible to both priests and laymen, at least during festivals. We will discover what the graffiti tell us about the activities of these people and about the use and reuse of the terrain over several centuries.

Author Bio


Jitse Dijkstra‘s research centers round the question how religion became transformed in Late Antiquity. In order to answer this question, he focuses on the particular regional and local context of religious transformation rather than on the ideological and general story. Trained as a papyrologist but multidisciplinary in approach, his main interest is Late Antique Egypt. He is the author of a monograph on the religious transformation in the First Cataract region, southern Egypt, in particular at the island of Philae, and a study of the graffiti in the temple of Isis at Aswan, where he has conducted field work from 2001 onwards

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Location

Koffler House Auditorium

569 Spadina Crescent

Room 108

Toronto, Ontario M5S 2J7

Canada

View Map

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