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Ancient Egypt : The Temple of Menthuhotep II Praet, Maarten


The temple of king Mentuhotep II (ca. 2055-2004 BCE) is located in the valley of Deir el-Bahari on the West Bank of the river Nile, opposite the modern-day city of Luxor. The ancient Egyptian term that was often used to indicate this monument was 3ḫ-swt-nb-ḥpt-Rˁ (efficient/glorious are the places of Nebhepetre). The temple functioned as the cult place where the deceased king would have been provided with offerings for the afterlife. At the same time, it also functioned as a place of worship for the god Amun, whose cult statue stood in the sanctuary of the temple. It has been argued that there must have been an important connection between this temple and the temple of Amun at Karnak, because Mentuhotep II might have been the instigator of the Beautiful Festival of the Valley. This festival, during which the cult statue of Amun of Karnak travelled in procession to the temple of Mentuhotep II, maintained its popularity until the Greco-Roman period almost 2000 years later. Mentuhotep II is considered to have been the first king of a reunited Egypt after a period of political division (also called the First Intermediate Period). Therefore, his reign is considered as the start of what we now call the period of the Middle Kingdom (2055- 1650 BCE).

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