Temple of Bes

Bes is the most mysterious god at ancient Egyptian, which was the god for fun, joy, sex and pleasurable, by the Greco-Roman Period, his appearance became more menacing, and he was often shown with knives and swords and thus took on the role of protector in warfare against evil forces.


This temple dates from the Greek period, but there is evidence that the cult and temple operated into the 4th century AD. The ruins measure about sixty by forty feet, oriented north-south and was made of mudbrick on a limestone block foundation. The entrance communicated with a long Hall that was probably a public area for worshipping Bes. On the stucco floor of this hall a statue of Bes was discovered in three pieces. It is probably the best preserved statue of this god ever found in Egypt, measuring about four feet in height with features that are finely carved and still show traces of the original paint used to adorn the figure.


The Temple of Bes includes rooms and annexes behind the main hall. They included a faience figure, presumed to be a shabi, but wearing a tight dress and adorned with a royal false beard. This figure was carved with his hands across his chest and a tight fist holding a tool in the shape of the hieroglyph for a pyramid. An amulet made of red copper was also found in the form of a seated cat, along with a miniature statuette of Horus.


Other items were found within the sanctuary including two copper bowls, one of them was decorated with plants. These were probably used to hold wine, but another copper dish on three legs was probably used for burning incense. Finally, a bowl made of red Nile clay was unearthed that probably dates to as late as the third or fourth century AD.


Bes was a fairly major Egyptian god, and considering that this is the only known temple dedicated to him in Egypt, the site is of considerable importance. In fact, some other ruins in the Oasis have been discovered where figures of Bes exist, certainly making this one of the main areas for the worship of this god.



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