The village of Dendera is situated 60km north of Luxor on the west bank of the Nile. Its ancient name was Lunet or Tentyris.
The House of Hathor – Temple of Dendea
The Temple of Dendera was known as House of Hathor, the goddess of love, joy and beauty. Supporting pillars and sculptures were decorated with the image of Hathor. Walls, rooms and roof are intact and well preserved. The stone steps of the spiral staircase are time worn but still used to ascend to the roof with its small chapel decorated with Hathor-headed columns.
The building bears also the names of the famous Cleopatra and her son, whose father was Julius Caesar. It is possible that they climbed the same stairs to visit the chapel and to enjoy the landscape.
Relief of Bes
The Painted Relief of Bes presents itself near the Roman Gate of the temple of Hathor at Dendera. Bes is the Egyptian household god protecting mother and child during childbirth. He is a bow-legged muscular dwarf with a ferocious facial expression. His ugly appearance was supposed to drive away the evil spirits.
The Temple of Hathor
The exterior walls of the Temple of Hathor are covered with relief carvings dating from the late Ptolemaic and Roman Era. The western corner of the south wall is of special interest for its representation of Cleopatra VII (51-30C.E) and her son Ptolemy XV Caesar.
The Divine Triad of Dendera
The Divine Triad of Dendera is carved in sunk relief on the south exterior walls of the Temple of Hathor and pictures Ihy as a child. He is naked and wears the side lock appropriate to his role as the Uniter of the Two Lands and the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. In this left hand he carries a a rattle-like instrument (sistrum) used to ward off evil spirits. The sistrum was especially associated with his mother Hathor, Goddess of Love and Music. In his right hand he holds a menat, a board collar necklace with counterpoise which could also serve as a percussion instrument. Hathor is pictured as a woman wearing a crown of bull horns holding a sun disk. Horus, god of the sky, combines the body of a man with the head of a falcon. He also wears the Double Crown of Egypt.