Granite naos of Ptolemy VIII

From Philae, Egypt
Reign of Ptolemy VIII, around 150 BC

Found re-used in a Coptic Church

The term naos (shrine) is most commonly used by Egyptologists to describe the central shrine of a temple, where the cult image would be housed. Naoi, to use the plural, are usually made from a single piece of very hard stone, and several are still in place in Egyptian temples; perhaps the best-preserved is that in the Temple of Edfu.

This example was found with various other blocks re-used in a Coptic church on the island of Philae. Philae is home of the great Temple of Isis, which was moved during the 1970s to a higher site on the nearby island of Agilika, so as to avoid the rising waters behind the new Aswan Dam. It is not clear from which chapel this naos might have come, but as it is dedicated to Isis, it is possible that it was from the main shrine of the temple.

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More information


I. Shaw and P. Nicholson (eds.), British Museum dictionary of A (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)


Height: 251.500 cm (max.)
Width: 88.500 cm (at base)
Depth: 98.500 cm (at base)

Museum number

EA 1134


Gift of the Government of Egypt


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