The Temple of Dendera: Mystery of Egypt’s Astronomy

Drawings of the galaxy and planets in the Temple of Dendera

How did the ancient Egyptians do it?
When you visit the Temple of Dendera in Qena Governorate and enter the main shrine of the temple, you will stand amazed at the secrets contained in the temple, including a drawing of the galaxy and planets on the ceiling of the sanctum, which refer to the stars and planets in our solar system !!

ZODIAC or astrological signs according to the ancient Egyptian, the Egyptian Zodiac includes about 36 star groups known to us today as the signs (Aries, Taurus, Gemini .. etc.) Some planets have been able to determine their existence in the sky of stars, planets and comets (14 faces of the moon). The ancient Egyptian was the first to know the timing and number of planets and explain them in detail on this plate!

The Zodiac is a term derived from the Greek word (Zodiakos) meaning a circle surrounded by animals, so the naming came from the shape of the effect itself Zodiac is originally the ceiling of the Dendera Temple, which was in one of the halls of the sanctuary of Osiris, meaning they imagined it came off the temple ceiling! And what the French scientist “Dufyian” took it to France and the President of France honored him for bringing such a great Egyptian antiquity and currently displayed in the Louvre Museum!

The story began as follows: At the beginning of the 18th century, the French artist (Dufyian Denon) stood in awe before this circle and drew it despite the narrow place it was in and the pitch darkness that prevailed in the place. (He was unable to draw it accurately due to the narrowness of the place, the intense darkness and the faint lights of the torches showing details !!) The drawings were painted on the temple ceiling 3000 years ago! And his drawings spread in the world and caused a great controversy among researchers and religious scholars about the age of this circle and the credibility of the story of creation mentioned in the Torah.

Amid the controversy, one of the characters traced the story of the circle and collected information about its location, which is the French Collector of Antiquities (Sebastian Saulnieh), who came to Muhammad Ali Pasha and asked him for permission to remove the circle from its place and transfer it to France. In 1820, chisels, levers, explosive gunpowder and a boat were used to transport the circle from Alexandria to France. The Emperor (Louis XVIII) bought this circle from Saulnieh for 150,000 French francs and placed it in the National Library in Paris. Finally, the circle moved to the Louvre Museum in 1919.

As we said earlier, the tower of Dendera (the circle) was carved on the front portico in the Osiris chamber, dedicated to the goddess Hathor. This front portico was built during the Ptolemaic period and completed by the Roman Emperor Tiberius. However, the vast majority of researchers believe that the tower has ancient origins, and the accepted dating for the dating of the Dendera Tower is 50 BC, as it shows the stars and planets at that time.

The tower is a circular piece carved from sandstone, and a copy of the tower was made and placed in the same place in the Dendera Temple. The Dendera Tower is a circle representing the celestial arch carried by four gods in the form of ladies representing the pillars and corners of the sky or the four original directions. Between them is inscribed eight seated figures in the form of a falcon, and at the edges of the circumference of the circle there are thirty-six spirits astronomically called “decans” because they represent ten days of the year, that is, they represent 360 days in the ancient Egyptian solar year.

Inside the circle there are signs of the twelve zodiac signs and pictures of the urn in the form of a man pouring water from two jugs, the lion in the form of a lion trampling on its prey behind it is a woman, and the whale in the form of two large fish between them is a water basin. The rest of the zodiac signs were depicted in a manner resembling the Greek zodiac signs.

The Dendera Tower depicts five planets linked to some zodiac signs:

  • Venus behind the Urn zodiac sign
  • Jupiter (the god Horus who revealed the mystery) near the Cancer sign
  • Mars (the red Horus) directly above the Gemini sign
  • Mercury the silent and Saturn (the bull Horus)

The Dendera Tower depicts the Moon and Suhail Yemeni star, depicted as the goddess Isis sleeping in a boat with a star on her head.

The constellation of Orion is depicted as the god Osiris, taking a wide step and holding a flail, placing the crown of the northern face on his head.

The Dendera Tower depicts three constellations:

  • The Dragon constellation, which included the North Star at the time of the ancient Egyptians, called the Serpent.
  • The constellation of Ursa Major, depicted in the form of a bull’s thigh.
  • The constellation of Ursa Minor includes the star of Gemini, which is the North Star in our time.

It appears that the sun in the Dendera Tower was in the constellation of Leo during the summer solstice. It is known that the sun stays in each constellation for 30 days and the constellation at the beginning of the year changes because the point of the vernal equinox (the first constellations) moves from its place 30 degrees every 2000 years due to the precession of the Earth’s rotation axis.

The constellations of Leo and Taurus were the first constellations in the time of the ancient Egyptians, but now our constellations start with Aries. It seems that the Dendera Tower determined a solar and lunar eclipse. The solar eclipse occurred on March 7, 51 BC, and they depicted the solar eclipse in the form of the goddess Isis holding the baboon (Thoth) by the tail in an attempt to stop the moon from hiding the sun.

The lunar eclipse occurred on September 25, 52 BC, and they depicted it in the form of a full lunar eye because a lunar eclipse is only seen when the moon is full.

Researchers’ opinions and interpretations of the contents of the Zodiac Circle have differed. Some opinions tended to interpret it strangely as representing a time secret that determines the end of the world after completing a full time cycle of twenty-one thousand years.

However, the prevailing opinion is that it is a map of the sky at the moment when certain planets passed through the constellations, and this moment was between June 15 and August 15, 50 BC. This moment only occurs every thousand years, and the mystery of these drawings remains unexplained so far. However, the question remains: Did the ancient Egyptians reach space?

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