Temple of Kasr El-Aguz: A Center for Deified Persons with Healing Powers in Græco-Roman Egypt


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Kasr el-Aguz or “the castle of the old man” is a small temple on the western bank of Thebes, south of Medinet Habu. This temple was probably built by Ptolemy VIII. However, according to Mallet, the construction of this temple began during the reign of Ptolemy III and was completed by his successor. The main god of this temple was Thoth, who was venerated as a healing deity in the form of Thoth Sotmou “Thoth who listens” and Thoth Teos. In this temple, three deified individuals with remarkable healing reputations were venerated, namely Imhotep, Amenhotep son of Hapu, and the god Thoth. Among the many personalities who bore the name Djed-hor (Greek: Tέδς), Sethe and Brugsch believe that Teos here refers to a Memphite priest who was deified later and assimilated with the god Thoth. The composite form of Thoth Teos was one of the forms of Thoth as a healing deity and bore many titles in Kasr el-Aguz, reflecting his divine nature. He was described as “the main great god of truth.” Imhotep, the deified god of medicine, was described in this temple to be the son of Thoth and the one: “who has the remedies for all diseases.” On the eastern entrance wall of this temple, Ptolemy VIII is depicted in front of Thoth, Imhotep, and Amenhotep son of Hapu. The accompanying text of this scene describes the healing powers of Amenhotep Son of Hapu: “I drive away all diseases from your limbs”. This temple was thought to be a place of incubation. Discovered stelae bear representations of ears to reflect the healing abilities of the temple's deities, who were able to listen to the prayers of the worshippers. Being the cult center for Thoth Setem or “the listener,” the temple of Kasr el-Aguz was also known to be an oracular temple.

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