Khnum-Ra in the Sun, holding the Uas-scepter (symbol of Power and Dominion) in His left and the Ankh (the symbol of Life) in His right; He is flanked by Gods and Goddesses making adorations to Him;  detail from the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt/Latopolis


Khnum enthroned modelling the Divine Child Ihy-Harsomptus (identified with the King), son of Hathor and Haroeris on His potter’s wheel; before Him the Frog-Goddess Heket, the Goddess of Birth, is represented assisting and blessing the creation; from the “House of Birth” of the Temple of Hathor at Iunet (Dendera)


Khnum-Ra represented inside the Sun, holding the Ankh and the Uas-scepter; above Him is represented the Eye of Ra inside the Sun. Detail from the Astronomical ceiling of the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt

the God Khnum; column from the Temple of Iunyt/Latopolis.  Behind Khnum is represented Her Divine Wife, the Goddess Nebtu


Khnum enthroned,
detail from the Offering Hall, north wall, of the rock-cut Temple of Amon, Khnum, Horus, and Ramses II, Lower Kush/Nubia (50 km south of Aswan, now called Beit Wali).


from the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt/Latopolis

“God of the Potter’s Wheel,
Who settled the land by His handiwork,
Who joins in secret,
Who builds soundly,
Who nourishes the nestlings by the breath of His mouth;
Who drenches this land with Nun,
While the Round Sea and the Great Ocean surround Him.

He has fashioned Gods and human beings,
He has formed flocks and herds,
He made birds as well as fishes,
He created bulls, engendered cows,

He knotted the flow of blood to the bones,
Formed in His workshop as His handiwork,
So the breath of life is within everything,
Blood bound with semen in the bones,
To knit the bones from the start.

He makes women give birth when the womb is ready,
So as to open …. as he wishes;
He soothes suffering by His will,
Relieves throats, lets everyone breathe,
To give life to the young in the womb.

He made hair sprout and tresses grow,
Fastened the skin over the limbs;
He built the skull, formed the cheeks.
To furnish shape to the image.
He opened the eyes, hollowed the ears,
He made the body inhale air;
He formed the mouth for eating,
Made the throat for swallowing.

He also formed the tongue to speak,
The jaws to open, the gullet to drink,
The throat to swallow and spit.
The spine to give support,
The testicles to move,
The arm to act with vigor,
The rear to perform its task.

The gullet to devour,
Hands and their fingers to do their work,
The heart to lead,
The loins to support the phallus
In the act of begetting.
The frontal organs to consume things,
The rear to aerate the entrails,
Likewise to sit at ease,
And sustain the entrails at night.
The male member to beget,
The womb to conceive,
And increase generations in Egypt.
The bladder to make water,
The virile member to eject
When it swells between the thighs.
The shins to step,
The legs to tread,
Their bones doing their task,
By the will of His heart.”


Khnum and the Great King Thutmosis III,  from the Temple of Khnum, Satis, and Anukis at Elephantine


Khnum and King Thutmosis III, from Elephantine


Khnum giving the Ankh (the symbol of Life) to King Ramses II;
from the Second Pillared Hall of the Temple of Ra-Horakhty and Amon at Miam (now called “derr”), Lower Kush/Nubia


the King offering flowers to Khnum; column from the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt/Latopolis


Khnum giving the Ankh (the symbol of Life) to the King; scene from the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt/Latopolis


from the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt/Latopolis

“Praise to You, Great Living Ram,
Foremost of Gods,
Lord of Ta-set-Neith (“the Seat of Neith”, Iunyt/Latopolis),
Raging Ba (soul),
Divine Lord of Gods,
Living One,
Lord of the Living,
Brave One,
Lord of braves,
God of the Primeval Mound,
Most Sublime of Gods,
Beloved of . . . . ,
Copulating Ram,
Living Ram,
Maker of rams,
Rising One,
Illuminator of the Two Lands,
Lord of the potter’s wheel,
Builder and Creator,
Maker of the Bau (the souls) of the Gods and mankind,
Lord of Gods,
the Breath of Life for those who are upon the Earth . . . . ”


the King (wearing a composite Khepresh, the “Blue Crown of War” with two pairs of ram’s horns, the Uraei and the Solar Orb flanked by two feathers) presenting the Solar Bark to Khnum-Ra;
scene from the exterior walls of the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt


from the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt/Latopolis:

“Praise to You, Foremost of Gods and human beings, Khnum-Ra,
Lord of the fields . . . . ,
first to come into existence,
Brave One . . . . ,
Whom the entire land respects,
Father of protections . . . .
Whose initiations no man knows,
Strong One,
Creator of the Ennead,
Oldest of the Primordial Ones,
Lord of terror,
Great of ferocity,
with rapid steps,
Lord of vegetation,
. . . . is Your name . . . . ,
with strong arms,
mighty roar,
the Perfect Protector,
Avenger of His father,
Great of dignity in the presence of the Nine Gods,
Who travels with swift footsteps . . . . ,
Whose order is done at once,
Lord of writings,
Who comes to . . . .
Whose grasp seizes water and wind, which He gives to the one He loves,
Who rises by day,
God Who is with the Goddess . . . .
the Father of Fathers is His name “

Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt (Esna), detail from one of the columns of the facade:
Khnum-Ra (to the left, wearing the Solar Crown with the two feathers and holding the Ankh), a crowned cartouche standing on the symbol for “gold”, and the Goddess Nekhbet in Her form of sacred vulture (standing on the symbol for “gold”, wearing the White Crown, holding the Uas scepter of Pow
er and Dominion with the shen-ring of eternal protection, and spreading Her wings in protection).


The Famine Stela: in the top part of the stele King Djoser, the first King of the III Dynasty(ca. 2686/2613 BC) makes offerings to Khnum, Satis and Anuket

“Year 18 of Horus: Netjerykhet;
the King of Upper and Lower Egypt: Netjerykhet;
Two Ladies: Netjerykhet;
Gold-Horus: Djoser;
under the Count, Prince, Governor of the domains of the South, Chief of the Nubians in Yebu, Mesir. There was brought to him this royal decree. To let you know:

I was in mourning on my throne,
Those of the palace were in grief,
My heart was in great affliction,
Because Hapy had failed to come in time
In a period of seven years.
Grain was scant,
Kernels were dried up,
Scarce was every kind of food.
Every man robbed his twin,
Those who entered did not go.
Children cried,
Youngsters fell,
The hearts of the old were grieving;
Legs drawn up, they hugged the ground,
Their arms clasped about them.
Courtiers were needy,
Temples were shut,
Shrines covered with dust,
Everyone was in distress.

I directed my heart to turn to the past,
I consulted one of the staff of the Ibis,
The Chief Lector-Priest of Imhotep,
Son of Ptah South-of-his-Wall:
“In which place is Hapy born?
Which is the town of the Sinuous one?
Which God dwells there?
That He might join with me.”

He stood: “I shall go to Mansion-of-the-Net,
It is designed to support a man in his deeds;
I shall enter the House of Life,
Unroll the Souls of Ra,
I shall be guided by them.”

He departed, he returned to me quickly,
He let me know the flow of Hapy,
His shores and all the things they contain.
He disclosed to me the hidden wonders,
To which the ancestors had made their way,
And no King had equaled them since.
He said to me:
“There is a town in the midst of the deep,
Surrounded by Hapy, Yebu by name;
It is first of the first,
First nome to Wawat,
Earthly elevation, celestial hill,
Seat of Ra when He prepares
To give life to every face.
Its Temple’s name is ‘Joy-of-life,’
‘Twin Caverns’ is the water’s name,
They are the breasts that nourish all.

It is the House of sleep of Hapy,
He grows young in it in His time,
lt is the place whence He brings the Flood:
Bounding up He copulates,
As man copulates with woman,
Renewing His manhood with joy;
Coursing twenty-eight cubits high,
He passes Sema-behdet at seven.
Khnum is the God Who rules there,
He is enthroned above the deep,
His sandals resting on the flood;
He holds the door bolt in His hand,
Opens the gate as He wishes.
He is eternal there as Shu,
Bounty-giver, Lord-of-fields,
So His name is called.
He has reckoned the land of the South and the North,
To give parts to every God;
It is He Who governs barley, emmer,
Fowl and fish and all one lives on.
Cord and scribal board are there,
The pole is there with its beam
. . . . . .
His Temple opens southeastward,
Ra rises in its face every day;
Its water rages on its south for an iter,
A wall against the Nubians each day.
There is a mountain massif in its eastern region,
With precious stones and quarry stones of all kinds,
All the things sought for building Temples
In Egypt, South and North,
And stalls for sacred animals,
And palaces for Kings,
All statues too that stand in Temples and in Shrines.

Their gathered products are set before the face of Khnum and around Him; likewise tall plants and flowers of all kinds that exist between Yebu and Senmut, and are there on the east and the west.
There is in the midst of the river-covered by water at its annual flood-a place of relaxation for every man who works the stones on its two sides.
There is in the river, before this town of Yebu, a central elevation of difficult body which is called Geref-Abu.
Learn the names of the Gods and Goddesses of the Temple of Khnum: Satis, Anukis, Hapy, Shu, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Horus, Isis, Nephthys.
Learn the names of the stones that are there, lying in the borderland: those that are in the east and the west, those on the shores of Yebu’s canal, those in Yebu, those in the east and west, and those in the river: behen, metay, mehtebeteb, rags, watsy in the east; preden in the west; tesy in the west and in the river.
The names of the precious stones of the quarries that are in the upper region-some among them at a distance of four iter-are: gold. silver, copper, iron, lapis lazuli, turquoise, thnt, red jasper, ka, menw, emerald, tem-iker. In addition, nesemt, ta-mehy, hemaget, ibeht, bekes-anh, green eye-paint, black eye-paint, carnelia, sheret, mem, and ochre are within this township.

When I heard what was there my heart was guided. Having heard of the flood I opened the wrapped books.
I made a purification; I conducted a procession of the Hidden Ones; I made a complete offering of bread, beer, oxen, and fowl, and all good things for the Gods and Goddesses in Yebu Whose names had been pronounced.
As I slept in peace, I found the God standing before me.
I propitiated Him by adoring Him and praying to Him. He revealed Himself to me with kindly face; He said:

“I am Khnum, your maker!
My arms are around you,
To steady your body,
To safeguard your limbs.
I bestow on you stones upon stones,
That were not found before,
Of which no work was made,
For building Temples,
Rebuilding ruins,
Inlaying statues’ eyes.

For I am the Master Who makes,
I am He Who made Himself,
Exalted Nun, Who first came forth,
Hapy Who hurries at will;
Fashioner of everybody,
Guide of each man in his hour,
Tatenen, father of Gods,
Great Shu, high in heaven!

The Shrine I dwell in has two lips,
When I open up the well,
I know Hapy hugs the field,
A hug that fills each nose with life,
For when hugged the field is reborn!
I shall make Hapy gush for you,
No year of lack and want anywhere,
Plants will grow weighed down by their fruit;
With Renenutet ordering all,
All things are supplied in millions!
I shall let your people fill up,
They shall grasp together with you!
Gone will be the hunger years,
Ended the dearth in their bins.
Egypt’s people will come striding,
Shores will shine in the excellent flood,
Hearts will be happier than ever before!”

The Donation:
I awoke with speeding heart. Freed of fatigue I made this decree on behalf of my father Khnum.
A royal offering to Khnum, lord of the cataract region and chief of Nubia:
In return for what You have done for me, I offer You Manu(the Mountain of the West) as western border, Bakhu(the Mountain of the East) as eastern border, from Yebu to Kemsat, being twelve iter on the east and the west, consisting of fields and pastures, of the river, and of every place in these miles.
All tenants who cultivate the fields, and the vivifiers who irrigate the shores and all the new lands that are in these miles, their harvests shall be taken to Your granary, in addition to Your share which is in Yebu.
All fishermen, all hunters, who catch fish and trap birds and all kinds of game, and all who trap lions in the desert- I exact from them one-tenth of the take of all of these, and all the young animals born of the females in these miles in their totality.
One shall give the branded animals for all burnt offerings and daily sacrifices; and one shall give one-tenth of gold, ivory, ebony, carob wood, ochre, carnelian, shrt, diw-plants,,nfw,-plants, all kinds of timber, being all the things brought by the Nubians of Khent-hen-nefer to Egypt, and by every man who comes with arrears from them.
No officials are to issue orders in these places or take anything from them, for everything is to be protected for Your Sanctuary.
I grant You this domain with its stones and good soil. No person there ……. anything from it.
But the scribes that belong to You and the overseers of the South shall dwell there as accountants, listing everything that the kiry-workers, and the smiths, and the master craftsmen, and the goldsmiths, and the . . . and the Nubians, and the crew of Apiru, and all corvée labor who fashion the stones, shall give of gold, silver, copper, lead, baskets of . . . firewood, the things that every man who works with them shall give as dues, namely one-tenth of all these. And there shall be given one-tenth of the precious stones and quarrying stones that are brought from the mountain side, being the stones of the east.
And there shall be an overseer who measures the quantities of gold, silver, copper, and genuine precious stones, the things which the sculptors shall assign to the Gold House, to fashion the sacred images and to refit the statues that were damaged, and any implements lacking there. Everything shall be placed in the storehouse until one fashions anew, when one knows everything that is lacking in Your Temple, so that it shall be as it was in the beginning.
Engrave this decree on a stela of the Sanctuary in writing, for it happened as said, and on a tablet, so that the divine writings shall be on them in the Temple twice.

He who spits on it deceitfully shall be given over to punishment.
The Overseers of the Priests and the Chief of all the Temple personnel shall make my name abide in the Temple of Khnum-Ra, lord of Yeb, ever-mighty”


Khnum enthroned modelling the Divine Child Ihy on His potter’s wheel; at right is represented the Goddess of Childbirth, Heqet, frog-headed, giving the Ankh to Ihy; from the “House of Birth” of the Sanctuary of Hathor at Iunet


Isis suckling Harpokrates (Horus the Child); on the left is represented Nekhbet (wearing the White Crown), and in front of Isis there is Khnum modelling Horus the Child on His potter’s wheel.
Scene from the “House of Birth” of the Temple of Isis at Philae, north face of the exterior wall of the Inner Shrine, III register

Khnum (on the left) and Hathor (on the right) giving the Ankh to Queen Mutemuia (wife of King Thutmosis IV and mother of King Amenhotep III) “the Great Princess, sweet, lovely, beloved, the Queen of the Two Lands, the Royal Mother, Mutemuia, vivifying as the Sun, the Queen of all the lands”, and leading Her to the Childbirth Room. From the west wall of the Birth Room of the Ipet-Resyt Temple of Amon-Kamutef at Uaset (Diospolis Megale-Thebes)

Queen Mutemuia (wife of King Thutmosis IV and mother of King Amenhotep III) on the Lion Bed in the Childbirth Room; from the west wall of the Birth Room of the Ipet-Resyt Temple of Amon-Kamutef at Uaset (Diospolis Megale-Thebes):  in the upper register, in the middle, is represented Queen Mutemuia, enthroned, flanked by two Goddesses; the Goddesses on the first register are nine (the last one on the right is not visible in the photo), and the two Goddesses on the right hold the Ka (the vital spirit) of the future King (Amenhotep III). In the lower register, in the middle, under the throne of the Queen, are represented two Flame-Gods (with raised hands like the Ka-hieroglyph and holding the Ankh), flanked by protective Gods of birth (frog-headed, ram-headed, and human-headed) each holding two Ankh signs (the symbol of Life)

the King (the blessed Roman Emperor Titus Caesar) pouring a libation of sacred water to Khnum; behind Khnum is represented the Goddess Satis;
from the Temple of Amon, Mut and Khonsu at Setweh/”the Place of Coming Home” (now called “haggar”)


Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt (Latopolis), detail of the upper frieze of the exterior walls:
Horus of Behdet (to the left) in His form of sacred falcon (wearing the Solar Crown with the Uraeus) standing on the hieroglyph for “gold” spreads His wings as a sign of protection toward a crowned cartouche and the God Khnum; next to Him is a Uas-Scepter (symbol of Power and Dominion) with the Shen-ring of eternal protection. To the right, the God Khnum (ram-headed) seated on the hieroglyph for “canal, river” and holding the Ankh; behind Him, the khekeru frieze



the King, the Emperor Traianus, smiting and killing captured enemies of Egypt before Khnum and the Lioness-Goddess Menhyt; near the King is represented His Lion; at left (above), the King making offerings to Heka-pa-khered (“Heka the Child”, son of Khnum and Menhyt), and the King making offerings to Khnum;  below, at left, the Gods of the Nomoi (the Nomoi/Nomes are the administrative districts, the regions of Egypt), and at right the enemies of Egypt, captured and bound; from the Temple of Iunyt/Latopolis 


Khnum and His Divine Wife, the Lioness-Goddess Menhyt; from the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt/Latopolis


the King (the Emperor Domitianus) and His Lion killing captured enemies of Egypt at the presence of Khnum, the Goddess Nebtu (the Goddess of the Countryside, wife of Khnum together with Menhyt), and Heka-pa-khered (“Heka the Child”); behind the King is represented His Ka; from the Temple of Iunyt/Latopolis


the King, the Emperor Domitianus, and His Lion slaughtering the captured enemies of Egypt (representing the rebels against the eternal Laws of the Gods, and hence the enemies of Ra) before Khnum, Heka the Child, Nebtu, and Neith; from the west exterior wall of the Temple of Iunyt/Latopolis


the God Khnum, His wife the Lioness-headed Goddess Menhyt, and Their son, Heka-pa-khered (“Heka the Child”); from the Temple of Latopolis


the Two Ladies, the cobra Goddess Uadjet (left, with the Red Crown of Lower Egypt) and the vulture Goddess Nekhbet (right, with the White Crown of Upper Egypt) blessing and leading the King to the presence of Khnum and of His son Heka(represented above the “Sema-Tawy” motif, the symbol of the Union of the Two Lands, lotus and papyrus tied together); from the Temple of Latopolis


King offering Life, Stability, Power and Dominion to the God Khnum Who has fashioned His Ka (the Spirit: the young figure before the King) on the potter’s wheel; from the rear wall of the Temple of Latopolis, Iunyt


Ptolemaic King making adorations and offerings to Khnum and to Heka the Child; from the Temple of Iunyt/Latopolis


the King (on the right, crowned with the Deshret, the Red Crown) offering fields to Khnum and to Heka (on the left, represented in His form of Child God); from the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt-Latopolis


Divine Beings adoring Khnum in the Sun,  from the Temple of Khnum at Latopolis, Iunyt


Khnum-Ra (middle register) in the Sun, holding the Uas-scepter (symbol of Power and Dominion) in His left and the Ankh (the symbol of Life) in His right; He is flanked by Gods and Goddesses making adorations to Him;  on the top and below, the Winged Solar Orb representing Horus of Behdet, flanked by the Two Goddesses (Uadjet and Nekhbet in Their form of Uraei);  in the upper register, a double representation of Khnum flanked by two images of Horus in His form of Falcon with outstretched wings as a sign of protection; from the Temple of Neith and Khnum at Iunyt/Latopolis

scene from the Exterior Wall of the Temple of Horus at Behdet: the King and the Goddess Seshat performing the rituals of the foundation of the Temple of Horus; behind the King is represented Thoth, followed by nine Gods of His entourage; behind Seshat are represented the Khnum-Gods of Building.  On the frieze (upper register), alternating motifs of Horus represented in His forms of Falcon and Bull-headed Falcon (with outstretched wings as a sign of protection towards the cartouches) and three khekeru (bound bundles of reeds)

Hathor, Harsomptus, and Khnum; from the “Birth-House” of the Temple of Horus at Behdet

the King making adorations and offering Righteousness and Truth (a statuette of the Goddess Maat) to Khnum enthroned and to the Goddess Satis;  from the Temple of Isis at Philae

King Ramses II offering wine to Khnum and Satis; behind the King is represented Anukis holding two staves with Heb-Sed signs (the symbol of the Royal Jubilee of the King); scene from the North Wall of the Offering Hall of the rock-cut Temple of Amon, Khnum, Horus, and Ramses II, Lower Kush/Nubia (50 km south of Aswan, now called Beit Wali).

at left, Khnum giving the Uas (Power and Dominion) and the Ankh (the symbol of Life) to King Ramses II; behind the King is represented the Goddess Satis (Satet) embracing Him; at right, the Goddess Anukis (Anuket) nursing King Ramses II represented as a child; from the rock-cut Temple of Amon, Khnum, Horus, and Ramses II, Lower Kush/Nubia (50 km south of Aswan, now called Beit Wali).


II scene of the “Feast of Sokar” from the II Court of the “Temple of Millions of Years” of Ramses III, West Uaset (Diospolis Megale, Thebes) :  King Ramses III “offering incense to His Father Khnum presiding over His Walls”; behind Khnum are represented “Her-remenuyfy resident in the Great Mansion”, and “Shesmu presiding over the Great Mansion” offering to the King the Ankh, the symbol of Life. The three Gods confer to King Ramses III Jubilees, Kingship, Provisions, Health, Life, Joy, Victory and Dominion over all lands like Ra.

the Great King Ramses II with Horus(giving the Ankh, the symbol of Life, to Him) and Khnum; from the “Great Temple” of Sethi I at Abydos

King Ramses II, with Horus and Khnum, trapping birds in clapnet before Thoth and Seshat-Neith (at right, not visible in the photo); from the south west half of the Great Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Amon-Ra at Ipet-Sut

(from left to right) Khnum, Thoth and Seshat-Neith: the right part of the scene concerning the rituals of the “Net Hunting” from the south west half of the Great Hypostyle Hall of the Temple of Amon-Ra at Ipet-Sut

sandstone lintel of Amenhotep I and Thutmosis III, from West Uaset:  on the left, King Thutmosis III offering Maat to (from left to right) Amon-Ra “Lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands”, Mut, Khonsu, and Hathor; on the right, King Amenhotep I offering ointment jars to (from right to left) Amon-Ra “Lord of Ipet-Sut”(Ram-headed), Khnum, Satis and Anukis. British Museum

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