What is Caesar Augustus' image doing in an Egyptian temple?
Was he not a hated Roman conquerer?
The Temple of Dendur is the Met's largest exhibit – a complete stone building and surrounding walkways within an enormous gallery with floor to ceiling windows facing Central Park. Here visitors can do more than view an ancient Egyptian artifact. They can go inside one, while gazing at the park at the heart of New York City.
Visitors find wonderment here. But we find something that has no business in an Egyptian temple: statuary depicting Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar.
What is the image of the man who conquered Egypt doing in an Egyptian temple?
The secret is revealed in the premiere broadcast of Museum Secrets: Inside the Met.
From Pharonic times to the present day, the Temple of Dendur has served many religions, and its walls have been marked by many hands. We invite you to stroll through the temple (and the ages) with curator Diana Craig Patch in our Web Exclusive Video: Temple Exploration.
The Temple of Dendur was only one of the historical monuments saved from the flood waters created by the Aswan Dam. Many were moved to higher ground, including the massive Abu Simbel temples. How did engineers move the structures without damaging them? Check out Wikipedia's answer on its Abu Simbel page.
charlie • #29 • 2012-11-27 18:05:02
This episode of Museum Secrets intrigued us so much that we actually visited New York and this museum to see the temple and the Diana statue. Excellent show! Keep up the good work!
kathy • #55 • 2013-08-01 05:53:47
Will the Temple of Dendur ever be returned to Egypt? It is needed to bring balance to Egypt and the surrounding regions.