The King is Dead; Immortalize the King! Supporting “Royal Piety” in Thebes and Abydos during the New Kingdom

Document Type : Original Article


Department of Tourist Guiding, Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt


Being the most sacred places in New Kingdom Egypt, Thebes and Abydos participated in reviving the memory of the dead kings by their ruling descendants. From one generation to another, the two religious sites of Thebes and Abydos served as the most important memorial areas supporting the funerary cults of the deified royals. Thebes was regarded as the earliest prominent cult center for worshipping the dead monarchs in New Kingdom Egypt. Starting from the Eighteenth Dynasty, it became a holy place of pilgrimage and the spiritual hub of the funerary cults of the deified kings. King Thutmose III was the first to dedicate a special place in Thebes to establish the cult of his royal deified forebears. Afterwards, King Ramesses II of the Nineteenth Dynasty and King Ramesses III of the Twentieth Dynasty also experienced Thebes as a consistent place of worship and a space for the spiritual care of the cult of the dead kings. Abydos rose as another main city supporting the mortuary cult of the royals only during the Nineteenth Dynasty. Meanwhile, King Seti I and King Ramesses II played a significant role in utilizing Abydos as a new commemorative space, enhancing the cult of the deified departed sovereigns of Egypt. During the New Kingdom, two of the most important deities in the ancient Egyptian pantheon, including the composite god Ptah-Sokar-Osiris and god Min-Kamutef, made a great contribution to supporting the personal cult of the dead royals in the sacred temples of Thebes and Abydos.