The worship of deities has been a crucial part of humans since ancient times. While other civilizations had their unique methods for worship, the Greeks particularly were some of the most fervent worshippers of deities. Many deities in Ancient Greece from Athena to Poseidon, as well as Ares had dedicated worshippers who built temples all over Greece. The most popularly worshipped god; however, was Zeus and while the worship of this Greek god has extended farther compared to territory of Greece, it is quite fascinating to learn it extended towards the ancient kingdom of Egypt. This claim has been shown by a recent archaeological discovery in Egypt and it is worth exploring.
The Worship Of Zeus Existed In Ancient Egypt
On April 25, 2022, the Egyptian Ministry Of Tourism and Antiquities announced an interesting archaeological discovery of the remains of an ancient temple in Tel Al-Farma, Northwestern Sinai Peninsula. Based on the findings, the temple was dedicated to Zeus Kasios – a deity that is representative of the combination of Zeus – the Greek god of the sky, and Kasios – a weather god linked to Mount Kasios. The mountain is located between the border between Syria and Turkey and is significant for its role within the mythological battle between Zeus and Typhon. This association of ancient gods with mountains is not a new part of the ancient world and that's why there are plenty of sacred mountains all over the world it's possible to visit today.
While this can be a unique discovery, it is surprising to know the region is not new to excavations. In fact, there's been speculation about the previous information on a temple at this location as far as the first 20th century. According to Mostafa Waziri – the secretary-general from the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, Jean Cledat- a French Egyptologist had suggested the prior information on an old temple in the region after he discovered some Greek inscriptions there in 1910. That clue left through the French Egyptologist has sat with researchers for some time although no excavations were made until recently whenever a team of Archaeologists began excavating Northwestern Sinai.
The excavations began using the discovery of two granite blocks which are now believed to be area of the staircase that led to the inner parts of the temple. The blocks were believed to have collapsed after a strong earthquake hit the city. Inscriptions around the blocks discovered during the excavations claim that the temple was renovated by Roman Emperor Hadrian who ruled from 117 to 138. The emperor was obviously a lover of Greco-Roman culture and religion as he passionately oversaw the rebuilding of numerous ancient greek language and Roman temples such as the Serapeum of Alexandria, the Pantheon, and also the Temples of Venus and Roma.
More blocks were eventually uncovered throughout the recent excavation and they had more inscriptions which, according to the director-general of the excavation, are presently undergoing photogrammetry surveys for more information concerning the site as well as determine the temple’s actual design.
In Greco-Roman times, (a period of time that lasted from 332 BC to 395 AD) the region of this archaeological discovery (now referred to as Tel Al-Farma) was referred to as Pelusium – an old city located on the easternmost bank from the Nile River. The town dates towards the late Pharaonic period and was an important city throughout the Greco-Roman and Byzantine times along with the early Christian and early Islamic periods. The first major battle between your Achaemenid Empire and Egypt seemed to be fought in this city. Its strategic position on Egypt’s eastern boundary managed to get an important point of entry and exit from the country. This role was particularly evident during the periods of war and invasion. The Greco-Roman period also saw the city’s role like a bustling port city. Apparently, the city's association with Greek and Roman culture along with its commercial importance must have been the main reason it hosted worshippers from the god Zeus who eventually erected a temple to rehearse their religion.
The Importance And Significance Of the Discovery
Egypt has been a place of interesting discoveries for several years as more interesting things about the ancient world are continuously being discovered. However, in recent times, the nation has seen a stop by tourism. A couple of factors are to blame with this sudden change but the most severe was herpes as it inevitably resulted in the shutting of the country's borders. After reopening the borders, the need to boost tourism obviously led to these archaeological projects, and these types of discoveries are essential to boost the curiosity of travelers around the world thereby boosting the country's tourism.
While part of the discoveries is to help boost tourism in the country, this discovery most importantly sheds more light on the worship of Ancient Greek gods outside Greece and how far the religion actually went. While studies and more information about this archaeological finding continue to be ongoing, Tel Al-Farma is definitely a location to keep in mind when visiting Egypt later on.