Esna is an Egyptian city located on the west bank of the Nile river, at a distance of 55 km south of Luxor was forming a section of the advanced Qena Governorate, now forming a section of the new Luxor Governorate on 9th December, 2009. In Latin the city is referred to as Lato or more commonly Latopolis. The city derived its name in honor of the Nile perch Lates niloticus, the biggest of the fifty two specifies that inhabit the Nile that was abundant in these stretches of the river in ancient times and that appears in sculptures, amongst the symbols of the goddess Neith, that is in a way realted by the ancient Greeks as Pallas Athene, encompassed by the oval shield or ring indicative of the divinity or royalty. Held sacred, the Lates niloticus was buried in a cemetery located on the western half of the town. The tutelary deities of Latopolis appear to have been the traid- Neith and Khnum as well as Hak their offspring. The Esna temple is devoted to this triad and is well known for the beauty of its site as well as the magnificence of its architecture. It was constructed using red sandstone and its portfolio comprises of six rows of four columns each together with lotus leaf capitals all of which vary differ from each other. Another temple of the similar period has been recognized at Kom Mer, about twelve km to the south, however cannot be exhumed because a modern village is constructed over it. There was a smaller temple devoted to the triad of Latopolis, nearly two and a half miles km north of the city, at a village now referred to as el-Dayer. Here, too, you will find a small Zodiac of the age of Ptolemy III Euergetes. This latter building was destroyed in the nineteenth century as it stood in the passage of a new canal. The Esna temple has been cleared of the soil as well as rubbish that filled its area the time Denon visited it. to be more specific, it served as a cotton warehouse in the middle of the nineteenth century. If you exclude the jamb of a gateway that is now converted into door sill of the reign of the Thutmose II, then the remains of Latopolis belong to the Roman or Ptolemaic eras. Ptolemy III Euergetes, was the restorer of multiple temples in Upper Egypt was a benefactor to Latopilis and he is depicted upon the walls of its temple followed by a tame lion and in the act of stunning down the chiefs of his enemies. You will also find the name “Ptolemy V Epiphanes” inscribed on a doorway. It is true that the scale of the ruins is pretty impressive, but then their hieroglyphics as well as sculptures attest to the deterioration of Egyptian art. The pronaos that alone exists is in a way similar to the styles as that of Edfu or Appollonopolis. It was started not earlier than the reign of Claudius and completed in that of Vespasian whose titles and name are inscribed on the dedicatory inscription over the entrance. Above the ceiling of the pronaos is the larger Latopolian Zodiac. Geta is the last ruler which can be read in hieroglyphics, though partially erased by his murdered and brother Carcalla.

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