Thirdly, ancient rulers were inclined to brag. If the Greco-Roman occupiers of Egypt had electrical lighting, they would be sure to trumpet such an achievement somewhere more high-profile than the basement of a provincial temple in a distant occupied land. This sort of thing would have the wow factor you want to be shown off at the Coliseum back in Rome, or the amphitheaters and libraries of the Hellenistic world. Such a device would be an object of huge prestige and the rulers of the classical world were every bit as aware of the importance of prestige as were the shy, modest and self-abasing Pharaohs whose rule they supplanted.
The theory is often included along with the Atlantean or alien civilization in Egypt theories, which also often make reference to other supposed ancient technologies such as theAbydos helicopterand any one of dozens of crackpot theories about thepyramids.
Cauville describes the emergence of Harsomtus as the primeval serpent and self-created god from primordial lotus flower9into the great lake (Nun) from which he created the cosmos, physical and divine alike. The djed pillar embodying the stability, strength and endurance of his creation,9a very prominent aspect of the Egyptian view of creation.
Roof of hypostyle hall at Dendera temple, covered in soot.
This page was last modified on 16 April 2018, at 17:59.
The field surrounding the serpents is probably representative ofḥq3, protectivemagicalenergy often described in Ancient Egyptian literature in physical terms like a liquid, i.e. nets soaked inḥq3,10and which allgodspossess.10However, another possibility is that it represents water, as accompanying texts refer to Harsomtus asš3y š3 ii m š3(Shai, the first to come into existence in the great lake).8Cauville himself doesnt specify as to which might be correct, simply referring to the field around the god as a matrix.9It should be borne in mind that neither interpretation makes any fundamental difference to interpreting the overall scene.
There are many problems with this device and its depiction. Firstly, the Dendera we see today isnt an Egyptian temple. Its a Greco-Roman building constructed to Egyptian principles of design, built between the 4thcentury BCE to early centuries CE.4As such, the figures depicted with the lamp would be existing in the classical rather than ancient world. The classic writers also make no mention of electricity in Egypt.
British Museum Dictionary of Ancient Egypt
, Institut Français dArchologie Orientale le Caire, Cairo
Frank Dörnenburg.Electric lights in Egypt?
Hans Rey.Mysteries, theories and cover-ups about the Great Pyramid and surroundings!Pegasus Research Consortium.
There are depictions within the temple of Dendera, in the southern crypt, that show a figure holding a lotus, from which emits a snake surrounded by a protective cocoon, held aloft by a Djed pillar. It is these reliefs that are the primary evidence presented by the lamp loonies. Noarchaeologicalor textual evidence for any kind of electrical device, or knowledge concerning electricity, has ever been recovered from ancient Egypt.
However, with even a brief introduction to these issues, the full absurdity of these theories, and how they are fodder used in even more extreme conspiracies and ufology cults quickly becomes apparent.
The name Denderalampis named after the fringe theories; the name wasnt chosen because theres any actual lamp. There isnt.
The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt
Cauville writes that the crypt in which this scene appears is dedicated to Harsomtus, the primordial creative aspect of Horus, more commonly associated with Ra when in serpent form, and indeed this association is made explicit at Dendera,8where he is also depicted in mummiform falcon form on the rear wall of the same crypt.9However, the serpent form is particularly relevant when, as in this case here, the scene represents his moment of creation, in his first emergence from the primordial waters.9
Themythologydepicted in the scene is actually very straightforward, and a very common theme within Egyptian mythology. Although the particular aspect of Horus mentioned here is not one of the most commonly encountered, he is fitted into what might be termed the standardcreation mythof Egyptian religion. Whilst the artwork may be slightly unorthodox at first glance, the canon of Egyptianartis generally adhered to, but applied with a rather clumsy and mechanical approach typical of the Greco-Roman period.12
Looking at the websites referenced here should be enough to convince any sane person that this idea is possibly even more absurd than theAbydos helicopter. There is absolutely no evidence to back up any of these claims. It is simply a matter that some people find the Egyptian rules of perspective and stylisation in artwork hard to interpret (especially in the Greco-Roman form), and instead read the art from a modern point of view, with modern assumptions and symbolism. Combined with a lack of awareness of Egyptian religious symbolism, and without awareness of the prejudices of preservation in Egyptian archaeology, it is relatively easy for such ideas to be sown.
The Dendera bulb is a sad misinterpretation. The pictures in the Dendera temple most likely show an electric fish used formedicaltreatment. To be more precise, the electric fish living in the Nile is a long and thin catfish calledMalapterurus electricus.13
In none of the many thousands of subterranean tombs and pyramid shafts was found a single trace of soot
Taher, A (2008), Cleaning of the Ceiling in Dendera Temple,
The Lotus, of course, is a key part of the symbolism of creation, life and birth in Egyptianreligion,11as well as many others, while the Djed pillar is a symbol of stability found throughout Egyptian history.911
is a claim by someconspiracy theoristsandalternate historynuts that reliefs in the temple of Dendera inEgyptprove that theAncient Egyptiansharnessedelectricity, and used it for lighting.
, Museum Tusculanum Press, Copenhagen
Unless explicitly noted otherwise, all content licensed as indicated byRationalWiki:Copyrights.
, Vol. 8 No. 5 Apr/May 2008
Egyptian Myth: A Very Short Introduction
Star Gates – The Jaffa. Pegasus Research Consortium.
Secondly, the accompanying texts are fairly standard texts for the period, and make no mention of the scene being in any way related to lighting.
The Egyptians didnt have light bulbs in their temples, and neither did they leave step-by-step instructions for constructing a light bulb carved in stone in the crypts of their sacred structures. Instead, they lit their temples with oil lamps, and carved their most important myths and religious sentiments in stone in the crypts of their sacred structures. And during the Greco-Roman period, the Hellenic and Roman occupiers sponsored very similar structures with very similar inscriptions, still lit by oil lamps, which is what we see at Dendera.
So the Egyptians really had a wondrous soot-free source of light? Kind of castor oil. Mixed with salt, it can be used to provide a clean flame with minimal soot output. The castor oil plant was being cultivated and harvested in Egypt from the pre-Dynastic era onward.7
Finally, if light bulbs existed in ancient Egypt, why the hell would they make it so damned big?
The basic crank premise is that the ancient Egyptians (orAtlantean/aliencivilization within Egypt1) both understood and harnessed the power of electricity, and used it for electric lighting. The same cranks also argue that technically accurate depictions of this technology were recorded in the southern crypt of Dendera temple.23Further, the theory goes that the Egyptologists who discovered and recorded these inscriptions in the first place have either fundamentally misinterpreted or purposefully distorted them, in giving these depictions a purelyreligiouscharacter either through closed-mindedness or, less often, as part of some wider Egyptologicalconspiracyto keep ancient energy technology suppressed.2
(Gmelin, 1789) Electric catfish. FishBase. 2011.
, Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY
Firstly, there is plenty of soot damage in Egyptian buildings, including, ironically enough, Dendera itself. The roof in the hypostyle hall is absolutely caked with soot.6Most of the clean rooms we see in Egyptian temples and tombs today are the result of painstaking cleaning, a process which takes years, even decades of patient work. However, most of this soot is not ancient. Most of it has been left by later squatters and treasure hunters from the Coptic era onwards.6
Frank Dörnenburg.The Light of the Pharaohs The Lamp.
Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt
The second piece of evidence that is presented is the lack of soot inside surviving Egyptian structures. How could the Egyptians have seen their way to decorate or use these buildings, without leaving soot everywhere? Why, they used electric light, of course!
Le Temple de Dendera: Guide Archaologique