An Egyptian relief shows the Emperor Claudius as Pharaoh

An Egyptian relief shows the Emperor Claudius as Pharaoh

In the temple of Shanhur, about 12 kilometers north of Luxor, have been found reliefs in which the emperor Claudius appears represented as king of Upper and Lower Egypt. It has been a group of researchers from the University of Swansea in Wales and the University of Leuven in Belgium has achieved identify the roman emperor.

Claudio wears a crown formed by four calla lilies resting on ram's horns on which three hawks rest. In front of Claudio is Min, god of fertility. It has a whip and wears a feather crown with a double sun disk. He also sports an erect penis, which is usual for this god. Behind him is his cult chapel, and between him and Claudio eight men who represent those who should enact the ritual. Inscriptions and iconography suggest that by performing this ritual, Claudio takes on the formidable characteristics of Min.

The temple itself dates from Roman times and It was originally built as a temple to Isis in the time of Augustus. However, the carvings on the eastern and western outer walls were made during the reign of Emperor Claudius.

The carvings found were exposed for the first time in the years 2000-2001. They had been covered by a mound of earth that protected the outer walls of the temple thus leaving the sizes in perfect condition. In the years after the protection granted by the mound, the sculptures, made from limestone of a lower grade and, therefore, susceptible to erosion; they have been somewhat affected.

The appearance of a date indicates that this ritual really happened, despite the fact that Emperor Claudius himself was not present in person and in fact, never went to egypt. Probably a priest acted as his representative, something common at the time since the king could not appear in each ritual.

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