Of all the enormous monuments throughout Egypt and Nubia that Ramesses II (the Great; ca. 1279-1212 BCE) left behind, his temple at Abydos, built early in his reign, stands as one of his most elegant monuments, with its simple architectural layout and dramatic and graceful painted relief scenes. Though best known for its dramatic reliefs depicting the battle of Kadesh, the temple also offers a wealth of information about religious and social life in ancient Egypt. It reflects, for example, the strenuous efforts of the early Ramessides to reestablish the Osiris cult in Egypt--and particularly at Abydos--in the aftermath of the Amarna period.
Over a seven-year period, the authors of The Temple of Ramesses II in Abydos conducted a field project with the aim of producing an up-to-date and comprehensive architectural, photographic, and epigraphic record of the temple. This lavish volume, presented in two parts ("Part 1: Exterior Walls and Courts" and "Part 2: Chapels and First Pylon") is the first of two volumes documenting their results. It presents more than two hundred detailed line drawings-accurately rendered according to modern epigraphical standards--of the temple's carved relief scenes--placed alongside their corresponding full-color photographs. The result is a masterpiece of modern epigraphic research and publication. Volume 2, "Pillars, Miscellany, and Inscriptions," will contain additional elements of the temple, as well as translations of the inscriptions found in the temple.