Egypt: Temple of Dendera - paulsmit
[EGYPT 29573]
'Deities on astronomical ceiling at Dendera.'

	This detail of the astronomical ceiling in the outer hypostyle hall of the Hathor Temple at Dendera shows several deities, most of which are related to heavenly bodies and the hours of the night.
The astronomical ceiling consists of seven separate strips but here we are looking at the northern end of the SECOND STRIP WEST from centre.
The lower register is inhabited by standing goddesses who have a star above their head. They are the personifications of the twelve hours of the night. The actual hour can be discerned from the number of stars which is depicted above the small shrine that is placed behind the goddess. Furthermore each hour-goddess is accompanied by an associated deity which stands behind her.
In this picture we see (from left to right) the hour-goddesses from the third till the tenth hour, with the small shrine and associated deity of the eleventh hour just visible near the edge of the photo.
The upper register shows on the right a reclining sphinx on a pedestal and the caption above him tells us that he is the 'ka' (life force) of the sun god Ra.
The rest of the upper register is filled with personifications of decanal stars. The decans of Egyptian astronomy were essentially 36 stars or star groups near the ecliptic  whose rise or transit could be used to tell the time during the night. Eventually they were also used by astronomers as place-markers in the sky to divide up the Ecliptic in equal portions. Decans first appear during the Middle Kingdom on the inside of coffin lids, providing the deceased with his own private start clock. Unfortunately, during the subsequent centuries many different lists of decanal stars were developed and very few of these stars can be identified on a modern star map.
The decans in this register were listed by Neugebauer and Parker as stars 3 till 20 of the Seti I B decan family. In this picture we see (from right to left) four snakes crossing each other (decan no. 3), a lion-headed seated goddess (no. 4), a lion-headed god carrying a wadjet eye (no. 4a), a snake on a pedestal (no. 5), an erect snake (no. 6), a lion-headed seated goddess (no. 7), a cat-headed god (no. 7a), a snake-headed baboon (no. 8), an erect snake (no. 9), a lion-headed seated goddess (no. 10) and a nude human-headed god (no. 10a).
Decans 15 till 20 from this register can be found in picture 29572. 
The rest of the stars from this decan family can be found on the second ceiling strip east from centre (see picture 29539).
For an overview of the entire astronomical ceiling see picture 29525.
This part of the Dendera Temple was built during the Roman period (first century AD). Photo Paul Smit.