Title Temple of Sety I at Abydos
Type Astronomical Representation
Decan List Family AR2
EAT3 Number and Name 7 Seti I D
EAT3 Pages and Plates 16-17, Pl 4
EAT3 Decan List Family Seti I C
Publications Daressy (1899); Calverley (1938).
Location Ceiling blocks, some of which are in situ in the Second Osiris Hall, Temple of Sety I at Abydos
Date 19th dynasty
Registers 2, perhaps 3
Circumpolar Group and Deities Yes: 7 names of attendent deities are attested
Planets None preserved
Decan Names Yes
Decanal Stars Yes
Personifications of the Decans Yes, as identical humans
Cluster Numbers None preserved
Depictions of Decanal Constellations None preserved
Decanal Deity Names Yes
Decanal Deity Figures Possibly, as identical humans (see below)
Lunar Months None preserved, could possibly have occupied a third register
Civil Months None preserved
Nut Not preserved, unlikely to have been present

The ceiling is carved on a flat ceiling which had room for three registers.  Blocks from two registers have survived long enough to be recorded.  One block is in situ, in the north western corner. 

The pattern of the ceiling is very similar to that used later in the Abydos temple of Rameses II.  The layout of these two representations differs from all others because of the inclusion of identical human figures representing the decans.  Each decan name is accompanied by two human figures.  One, immediately below the decanal stars, wears a beard and a long wig.  The other, in a lower sub-register beneath a dedicatory wish for the king, is similar but adds a uraeus and a five-pointed star on its head.  The upper figure is postioned in such a way that it could represent the decanal deity, but there is only one per decan even when there are two deities named, and the invariance of the depiction suggests otherwise.  The lower figure seems to represent the king himself as a star.


 Not enough is preserved for the schematic to be anything other than conjectural.  The ceiling of the northern aisle contained the circumpolar register.  The decanal register was either in the middle aisle or the southern aisle.  Neugebauer and Parker believed the decans were in the central aisle because of the dimensions of the blocks, and furthermore that the directionality of the processions required by the location of the room in regards to temple circulation would place the decans both upside-down and backwards to what one would expect.  The list starts in the west, but the figures face east, towards where the planets would be.  The Abydos ceilings are the only astronomical representations where this is so.

The content of the third register, if astronomical, would be interesting as no ceiling up to this point in time has a third register.  Primary candidates are the lunar months, foreshadowing the Ramesseum ceiling.  The three-register layout already existed, but the only known survival is on a water clock.

Damage is not indicated on the diagram.

 07SetiID schematic

Legend for Schematic
C Circumpolar group of constellations
A Circumpolar attendant deities
D Decans
P Planets
 Hippo symbol

Location and orientation of the circumpolar hippo

 Human symbol 

Indicates the starting point and directionality of list or procession of figures


Decan List

The list gives an approximate layout for how the decans, deities, and decanal figures (in bold) are arranged.  The list reads backwards compared with the flow of the "procession" of deity figures.  For conventions and abbreviations, see below the table. The decan names 7 TmAt Xrt, 8 wSAti and 9 bkAti were visible until at least the late 19th century, Neugebauer and Parker note from Daressy.

The preserved portion of the decan list is very small.  Neugebauer and Parker place it in the Seti I C family but there are discrepancies:  the deity for 7 TmAt Xrt is Children of Horus instead of Kebehsenuf, Kebehsenuf is added as an extra deity for 8 wSAti, and the decanal stars do not match except for those of 10 tpy-a xntt.  Horus rather than Seth is assigned to 12 xntt Xrt, but this is a common circumlocation.

12 xntt [Xrt] Horus

11 xntt Hrt


10 tpy-a xntt

Hapy, Man Spearing, Duamutef

bkAti Duamutef, Kebehsenuf
8 wSAti Duamutef, Kebehsenuf
TmAt Xrt Children of Hor[us]

The decan numbers and letters shown here are for the decan family AR2

SP = superior planet

IP = inferior planet

Grey shading = damage

[ ] = damaged text

( ) = explanatory notes or additional material

The number of star symbols accompanying the decans is also omitted here, as it is often impossible to tell to which decan the symbols refer.  EAT3 deals with star symbols in some detail.


The attendant deities portion which is in situ (photo by Sarah Symons, 2013):

07SetiID image


Drawing of the surviving fragments in Calverley (1938), Pl 59.

07SetiID image2