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mortuary temple

in ancient Egypt, place of worship of a deceased king and the depository for food and objects offered to the dead monarch. In the Old and Middle Kingdoms (c. 2575-c. 2130 BC; and 1938-c. 1600? BC) the mortuary temple usually adjoined the pyramid and had an open, pillared court, storerooms, five elongated shrines, and a chapel containing a false door and an offering table. In the chapel, priests performed the daily funerary rites and presented the offerings to the dead king's ka (protective spirit). In the New Kingdom (1539-1075 BC) the kings were buried in rock-cut tombs, but separate mortuary temples continued to be built nearby. All were provided with a staff of priests and assured of supplies through endowments of estates and lands to ensure religious services and offerings in perpetuity

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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