The temple was built during the 19th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, in the post-Amarna New Kingdom. It was built as a cenotaph and mortuary temple for Seti I, linking him to the cult of Osiris, which had a major presence at Abydos, and the temple features a prominent Osiride theme throughout, although other deities, as well as Seti I himself, were worshipped here. The temple was not completed in the lifetime of Seti I, but was completed by his son, Ramesses II, early in the reign of the latter.

Abydos - Ancient City, Egypt Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2014 (above image)

The work of Ramesses II was inferior to that of his father, and it is easy to tell, even without reading the temple inscriptions, in which reign each section was completed. As a result of this "shoddy" work, some inscriptions were re-carved, hastily chiselled out, modified using plaster infill, or even just plastered over and new inscriptions chiselled into the plaster, which over millennia crumbled or dried, falling away from the stonework.



The Temple of Seti played an important role in his familyís claim as a legitimate royal household. Prior to the ascension to the throne by Setiís father, Ramesses I, Setiís ancestors were merely warriors, generals at most. Without royal blood in his veins, Seti had to consolidate his position, and one of the ways to do so was to build temples. As Akhenatenís religious reforms did away will the old G-ds, Setiís dedication of his temple to Osiris and other important Egyptian deities symbolised a return to the traditional way of life, thus allowing himself to be seen as a restorer of order.