The daily operation of the Egyptian temples involved a series of complicated ritual performances - so complicated that the priests developed various ‘handbooks’ in order to carry them out correctly.
This is why the temples gradually developed the large-scale temple libraries, according to Professor Kim Ryholt of the Carsten Niebuhr Institute.
»All temples have a library attached to it. But this is not a library in a modern sense, not a public service. The temples were not open to the public except at festivals, and no one but the priests had access to the libraries« he explains.
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»Every morning, the priests will perform ‘the morning toilet’ of the deity through a complex ritual. It would typically consist of more than one hundred steps, such as burning incense, breaking the seal and opening the doors to the inner part of the sanctuary - the naos, singing morning hymns, and applying make-up to the statuette, almost like a doll, that was treated as a god or goddess within«.
Apart from the handbooks keeping the priests abreast of the rigorous ceremony, there are also a number of treatises on different subjects and numerous historical narratives.
It is through these texts that Kim Ryholt studies how Greco-Roman period Egyptians interpret their own historical and ancient past - including the pyramids and monuments.
Read about how Egyptians' thought that everything that is great is Egyptian.