The Ancient Egyptian Origin of Some Architectural and Artistic Elements in Coptic Christianity

نوع المستند : المقالة الأصلية


المعهد العالي للسياحة و الفنتادق - کينج ماريوت


Egyptians were proud of their Pharaonic background. Thus, after their Christianization Coptic art and architecture had been affected by ancient Egyptian civilization. When Christians began to erect their churches, they adopted some architectural and artistic features from the Pharaonic Civilization. In fact, Coptic art and architecture has its own type, independent from the Egyptian, Hellenistic or other styles, however it had been influenced by these styles of the previous civilizations. When the Copts started to establish their churches some architectural elements had been adopted from ancient Egyptian temples such as the "Hypostyle Hall", which is considered the prototype of the "Basilican Plan" of the Christian church. Since the early times of Christianity Copts retained a triple division design of their churches similar to that of the ancient Egyptian temples. Dome also is the most important architectural element in Coptic Church. This architectural element most probably had been adopted from ancient Egyptian civilization. Some other architectural elements may have been also adopted from the ancient Egyptian architecture such as Coptic apses, and altars. Coptic art had been influenced by ancient Egyptian art as well. Ancient Egyptian common art subjects like fishing and farming had been represented frequently in Coptic art. The objective of the paper is to introduce an overview about Coptic architecture and art, its development and its connection with ancient Egyptian civilization. The research highlights the ancient origin of the most important Coptic architectural and artistic elements in Coptic churches. A historical analysis of these elements and their functions was introduced to understand the connection between different civilizations, and how it is normal for any civilization to adopt from the previous civilizations.  Descriptive method had been used in this study which was useful in describing different architectural and artistic aspects related to the topic. Analysis of the different factors that helped in this adoption, the ancient Egyptian origin of some architectural and artistic elements in Coptic Church, and the differences between ancient and Coptic believes which make the use of each element in Christianity serves another purpose, are also studied in the research.

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