Montu “God of War” was a falcon-God of war in the ancient Egyptian religion, an embodiment of the conquering vitality of the pharaoh. He was particularly worshipped in Upper Egypt and in the district of Thebes.

Role & characteristics A very ancient god, Montu was originally a manifestation of the scorching effect of Ra, the sun – and as such often appeared under the epithet Montu-Ra. The destructiveness of this characteristic led to him gaining characteristics of a warrior, and eventually becoming a widely revered war-God. The Egyptians thought that Montu would attack the enemies of Maat (that is, of the truth, of the cosmic order) while inspiring, at the same time, glorious warlike exploits. It is possible that Montu-Ra and Atum-Ra symbolized the two kingships, respectively, of Upper and Lower Egypt. When linked with Horus, Montu’s epithet was “Horus of the Strong Arm”.Because of the association of raging bulls with strength and war, the Egyptians also believed that Montu manifested himself as a white, black-snouted bull named Buchis (hellenization of the original Bakha: a living bull revered in Armant) — to the point that, in the Late Period (7th-4th centuries BC), Montu was depicted with a bull’s head too. This special sacred bull had dozens of servants and wore precious crowns and bibs.

Temple The Temple complex of Montu in Medamud, the ancient Medu, less than five kilometers north-east of today’s Luxor, was built by the great Pharaoh Senusret III (c. 1878–1839 BC) of the 12th Dynasty, probably on a pre-existing sacred site of the Old Kingdom. The temple courtyard was used as a dwelling for the living Buchis bull, revered as an incarnation of Montu. The main entrance was to the north-east, while a sacred lake was probably on the west side of the sanctuary. The building consisted of two distinct adjoining sections, perhaps a temple to the north and a temple to the south (houses of the priests). It was built in raw bricks, while the innermost cella of the deity was built of carved stone. The templar complex of Medamud underwent important restorations and renovations during the New Kingdom, and in the Ptolemaic and Roman period.