In 1888 Sir Flinders Petrie excavated the mortuary temple of Amenemhet at Hawara in the Fayum. Amenemhet's dates are 1839 to 1791 B. C.
It could have been the model for the rebuilding of the Knosos labyrinth in about 1700 B. C., but not for the first large palace building at Knosos, if the latter is to be dated to about 1900 B. C.
Petrie assumed that it was the building described by Strabo early in the first century A. D., and by Herodotus, who visited it in about 440 B. C.
Its builders were twelve kings, who were contemporaries and related by marriages.
It had twelve covered courts and two stories. There were three thousand rooms, half of them underground, half above. Each court was of white stone, surrounded by a colonnade. Such a large number of rooms suggests a storage depot.
Near the corner at one end was a pyramid, 240 feet high, with carved figures of animals on it. The pyramid was entered by an underground passage. [Herodotus II: 148]
The Fayum temple and the Knosos palace were both temples. The use of white shoes [phaikades] and gypsum may have something to do with cleanliness and purity.
The presence of a bath-house and of a guest-house fits the Greek tradition of hospitality involving bath ritual and banquet such as are described in the Odyssey. There is evidence that child sacrifice and cannibalism took place, a combination that reminds one of Kronos and Zeus.
Temple ornaments included snakes, bull, horns, axe and statuettes of goddesses.
What sort of temple was it at Knosos, and at Hawara for that matter?
I suggest that the labyrinths at Hawara and at Knosos, as well as being religious, administrative and storage centres, were representations of heaven and earth, the cosmos. The same may be true of the Hittite capital of Hattusas.
Several features tend to this conclusion. The vocabulary used for the pillar or column supports the idea that columns and colonnades represented paths from earth to sky. A summary of the words connected with pillars may be useful, and will demonstrate the close relationship between the various languages.
Greek pyrgos, tower, contains the word pyr, fire, and possibly ka as well.
Akkadian durr, tower, resembles the Latin turris, and Latin columna needs no translation.
Egyptian has an, light tower, and ucha, pillar. It is reported that in 665 B. C. the Assyrians took from Egyptian Thebes two bronze-coated obelisks. Techen, another Egyptian word for a pillar, resembles the Greek techne, skill or art. Techen, reversed, becomes necht, to be strong.
Hebrew shath, column, may have some connection with the god Set. Egyptian utchu, memorial tablet, may represent the sound of a spark, such as occurs in tcham, the Egyptian sceptre or scotch that has an eagle perched on the top.
Etruscan prezu, column, is the Greek prester, a word which suggests an electrical fire in the form of a tornado. Reversed, it resembles the Hebrew tsarebh, burning. It also resembles Latin stirps. This word is basically stirp-, the final s being only a case ending. Stirps is the trunk and roots of a tree, or the stem and roots of a plant, and would be a useful word to describe a twister.
We have already looked at the story of Jacob and his dream of a ladder between earth and sky. He called the city Bethel, house of El. Its original name, Luz, if reversed, becomes zul. The Greek stul-is a pillar.
There was probably a connection between the building of pillars and columns and the concept of the World Tree, Yggdrasil, of northern myth. The Greek hule means wood, material. Reversed, this word would sound like el uch. Egyptian ucha is a pillar, so the word could have meant 'divine pillar'.