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In the Middle Kingdom Thebes had become the adode of Amon, the creator god, who, by appropriating nearby cults such as that of the primeval fertility god Min of Coptos and finally the sun god Ra of Heliopolis, had developed into a universal divinity and "king of the gods." The military victories had been won in Amon's name and into his sanctuaries streamed most of the booty, and the tributes of the conquered peoples. He acquired the Theban goddess Mut as his consort and the moon god Khonsu as their son.
From now on this family of gods formed a triad, with coordinated sanctuaries at Karnak.
On the edge of the west bank, confined by its cliffs, lay the necropolis, which had as its first monumental centre the tomb complex of the founder of the Middle Kingdom in the valley at Deir el Bahari.
Here lie buried also the kings of the New Kingdom, but for reasons of security the royal tombs were tunneled into the rock in the lonely Valley of the Kings in the western hills, physically separated from the temples for the worship of the dead.
On either side of the gateway in the broader and taller front pylon (present pylon IV) Tuthmosis I erected sixty-five-foot obelisks of rose granite, of which the southern one still stands.
Between the two pylons (IV and V) was inserted a splendid hall with papyrus bundle columns and colossal standing figures of the king.
By pursuing the Hyksos into their Palestinian homeland, and by other conquests in the north and in the south, deep into the Sudan, there arose a powerful Egyptian empire that lasted, with Thebes as its capital and religious centre, for two hundred years.
One of the prerequisites of this renaissance was a renewal of the conception of kingship.
Also on the west bank, further to the south and beyond the limits of the original city there has been found a "primeval hill" that was probably already extant in the Middle Kingdom.
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Because the temple was expanded continually toward the west the landing place, with its small obelisks and an avenue of ram-sphinxes leading to the later main entrance of the sanctuary, was likewise shifted westward, and its existing remains date only from late in the New Kingdom.
The history of the sanctuary is complicated by repeated expansions and by razing old shrines and constructing new ones, in the principal east-west directions and toward neighbouring cults on north and south, a process that lasted from the beginning of the New Kingdom into the Late Period. Accordingly we can only discuss the basic conception of the architectural layout with reference to the more important elements of the temple, and describe the most notable sites.