The temple of Ra at Heliopolis owned hundreds of acres, 64 orchards, 45,544 head of livestock, 103 villages, 3 ships and 5 workshops, with a personnel force of 12,700. - The High Priests were the most powerful and influential clerics in Egyptian affairs. "Clergy, Priests & Priestesses in Ancient Egypt." 17 Oct 2020. They were expected to be ritually pure, bathe a number of times a day, and be able to carry out the duties required of them. His efforts were in vain, however, not only because he was fighting against over 2,000 years of religious tradition but, on the purely practical level, too many people owed their livelihood to the temple and worship of the gods. The sem priests were highly respected because they were responsible for the precise utterance of the spells which would guarantee eternal life to the deceased. The wab priests carried out the essential but fairly mundane tasks of taking care of the temple complex and performing whatever function they were called upon for, such as helping to prepare for festivals. After his death, his son Tutankhamun (c. 1336-1327 BCE) abolished his father's religion and returned to the old ways, and these reforms were completed by Horemheb (1320-1292 BCE) who erased Akhenaten's name from history in outrage at his impiety. 835–800 BC. A regular Festival of the Divine Audience took place at Karnak when the god's statue communicated through oracles, by nodding assent when he agreed. The first high priests of Amun appear in the New Kingdom of Egypt, at the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty. While they were in service, priests lived in the temple complex. In the northern capital of Tanis, the pharaohs of the 21st Dynasty decided to openly emulate Karnak by building and expanding their own temple of Amun-Ra, along with shrines dedicated to the other members of the Theban Triad. Osorkon F, probably son of Rudamun and grandson of Osorkon III? , Musician Nina Simone is often referred to as the High Priestess of Soul. One of the contributing factors to the collapse of the central government at the end of the Old Kingdom was that the king had exempted the priesthood from paying taxes. Harkhebi, Son of Haremakhet, Grandson of Shabaka. In the fire ritual, the priests would gather before dawn in a sacred room close to the god's shrine and re-enact the first appearance of the sun by lighting a fire in a brazier. Only the high priest could enter this inner sanctum because it was believed the god or goddess lived in the statue and one was entering sacred space. One important feature of temples was the institution known as the Per-Ankh (House of Life) which was part library, writing center, scriptorium, conference center, and institute of higher learning. Harsiese, son of […du/aw…] i.e. Parsons writes: During the reign of Ramesses III, the temple of Amun at Karnak comprised 433 orchards, 421,000 head of livestock, 65 villages, 83 ships and 46 workshops, with hundreds of acres of farmland, and a total labor force of more than 81,000. At the end of the New Kingdom, the Twentieth Dynasty priesthood of Amun is for a large part dominated by Ramessesnakht. (209). However he was treated the rest of the time, after this procedure, he was ritually insulted by his peers and chased down the road, most likely to ward off evil spirits associated with causing injury to the body. Priests and priestesses were divided into 'watches' and would serve the temple one month in every four. It was not uncommon for the position to be held by dignitaries who held additional posts in the pharaoh's administration. Mark, Joshua J. The boat of the sun god was thought to pass through the underworld at night where it was threatened by the serpent Apophis. In 585 BCE, Ankhnesneferibre became the first Egyptian woman to attain the high distinction of becoming, formally and officially, the High Priest(ess) of Amun. Following Lighting the Fire came Drawing the Bolt which was when the door was unlocked to the shrine room where the statue of the god resided. The High Priest of Amun or First Prophet of Amun (ḥm nṯr tpj n jmn) was the highest-ranking priest in the priesthood of the ancient Egyptian god Amun. In between these two positions was a wide array of priests who performed all kinds of duties in service to the gods: kitchen staff, janitors, porters, scribes, anyone who worked in the temple complex who had any association with the god was in some form a priest. The hour-priests were astronomers who kept the calendar, determined lucky and unlucky days, interpreted omens and dreams. Web. For example, an 1893 publication describes ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes as having been "the high-priest of comedy", Libertarian talk show host and Fair Tax proponent Neil Boortz often refers to himself on air as the "High Priest of the Church of the Painful Truth". Stela of Roy and Kashishaby Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin (CC BY-NC-SA). In ancient Egypt, a high priest was the chief priest of any of the many gods revered by the Egyptians. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Giza in the Old Kingdom was not the lonely, wind-swept plateau of sand it is today, but a thriving community of state workers, merchants, craftsmen, and priests. "High Priestess" redirects here. Saqqara served as the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt for more than two millennia. Male priests were known as hem-netjer and females as hemet-netjer (servants of the god). This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this content non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Amun increasingly was regarded as the King of the Gods and became the political power at Thebes through his grand temple at Karnak and the manipulations of the priesthood there. The phrase is also often used to describe someone who is deemed to be an innovator or leader in a field of achievement. (266). . The people of Mesopotamia held this same belief but felt they were co-workers with the gods, laboring daily to hold back chaos through even the simplest acts, but the Egyptians believed all they had to do was recognize how the world worked, who was responsible for its operation, and behave accordingly.