The Hunt for Herihor: Waning Pharaonic Power and Advent of Priest-kings–Part I | Ancient Origins Members Site


The Hunt for Herihor: Waning Pharaonic Power and Advent of Priest-kings–Part I

The Hunt for Herihor: Waning Pharaonic Power and Advent of Priest-kings–Part I

Early in the Twenty-First Dynasty, a High Priest of Amun-Re, Herihor, declared himself ruler. The custodians of the cult of the state god finally got what they had always yearned for—overtly and covertly —absolute power. Weakened by political and religious machinations, famine, anarchy and greed; hard-won Egyptian glory began to wane slowly, but with inexorable certainty.

The grandiose and wealthy Karnak temple, dedicated to the Theban triad of Amun, Mut and Khonsu, is the largest religious building ever made. Covering about 200 acres (1.5 km by 0.8 km), it was a place of pilgrimage for nearly 2000 years. Here, an imposing sculpture of Ramesses II stands proud in the precincts of the temple.

Two Kings, One Land

During the New Kingdom, Egypt’s temples grew fabulously wealthy, thanks to a significant portion of the war booty and taxes – among other sources of revenue – that were donated particularly to the treasury of the state god Amun. Regular tributes of precious metals, livestock and slaves from subjugated realms made the temples powerful; and the high priest at Karnak rivaled the king’s prestige. By the time of Nebmaatre Amenhotep III, Amun-Re’s priests had become a state within a state and were perhaps within range of imperiling the supremacy and sanctity of the crown.


Become a member to read more OR login here