High Priest of Amun


High Priest of Amun
   The chief religiousoffice in the templeof Amun at Karnak in Thebes. The office grew in importance and wealth with the elevation of Amun to the position of chief god of Egypt during Dynasty 18 and the extensive endowments bestowed upon the templeby various rulers. The appointment of the high priest appears to have been carefully controlled by the ruler to avoid any conflict of power, and incumbents were often chosen not from the Theban clergy but from priesthoods in other cities or from court officials. The reforms of Akhenaten appeared in part designed to limit the influence of the priesthood of Amun. During Dynasty 20, the office became more influential and hereditary in one family, resulting in a civil war in Thebes under Ramesses XI, whose generals, Herihor and Piankh, suppressed the high priest Amenhotep but took over his office and power. During Dynasty 21, the south was virtually independent under the family of high priests descended from Piankh. Under Dynasty 22, an attempt was made to control Thebes through the appointment of royal princes as high priests, but conflict soon arose, especially over the appointment of the high priest Osorkon. During Dynasty 25, the office was still held by royal descendants of the dynasty, but it appears to have been suppressed during Dynasty 26, when the titles were assumed by the God’s wife of Amun. The office is again attested during the Ptolemaic Period, when it appears to have been primarily religious and shorn of political power.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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