High Priest of Amun – Wikipedia

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Priestly title in ancient Egypt

The god Amun in Karnak.

the High Priest of Amun or The first prophet of Amun (they number tpj n jmn) was the highest priest in the priesthood of the ancient Egyptian god Amun.[1] The first high priests of Amun appeared in the New Kingdom of Egypt, at the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty.


The priesthood of Amun rose to power during the early eighteenth dynasty through great veneration of the god Amun by rulers such as Hatshepsut and, most importantly, Thutmose III.[2] The priesthood of Amun in Thebes had four high priests:[3]

  • The main prophet of Amun at Karnak (ḥm nṯr tpj n jmn) and is also referred to as the High Priest of Amun.
  • Prophet Amun II at Karnak (ḥm nṯr snnw n jmn) and is also referred to as the second priest of Amun.
  • The third prophet of Amun at Karnak (ḥm nṯr ḫmtnw n jmn kemet-nuHe is also referred to as the Third Priest of Amun.
  • Prophet Amun IV in Karnak (ḥm nṯr jfdw n jmnHe is also referred to as the fourth priest of Amun.

The power of the Amun priesthood was temporarily reduced during the Amarna period. A high priest named Maya is recorded in the fourth year of Akhenaten. Akhenaten removed the name of Amun from the monuments during his reign, in addition to the names of many other gods. After his death, Amun was restored to his prominent position among the sects in Egypt. The young pharaoh Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun to indicate the restoration of Amun to his former prominence.[4]

A high priest of Thebes was appointed to Amun by the king. It was not uncommon for high dignitaries who held additional positions in the pharaoh’s administration to fill this position. Many high priests during the reign of Ramesses II also held the position of vizier.[5]

At the end of the New Kingdom, Ramessesnakht controlled a large part of the priesthood of the Twentieth Dynasty of Amun. Eventually, his son Amenhotep succeeded his father and found himself in conflict with the viceroy of Kush, Benhisi. Benhisi took his forces north and besieged Thebes. After this period, generals Bassem Harihor and Bayankh served as high priest.


By the time Harihor was proclaimed the first High Priest of Amun in 1080 BC—in the nineteenth year of Ramesses XI—the priests of Amun exercised an effective stranglehold on the Egyptian economy. The priests of Amun owned two-thirds of the temple lands in Egypt and 90% of its ships, in addition to many other resources.[6] Thus, the priests of Amun were as powerful as, if not more than, the pharaoh. The High Priests of Amun were so powerful and influential that they were effectively the rulers of Upper Egypt from 1080 to c. 943 BC, after which their influence declined. However, they are not seen as a ruling dynasty with pharaonic privileges, and after this period the influence of the Amun priesthood declined. One of the sons of the High Priest Pinedjem I would eventually take the throne and rule Egypt for nearly half a century as Pharaoh Psusennes I, while the Theban High Priest Psusennes III would take the throne as King Psusennes II, the final ruler of the Twentieth – First Dynasty of Egypt.

List of high priests[edit]

Senino, High Priest of Amun at Deir el-Bahri, grinding grain, ca. 1352–1292 BC (Until the end of the Eighteenth Dynasty), Limestone, Brooklyn Museum.

The New Kingdom (18th, 19th, 20th Dynasties)[edit]

The third intermediate period[edit]

Nimlot C Harsiese B Smendes III Iuwelot Shoshenq C Iuput Psusennes III Pinedjem II Smendes II Menkheperre Djedkhonsuefankh Masaherta Pinedjem I Piankh Herihor High Priests of Amun at Thebes

Twenty-first family[edit]

Although they were not officially pharaohs, the High Priests of Amun at Thebes were the pharaohs De facto The rulers of Upper Egypt during the Twenty-First Dynasty write their names in cartouches and are buried in the royal tombs.

Twenty-second family[edit]

  • Ibot, son of Shoshenq I, High Priest of Amun during most of his father’s reign, and during the reign of his brother Osorkon I. 944-924 BC
  • Shoshenq Si (possibly identical with Shoshenq II), son of Osorkon I and Maatkare b. He served as High Priest of Amun at Karnak for much of his father’s reign.
  • Iolut, son of Osorkon I. He probably became high priest of Amun late in the reign of Osorkon I and served until the early years of Takelot I’s reign.
  • Nesiban Benjedt III (Samandus III), son of Osorkon I. He served as High Priest of Amun in the middle of the reign of his brother Takelot I.
  • Harsisi B, son of Soshenq II. He was promoted to the position of High Priest of Amun during the reign of Osorkon II. 874-860 BC
  • Nemlotsi, son of Osorkon II. He became high priest of Amun after the year 16. It is the name of his predecessor […du/aw…] erased. 855-845 BC
  • Takelot F (see Takelot II). Son of Nemlot III. He followed his father as High Priest of Amun before probably becoming king of Thebes as Takelot II. 845-840 BC
  • Osorkon B (see Osorkon III). The eldest son of Takelot II. It is possible that he became the High Priest of Amun after his father came to power. 840-785 BC Later he took the throne as Osorkon III.
  • Osorkon If, possibly son of Rhodamon and grandson of Osorkon III?
  • Hirsisi, son […du/aw…] any pedoplast? 835-800 BC

Family 25 and 26[edit]

  • Haremakht son of the network 704? – 660 BC
  • Harkhibi, son of Harimkhet, grandson of Shabaka. He served as HPA until at least year 14 of the reign of Psamtik I (660–644 BC).
  • 2 HPA not documented or vacant? 644-595 BC
  • Ankh Neferreber, the wife of the god Amun, also served as the chief priest of Amun. 595-c. 560 BC.
  • Nitocris II, daughter of Pharaoh Ahmose (II). c. 560-525 BC
Benodjim II as high priest

High Priest of Amun in Tanis[edit]

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.[8]: 922 There are very few individuals who are known to have held the predominantly honorary title High Priest of Amun in Tanis:[9]: 396


  1. ^ Dodson, Aidan. Hilton, Diane (2010). Complete royal families in ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-28857-3.
  2. ^ Chest, Chronicles of Ancient Egypt, Vol. 2: The Eighteenth Dynasty
  3. ^ Hilton Dodson, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, 2004
  4. ^ Aldred, Akhenaten: King of Egypt, Thames and Hudson (1991)
  5. ^ The Kitchen, The Ramesside Inscriptions, Translated and Annotated, Translations, Volume Three, Blackwell Press, 1996
  6. ^ Clayton, Peter A. (2006). History of the Pharaohs: A Record of the Reigns of Rulers and Dynasties in Ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-28628-9.
  7. ^ Statue of Bakkhonsu II. Boston State Department
  8. ^ Bard, Catherine A., ed. (1999). Encyclopedia of Antiquities of Ancient Egypt. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-203-98283-5.
  9. ^ Kitchen, Kenneth A. (1996). The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100-650 BC). Warminster: Ares & Phillips Ltd. ISBN 0-85668-298-5.

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