The Priest in Ancient Egypt

The priestThe political face of the god-king

Among the great in the bureaucratic organization there were also those belonging to the high clergy who had the pharaoh’s delegation to celebrate the rituals.
In Egypt, in fact, the high priest was the pharaoh.
On him the many priests depended, who celebrated the rituals in honor of the various divinities.
Inside the clergy there was a strict hierarchy and a precise division of the duties.
In every sanctuary there was a head-priest, called the “prophet” who performed the rituals as the pharaoh’s representative.
The minor clergy was formed by the webu, the “pure ones” who cared for the maintenance of the sacred objects and of the temple.
There was also a female staff, the webuit, directed by the queens. The high clergy managed the great properties; the sanctuaries in fact received taxes from the people and possessed land.
Already during the new reign, Amon’s priests in Tebe had a strong political influence and beginning from the XXI dynasty, around 1000 BC, they formed, in Ancient Egypt, their own independent reign.

THE FACTOTUM PRIESTS OF THE GOD

The priests were part of the bureaucratic organization of the state and they had a precise hierarchy.
They were in service for three-months a year and for the rest of the time they were involved in the city life.
Shaved, depilated and circunsied, dressed in pure linen, forced to avoid any sexual contact during the service in the temple dedicated to theology, the men of the clergy could be great administrators, first, second, third, fourth prophets of the god, or puryfiers scribes, astronomers who fixed the moment of the ceremonies, specialized to recognise the good or bad days and, more, singers, harp-players, flute and trumpet players.
For the women there was a temporary role of sacred singers and in the late epoch, the one of “Amon’s divine bride”, or “god’s worshipeper”, who was reserved to one of the king’s daughters, for this she was expected to remain vergin.
The royal bride sat on the kneas of the god’s statue and adopted a daughter as a little princess to succeed her. She was besides, surrounded by an harem of virgins, who became themselves adoptive mothers of little girls who, later, would substitute them.
Besides the celebrations and the honors to the “divine bride” went also one-thousand hectares of land, in various parts of upper Egypt and of the Delta.

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