High Priest of Amun

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The god Amun in Karnak. Karnak temple, Grosser Saulensaal 9512.JPG
The god Amun in Karnak.
High Priest of AmunHigh Priest of AmunHigh Priest of AmunHigh Priest of AmunHigh Priest of AmunHigh Priest of Amun
High Priest of Amun
High Priest of Amun
High Priest of Amun
ḥm nṯr tpj n jmn
in hieroglyphs

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. [1] The first high priests of Amun appear in the New Kingdom of Egypt, at the beginning of the Eighteenth Dynasty.



The priesthood of Amun rose in power during the early Eighteenth dynasty through significant tributes to the god Amun by ruler such as Hatshepsut and more importantly Thutmose III. [2] The Amun priesthood in Thebes had four high-ranking priests: [3]

The power of the Amun priesthood was temporarily curtailed during the Amarna period. A high priest named Maya is recorded in year 4 of Akhenaten. Akhenaten has the name of Amun removed from monuments during his reign as well as the names of several other deities. After his death, Amun was restored to his place of prominence among the cults in Egypt. The young pharaoh Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun to signal the restoration of the Amun to his former place of prominence. [4]

The Theban High Priest of Amun was appointed by the King. It was not uncommon for the position to be held by dignitaries who held additional posts in the pharaoh's administration. Several of the high priests from the time of Ramesses II also served as Vizier. [5]

At the end of the New Kingdom, the Twentieth Dynasty priesthood of Amun is for a large part dominated by Ramessesnakht. His son, Amenhotep, eventually succeeded his father and found himself in conflict with the Viceroy of Kush, Panehesy. Panehesy took his troops north and besieged Thebes. After this period, generals by the name of Herihor and Piye served as High Priest.

Herihor Herihor.jpg

By the time Herihor was proclaimed as the first ruling High Priest of Amun in 1080 BC—in the 19th Year of Ramesses XI—the Amun priesthood exercised an effective stranglehold on Egypt's economy. The Amun priests owned two-thirds of all the temple lands in Egypt and 90 percent of her ships plus many other resources. [6] Consequently, the Amun priests were as powerful as Pharaoh, if not more so. The High Priests of Amun were of such power and influence that they were effectively the rulers of Upper Egypt from 1080 to c. 943 BC, after which their influence declined. They are however not regarded as a ruling dynasty with pharaonic prerogatives, and after this period the influence of the Amun priesthood declined. One of the sons of the High Priest Pinedjem I would eventually assume the throne and rule Egypt for almost half a decade as pharaoh Psusennes I, while the Theban High Priest Psusennes III would take the throne as king Psusennes II, the final ruler of the Twenty-first Dynasty of Egypt.

List of high priests

Senenu, High Priest of Amun at Deir El-Bahri, grinding grain, ca. 1352-1292 B.C. (to the end of the 18th dynasty), Limestone, Brooklyn Museum. Senenu Grinding Grain, ca. 1352-1336 B.C..jpg
Senenu, High Priest of Amūn at Deir El-Baḥri, grinding grain, ca. 1352-1292 B.C. (to the end of the 18th dynasty), Limestone, Brooklyn Museum.

New Kingdom (18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties)

High Priest of Amun
High PriestsPharaohDynasty
Ahmose I 18th Dynasty
Hapuseneb Hatshepsut 18th Dynasty
Menkheperraseneb I
Menkheperreseneb II
Thutmose III 18th Dynasty
Amenhotep II 18th Dynasty
Amenhotep III 18th Dynasty
Maya Akhenaten 18th Dynasty
Parennefer called Wennefer Tutankhamen
18th Dynasty
Nebneteru Tenry Seti I 19th Dynasty
Ramesses II 19th Dynasty
Roma-Rui Ramesses II, Merenptah and Seti II 19th Dynasty
Bakenkhons II [7] Sethnakht
Ramesses III
20th Dynasty
Ramessesnakht Ramesses IV - Ramesses IX 20th Dynasty
Amenhotep Ramses IX - XI 20th Dynasty

Third Intermediate Period

Nimlot CHarsiese BSmendes IIIIuwelotShoshenq CIuputPsusennes IIIPinedjem IISmendes IIMenkheperreDjedkhonsuefankhMasahertaPinedjem IPiankhHerihorHigh Priests of Amun at ThebesHigh Priest of Amun

21st Dynasty

  • Pinedjem I Son of Piankhi by Hereret. Father of Djedkhonsiufankh, Masaharta and Psusennes I. Wife: Isetemkheb II.
  • Masaharta, Son of Pinudjem I and Isetemkheb II. High Priest from at least year 16 until Year 24 of King Nesibanebdjedet I (Smendes I).
  • Djedkhonsuefankh, Second son of Pinudjem I, brother of Masaharta.
  • Menkheperre, Son of Pinudjem I. Became High priest after his brother during year 25 of Nesibanebdjedet I.
  • Smendes II (Egyptian name Nesibanebdjedet II) Son of Menkeperre II and Isetemkheb III. Served as high Steward under his father and ultimately became high priest of Amun himself. Served under Amenemipet, Osorkon and Siamen.
  • Pinedjem II, Son of Menkheperre and Isetemkheb III. Followed his brother Nesibanebdjedet II as high priest of Amun.
  • Psusennes III

22nd Dynasty

  • Iuput, Son of Shoshenq I high priest of Amun for most of his father’s reign, and into the reign of his brother Osorkon I. 944–924 BC
  • Shoshenq C (possibly identical to Shoshenq II), Son of Osorkon I and Maatkare B. Served as high priest of Amun at Karnak for large part of his father’s reign.
  • Iuwlot, Son of Osorkon I. Probably became high priest of Amun late in the reign of Osorkon I and served until the early years of Takelot I.
  • Nesibanebdjedet III (Smendes III), Son of Osorkon I. Served as high priest of Amun during the middle of the reign of his brother Takelot I.
  • Harsiese B, Son of Soshenq II. Promoted to high priest of Amun under Osorkon II. 874–860 BC
  • Nimlot C, Son of Osorkon II. Became high priest of Amun after year 16 . The name of his predecessor […du/aw…] was erased. 855–845 BC
  • Takelot F (see Takelot II). Son of Nimlot III. Followed his father as high priest of Amun before probably becoming a Theban King as Takelot II. 845–840 BC
  • Osorkon B (see Osorkon III). Eldest son of Takelot II. Probably became high priest of Amun after his father assumed kingship. 840–785 BC. Later took the throne as Osorkon III.
  • Osorkon F, probably son of Rudamun and grandson of Osorkon III?
  • Harsiese, son of […du/aw…] i.e. Pedubast? 835–800 BC.

25th and 26th Dynasties

  • Haremakhet, Son of Shabaka 704?–660 BC
  • Harkhebi, Son of Haremakhet, Grandson of Shabaka. Served as HPA until at least year 14 of Psamtik I. 660–644 BC
  • 2 unattested HPA or vacant? 644-595
  • Ankhnesneferibre, The God's Wife of Amun also served as High Priest of Amun. 595–c.560 BC
  • Nitocris II, Daughter of Pharaoh Ahmose (II). c.560–525 BC
Pinudjem II as High Priest PinedjemIIBookOfTheDead-BritishMuseum-August21-08.jpg
Pinudjem II as High Priest

Related Research Articles

Psusennes II Egyptian pharaoh

Titkheperure or Tyetkheperre Psusennes II [Greek Ψουσέννης] or Hor-Pasebakhaenniut II [Egyptian ḥr-p3-sb3-ḫˁỉ-⟨n⟩-nỉwt], was the last king of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt. His royal name means "Image of the transformations of Re" in Egyptian. Psusennes II is often considered the same person as the High-Priest of Amun known as Psusennes III. The Egyptologist Karl Jansen-Winkeln notes that an important graffito from the Temple of Abydos contains the complete titles of a king Tyetkheperre Setepenre Pasebakhaenniut Meryamun "who is simultaneously called the HPA and supreme military commander." This suggests that Psusennes was both king at Tanis and the High Priest in Thebes at the same time, meaning he did not resign his office as High Priest of Amun during his reign. The few contemporary attestations from his reign include the aforementioned graffito in Seti I's Abydos temple, an ostracon from Umm el-Qa'ab, an affiliation at Karnak and his presumed burial – which consists of a gilded coffin with a royal uraeus and a Mummy, found in an antechamber of Psusennes I's tomb at Tanis. He was a High Priest of Amun at Thebes and the son of Pinedjem II and Istemkheb. His daughter Maatkare B was the Great Royal Wife of Osorkon I.

Pinedjem I ancient Egyptian high priest of Amun (1200-1031)

Pinedjem I was the High Priest of Amun at Thebes in Ancient Egypt from 1070 to 1032 BC and the de facto ruler of the south of the country from 1054 BC. He was the son of the High Priest Piankh. However, many Egyptologists today believe that the succession in the Amun priesthood actually ran from Piankh to Herihor to Pinedjem I.

Menkheperre Egyptian High Priest of Amun

Menkheperre, son of Pharaoh Pinedjem I by wife Duathathor-Henuttawy, was the High Priest of Amun at Thebes in Ancient Egypt from 1045 BC to 992 BC and de facto ruler of the south of the country.

Takelot II Egyptian Pharaoh

Hedjkheperre Setepenre Takelot II Si-Ese was a pharaoh of the Twenty-third Dynasty of Ancient Egypt in Middle and Upper Egypt. He has been identified as the High Priest of Amun Takelot F, son of the High Priest of Amun Nimlot C at Thebes and, thus, the son of Nimlot C and grandson of king Osorkon II according to the latest academic research. Based on two lunar dates belonging to Takelot II, this Upper Egyptian pharaoh is today believed to have ascended to the throne of a divided Egypt in either 845 BC or 834 BC. Most Egyptologists today, including Aidan Dodson, Gerard Broekman, Jürgen von Beckerath, M.A. Leahy and Karl Jansen-Winkeln, also accept David Aston's hypothesis that Shoshenq III was Osorkon II's actual successor at Tanis, rather than Takelot II. As Aidan Dodson and Dyan Hilton write in their comprehensive book on the royal families of Ancient Egypt:

Takelot II is likely to have been identical with the High Priest Takelot F, who is stated in [the] Karnak inscriptions to have been a son of Nimlot C, and whose likely period of office falls neatly just before Takelot II's appearance.

The Twenty-third Dynasty of Egypt is usually classified as the third dynasty of the ancient Egyptian Third Intermediate Period. This dynasty consisted of a number of Meshwesh ancient Libyan (Berber) kings, who ruled either as pharaohs or independent kings of parts of Upper Egypt from 880 BC to 720 BC, and pharaohs from 837 BC to 728 BC.

Takelot I Egyptian pharaoh(1000-0874)

Hedjkheperre Setepenre Takelot I was an ancient Libyan ruler who was pharaoh during the Twenty-second Dynasty of Egypt.

Shoshenq II Egyptian Pharaoh

Heqakheperre Shoshenq II or Shoshenq IIa was a pharaoh of the 22nd dynasty of Egypt. He was the only ruler of this Dynasty whose tomb was not plundered by tomb robbers. His final resting place was discovered within an antechamber of Psusennes I's tomb at Tanis by Pierre Montet in 1939. Montet removed the coffin lid of Shoshenq II on March 20, 1939, in the presence of king Farouk of Egypt himself. It proved to contain many jewel-encrusted bracelets and pectorals, along with a beautiful hawkheaded silver coffin and a gold funerary mask. The gold facemask had been placed upon the head of the king. Montet later discovered the intact tombs of two Dynasty 21 kings—Psusennes I and Amenemope a year later in February and April 1940 respectively. Shoshenq II's prenomen, Heqakheperre Setepenre, means "The manifestation of Ra rules, the chosen one of Ra."

Harsiese B ancient Egyptian high priest of Amun

Harsiese B was a High Priest of Amun in 874 BC. Earlier Egyptologists assumed he was both the High Priest of Amun (HPA) and son of the High Priest Shoshenq C, who may have become a king at Thebes. However, recent research by Karl Jansen-Winkeln shows that all the monuments of the first (King) Harsiese A demonstrate that he was never Theban High Priest of Amun in his own right, merely a regular Priest of Amun. While the earlier Harsiese was certainly a king at Thebes, he is clearly a different person from the later Harsiese, Harsiese B, who is attested as a High Priest of Amun. Jansen-Winkeln further shows that Harsiese A's son, [...du], was only an ordinary Priest of Amun.

Smendes Egyptian Pharaoh

Hedjkheperre Setepenre Smendes was the founder of the Twenty-first dynasty of Egypt and succeeded to the throne after burying Ramesses XI in Lower Egypt – territory which he controlled. His Egyptian nomen or birth name was actually Nesbanebdjed meaning "He of the Ram, Lord of Mendes", but it was translated into Greek as Smendes by later classical writers such as Josephus and Sextus Africanus. While Smendes' precise origins remain a mystery, he is thought to have been a powerful governor in Lower Egypt during the Renaissance era of Ramesses XI and his base of power was Tanis.

Amenemope (pharaoh) Egyptian Pharaoh

Usermaatre Amenemope was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the 21st Dynasty.

Harsiese A priest (1000-0860)

King Hedjkheperre Setepenamun Harsiese or Harsiese A, is viewed by the Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen in his Third Intermediate Period in Egypt to be both a High Priest of Amun and the son of the High Priest of Amun, Shoshenq C. The archaeological evidence does suggest that he was indeed Shoshenq C's son. However, recent published studies by the German Egyptologist Karl Jansen-Winkeln in JEA 81 (1995) have demonstrated that all the monuments of the first (king) Harsiese show that he was never a High Priest of Amun in his own right. Rather both Harsiese A and his son [...du] —whose existence is known from inscriptions on the latter's funerary objects at Coptos —are only attested as Ordinary Priests of Amun. Instead, while Harsiese A was certainly an independent king at Thebes during the first decade of Osorkon II's kingship, he was a different person from a second person who was also called Harsiese: Harsiese B. Harsiese B was the genuine High Priest of Amun who is attested in office late in Osorkon II's reign, in the regnal year 6 of Shoshenq III and in regnal years 18 and 19 of Pedubast I, according to Jansen-Winkeln.

Shoshenq C Egyptian High Priest of Amun

Shoshenq C was the eldest son of the 22nd Dynasty pharaoh Osorkon I and queen Maatkare, the daughter of Psusennes II, and served as the High Priest of Amun at Thebes during his father's reign. Consequently, he was the most important official in Upper Egypt after the king himself. He has generally been equated with Heqakheperre Shoshenq II by the English Egyptologist Kenneth Kitchen and viewed as a short-lived co-regent to his father based on the Nile God British Museum statue 8 which identifies him as the son of Osorkon I and Queen Maatkare, daughter of Hor-Psusennes but this assumption is unproven. In the statue, Shoshenq C is called "the Master of the Two Lands" and the formula "beloved of Amun" is enclosed within a royal cartouche. However, in the text of the statue, he is not given a specific throne name or prenomen, the use of a cartouche by a royal prince is attested in other periods of Egyptian history such as that of Amenmes, son of Thutmose I, and the documents depicts Shoshenq C as a simple High Priest of Amun on the side of the legs of the Nile God, rather than a king.

Osorkon III Egyptian pharaoh

Usermaatre Setepenamun Osorkon III Si-Ese was Pharaoh of Egypt in the 8th Century BC. He is the same person as the Crown Prince and High Priest of Amun Osorkon B, son of Takelot II by his Great Royal Wife Karomama II. Prince Osorkon B is best attested by his Chronicle—which consists of a series of texts documenting his activities at Thebes—on the Bubastite Portal at Karnak. He later reigned as king Osorkon III in Upper Egypt for twenty-eight years after defeating the rival forces of Pedubast I/Shoshenq VI who had apparently resisted the authority of his father here. Osorkon ruled the last five years of his reign in coregency with his son, Takelot III, according to Karnak Nile Level Text No. 13. Osorkon III's formal titulary was long and elaborate: Usermaatre Setepenamun, Osorkon Si-Ese Meryamun, Netjer-Heqa-waset.

Masaharta High Priests of Amun (1100-1045)

Masaharta or Masaherta was the High Priest of Amun at Thebes between 1054 and 1045 BC.

Pinedjem II Egyptian high priest of Amun

Pinedjem II was a High Priest of Amun at Thebes in Ancient Egypt from 990 BC to 969 BC and was the de facto ruler of the south of the country. He was married to his sister Isetemkheb D and also to his niece Nesikhons, the daughter of his brother Smendes II. He succeeded Smendes II, who had a short rule.

Duathathor-Henuttawy ancient Egyptian queen consort

Duathathor-Henuttawy, Henuttawy or Henttawy("Adorer of Hathor; Mistress of the Two Lands") was an ancient Egyptian princess and later queen.

Karomama II Queen consort of Egypt

Karomama II was an ancient Egyptian queen, Great Royal Wife of pharaoh Takelot II of the 23rd Dynasty of Egypt.

Iuwelot Egyptian High Priest of Amun

Iuwelot or Iuwlot was a High Priest of Amun at Thebes and military commander during the reign of pharaohs Osorkon I and Takelot I of the 22nd Dynasty.

Smendes III Egyptian High Priest of Amun

Smendes III was a High Priest of Amun at Thebes during the reign of pharaoh Takelot I of the 22nd Dynasty.

Henuttawy C Egyptian priestess

Henuttawy or Henettawy, was an ancient Egyptian princess and priestess during the 21st Dynasty.


  1. Dodson, Aidan; Hilton, Dyan (2010). The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. ISBN   978-0-500-28857-3.
  2. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, vol. 2: The Eighteenth Dynasty
  3. Dodson, Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, 2004
  4. Aldred, Akhenaten: King of Egypt, Thames & Hudson (1991)
  5. Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions, Translated & Annotated, Translations, Volume III, Blackwell Publishers, 1996
  6. Clayton, Peter A. (2006). Chronicle of the Pharaohs: The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. ISBN   978-0-500-28628-9.
  7. Statue of Bakenkhonsu II. Boston MFA