what did priests do in ancient egypt

Scribes were the official writers and record keepers of Ancient Egypt, recording accounts of grain, food supply, results of population, etc. © When it was time to serve God again in the temple, the skin would be completely smooth and clean; the priest would abstain from sex for at least one day before the holy duties were resumed. Priests where very important people in ancient Egyptian life, And if the Pharaoh left or died. It was a transition to the sphere of the gods and eternity. Interestingly, some temples had very strict rules and required that the priests also shaved eyebrows and eyelashes. There were two kinds of clergy in ancient Egypt: 1) priests, female priestesses and singers of hymns, usually linked permanently with specific temples; and 2) lay priests, who performed duties like carrying statues and served for fixed periods of time. Future Publishing Limited Priests In ancient Egypt, people were not afraid of their gods or of their highly respected priests. Ancient Temple Dedicated To Aztec God Xipe Totec Discovered In Mexico Reveals A Gruesome Story, Something Ancient And Unknown Is Hidden Inside A Huge Underground Structure In Japan: Mystery Of Mt. The Egyptian funeral ritual took place outside the temple walls. BA1 1UA Pre-noon: Reversion of offerings and ritual ablutionsOnce the god had its fill of food offerings, these reverted to the priests as breakfast. At times when the crown was weak, the high priests’ powers became so great that some took on additional roles as military generals, whose struggles with the monarchy could lead to civil war. During the reign of his successor Ptolemy II, arts and sciences flourished, and the ancient Library of Alexandria was established, which was the largest library of the ancient world. Ancient Egypt was a huge civilization with lots of success. Rich temples had their own holy lakes where the priests had to bathe. The Greek historian, Herodotus (ca 480-420 BC) who visited many Egyptian temples during his traveling, wrote: "they bathe in cold water twice a day and twice a night…". A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - In ancient Egypt, where religion was an important part of daily life, everything focused on pleasing the gods. This is th… Noon: Midday ceremonyAt noon, the high priest re-entered the shrine, this time burning myrrh resin while sprinkling water to further purify the temple’s shrines and sacred spaces. They did not preach sermons or teach others about religion. A priest, who was not in duty, was allowed to live normal life and marriage was permitted. About 1319 BC when Pharaoh Horemheb ruled the country, the number of priests in Egypt had reached more than 100,000, but many of them were free citizens and only worked in the temple for a longer or shorter time. Giza in the Old Kingdom was not the lonely, wind-swept plateau of sand it is today, but a thriving community of state workers, merchants, craftsmen, and priests. Priests accomplished this through a series of rituals they performed each day in the temple. This time of joyous renewal was also when ancient Egypt held one of its most spectacular and most mysterious festivals: the Feast of Opet. By translating the Egyptian term, Servant of the God—which was used of both men and women—as priest or priestess, the old gentlemen were allowing themselves a little mental sexism for, in their minds, a priestess was always of lower status than a priest because in their society women were of lower status than men. Written by – A. Sutherland  - AncientPages.com Senior Staff Writer, Copyright © AncientPages.com All rights reserved. Mesopotamian Priests and priestesses had many duties and responsibilities, and in exchange they received respect, honor and creature comforts. He also began building the lighthouse of Alexandria and gathered both Egyptian and Greek priests in order to establish a new belief that unites Egyptians and Greeks. Within large temples like Karnak or Memphis, the power of the priests was considerable, since the temples owned much land and the temple treasuries were very wealthy. Night: Ritual ablutionsSince the priests had to bathe twice a day and twice at night, a fourth bath maintained ritual purity, while the hour priest astronomers monitored the night sky from the temple roof ‘observatory’. England and Wales company registration number 2008885. Only the priest was allowed to enter the sacred area of the temple and approach the statue representing the god or goddess. Subscribe to All About History now for amazing savings! Not all priests ate much and many of them especially those deeply devoted to the priesthood, satisfied themselves with bread and water, only. The gods were served fresh meat every day, and different fruits were served on barrels richly decorated with fresh flowers. Temple priests were in charge of the many temples scattered throughout Egypt. It was believed that the human world was rather dirty, so priests and priestesses had to take care of the temple and the statue of the god within it. Ancient Egyptian priests did not serve the people. She also took an active role in defending Egypt by magical means, shooting arrows into ritual targets and burning images of enemies. Their job was to care for the needs of the god/goddess. In ancient Egypt, if one got sick, they would turn to the temple. Various times: Various ritualsWith numerous rituals performed by the high priest and clergy at various times, these were not only set by the ‘Hour Priest’ astronomers but carefully measured with clepsydra water clocks. They served the gods. Is Legendary Celtic Warrior Queen Medb Buried In An Ancient Mound On The Top Of Knocknarea? In ancient Egypt the priest had the duties of serving as a political adviser to the Pharaoh. We know its a priest because its mummified together with its cat! By Marie Parsons Priests in ancient Egypt had a role different to the role of a priest in modern society. Each statue was cleaned every day with lotus-scented water, anointed with oil, dressed and decorated with jewelry and make-up. The priesthood of ancient Egypt has a far reaching and deep history, rooted within the traditions of Ancient Egypt. In the Ancient Orient Section of the Istanbul Archaeological Museum lies a very interesting Mummy of an Egyptian priest. Before dawn: Ritual ablutionsTo be ritually pure, the priests bathed in the temple’s sacred lake, shaved off all hair and gargled with natron salt solution, before dressing in linen robes and reed-woven sandals. The Egyptians believed the gods lived in the temples. All rights reserved. Pinudjem II as Theban High Priest of Amun. Only priests could enter the sacred sanctuary of a … High Priests of Amun The main cult of Amun was in Thebes. It is by no means a foolish theory. Religion was a large part of ancient Egyptian life, and the priests were in charge of temples and religious rituals and important ceremonies. Then to maintain ritual purity, the high priest bathed once again before re-entering the gods’ presence. The priests also controlled the gods’ cult statues, which functioned as oracles, whose pronouncements were interpreted by the priests, and could pass judgment in legal cases and even influence royal succession. In most cases, it was a custom that priests were the same sex as the god they served. In fact so numerous were such personnel that eventually well over 100,000 people were employed in the upkeep of Egypt’s three main temples of Karnak, Memphis and Heliopolis. The priests' duties were to care for the gods and attend to their needs. Bath In ancient Egypt, a high priest was the chief priest of any of the many gods revered by the Egyptians. They were also schools, universities, libraries, and centers of administration, workshops, farms and granaries. The God’s Wife led sacred processions with the king or his deputy the high priest, and like them could enter the innermost shrine to make offerings keeping the gods content. If a temple was not rich enough to have its own lake, the priests had to settle for a sink. Priests were required to keep their entire bodies cleanly shaved. A tomb is a place in which you are buried when you die. The priests were in charge of embalming the bodies so they didn't decay. There were also lector priests who read out these texts, temple astronomers or ‘hour priests’ who calculated the correct timings for rituals, and temple dancers, singers and musicians who entertained the gods and impersonated them in ritual dramas wearing masks and costumes. From his Book of the Dead. The ancient Egyptians did have a court system. They enjoyed great power and wealth in Egyptian society. Yet most of the time the priests carried out their role, helping the king maintain strong relations with the gods whose spirits were believed to dwell within their cult statues. Housed in the sanctuary at the innermost part of the temple, it was here that the high priest led daily rites, assisted by a staff of male and female clergy, from the ‘god’s wife’ priestess to the deputy high priest who oversaw supplies of offerings and the temple scribes who kept accounts and composed ritual texts. Also, priests themselves would be extremely clean throughout the body. In ancient Egypt a tomb, if built and designed properly, had the power to restore life and give immortality to the dead owner. Tsurugi Deepens, Roman Forum (‘Forum Romanum’) – The Heart Of Ancient Rome, Conwy Castle In Snowdonia: Outstanding Medieval Fortification In Europe, Pax Assyriaca: Important Time For The Neo Assyrian Empire And Surrounding Regions, One-Eyed Giants Fachan Were As Dangerous As Polyphemus And The Cyclops, The Curse Of Chief Chocorua Who Died On The Mountain That Bears His Name, Gordian Knot And How Alexander The Great Managed To Outmaneuver The Problem. The ancient Egyptians believed that life did not stop when you died. Alongside the mummy one can see the canopic jars used to preserve the vital organs which were removed before the mummification process took place. What you did when you died was move away to another place, a place the ancient Egyptians called the afterlife. The priesthood was responsible for ensuring the earth and heavens remained as the gods created them. Food was served for the god three times a day and breakfast preparations started always a few hours before dawn. Egyptian priests devoted their lives to the gods and goddesses and some official gods like Horus, Bastet and Amun were worshiped by the pharaoh and priests in large temples. Women were aloud to be priestesses in Egypt. Scribes were given the opportunity to live a wealthy, upper class life. When a god decided to take a temporary, earthly dwelling within a statue, the priests should wash the statue, dress it, and serve it the best delicious food. This was because the priests were also the physicians. The first type is called a Cultus temple and was built to house a specific god or gods. In time, however, the priests began to serve themselves more than either. They also performed funeral rites, teaching school, supervising the artists and works, and advising people on problems. Giza in the Old Kingdom was not the lonely, wind-swept plateau of sand it is today, but a thriving community of state workers, merchants, craftsmen, and priests. However, with so many different temples throughout Egypt, the pharaoh’s duties had to be delegated to each temple’s high priest, who was often a royal relative selected by the king to guarantee their loyalty. Other staff included the temple gardeners, brewers, bakers and butchers who supplied the daily offerings, the temple weavers, jewellers, barbers and wig makers who supplied both the gods and their clergy, and the numerous craftsmen, carpenters and builders who undertook building work, carried out repairs and kept the temples in good order. . There is evidence of this tendency beginning in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, actually, after the establishment of the grand royal necropolis at Giza. Some became priests and taught students in the scribal arts. Theories say that a lot of medical science in Egypt came out of mummification. Although most high priests were men, as were the lector priests who read out sacred texts, women held both these offices at times. The priests did not preach, proselytize, or … Ancient Egyptian Scribes did not have to participate in manual labour and didn’t have to pay any form of taxes. A mummy of a priest. Yet the most important priestess was the ‘God’s Wife’, a title held by a succession of royal women acting as the human consort of the god Amun at Karnak. There is evidence of this tendency beginning in the Old Kingdom of Egypt, actually, after the establishment of the grand royal necropolis at Giza. Priests of Ancient Egypt . As the role brought great wealth and prestige, kings appointed their sisters or daughters as God’s Wife to enhance their own status, and eventually regarded as the equivalent of a king shown with kingly sceptres, these women could delegate on the king’s behalf, both within the temple and in matters of state. Certain gods such as Bes and Tawaret who protected ordinary people in their daily life were worshiped privately in their homes. Religion in Ancient Eqypt Ancient Egyptians believed in life after death. This was then cleansed, anointed and dressed, and offered the finest foods while frankincense was burned to purify the surroundings. Priests often passed down their positions from father to son. Ra was Egypt’s most important sun god, also known as Khepri when rising, Atum … Only the priest was allowed to enter the sacred area of the temple and approach the statue representing the god or goddess. They shave everywhere on their bodies, at least every other day to avoid lice and anything else that's as unpleasant… "’. After the meal was finished, the priests and all employees could begin to eat. The priests could be male or female. the priest was very important in Egyptian Society. The lower court was made up of a group of elders in each town. But Herodotus wrote that it was not enough with a bath: "The priests circumcise for purity because they prefer purity in front of comfort. There were two main types of temples built in Ancient Egypt. However, with so many different temples throughout Egypt, the pharaoh’s duties had to be delegated to each temple’s high priest, who was often a royal relative selected by the king to guarantee their loyalty. Priests in Ancient Egypt Priests played an important role in ancient Egypt. Visit our corporate site. The most common priestess title was ‘chantress’, with some women impersonating goddesses in rituals and the wives of high priests holding the title ‘leader of the musical troupe’. The reality is that there were not that many slaves in Egypt until the Greeks conquered the nation and ended the ancient … Each city was organized around the god’s temple, which was a complex of buildings including the temple proper, chambers for the Mesopotamian priests and priestesses, workshops and public areas. 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