Herihor

High-priest of Amun 1100-1094 BC.
    Herihor inaugurated the line of seven High-priests of Amun at Thebes who were to claim great power in the south during the late Twentieth and the Twenty-first Dynasties. Nothing is known of his background and early career, he probably came from quite humble origins and may have pursued an army career before becoming the First Prophet of Amun at Karnak, since he held the title of 'Commander of the Army', which he passed on to his son Piankh.
    It was perhaps control of the army which initially enabled him to gain power, but he may also have consolidated his position as High-priest by marrying Nodjme, probably the daughter of Amenhotep, the previous High-priest of Amun. It is likely that Herihor became High-priest shortly before Year 12 of the reign of *Ramesses XI. Soon after Year 17 he acquired further influence by taking on the titles and offices of *Pinehas, who was the 'King's Son of Kush' and 'Overseer of the Southern Countries'.
    Scenes in the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak (started under *Ramesses III) are of particular interest with reagard to the extent of Herihor's powers. Here, building additions were made and decorated with scenes which showed Herihor and his pharaoh *Ramesses XI; in some of these Herihor appears to be the same size as the king when he performs ritual acts before the gods and his names and titles are enclosed in cartouches—a custom normally reserved for royal names. In scenes in the temple forecourt, he is shown wearing the royal uraeus and the Double Crown and also using the royal titulary for himself, with no reference to the king.
    At one time, scholars considered that Herihor had taken over the throne on the death of *Ramesses XI or had even deposed him, but the evidence now indicates that, although Herihor had considerable influence at Thebes and ruled Upper Egypt from his residence there, this was always under the king's supreme jurisdiction, however nominal this may have been. Outside the Theban region the king undoubtedly still held sway, and the 'kingship' of Herihor was restricted to those scenes and inscriptions which occurred in the Khonsu temple at Karnak, which Herihor himself had ordered to be extended.
    In Year 19 of Ramesses XI's reign, some event occurred which apparently ushered in a new and favourable era; this was marked by a device used in some other reigns— the so-called 'Repetition-of-Births'—to indicate a fresh and auspicious beginning, and henceforth the years of this reign were counted from Year 1 of this renaissance. These are still the regnal years of *Ramesses XI and do not indicate a different set of regnal years for Herihor.
    Other information about this period is provided by the semi-fictitious story of *Wenamun, an envoy sent by Herihor to obtain timber from Syria. In this tale, Herihor is in control at Thebes while another couple—Nesbenebded and Tentamun— rule at Tanis in the Delta; the implication is that the god Amun has divided the kingdom between Herihor and Nesbenebded, while *Ramesses XI, the rightful king, probably still ruled nominally and resided at Memphis.
    When *Ramesses XI died, Nesbenebded became the first king of the Twenty-first Dynasty and ruled from Tanis; from other sources he is known by the name of Smendes. Herihor's descendants continued, as High-priests of Amun, to rule the south from Thebes, and inherited the considerable powers of state that Herihor had acquired.
BIBL. Lefebvre, G. Histoire des grands pretres d'Amon de Karnak jusqu'a la XXIe dynastie. Paris: 1929, pp 205 ff., 272 ff; Kitchen, K.A. 3rd Int. pp. 248 ff.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
(fl. 1075 BC)
   High priest of Amun and military general of unknown but possibly Libyan origin at the end of Dynasty 20. It is not certain if he preceded or followed Piankhin office. He adopted the style of king at Thebes, using his title as high priest as his throne name, and was virtually an independent ruler in the south. His rule may not have ended peacefully, as his figure on one stela is defaced. He may have been the first of a line of independent Theban high priests.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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