Week #6: Divided Power

One thing that truly sticks out in the readings this time around is the rapidly changing power cycle.  Last week in the readings it had seemed as though we would move on to a time of a weakened and possibly soon to be destroyed or forgotten royal era and now this week the readings began to discuss more cycles of royal rulers.  One differing aspect, though, is the two other high positions in the ancient Egyptian government or ruling class.

Obviously throughout history, as I have mentioned in previous blog posts, religion has played a key role in the position of power and this has held true for every culture and country/province/etc. The high priest position is not a new idea, but it was made more interesting to read about the position being as valuable and powerful as the ruling king.

The position of a priest or any learned scholar or source of authority in a religion is to guide the people of that religion through the practices and to teach them the beliefs.  The idea that a high priest would have the authority or the desire to use government power to gain land or valuables to further advance their own power or influence came as a surprise until I remembered the pope.

A closer inspection of history shows that this is actually a common occurrence for a religious leader to hold power and wield it for his own benefit.  I say his because most of these powerful religious leaders were men and I am sorry if the idea of power wielding religious tyrants offends anyone who reads this.  The main reason I found it interesting for this to also occur in ancient Egypt is because of the idea of an absolute ruler.  If the pharaoh or king is supposed to be related to or chosen by the gods, then how could a mere mortal who worships said gods be good enough to wield power in the gods’ names?

1 thought on “Week #6: Divided Power

  1. I was also very intrigued by the topic a power shift in ancient Egypt. For me I was not expecting that topic to entail such similarities to what we currently see. Like modern day Egypt there are current issues with foreign influences on how the Egyptian government and people should act and govern their land. Economic and Diplomatic policies are the current policies that still occupy the Egyptian government. Ancient Egyptian policies would differ significantly in regards to the specific aspects of current policies but essentially they haven’t changed much from the current goals such policies are trying to achieve. I liked how you showed how even over the intermediate periods there were drastic changes from a strong military control to more diplomatic control. What we are seeing today is actually quite similar. Even though hundreds of years have passed we are seeing another significant change in Egyptian policies. Only a few years ago the major control lied in the government and a singular president who reigned for far too long. It then went into the hands of the military, which is opposite of what occurred during the early New Kingdom. Now we are seeing a more democratic organized government. Foreign and domestic policy throughout Egyptian history has had major effects on both the Egyptian people, ancient and present, and the economic vitality.

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