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?