Saturday, March 2, 2013

ḥm - nṯr : priesthood of king or pyramid ?

Merib - after Ausschnittbearbeitung NebMaatRe.
Original uploader was 
NebMaatRe at de.wikipedia
The period which interests us for this article is the Old Kingdom.

At first this title is used together with the name of king.

Example :  
ḥm - nṯr ḫwfw "priest of Khufu"

Some time later, a new formulation makes its appearance :  

ḥm - nṯr is not any more connected in the name of king but is from now on is bound to the royal funeral complex (of whom the pyramid is a part).

Example :  
ḥm - nṯr ȝḫt - ḫwfw "priest of the funeral complex of the horizon of Khufu"

This new formulation seems to appear at the beginning of the 5th dynasty.

The use in large scale of this one (we can even speak about reform) is confirmed under the reign of Nuserre.

The use of both formulations (coexistence) of the title is attested until this reign - from this one the new formulation becomes the unique reference (certain sites are longer to operate this reform - example : Giza).

We shall note that the old formulation of the title is kept for the cult of kings who preceded this reign (mainly kings of the IVth dynasty) - there is thus no "retroactive" effect.

Why a new formulation ?

From the reign of Userkaf appears solar temples - leading important changes in the vision of a royal funeral complex.

We so attend an extension of the concept of this kind of complex.

The title 
ḥm - nṯr is not any more suited - it becomes obsolete. 

Besides this change of "label", we also attend a reorganization of the priesthood and its administration (for example : a
ppearance of new titles globalizing the supervision of this new funeral concept).

The new formulation thus seems more adapted.

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