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Preceded by:
Piankh
High Priest of Amun
21st Dynasty
Succeeded by:
Pinedjem I
Herihor
Herihor-Siamun
Herihor

Herihor depicted in the Book of the Dead papyrus of Nedjemet.©

Reign 1076-1070 BC (6 years)
Praenomen
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Hemnetjertepienamun
"High Priest of Amun"
Nomen
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Herihor-Siamun
"Horus is Raised, Son of Amun"
Titles High Priest of Amun
Generalissimo
Viceroy of Kush
Vizier
Father Piankh (?)
Mother Nedjemet
Spouse(s) Nedjemet
Issue Ankhefenmut, Ankhefenamun,
Amunherwenemef, Tekhui,
Masaharta, Masaqaharta,
Pashedkhonsu, Amunherkhepeshef,
Horkhebit, Biknetjery, Osorkon,
Madenneb, Shemsebaqet
Died 1070 BC
Burial Theban Necropolis (?)
Monuments Temple of Khonsu at Karnak
(decoration)

Herihor (transliteration: ḥry-ḥr, meaning: "Horus is Raised") was an ancient Egyptian high official of the Twentieth Dynasty during the New Kingdom, serving as Vizier and later succeeding Piankh in the offices of High Priest of Amun and Viceroy of Kush as well, just prior to the start of the Twenty-first Dynasty.

After the death of Ramesses XI, which officially marked the end of the New Kingdom, Herihor became the de facto ruler of Upper Egypt and Nubia, even claiming Royal Titulary. Meanwhile, pharaoh Smendes I, who succeeded Ramesses XI, merely ruled over Lower Egypt from Tanis. Herihor's successors of the Amun priesthood in Thebes would inherit his powerful position throughout the Twenty-first Dynasty.

Family[]

See also: 21st Dynasty Family Tree.

Decorations in the forecourt of the temple of Khonsu at Karnak, as well as the Leiden Stele V 65, depict Horemheb and Nedjemet as husband and wife. Nedjemet may have been a daughter of the last Ramesside pharaoh, Ramesses XI.

Although it is beyond dispute that Herihor had a queen called Nedjemet (this was already recognised by Champollion), as far back as 1878 Édouard Naville postulated that Herihor must have had a mother called Nedjemet as well, based on the funerary equipment of the mummy of a Nedjemet which had been discovered in the royal cache at Deir el-Bahari. As Thijs has more recently pointed out, it is indeed remarkable that, although Herihor figures in P. BM 10541 (one of her two Books of the Dead), Nedjemet nowhere in both Books of the Dead is designated as "King's Wife". All the stress is on her position as "King's Mother". This is true for all Nedjemet's funerary equipment found in the royal cache.

The ruling family from the transitional period from the 20th to the 21st dynasty is notorious for the repetitiveness of names, so Herihor having a homonymous wife and mother would in itself not be impossible or even remarkable. If the "King's Mother Nedjemet, daughter of the King's Mother Herer" from the royal cache was indeed the mother of Herihor, it follows that Herer must have been his grandmother. In this position Herihor may well have been the son of High Priest of Amun Piankh, likewise a military man from whom he inherits his titles. Herer, who – based on her title "Chief of the Harem of Amenresonter" – must have been a wife of a High Priest of Amun, may well have been the wife of the High Priest Amenhotep.[1]

Issue[]

One scene in the temple of Khonsu at Karnak contains a procession of children of Herihor, including his wife Nedjemet;[2]

  • Ankhefenmut, 1st son in the procession of princes, led by Nedjemet. Another scene at the temple also partly preserved his name.
  • Ankhefenamun, 2nd son in the procession of princes.
  • Panefer[…], 3rd son in the procession of princes.
  • Amunherwenemef, 4th son in the procession of princes.
  • Tekhui, 5th son in the procession of princes.
  • Masaharta, 6th son in the procession of princes.
  • Masaqaharta, 7th son in the procession of princes.
  • Pashedkhonsu, 8th son in the procession of princes.
  • […]nefer, 9th son in the procession of princes.
  • Amunherkhepeshef, 10th son in the procession of princes.
  • Horkhebit, 11th son in the procession of princes.
  • […], 12th son in the procession of princes.
  • Biknetjery, 13th son in the procession of princes.
  • […]nem, 14th son in the procession of princes.
  • […]wasuna, 15th son in the procession of princes.
  • Osorkon, 16th son in the procession of princes.
  • […], 17th son in the procession of princes. Erased and replaced with Nespaneferher, son of Pinedjem I.
  • Madenneb, 18th son in the procession of princes.
  • Shemsebaqet, 1st daughter in the procession of princesses. Another scene at the temple depicts her with Nedjemet in the presence of the goddess Mut.
  • Nesit[…], 2nd daughter in the procession of princesses.
  • […]tentaneb, 3rd daughter in the procession of princesses.
  • 15 uninscribed princesses.

Biography[]

Herihor, like Piankh, advanced through the ranks of the military during the reign of Ramesses XI. Herihor became High Priest of Amun, Generalissimo and Viceroy of Kush sometime after Year 10 of the Renaissance (Year 28 of Ramesses XI), since Piankh is last attested in these offices this year. Herihor may well have been Piankh's designated heir to these powerful positions. At the decoration of the hypostyle hall walls of the temple of Khonsu at Karnak, Herihor is shown performing his duties as High Priest of Amun under king Ramesses XI and thus served several years in this office at the end of the Twentieth Dynasty,[3] though his authority had effectively superseded that of the king.

When Ramesses XI died, Herihor – due to his positions of High Priest of Amun and Viceroy of Kush – ultimately became the de facto ruler of Upper Egypt and Nubia. At this time, Herihor assumed royal status and openly adopted Royal Titulary. Herihor's usurpation of royal privileges is observed "in the decoration of the court of the Khonsu temple" but his royal datelines "betray nothing of the royal status he enjoyed according to the contemporary scenes and inscriptions of the court of the Khonsu temple".[4]

Meanwhile, Smendes I had buried Ramesses XI and thus legitimately inherited the throne, inaugurating the 21st Dynasty from his hometown, Tanis, even if he did not control Upper Egypt and Nubia, which were now effectively in the hands of Herihor and his successor priests ruling from Thebes.

Herihor features in the Story of Wenamun which is said to have taken place in Year 5 of Smendes I. Although the historical validity of this ancient Egyptian story is often questioned, this date seems to be accurate when compared to the chronological evidence. Herihor is also mentioned in several Year 5 and Year 6 mummy linen graffiti.[citation needed]

Activities at the Royal Necropolis[]

It seems that, under Herihor's pontificate, a beginning was made with locating and opening old tombs, either with the aim of protecting them against tomb violation or in order to use their buried treasures to finance affairs of the state.[5] Eventually the priests of Amun of the Twenty-first Dynasty scoured the valleys to find burials; tombs and mummies were stripped of valuables, rewrapped and placed in group graves (caches). The shrouds, bandages, etc. of these rewrapped mummies record every single High Priest of the 21st Dynasty (including Herihor).[6]

Burial[]

Presumably buried at the Theban Necropolis, the whereabouts of Herihor's tomb and mummy remain unknown. His successor as High Priest was Pinedjem I, who may have been his brother if Piankh really was the father of both of them.

See also[]

References[]

  1. Thijs 2013, p. 59.
  2. Dodson 2012, p. 34-35.
  3. Egberts 1998, p. 96.
  4. Egberts 1998, p. 97.
  5. Reeves & Wilkinson 2008, p. 205.
  6. Janssen-Winkeln, p. 226.

Bibliography[]

  • Dodson A., 2012 (Revised 2019 edition): Afterglow of Empire: Egypt from the Fall of the New Kingdom to the Saite Renaissance. The American University in Cairo Press.
  • Egberts, A., 1998: Hard Times: The Chronology of "The Report of Wenamun" Revised. Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache, Vol. 125.
  • Janssen-Winkeln, K., 2006: Relative Chronology of Dyn. 21. In: Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss, and David A. Warburton (eds.), Ancient Egyptian Chronology. Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 1: The Near and Middle East, Vol. 83.
  • Reeves, N./Wilkinson, R., 2008: The Complete Valley of the Kings. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Thijs, A., 2013: Nodjmet A, Daughter of Amenhotep, Wife of Piankh and Mother of Herihor. ZÄS 140.
Predecessor:
Piankh
High Priest of Amun
21st Dynasty
Successor:
Pinedjem I
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