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High Priest of Ptah or sometimes referred to as Greatest of the Directors of Craftsmanship (ancient Egyptian: wr-ḫrp-ḥmwt) was an ancient Egyptian religious occupational title held by the highest-ranking priest in the priesthood of the god Ptah, which was situated at the Temple of Ptah in Memphis. The office has been attested since the Old Kingdom.

High Priest of Ptah


High priests of Ptah are mentioned in inscriptions dating back to at least the Fourth Dynasty. In the tomb of the nobleman Debhen, for instance, there is a description of a visit by Pharaoh Menkaure to the construction site for his pyramid "Divine is Menkaure". The pharaoh is accompanied by a naval commander and two high priests of Ptah.[1]

There used to be two high priests of Ptah until the Sixth Dynasty. It was probably during the reign of Pepi I Meryre that the two offices were combined into one. In the tomb of Sabu called Thety in Saqqara, the owner mentions that "His Majesty appointed me as High Priest of Memphis alone. [...] The temple of "Ptah-South-of-His-Wall" in its every place was under my charge, although there never was a single High Priest of Ptah before".[2]

A large temple complex dating to the time of Ramesses II is located at the modern site of Mit Rahina. The Temple of Ptah from this time period was one of the largest temple complexes in Egypt. Not much of this complex has been excavated because a large part of the site lies very close to the modern town.[3]

It continued to be an important office in the Ptolemaic period, and the priestly family held many important priestly positions. The high priests crowned some of the Ptolemaic monarchs, and they also served as scribes in the dynastic cult of Arsinoe. They also had family connections to the dynasty, via Berenice daughter of Ptolemy VIII who was married to one of high priests.[4]

The office appears to have disappeared during Roman rule of Egypt; it is last attested in 23 BC.[4]

List of High Priests of Ptah[]

The following High Priests of Ptah are known:

Old Kingdom[]

High Priest Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Ptahduaaw 4th Dynasty Earliest known High Priest of Ptah.
Shepsesptah I 4th and 5th Dynasty MenkaureIni I
Ranefer 4th and 5th Dynasty ShepseskafUserkaf
Kanefer 5th Dynasty Sahure
Khuwyptah 5th Dynasty Kakai
Shepsesptah II 5th Dynasty Unas
Sabu-Ibebi 5th and 6th Dynasty Unas and Teti
Sabu-Tjety 6th Dynasty Teti – Pepi I (?)
Sabu-Kem 6th Dynasty Teti – Pepi I (?)

Middle Kingdom[]

High Priest Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Ptahemheb 11th Dynasty
Sehotepibre-Ankh 12th Dynasty Senusret I Statue in Brooklyn Museum, attested at the Genealogy of Ankhefensekhmet (Berlin 23673)
Senusret-Ankh 12th Dynasty Senusret I (?)
Khakaure-Ankh 12th Dynasty Amenemhat II Known from the Genealogy of Ankhefensekhmet.
Nubkaure-Ankh 12th Dynasty Senusret III Known from the Genealogy of Ankhefensekhmet.
Owahed 12th Dynasty Senusret III
Nedjemsehotepibre-Ankh 12th Dynasty Senusret III – Amenemhat III
Nebpu 12th Dynasty Amenemhat III
Sehotepibre-Sheri 12th Dynasty Amenemhat III
Impy I 12th Dynasty Amenemhat III – Amenemhat IV

Second Intermediate Period[]

High Priest Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Sergem 13th Dynasty Ibi
Sobekhotep 13th Dynasty Known from a statue and a seal.
Senbuy 12th or 13th Dynasty Known from a stela at the Fitzwilliam Museum, England.
Senebiry… 13th Dynasty Known from a papyrus found at Lahun, name not fully preserved.
Impy II 13th Dynasty (?)
Ptahemhat I 15th Dynasty

New Kingdom[]

High Priest Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Pahemred 18th Dynasty Amenhotep I
Sennefer 18th Dynasty Amenhotep I
Ptahmose I 18th Dynasty Thutmose III
Ptahmose II 18th Dynasty Thutmose IVAmenhotep III (?)
Penbenebes 18th Dynasty Amenhotep III Only known from a stela now in Berlin.[5]
Wermer 18th Dynasty Amenhotep III Only known from a stela now in Berlin.[5]
Ptahmose III 18th Dynasty Amenhotep III Son of Vizier Thutmose.
Ptahmose IV 18th Dynasty Amenhotep III
Thutmose 18th Dynasty Amenhotep III Eldest son of Pharaoh Amenhotep III and Queen Tiye.
Pahemnetjer I 18th Dynasty Amenhotep III Son of Ptahmose IV
Ptahemhat-Tiy 18th Dynasty Tutankhamun and Ay
Meryptah 18th Dynasty Ay and/or Horemheb
Sokaremsaf 19th Dynasty Seti I Known from the Genealogy of Ankhefensekhmet.
Netjeruihotep 19th Dynasty Seti I
Iry-Iry 19th Dynasty Ramesses II
Huy 19th Dynasty Ramesses II
Pahemnetjer II 19th Dynasty Ramesses II
Didia 19th Dynasty Ramesses II Son of Pahemnetjer II
Khaemwaset 19th Dynasty Ramesses II Son of Pharaoh Ramesses II and Queen Isetnofret I.
Parehotep II 19th Dynasty Ramesses II Son of Pahemnetjer II, also served as Vizier and High Priest of Ra.
Neferrenpet 19th Dynasty Ramesses II
Hori 19th Dynasty Ramesses II and Merenptah Son of Prince Khaemwaset and grandson of Pharaoh Ramesses II.
Iyri 19th Dynasty Seti II
Nakhy 19th Dynasty Siptah (?)
Ptahemhat II 20th Dynasty Ramesses III
Neferrenpet 20th Dynasty Ramesses IX

Third Intermediate and Late Period[]

High Priest Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Ptahemakhet 21st Dynasty Smendes I
Ashakhet I 21st Dynasty Amenemnisut
Pipi 21st Dynasty Psusennes I
Horsaiset 21st Dynasty Psusennes I
Netjerkheperre-Meryptah 21st Dynasty Psusennes I
Ashakhet II 21st Dynasty Osorkon
Ankhefensekhmet 21st Dynasty Siamun
Shedsunefertem 21st and 22nd Dynasty Psusennes II and Shoshenq I
Shoshenq 22nd Dynasty Shoshenq I and Osorkon I Son of Shedsunefertem.
Osorkon 22nd Dynasty Osorkon I – Osorkon II
Merenptah 22nd Dynasty Osorkon II
Shoshenq 22nd Dynasty Osorkon II and Shoshenq III Son of Pharaoh Osorkon II.
Takelot 22nd Dynasty Shoshenq III
Padiaset 22nd Dynasty Shoshenq III – Shoshenq IV
Peftjauawybastet 22nd Dynasty Shoshenq IV
Horsaiset 22nd Dynasty Pami Also served as Vizier.
Ankhefensekhmet 22nd Dynasty Shoshenq V
Takelot 22nd Dynasty Shoshenq V and Osorkon IV

Late Period[]

High Priest Dynasty Pharaoh Comment
Padipep 26th Dynasty Psamtik I
Nekau-Meneminebhedj 26th Dynasty Nekau II
Hekairy 26th Dynasty Psamtik II and Wahibre
Neferibre-Meneminebhedj 26th Dynasty Ahmose III
Ahmose-Meneminebhedj 26th and 27th Dynasty Ahmose III – Darius I
Khnumibre-Siptah 27th Dynasty Darius I and Xerxes I
Ahmose 27th Dynasty Xerxes I – Artaxerxes I
Ankh-Hap 27th Dynasty Artaxerxes I – Darius II
Bakenptah 29th Dynasty
Udjashu 30th Dynasty

Hellenistic Period[]

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See also[]


  1. Breasted 1906, p. 94-95.
  2. Breasted 1906, p. 133.
  3. Wilkinson 2000, p. 114-115.
  4. 5.0 5.1 Redford 1965, p. 107-122.


  • Breasted, J.H., 1908: Ancient Records of Egypt. (2001 Reprinted edition), Vol I.
  • Redford, D.B., 1965: The Coregency of Tuthmosis III and Amenophis II. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 51.
  • Wilkinson, R.H., 2000: The Complete Temples of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, London.