CAIRO – 23 August 2022: We can learn a lot about civilizations from studying their religion, and ancient Egypt is a good example of that.
The religion of ancient Egypt had a far-reaching influence on every aspect of daily life. If you want to know more about a religion, you better start with its priests. Ancient Egyptian priests lived a life dedicated to their gods. In ancient Egypt, unlike priests of most other religions, the sole duty of a priest was to look after the god of their temple.
We know that the priesthood actually originated in the Early Dynastic Period (3150-2613 BC) and underwent rapid development during the Old Kingdom (2613-2181 BC). The priests of ancient Egypt became very powerful. While their role was supposed to be to preserve religious beliefs and traditions, they amassed great wealth and political power.
Priests became important to the power of the pharaohs, and both men and women could join the clergy, thus receiving the same pay and performing the same duties, according to ancient-origins. The Egyptian priesthood had a hierarchy, and the duties they performed depended on where they were in that hierarchy.
The next rank of ancient Egyptian priests was the reading priest. Their job was to codify religious texts, teach other clergy, and recite the official speech in temples and during festivals. At the end of the hierarchy were the priests who served the gods in any way. There is no definitive list of the different types of ancient Egyptian priests, so their roles were varied. However, we do have a record of several types of mid-level priests.
Since there are so many different types of priests, each with their own duties, it is difficult to summarize the life of an ancient Egyptian priest. With the exception of the high priest, most priests worked only part-time. The priesthood was divided into "hours" and served only one month out of every four. The rest of the time, they lived their normal lives in society, often working as mid-level bureaucrats.
During their religious service, priests lived within the complex of the temples of their deity.