Pharaoh Infobox | Name=Herihor

Role=High Priest of Amun at Thebes | NomenHiero=i-m:n-N1:H8*Z1-G5
Nomen="Hérihor Siamun"
Horus is Raised, Son of Amun
First Priest of Amun | Reign=1080–1074 BC
Dynasty=Concurrent with the 21st Dynasty
Successor=Piankh? or Pinedjem I
Spouse= Nodjmet
Died= 1074 BC

Herihor was an Egyptian army officer and High Priest of Amun at Thebes (1080 BC to 1074 BC) during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses XI. While his origins are unknown, it is thought that his parents were Libyans. [Ian Shaw & Paul Nicholson, The Dictionary of Ancient Egypt, British Museum Press, 1995. p.124] Recent studies by Karl Jansen-Winkeln in ZAS 119 (1992) suggest that Piankh--originally thought to be Herihor's successor--was actually Herihor's father-in-law and predecessor. [Karl Jansen-Winkeln, Das Ende des Neuen Reiches, ZAS 119 (1992), pp.22-37]

Herihor advanced through the ranks of the military during the reign of Ramesses XI and was integral to restoring order by ousting Pinehesy, viceroy of Nubia, from Thebes. His wife Nodjmet, may have been Ramesses XI's daughter. After that, he assumed more and more titles, from high priest to vizier, before finally openly taking the royal title at Thebes even if he still nominally recognised the authority of Ramesses XI, the actual king of Egypt. Herihor never really held power outside the environs of Thebes, and Ramesses XI actually outlived him by at least two years. While both Herihor and his wife Nodjmet were given royal cartouches in inscriptions on their funerary equipment, their 'kingship' was limited to a few relatively restricted areas of Thebes whereas Ramesses XI's name was still recorded in official administrative documents throughout the country. [Shaw & Nicholson, op. cit., p.125] The two men quietly agreed to accept the new political situation where the High Priest was as powerful as Pharaoh. The report of Wenamun was made in Year 5 of Herihor and Herihor is mentioned in several Year 5 and Year 6 mummy linen graffitos.

The de facto split between Ramesses XI and his 21st Dynasty successors with the High Priests of Amun at Thebes (referred to in Ancient Egyptian as Wehem Mesut) resulted in the unofficial political division of Egypt between Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt with the Tanite kings ruling the latter from Tanis. In practice, these were often two branches of the same family through intermarriage and the division between these two dynasties is somewhat artificial: Herihor's great-grandson was crowned Psusennes I at Tanis. Another Theban High Priest would later assume the throne of all Egypt as Psusennes II. This division was not completely ended until the country was finally reunited with the accession of the Libyan Dynasty 22 king Shoshenq I in 943 BC; Shoshenq was able to appoint his son Iuput to be the new High Priest of Amun at Thebes and thus exercise authority over all of the country.


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