Ancient Egypt Priests
In the Life of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt priests were the necessary props of the throne, and the secret police of the social order.
Given a faith of such complexity, a class had to arise adept in magic and ritual, whose skill would make it indispensable in approaching the gods.
In effect, though not in law, the office of priest passed down from father to son, and a class grew up which, through the piety of the people and the politic generosity of the kings, became in time richer and stronger than the feudal aristocracy or the royal family itself.
The sacrifices offered to the gods supplied the priests with food and drink.
The temple buildings gave them spacious homes.
The revenues of temple lands and services furnished them with ample incomes.
Their exemption from forced labor, military service, and ordinary taxation, left them in an enviable position of prestige and power.
They deserved not a little of this power, for they accumulated and preserved the learning of Egypt, educated the youth, and disciplined themselves with rigor and zeal.
Herodotus describes them almost with awe:
"They are of all men the most excessively attentive to the worship of the gods, and observe the following ceremonies. . . .
They wear linen garments, constantly fresh-washed.
They are circumcised for the sake of cleanliness, thinking it better to be clean than hand¬some.
They shave their whole body every third day, that neither lice nor any other impurity may be found upon them. . . .
They wash themselves in cold water twice every day and twice every night."
You may also be interested in...
From Priests, Return to Ancient Egypt religion