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priests

Relief of a funeral procession from the tomb of Merymery in Saqqara; design by Anand Balaji

Sem Priests of Ancient Egypt: In the Service of King and Country—Part II

An appointee of the Pharaoh himself, the role of the sem priest carried immense political and religious weightage. In many ways, this class of priest served as the bridge between the ruler and the...
Scene on the north wall in KV62 shows King Aye as sem priest, performing the “Opening of the Mouth” ritual on the mummy of Tutankhamun; design by Anand Balaji

Sem Priests of Ancient Egypt: Their Role and Impact in Funerary Contexts—Part I

The office of sem or setem priest of Ptah, the patron god of the craftsmen in Memphis, Lower Egypt, was a prestigious one. Considered a sacred feline with a connection to the Heliopolitan cult via...
Ancient Egyptian relief. Design by Anand Balaji.

Understanding the Monotheism of Akhenaten: Solar Disc Thrust into Eternal Darkness–Part II

At first glance it appears as though Pharaoh Akhenaten is someone whom one would describe as a textbook monotheist, but are we missing the plot? Apart from Amun (and later, Osiris) the king doesn’t...
A bust of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Design by Anand Balaji.

Understanding the Monotheism of Akhenaten: Decay of a Dream and the Final Curtain Call–Part I

Pharaoh Akhenaten has been revered and reviled in equal measure for unleashing his religious policy of one god, the Aten sun disc. But, was the king a monotheist in letter and spirit – one who...
Dark forces conspired in Ancient Egypt. Egyptian relief, design by Anand Balaji.

Dark Forces Conspire to Destroy the Radiant One: The Assassination of Akhenaten—Part II

Akhenaten’s religious experiment, which was launched in the imperial capital Thebes and later nurtured in the new city Akhetaten, resulted in dramatic changes. Not only did the king oust the panoply...
Was there a sinister plot to eliminate the Sun King? Egyptian relief, design by Anand Balaji.

A Sinister Plot to Eliminate the Sun King: The Assassination of Akhenaten—Part I

The Pharaoh clearly had enough of life at Thebes (Waset). His determined attempts to introduce Atenism—a syncretism of the Memphis-Heliopolis solar philosophy, with a deification of kingship dating...
Bellona with Romulus and Remus

Who is Bellona and Was She More Powerful than Mars? Piecing Together the Identity of the Mysterious Ancient Roman Goddess of War

In his History , Livy reported that during a critical part of the battle against the Samnites in 296 BCE, the general Appius Claudius was seen in the front lines raising his hands as he uttered a...
The double burial of the Serpent-Jaguar Priests, Pacopampa, Peru.

Lost for 2 700 years: Tomb of the Serpent Jaguar Priests Uncovered in Peru

A very interesting tomb has been uncovered in San Pedro de Pacopampa, Chota Province, Cajamarca Region, Peru. The tomb contains a double burial of what is believed to be high-ranking priests from the...
Sunk relief of personified provinces of Egypt bearing offerings for the temple god. Temple of Ramesses II at Abydos.

Foundation Rituals of Ancient Egypt: Elaborate Rites Conducted to Protect Great Monuments

In modern times, it is common to initiate a new building with what is known as a "ground-breaking" ceremony. This tradition symbolically marks the beginning of a new project in many cultures and is...
Shinto painting from manuscript of Todaiji, Nara, Japan

Purification as the Core of the Ancient Shinto Faith

A ritual based religion, Shintoism is defined as "the way of the gods" in Japan, from the Chinese Shendao. It is the indigenous religion of the country, and survives today as the state religion,...
Amenhotep III and Royal Priest Limestone Heads Discovered in Ruins in Egypt

Amenhotep III and Royal Priest Limestone Heads Discovered in Ruins in Egypt

Giant limestone heads have been unearthed in Egypt, including those of royal priests and 18th dynasty king Amenhotep III. The discovery of the stone head depicting Amenhotep III was a surprise find...
Woman Priesthood

Vatican says evidence of female priesthood in early Christianity is “fairy tale”

In a claim that the Vatican has brushed off as a “fairy tale”, proponents of female priesthood say that the newly restored Catacombs of Priscilla in Rome provide undeniable proof that there were...