High Priests of Ptah at Memphis
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Certain or possible High Priests designated by HPM
The family of the Ptolemaic High priests of Memphis, and associated lines (notably, the High Priests of Letopolis), have only been the subject of much analysis in the last 30 years, although most of the material for the family has been known since the 19th century.
This chart is complete to the best of my knowledge. I am not annotating it at this time, although I may at some future date. However, many issues are controversial, as indicated. Quaegebeur is the most widely used authority, and probably the best, but his summary genealogy still conceals many issues. Even though his judgement is never to be dismissed lightly, he should be handled with care. Reymond's book, though far less reliable, is useful in pointing out areas of controversy. Also, some of her material, e.g. concerning the daughters of Psherenptah III and Taimhotep, is available nowhere else (though implicitly endorsed by Devauchelle, with modifications). While her Orientalia article is romantic almost to the point of fiction, one of her most controversial ideas -- that Berenice, wife of Psherenptah II, was a daughter of Ptolemy VIII -- is almost certainly correct in my view.
I have omitted a conjecture of Quaegebeur's, accepted by Thompson, to identify Neferibre son of HPM Nesisty (PP III 5647), identified by Quaegebeur as Nesisty II / Pedubast I, with a Neferibre, husband of a Herankh and ancestor of two generations of priests named on Stele Vienna 157 (PP III 5646), studied by H. de Meulenaere, CdE 34 (1959) 244, and with another Neferibre, husband of a Herankh, and father of Heresankh, a priestess in the cult of Philotera, named in stele Louvre N2556. This proposal merits discussion here.
De Meulenaere proposed that the parents of Heresankh are identical with the ancestral Neferibre and Herankh of stele Vienna 157. This seems eminently reasonable to me, and is also accepted by Quaegebeur, Thompson, and by Clarysse in PP IX. Even so, given the frequency of occurrence of these names amongst this group of people, it cannot be regarded as certain. Also, it should be noted that before de Meulenare's article appeared Vienna 157 was interpreted as giving a linear ascent: Neferibre, son of Neferibre and Herankh, son of Psamtekmen, son of Peteharendjatef, son of Anemhor, son of Neferibre. De Meulenaere gives what are to my mind good arguments for interpreting the last four occurrences of sA not as "son of" (the preceding name) but as "his son" (i.e. of Neferibre, the subject of the stele). However, Kelley, holding fast to the interpretation of a linear ascent, sees Vienna 157 as giving the ancestry of the Memphite line in the late Persian period, identifying this Neferibre with the father of Anemhor I, making Heresankh the latter's aunt.
De Meulenaere's analysis, if accepted, gives us the following tree:
The real difficulty of attaching this tree to the main line lies in identifying the Neferibre of Louvre N2556 with a son of Nesisty III / Pedubast I. While the death date of Philotera is not known, it was probably not too long before the death of her sister Arsinoe II, i.e. in the late 270s or very early 260s. Heresankh died at the age of 66 in year 22 of an unnamed Ptolemy. De Meulenaere, noting that the cult of Philotera was never popular, suggests that she died under Ptolemy II, i.e. in 264/3. Thompson proposes rather Ptolemy III, i.e. 226/5, and on this basis suggests that she was the daughter of the Neferibre in question. But her birthdate on the two proposals is either 330/29 or 292/1. I prefer the second of these since she would then become priestess for Philotera in her 20s rather than in her 60s. But both dates are before the birthdate of her putative uncle Anemhor II, who was certainly born in 287. For this reason, and even though I think it is likely that this group of hierophants was closely connected to the Memphite dynasty, I do not think that the reconstruction suggested by Thompson is workable. Kelley's reconstruction, which requires the earlier dates for Heresankh, is less problematic in this regard, but I think must be rejected because he interprets Vienna 157 as a linear ancestry.
However, it is possible that the placement of Neferibre (PP III 5647) is itself incorrect. This Neferibre is given as Neferibre son of HPM Nesisty in pLouvre 3084, but as Nefer[...] in statue Alexandria 27806. Quaegebeur and Reymond have both argued that Anemhor I is to be identified with an HPM Nesisty (Nesisty I) since the husband of Renpet-neferet is given both names. Devauchelle, rather, argues for the identity of Nesisty I with Nesisty II and for two Renpet-neferets. However, Quaegebeur presents a subtle and persuasive argument, accepted here, for identifying the Nefer[...] of statue Alexandria 27806 as a son Nefer[ibre] of the HPM (Nesisty II /) Pedubast I, but Reymond rather sees him as (Na)Nefer[hor] the father of Anemhor I, as does Bakry. If Quaegebeur is wrong about this, but right about the identity of Anemhor I with an HPM Nesisty, then Neferibre (PP III 5647) can legitimately be placed a generation earlier, i.e as a son of Nesisty I rather than Nesisty II. This would allow de Meulenaere's reconstruction to be anchored to Neferibre (PP III 5647), as suggested by Quaegebeur and Thompson, but at a more appropriate place in the tree. Alternately, Neferibre (PP III 5647) could simply be distinguished from Neferibre (PP III 5646), and the latter tentatively and speculatively placed as a son of Anemhor I.
H. S. K. Bakry, A Family of High Priests of Alexandria and Memphis, MDAIK 28 (1972) 75
D. Devauchelle, Review of E. A. E. Reymond, From the Records of a Priestly Family from Memphis I, CdE 58 (1983) 135
D. H. Kelley, A Priestly Family of Memphis, JAMS 12 (1995) 25
H. de Meulenaere, Prosopographia Ptolemaica, CdE 34 (1959) 244
Prosopographia Ptolemaica III, IX.
J. Quaegebeur, Documents Concerning a Cult of Arsinoe Philadelphos at Memphis, JNES 30 (1971) 239
J. Quaegebeur, Contribution à la prosopographie des prêtres memphites à l'époque ptolemaïque, Anc. Soc. 3 (1972) 77
J. Quaegebeur, Inventaire des stèles funéraires memphites d'époque ptolemaïque, CdE 49 (1974) 59
J. Quaegebeur, The Genealogy of the Memphite High Priest Family in the Hellenistic Period in D. J. Crawford et al., Studies on Ptolemaic Memphis (Studia Hellenistica 24) (Louvain, 1980), 48
E. A. E. Reymond & J. W. Barns, Alexandria and Memphis: Some Historical Observations, Or 46 (1977) 1.
E. A. E. Reymond, From the Records of a Priestly Family from Memphis I (Wiesbaden, 1981)
D. J. Thompson, Memphis Under the Ptolemies (Princeton, 1988)
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