Amy Wilson


This thesis explores the development of the wˁb-title from the Old Kingdom to the end of the Middle Kingdom. During the Old Kingdom, 59% of title-holders are linked to the royal mortuary cult, many of whom were promoted to the upper-ranking office of ḥm-nṯr. Of all of the known title-holders of the Old Kingdom, 46% were promoted to ḥm-nṯr. Although some wˁb.w continue to be linked to the royal mortuary cult in the Middle Kingdom, the majority of title-holders are now linked to the cult of a deity. Few wˁb-priests were promoted to (or served within) other priestly grades, e.g. ḥm-nṯr, ḥm-k3, ẖry-ḥbt, or s(t)m-priest. There is, however, a remarkable increase (4%) in the number of female title-holders during the Middle Kingdom. An investigation into issues of heredity and transfer of office revealed that the most common filial relationships for all historical periods were father-and-son and brother-and-brother. The information compiled within this study provides insight into the role of the wˁb in cult and society from the Old Kingdom to the end of the Middle Kingdom. A chronological index, containing the names and title-strings of 524 men and women that held this title from the 3rd Dynasty to the 13th Dynasty concludes this study.

Degree Name

MA in Egyptology & Coptology

Graduation Date


Submission Date

December 2014

First Advisor

Ayad, Mariam

Committee Member 1

Haikal, Fayza

Committee Member 2

Sabbahy, Lisa


364 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Priests -- Egypt.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2

Priesthood -- History.


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


Over the last year, numerous people have offered their guidance, help, and support to produce this thesis. Dr. Fayza Haikal, as my initial thesis adviser, provided insightful comments on the early parts of this work. When Dr. Haikal was uble to continue advising the thesis, Dr. Mariam Ayad kindly stepped in to see the thesis to completion. I would like to extend my gratitude to Dr. Lisa Sabbahy for being a steadfast member of my committee. I would also like to thank the entire staff of the Rare Books and Special Collections Library of the American University in Cairo for their courteous and continuous assistance to my research. I would like to thank my friend, Reinert Skumsnes, for his thoughtful comments on the early parts of this work, as well as his words of encouragement, motivation, and support. Last, but not least, I would like to thank my parents, Robert and Margaret Wilson, for their constant encouragement and help during my time abroad, without which none of this would have been possible.