Although the precise order in which the First Dynasty kings reigned is not always clear, it is usually agreed upon that Narmer was the first ruler of Dynasty 1.
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Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Dynasty 1

The First Dynasty Pharaohs

Although the precise order in which the First Dynasty kings reigned is not always clear, it is usually agreed upon that Narmer was the first ruler of Dynasty 1.

Narmer SerekhNarmer (3150 - 3050 BC)

Narmer is thought to have been the first king to have resided at Memphis, although he was buried at Abydos. He is best known from the Palette of Narmer in the Cairo Museum and the Narmer Macehead, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. But his name is present on a number of artefacts and pottery fragments as far north as the Negev and as far south as Hierakonpolis. It is possible that Narmer built upon earlier economic successes and established trading posts in Near Eastern and Upper Egyptian locations.

Hor-aha SerekhHor-Aha (3050 - 2890 BC)

His name means 'Fighting Hawk'. His Nebti name 'Men' appear side by side on ivory labels. Founded a temple to the Goddess Neith at Sais in the Delta. Founder of the capital city at Memphis. He reigned according to Manetho for 62 years. His tomb at Abydos (B 19-15) is the largest in the north-western section of the cemetery. Thought by many as being identical with king Menes, named in later sources as the founder of Egypt.

Hor-Aha succeeded Narmer as ruler of both Upper and Lower Egypt, so it is assumed that Narmer was his father. Hor-Aha continued the process of unifying Egypt into a single kingdom. Military expeditions against the Nubians in the south, spread his rule as far as the first cataract of the Nile. Berenid was his queen, and his mother was probably Neithotpe. Aha's son and heir, Djer, was born to a lesser ranked wife, Hent.

Two legends grew in later eras about Aha. One was that he was killed by a hippopotamus, the other that he was attacked by wild dogs and saved by a crocodile in the Faiyum. He is credited with founding the city of Crocodilopolis as a result.

Attestations:

. Tomb in Abydos
. Inscription on a vessel from tomb Z2 in Zawiyet el-Aryan
. Seal impressions from tomb 3357 in Saqqara
. Stone vessel with his name from tomb 3036 in Saqqara
. Alabaster vessel with his name from Helwan
. Seal impressions in a big tomb at Naqada

Objects in the Petrie Museum: UC 11751A (fragment of a rock crystal vase)

 

Djer SerekhDjer (3050 - 2890 BC)

Horus Djer, 'Horus who Succors', (Manetho's Athothis) or Itit (his nomen) is said to have reigned for 57 years. Son of Aha and Hent (or Khenthap), built a palace at Memphis; whose wife was Queen Herneith. There are also indications of a possible military campaign against a country named Setjet, probably Palestine or Sinai.

Evidence comes from ivory and wood labels from Saqqara and Abydos. Around his tomb at Abydos (Tomb O) were over 300 satellite burials of retainers who had gone to the grave at the same time as the king.

Attestations:

. Tomb O and funerary enclosure in Abydos (the tomb and funerary complex of the king)
. Seal impressions from the tomb 2185 in Saqqara
. Seal impressions from the tomb 3471 in Saqqara
. Inscription from the tomb 3035 in Saqqara. The tomb belongs to the official Hemaka, who served under Den.
. Inscription from the tomb 3503 in Saqqara
. Inscription from the tomb 3506 in Saqqara
. Seal impression and inscriptions from Helwan
. Jar from Turah with the name of the king

Objects in the Petrie Museum:
. UC 16182 ivory tablet from Abydos, subsidiary tomb 612 of the enclosure of Djer
. UC 16172 copper adze with the name of king Djer

Frank H McClung Museum, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
. Clay Jar Sealing: Measures 12.5 cm long x 9 cm wide x 5.5 cm high, and bears in relief the name of King Djer, or Zer-Ta

 

Djet SerekhDjet (3050 - 2890 BC)

Horus Djet, 'Horus Cobra', also referred to as Uadji, his tomb is located at Abydos (Tomb Z). The funerary stele is inscribed with the royal serekh containing a snake hieroglyph, surmounted by the Horus falcon with the 'palace facade' design in the lower half (now housed at the Louvre, Paris).

Attestations:

. Seal impression from mastaba V in Gizeh
. Tomb Z in Abydos (his own tomb)
. Inscriptions from tomb 3504 in Saqqara. The tomb might belong to the official Sekhemka, who served under king Djer

Attestations in the Petrie Museum:
. Copper tools from Abydos, subsidiary tomb 387 of the enclosure of Djet

Merneith SerekhMerytneith, or Merneith (3050 - 2890 BC)

MerytNeith, or Merneith, 'Beloved of Neith', seems to have taken the throne, either to rule alone after Djer, or perhaps after his successor Djet, as regent for her son Den, if she was Djet’s wife.

At this time the Queens, or more properly, Great wives, since there is no word for "queen" in the Egyptian language, bore the titles "She who unites the Two Lands" and "She who sees Horus and Set." The inclusion of the name Neith, or Nit, goddess of Sais in the Delta, would seem to indicate that MerytNeith at least had strong northern connections.

 

Den SerekhDen (3050 - 2890 BC)

Horus Den, Horus who Strikes', also known as Udimu. An ivory label from Abydos, shows the kings with uplifted mace, identified by his Horus name in a serekh.

Den’s throne name, or nisu-bity (literally meaning "the sedge and the bee,") was Semti. This was the first time this title was used. For the first time the Double Crown, that is, the Red and White Crowns together, is shown being worn by the king.

Attestations:

. Tomb T in Abydos (the tomb of the king)
. Inscriptions and seal impressions from tomb 3035 in Saqqara (Tomb of Hemaka, the Kings Chancellor)
. Seal impressions from the tomb 3036 (the tomb might belong to the official Ankhka) in Saqqara
. Seal impressions from the tomb 3038 in Saqqara
. Inscriptions from the tomb 3504 in Saqqara
. Seal impressions from the tomb 3506 in Saqqara
. Seal impressions and inscriptions from the tomb 3507 in Saqqara
. Seal impressions from the tomb X in Saqqara
. Ink inscription on a jar and seal impression from a cemetery of lower status in Saqqara
. Inscriptions (mainly seal impressions) from tombs in Abu Rowash
. Seal impressions from Helwan

Objects in the Petrie Museum:
. UC 36720 (fragment of wooden tablet from Abydos, with name Semty)

Objects in the British Museum
. Ivory Label, height 4.5cm, EA 55586

Anedjib SerekhAnedjib (3050 - 2890 BC)

Horus Anedjib, 'Safe is his heart', reigned for 26 years according to Manetho (who names him Miebidos). His tomb is located at Abydos (tomb X) and is the smallest amongst the royal tombs.

Anedjib adopted the "Two Lords" title, anticipating Khasekhemwy in the 2nd Dynasty. He may have had a long reign, since two stone vessel fragments from Saqqara and Abydos make reference to a Sed festival.

 

Semerkhet SerekhSemerkhet (3050 - 2890 BC)

Horus Semerkhet, 'Thoughtful Friend', reigned for 9 years according to the Palermo Stone or 18 years by Manetho. He notes that there were numerous disasters during his reign. His tomb is located at Abydos (Tomb U).

He was the first to use the "Two Ladies" or nbty name, of Irynetjer. The royal annals preserved a complete record of his reign, the events listed are nothing more than the biennial royal progress (if that is the correct interpretation of the "following of Horus," of ritual "appearances of the king," and of dedicating divine images.

 

Qa'a SerekhQa'a (3050 - 2890 BC)

Horus Qa'a, 'His Arm is Raised', last King of the First Dynasty, may have reigned for 26 years. His tomb located at Abydos (Tomb Q) was re-excavated in 1993 by the German Archaeological Institute Cairo. A limestone stele depicts the King wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt and embraced by the falcon-headed Horus was acquired by the Louvre in Paris in 1967.

A rock-cut inscription near the city of el-Kab in Upper Egypt shows Qaa’s serekh facing a figure of the regnal goddess Nekhbet.

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