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Ist Dynasty 3080 - 2860
( This )

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A sequence and number of rulers of this Dynasty is pretty well established. Some doubts arise in case of queen Merytneith who lived in time of Djet and Den. Some scholars identify her with the pharaoh Merneith. Unfortunately, for lack of any serekh with his name the identification remains suspect. The length of reign of Dynasty I kings is hardly to establish because of lack of any reliable evidence save the very questionable transcriptions from Manetho and fragmentary records on the Palermo Stone. Until now the scholars are not thoroughly unanimous as to the burial place of the I dynasty pharaohs. Already Manetho favored the opinion that cemetery of rulers of that period was at Abydos in Upper Egypt, or more precisely: Umm el-Qaab necropolis located nearby. In years 1938-58, at Memphite necropolis, north Sakkara,  had been discovered a cemetery dated back to the I dynasty period. Number and size of mastabas discovered at Sakkara suggest that was a burial place of the kings of the unified land while tombs at Abydos are merely cenotaphs (empty tombs). At Sakkara, around almost all royal tombs (excluding Aha and Semerkhet), there are numerous tombs of higher court nobles.  Both theories have as much followers as opponents, however in light of recent analysis and excavations of the German expedition at Umm el-Qaab necropolis, it can be assumed that kings of the archaic period were buried just in the Umm el-Quaab necropolis in Upper Egypt.
To view the transcription of kings titulary properly, please download and install transliteration font.

The Bull’s Palette, now in the Museum of Louvre, descends presumably from Abydos. Commemorates either defeat of Beduins from desert or, as others suggest, capture of some cities of Upper Egypt (Asyut, Koptos, Hermopolis, Panopolis). Banners may have symbolized allied cities under the ruler named Bull. The palette has been dated to period either of Narmer’s rule or immediately before him. Height 27,5 cm.

1

3080-3040
3150-3125 (Grimal)
Family Tree

Narmer ( Menes )
  • Hr nar-mr , nar , nar-mr TA , nar-mr TAw
  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • mni (Aby.1) , mni (Tur.2.11) , Menes (Man)
(Horus Name)

Hr nar
Horus Nar
(Horus Catfish)

Hr nar-mr
Horus Narmer
(Horus Striking Catfish)

Hr nar-mrw
Horus Narmer
(Horus Striking Catfish)

Hr nr-mr TA
Horus Narmer
(Horus Striking Catfish)

Hr nr-mr TAw (Horus Striking Catfish)

Abydos Table
(Nomen)

mni
Meni

Turin Canon
(Nomen)

Detail of Narmer's Palette. Cairo Museum He was mythic and historical founder of unified Egyptian empire. Horus name inscribed using two symbols: of catfish (nar) and chisel (mr). Meaning of the name is not clear, some scholars interpret it as The Striking Catfish, others state the name should be read out as Mer-Nar and interpreted “Beloved of Nar”. Menes is a Greek form of the name Meni which appears in documents as late as from dynasty XVIII (scarab of Hatshepsut and Totmes III). Interpretation of the name Menes in also troublesome. Presumably it means: “The one who remains”. It may have something to do with god Min and so is this name presented by Herodotus. In J.P. Allen opinion this name is related to name of the city of Memphis, founded by Menes. In a cylindrical sealing of early dynastic period, apart from the name of Narmer inscribed in serekh, there is also the symbol men which might identify Menes-Narmer. Some scholars (P. Kaplony, W. Helck, D. Wildung) identify this king with Horus-Aha, the second ruler of this dynasty, and they suggest that he might have been a son of another Narmer. Significance of the king Narmer, as generally believed, was much higher than of following rulers of dynasty I. Traces of Narmer’s rule were found both in Egypt and abroad, in Nubia and Palestine (Rafiah, En Besor, Arad, Tel Erani). According to Manethonian tradition, the victorious king Menes ruled 30-62 years and met his end when carried off by hippopotamus. In Herodotus’ opinion, after he completed wide-scaled land drainage, the ruler founded city of Memphis. Also the first temple of a local deity Ptah, was erected. To the times of Narmer are dated two important artifacts: votive palette and decorative mace-head, both found in Hierakonpolis. Both of them carry scenes referring to unification of the land, the event which, as generally accepted, had its beginnings yet long time before Narmer.
Burial place – two-chambered tomb B17-B18 at the Umm el-Qaab necropolis at Abydos.

 

Head of Narmer's mace. Draw. Ashmolean Museum Oxford

Head of Narmer’s mace. Draw. Ashmolean Museum Oxford.

2

3040-3020
3125-3100 (Grimal)
3007-2975 (von Beckerath[=Menes])
2972-2939 (Malek)

Family Tree

Aha

  • Hr aHA

  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • tti (Aby.2) , it(i?) (Tur.2.12) Naracho (Man) , Athotis (Man)
(Horus Name)

 

Hr aHA
Horus Aha
(The Fighting Hawk, The Fighter)

Abydos Table
(Nomen)

tti

Turin Canon
(Nomen)

it[i]
It[i]

The ruler usually identified with Menes (Narmer) and as such regarded as a first king and founder of the Dynasty I. His name is well known from numerous relics discovered at Abydos and Saqqara. Events taking place during the rule of Hor Aha are known to us mainly from four annual plates. He made wars against Ethiopians and Libyans. He came from the Upper Egypt and married princess Neithotep from the Lower Egypt. At Sais in the Delta he erected a temple dedicated to Neith. According to W. Helck one of the plates records killing a human for sacrifice. In Manetho’s opinion the king was a practising medical who was writing treatises on anatomy. Although his chief wife was Neithotep, The king’s wife was Neithotep, his son and successor was – Djer – was born from a concubine. Names of other Andjib’s sons are known to us: Rechit, Het, Saiset, Imaib. To the time of king’s Hor Aha rule are dated two big sepulclar complexes at Naqada and Saqqara. A monumental mastaba, measuring 53 x 26 m at Nakada possibly belonged to the king or his wife. The tomb S3357 at Saqqara, previously ascribed to Aha, resembles a mastaba of 41,6 x 15,55 m and 5 m high. Most likely he was buried in the three-chambered tomb B10-B15-B19 in the Umm el-Qaab necropolis at Abydos.
 

The tablet of Naqada. Top row to the right: Horus Name and Nebti Name of king Aha with a sign interpreted as Men in a booth like structure.

The tablet of Naqada. Top row to the right: Horus Name and Nebti Name of king Aha with a sign interpreted as Men in a booth like structure

3

3020-2970
3100-3055 (Grimal)
2974-2927 (von Beckerath)
2939-2892 (Malek)
2870-2823 (Hornung, Krauss, Warburton)

Family Tree

Djer

  • Hr Dr(iw)
  • ... ...
  • ni-nbw
  • ... ...
  • iti (Aby.3) , Kenkenes (Man)
(Horus Name)

Hr Dr
Horus Djer
( Horus Who Succours )

Abydos Table
(Nomen)

iti
Iti

In light of recent evidence he must have ruled longer than Manetho ascribed to him (31-39 years), possibly up to 50 years. In W. Helck opinion the analysis of eighteen annual inscriptions in Stone of Palermo indicate that Djer ruled at least 54 years. The ruler put much attention to consolidate political unification of Egypt. In his 23 years of rule he presumably conquered the land of Sekhat (most likely Sinai and south Palestine). Inscription with the name of Djer was found at Wadfi Halfa, south to the First Cataract, but its authenticity is questioned by archeologists. Three annual plates mention some political events: investing at Buto and Dep, importing wood of Lebanon, re-unifying of the land, death of two queens, building of a palace and others. His tomb at Abydos (tomb O) in the Umm el-Qaab necropolis had been later regarded as burial place of Osiris and became a cult centre and destination of pilgrimages, especially in times of the New Kingdom and onwards. Two big niche-shaped mastabas S3471 and QS2185 at Sakkara and possibly also S3503 mastaba ascribed to queen Merytneith, belong to this king. Djer might have been son of the previous ruler by one of his wives named Chenedhapi. Djer’s wife was queen Herneith.
 

 Four bracelets were found on a bandaged arm in the tomb of king Djer at Umm el-Qaab in 1901. Lapis lazuli, turquoise, ametyst, gold.
Four bracelets were found on a bandaged arm in the tomb of king Djer at Umm el-Qaab in 1901. Lapis lazuli, turquoise, ametyst, gold

Tablet of Djer from Abydos. Actually Museum of Berlin
Tablet of Djer from Abydos. Actually Museum of Berlin

4

2970-2960
3055-3050 (Grimal)
2927-2914 (von Beckerath)
2892-2879 (Malek)
2870-2823
(Hornung, Krauss, Warburton)
Family Tree

Djet ( Wadji )

  • Hr wAD(i) , Hr Dt
  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • itA (itiw) (Aby.4) , [it]ti w (itAi , itiwi) (Tur.2.14) , Wenefes (Man)
(Horus Name)

Hr Dt
Horus Wadji
(Horus Snake [Cobra])
Horus Djet (Horus Snake [Cobra])

Abydos Table
(Nomen)

itA , itiw
Iti , Itiui

Turin Canon
(Nomen)

itAi , itiwi
Itiui

An interpretation of this king’s Horus-name is very questionable. Manetho mentioned a famine in Egypt under this king’s reign and erection of a pyramid called Kochome. The Nebti-title of this king is Iterti and it refers to the unification of the Egypt. In time of Djet and his heir Den, a very mysterious character was living - Merneith (male form) or Merytneith (female form) known because of a tomb at Abydos. According to one hypothesis Merytneith was a daughter of Djer and a wife of Den. Thus she would be a regent in first period of Den’s reign. Burial place – tomb Z in the Umm el-Qaab necropolis nearby Abydos.

Tablet of Djet (Wadji)

Tablet of Djet (Wadji)

Stele of Djet from Abydos. Louvre Museum

Stele of Djet from Abydos. Louvre Museum

a

Tablica genealogiczna

Merytneith ( Merneith )

  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • mrt-nit , mr-nit
(female form)

mrt-nit
Meryt-Neith

(male form)

mr-nit
Mer-Neith

The queen held rule probably as regent before her son and heir, Den, grew up. She was wife of Djet and daughter of Djer and queen Herneith. Her name appears on artifacts both in male form - Merneith and female - Mer-[y]t-Neith. Her tomb at the Umm el-Quaab necropolis in  Abydos is surrounded by numerous burials of her servants. Also two stelae of Merytneith come from Abydos. On these stelae her name is not inscribed in serekh and there is no Horus falcon, the facts both point at the fact that she was indeed a woman.

Queen Merytneith stele from Umm el-Qaab (Abydos). Cairo Museum

Queen Merytneith stele from Umm el-Qaab (Abydos). Cairo Museum.

 

5

2960-2915
3050-2995 (Grimal)
2914-2867 (von Beckerath)
2879-2832 (Malek)
2814-2772
(Hornung, Krauss, Warburton)
Family Tree

Den ( Udimu )

  • Hr d(w)n
  • xAsti
  • iart(?)-nbw
  • ... ...
  • xAsti(i) , spAti (Aby.5) , sm.ti , qnti (Tur.2.15) , Usafais (Man)
(Horus Name)

Hr dn
Horus Den
(Horus Who Strikes)

(Nebti Name)

nb.ti xAs.ti
Nebti Chasti
([Man] Of The Desert)

Turin Canon
(Nomen)

sm.ti
Semti (Kenti)

  (Nomen)

sm.ti
Semti

Abydos Table
(Nomen)

sp.ti
Septi

According to Manetho’s records Usafais (Den) ruled 20 years, however other sources assume longer, possibly 35-40 (Godron) or even 45 (Kaplony) regnal period of this pharaoh. From all records we find out that Den made numerous expeditions against Asiatic people and nomads of Sinai. His Nebti name was inscribed with a double sign of mountains. This hieroglyphic group can be interpreted as Chasti or Semti. A cursive form of the sign of mountains is very similar to another hieroglyph, interpreted as Septi. Three tombs at Sakkara are assigned to Den: 3035 (the bigger royal tomb dated to predynastic period), 3036 (presumably tomb of a queen) and 3506. He was buried in tomb T in the Umm el-Qaab necropolis at Abydos.


Famous tablet of British Museum represents King Den smiting an Asiatic.
This “relic” is probably a case of modern forgery. The king is wearing nemes with uraeus, common attributes of royalty appearing much later in ancient Egypt history.

Tablet of Den from Abydos
Tablet of Den from Abydos.

   

6

2915-2905
2867-2861 (von Beckerath)
2832-2826 (Malek)
2771-2764
(Hornung, Krauss, Warburton)
Family Tree

Andjib

  • Hr aD-ib
  • mri-pi-biA (swti-biti) , mri-pi-biA-nbwi
  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • mri-biA-p(w) (Aby.6) , mri-biA-pn (Sak.1) , mri-grg-pn (Tur.2.16) , Miebis (Miebidos)  (Man)
(Horus Name)

Hr anD-ib
Horus Andjib
(Safe Is His Heart)

(Nebti Name)

nb.ti mr-p-biA
Nebti Mer...

Saqqara Table
(Nomen)

mr-bA-pn
Merbapen

Turin Canon
(Nomen)

mr-biA-pn
Merbapen

Abydos Table
(Nomen)

mri-biA-p(w)
Meribiap

Meribiapen is the first king whose name is recorded on the table of Saqqara, while it is not present on the Palermo Stone at all. Turin Canon assigned 74 years (of rule?). Manetho argues 26 years to Miebis. In actual fact he must have not ruled more than 10-12 years although he celebrated his Heb-Sed at least once. The S3038 tomb at Sakkara, located north from royal tombs and having a flat feature of step pyramid is dated back to Andjib times. Andjib’s tomb in Abydos (tomb X) at Um El-Qaab necropolis is small and relatively poor. One of his wives was Betrest, mother of his follower, Semerkhet, commonly regarded as usurper.


The only tablet which survived to these days. Inscriptions made with ink.
On the missing part there was certainly the king’s name. 

7

2905-2890
2861-2853 (von Beckerath)
2826-2818 (Malek)
2763-2756
(Hornung, Krauss, Warburton)
Family Tree

Semerkhet

  • Hr smr-Xt
  • iri-nbti (suti-biti)
  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • suti-biti , smsw(?) (Aby.7) , smsm (Tur.2.17) , Semempses (Man)
(Horus Name)

Hr smr-X.t
Horus Semerkhet
(Thoughtful Friend)

(Nebti Name)

Nebti [iri] ? ...
uncertain

Nebti ... (Nebti Name write in cartouche)
Turin Canon
(Nomen)

smsm
Semsem

 Abydos Table
(Nomen)
Semsw (?)

Turin Canon of Kings gives 72 years (of rule?) to him while in Manetho’s opinion this king reigned 18 years. He might have been a son of queen Betrest – king’s Adjib wife, and of unknown father. His heir to the throne was Qa’a who considered him as an usurper. Cairo fragment of Palermo Stone says about 9 years of Semerkhet’s rule. Annual plate mentions some religious events from Semerkhet’s times – the celebration of ancestors and god Sokar. Burial place – tomb U in the Umm el-Qaab necropolis nearby Abydos.

 

Tablet of Semerkhet from Abydos. British Museum

8

2890-2860
2960-2926 (Grimal)
2853-2828 (von Beckerath)
2818-2793 (Malek)
2755-2732
(Hornung, Krauss, Warburton)
Family Tree

Qa`a

  • Hr qAi-a , qA-a
  • qAi-a-nbti , sn-nbti
  • ... ...
  • ... ...
  • qbH (Aby.8 , Tur.2.18) , qbHw (Sak.2) , Bieneches (Man)
(Horus Name)

Hr qA-a
Horus Qa`a
(His Arm Is Raised)

(Nebti Name)

nb.ti qA-a
Nebti Qa`a

sn nb.ti (?)
Sen Nebti
(Brother Of Two Lands) ?

sn nb.ti (?)
Sen Nebti
(Brother Of Two Lands) ?

Abydos Table
(Nomen)

qbH
Qebeh

Saqqara Table
(Nomen)

qbHw
Qebehu

Turin Canon
(Nomen)

qbH
[Qe]beh

Turin Canon gives 63 years of rule, while Manetho – 26 years. Period of his rule might have been longer (33-34 years), as indicated by data on annual tables. Two celebrations of his Sed festival are known to us. Stone of Palermo is damaged at that place and only short note of his coming to the rule and first year of rule are readable. Possibly he held his predecessor Semerkhet as usurper because he ordered to destroy his names while the name of his own father, Anedjib, left untouched (J. von Beckerath). N. Grimal’s point of view Qa’a was father of Semerkhet. Tomb of Qa’a is located at Abydos (tomb Q) and had been greatly extended. Mortuary complex at Saqqara is the first in Egyptian history which includes mortuary temple, which became the indispensable part of sacral complex of each ruler ever since.

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