Ancient Egyptian royal titulary

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The royal titulary or royal protocol is the standard naming convention taken by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It symbolises worldly power and holy might and also acts as a sort of mission statement for the reign of a monarch (sometimes it even changed during the reign).

Contents

The full titulary, consisting of five names, did not come into standard usage until the Middle Kingdom but remained in use as late as the Roman Empire.

Origins

In order that the pharaoh, who held divine office, could be linked to the people and the gods, special epithets were created for them at their accession to the throne. These titles also served to demonstrate one's qualities and link them to the terrestrial realm. The five names were developed over the centuries beginning with the Horus Name. [1] [2] This name identified the figure as a representative of the god Horus. [3] The Nebty name (the Two Ladies Name) was the second part of the royal titular [4] [3] of Upper and Lower Egypt. [2] This name placed the king under the protection of two female deities, Nekhbet and Wadjet [4] and began sometime towards the end of the First Dynasty as a reference to "The one who belongs to Upper and Lower Egypt", along with mention of the Two Ladies. [2] Beginning sometime in the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt, the Gold Falcon name (sometimes called the Horus of Gold) was created. [5] The last two names of the king, the prenomen and the nomen, were generally depicted within the circular, roped cartouche of the king (eventually the cartouche would contain all royal names, including the queen and the royal children) and were known as the Throne name and the Son of Re name. [5]

Horus name

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Serekh containing the name of Djet and an association with Wadjet, on display at the Louvre Egypte louvre 290.jpg
Serekh containing the name of Djet and an association with Wadjet, on display at the Louvre

The Horus name is the oldest form of the pharaoh's name, originating in prehistoric Egypt. Many of the oldest-known Egyptian pharaohs were known only by this title. [6]

The Horus name was usually written in a serekh, a representation of a palace façade. The name of the pharaoh was written in hieroglyphs inside this representation of a palace. Typically an image of the falcon god Horus was perched on top of or beside it. [6]

At least one Egyptian ruler, the Second Dynasty pharaoh Seth-Peribsen, used an image of the god Set instead of Horus, perhaps signifying an internal religious division within the country. He was succeeded by Khasekhemwy, who placed the symbols of both Set and Horus above his name. Thereafter, the image of Horus always appeared alongside the name of the pharaoh. [6]

By the time of the New Kingdom, the Horus name was often written without the enclosing serekh.

Nebty ("two ladies") name

Ancient Egyptian royal titulary

The Nebty name (lit. "two ladies") was associated with the so-called "heraldic" goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt:

The name is first definitively used by the First Dynasty pharaoh Semerkhet, though it only became a fully independent title by the Twelfth Dynasty.

This particular name was not typically framed by a cartouche or serekh, but always begins with the hieroglyphs of a vulture and cobra resting upon two baskets, the dual noun "nebty".

Horus of Gold

Ancient Egyptian royal titulary

Also known as the Golden Horus Name, this form of the pharaoh's name typically featured the image of a Horus falcon perched above or beside the hieroglyph for gold.

The meaning of this particular title has been disputed. One belief is that it represents the triumph of Horus over his uncle Seth, as the symbol for gold can be taken to mean that Horus was "superior to his foes". Gold also was strongly associated in the ancient Egyptian mind with eternity, so this may have been intended to convey the pharaoh's eternal Horus name.

Similar to the Nebty name, this particular name typically was not framed by a cartouche or serekh.

Throne name (prenomen)

Praenomen of the Cartouche of Thutmose II preceded by Sedge and Bee symbols, Temple of Hatshepsut, Luxor Luxor, hieroglyphs on an obelisk inside the Temple of Hatshepsut, Egypt, Oct 2004.jpg
Praenomen of the Cartouche of Thutmose II preceded by Sedge and Bee symbols, Temple of Hatshepsut, Luxor
Ancient Egyptian royal titulary
Ancient Egyptian royal titulary
Ancient Egyptian royal titulary
Ancient Egyptian royal titulary

The pharaoh's throne name, the first of the two names written inside a cartouche, usually accompanied the title nsw-bity (nsw(t)-bjt(j)), traditionally interpreted as "[He] of sedge [and] bee" and often translated for convenience as "King of Upper and of Lower Egypt". (The sedge and the bee symbolised Upper and Lower Egypt, respectively, [7] [8] although recent research has thrown this interpretation into doubt. [9] [10] )

The epithet nb tꜣwy, "Lord of the Two Lands", referring to the valley and delta regions of Egypt, often occurs as well.[ clarification needed ]

Personal name (nomen)

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This was the name given at birth. The name itself was preceded by the title "Son of Ra", written with the hieroglyph of a duck (za), a homonym for the word meaning "son" (za), adjacent to an image of the sun, a hieroglyph for the chief solar deity Ra. It was first introduced to the set of royal titles in the Fourth Dynasty and emphasizes the king's role as a representative of the solar god Ra. For women who became pharaoh, the preceding title was interpreted as "daughter" also.

Modern historians typically refer to the ancient kings of Egypt by this name, adding ordinals (e.g. "II", "III") to distinguish between different individuals bearing the same name.

Examples of the full titulary

Senusret I

In the Middle Kingdom, the full titulary was sometimes written in a single cartouche, as in this example from Senusret I, from Beni Hasan.

Senusret five fold titulary.jpg

Hatshepsut

The full titulary of Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh Hatshepsut, providing a guide to pronunciation and its equivalent meaning and showing the differences since this pharaoh is a woman, is as follows,

  • Horus name: Wesretkau, "Mighty of Kas"
  • Nebty name: Wadjrenput, "She of the Two Ladies, Flourishing of years"
  • Golden Horus: Netjeretkhau, "Divine of appearance" (Netjeret is the feminine form of netery meaning 'godly' or 'divine', and khau, 'appearances')
  • Praenomen: Maatkare, "Truth [Ma'at] is the Ka of Re"
  • Nomen: Khnumt-Amun Hatshepsut, "Joined with Amun, Foremost of Noble Ladies"

Thutmose III

Ancient Egyptian royal titulary
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serekh or Horus name
Ancient Egyptian royal titulary
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Ancient Egyptian royal titulary
Nebty name
Ancient Egyptian royal titulary
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Golden Horus name
Ancient Egyptian royal titularyAncient Egyptian royal titulary
Hiero Ca1.svg
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Hiero Ca2.svg
praenomen or throne name
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nomen or birth name
Thutmose III
in hieroglyphs

The full titulary of Eighteenth Dynasty pharaoh Thutmose III, providing a guide to pronunciation and its equivalent meaning, is as follows

  • Horus name: Kanakht Khaemwaset, "Horus Mighty Bull, Arising in Thebes"
  • Nebty name: Wahnesytmireempet, "He of the Two Ladies, Enduring in kingship like Re in heaven"
  • Golden Horus: Sekhempahtydjeserkhaw, "Horus of Gold Powerful of strength, Sacred of appearance"
  • Praenomen: Menkheperre, "He of the Sedge and the Bee, Enduring of form is Re"
  • Nomen: Thutmose Neferkheperu, "Son of Ra, Thutmose, beautiful of forms"

Bibliography

Related Research Articles

Pharaoh Title of Ancient Egyptian rulers

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Horus Egyptian war deity

Horus or Her, Heru, Hor in Ancient Egyptian, is one of the most significant ancient Egyptian deities who served many functions, most notably god of kingship and the sky. He was worshipped from at least the late prehistoric Egypt until the Ptolemaic Kingdom and Roman Egypt. Different forms of Horus are recorded in history and these are treated as distinct gods by Egyptologists. These various forms may possibly be different manifestations of the same multi-layered deity in which certain attributes or syncretic relationships are emphasized, not necessarily in opposition but complementary to one another, consistent with how the Ancient Egyptians viewed the multiple facets of reality. He was most often depicted as a falcon, most likely a lanner falcon or peregrine falcon, or as a man with a falcon head.

In Egyptian history, the Upper and Lower Egypt period was the final stage of prehistoric Egypt and directly preceded the nation's unification. The conception of Egypt as the Two Lands was an example of the dualism in ancient Egyptian culture and frequently appeared in texts and imagery, including in the titles of Egyptian pharaohs.

Cartouche oval with inscriptions

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Uraeus stylized, upright form of an Egyptian cobra used as a symbol of sovereignty, royalty, deity and divine authority in Ancient Egypt

The Uraeus is the stylized, upright form of an Egyptian cobra, used as a symbol of sovereignty, royalty, deity and divine authority in ancient Egypt.

Serekh

A serekh was a specific important type of heraldic crest used in ancient Egypt. Like the later cartouche, it contained a royal name.

Hor-Aha Egyptian pharaoh

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Mentuhotep I may have been a Theban nomarch and independent ruler of Upper Egypt during the early First Intermediate Period. Alternatively, Mentuhotep I may be a fictional figure created during the later Eleventh dynasty, which rose to prominence under Intef II and Mentuhotep II, playing the role of a founding father.

Nebra (pharaoh) the Horus name of the second early Egyptian king of the 2nd dynasty

Nebra or Raneb is the Horus name of the second early Egyptian king of the 2nd dynasty. The exact length of his reign is unknown since the Turin canon is damaged and the year accounts are lost. The ancient Greek historian Manetho suggests that Nebra's reign lasted 39 years, but Egyptologists question Manetho's view as a misinterpretation or exaggeration of information that was available to him. They credit Nebra with either a 10- or 14-year rule. According to different authors, Nebra ruled Egypt c. 2850 BC, from 2820 BC to 2790 BC, 2800 BC to 2785 BC or 2765 BC to 2750 BC.

Seth-Peribsen ancient Egyptian ruler

Seth-Peribsen is the serekh name of an early Egyptian monarch (pharaoh), who ruled during the Second Dynasty of Egypt. His chronological position within this dynasty is unknown and it is disputed who ruled both before and after him. The duration of his reign is also unknown.

Semerkhet Egyptian pharaoh

Semerkhet is the Horus name of an early Egyptian king who ruled during the first dynasty. This ruler became known through a tragic legend handed down by the ancient Greek historian, Manetho, who reported that a calamity of some sort occurred during Semerkhet's reign. The archaeological records seem to support the view that Semerkhet had a difficult time as king and some early archaeologists even questioned the legitimacy of Semerkhet's succession to the Egyptian throne.

Qahedjet

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Two Ladies

In Ancient Egyptian texts, the "Two Ladies" was a religious euphemism for the goddesses Wadjet and Nekhbet, two deities who were patrons of the Ancient Egyptians and worshiped by all after the unification of its two parts, Lower Egypt, and Upper Egypt. When the two parts of Egypt were joined together, there was no merger of these deities as often occurred with similar deities from various regions and cities. Both goddesses were retained because of the importance of their roles and they became known as the Two Ladies, who were the protectors of unified Egypt.

Horus name

The Horus name is the oldest known and used crest of Ancient Egyptian rulers. It belongs to the "Great five names" of an Egyptian pharaoh. However, modern Egyptologists and linguists are starting to prefer the more neutral term: the "serekh name". This is because not every pharaoh placed the falcon, which symbolizes the deity Horus, atop his serekh.

The Egyptian hieroglyph representing gold, phonetic value nb, is important due to its use in the Horus-of-Gold name, one of the Fivefold Titulary names of the Egyptian pharaoh.

Stela of Queen Tetisheri Ancient Egyptian queen

The Stela of Tetisheri is a limestone donation stele erected by Pharaoh Ahmose I, founder of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt. It sits in the construction of his mortuary complex that included a cenotaph to his grandmother Queen Tetisheri, Senakhtenre's Great Royal Wife and grandmother of both Ahmose and his Principal Wife, Ahmose-Nefertari.

In ancient Egyptian art, the Set animal, or sha, is the totemic animal of the god Set. Because Set was identified with the Greek Typhon, the animal is also commonly known as the Typhonian animal or Typhonic beast.

Nebty name

The Nebty name was one of the "great five names" used by Egyptian pharaohs. It was also one of the oldest royal titles. The modern term "Two-Ladies-name" is a simple derivation from the translation of the Egyptian word nebty.

Prenomen (Ancient Egypt)

The prenomen, cartouche name or throne name of ancient Egypt was one of the five royal names of pharaohs. The first pharaoh to have a Sedge and Bee name was Den during the First Dynasty.

Nomen (Ancient Egypt) part of Ancient Egyptian royal titulary; one of the pharaohs five names

The nomen of Ancient Egyptian pharaohs was one of the "Great five names". It was introduced by king Djedefre, third pharaoh of the 4th Dynasty, as an emendation to the traditional nswt-bity crest. The nomen was later separated from the prenomen to become an independent royal name.

References

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  2. 1 2 3 Ronald J. Leprohon (30 April 2013). The Great Name: Ancient Egyptian Royal Titulary. SBL Press. pp. 1–15. ISBN   978-1-58983-736-2.
  3. 1 2 Günther Hölbl (1 February 2013). A History of the Ptolemaic Empire. Routledge. p. 79. ISBN   978-1-135-11983-6.
  4. 1 2 Paul D. LeBlanc (1 December 2017). Deciphering the Proto-Sinaitic Script: Making Sense of the Wadi el-Hol and Serabit el-Khadim Early Alphabetic Inscriptions. Subclass Press. p. 47. ISBN   978-0-9952844-0-1.
  5. 1 2 James P. Allen (2000). Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. Cambridge University Press. pp. 64–66. ISBN   978-0-521-77483-3.
  6. 1 2 3 Toby A. H. Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge, London/New York 1999, ISBN   0-415-18633-1, p. 74-75.
  7. Sethe, Kurt (1911) “Das Wort für König von Oberägypten” in Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, vol. 42, issue 1-2
  8. Ewa Wasilewska, Creation Stories of the Middle East, 2000, 130f.
  9. Peust, Carsten (2007) “Zur Bedeutung und Etymologie von nzw ‘König’” in Göttinger Miszellen, 213, pp. 59-62.
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