|Reign||31st century BC (1st Dynasty)|
|Burial||Chambers B10, B15, B19, Umm el-Qa'ab|
Hor-Aha (or Aha or Horus Aha) is considered the second pharaoh of the First Dynasty of Egypt by some Egyptologists, others consider him the first one and corresponding to Menes. He lived around the 31st century BC and is thought to have had a long reign.
The commonly used name Hor-Aha is a rendering of the pharaoh's Horus-name, an element of the royal titulary associated with the god Horus, and is more fully given as Horus-Aha meaning Horus the Fighter.
The Greek historian Manetho's record "Aegyptiaca" (translating to History of Egypt) lists his Greek name as Athothis, or "Athotís".
For the Early Dynastic Period, the archaeological record refers to the pharaohs by their Horus-names, while the historical record, as evidenced in the Turin and Abydos king lists, uses an alternative royal titulary, the nebty-name.The different titular elements of a pharaoh's name were often used in isolation, for brevity's sake, although the choice varied according to circumstance and period.
Mainstream Egyptological consensus follows the findings of Petrie in reconciling the two records and connects Hor-Aha (archaeological) with the nebty-name Ity (historical).
The same process has led to the identification of the historical Menes (a nebty-name) with Narmer (a Horus-name) evidenced in the archaeological record (both figures are credited with the unification of Egypt and as the first pharaoh of Dynasty I) as the predecessor of Hor-Aha (the second pharaoh).
There has been some controversy about Hor-Aha. Somebelieve him to be the same individual as the legendary Menes and that he was the one to unify all of Egypt. Others claim he was the son of Narmer, the pharaoh who unified Egypt. Narmer and Menes may have been one pharaoh, referred to with more than one name. Regardless, considerable historical evidence from the period points to Narmer as the pharaoh who first unified Egypt (see Narmer Palette ) and to Hor-Aha as his son and heir.
Seal impressions discovered by G. Dreyer in the Umm El Qa'ab from Den and Qa'a burials identify Hor-Aha as the second pharaoh of the first dynasty.His predecessor Narmer had united Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt into a single kingdom, "Upper and Lower Egypt". Hor-Aha probably ascended the throne in the mid 31st century.
Hor-Aha seems to have conducted many religious activities. A visit to a shrine of the goddess Neith is recorded on several tablets from his reign.The sanctuary of Neith he visited was located in the north-west of the Nile Delta at Sais. Furthermore, the first known representation of the sacred Henu -bark of the god Seker was found engraved on a year tablet dating from his reign.
Vessel inscriptions, labels and sealings from the graves of Hor-Aha and Queen Neithhotep suggest that this queen died during the reign of Aha. He arranged for her burial in a magnificent mastaba excavated by Jacques de Morgan.Queen Neithhotep is plausibly Aha's mother The selection of the cemetery of Naqada as the resting place of Neithhotep is a strong indication that she came from this province. This, in turn, supports the view that Narmer married a member of the ancient royal line of Naqada to strengthen the domination of the Thinite kings over the region. However, in January 2016, a rock inscription has demonstrated that Neithhotep was actually a queen regent early during the reign of Djer, Hor-Aha's successor. Therefore, the cemetery evidence above only proves that Neithhotep did live during the reign of Hor-Aha but succeeded him into Djer's reign.
Most importantly, the oldest mastaba at the North Saqqara necropolis of Memphis dates to his reign. The mastaba belongs to an elite member of the administration who may have been a relative of Hor-Aha, as was customary at the time.This is a strong indication of the growing importance of Memphis during Aha's reign.
Few artifacts remain of Hor-Aha's reign. However, the finely executed copper-axe heads, faience vessel fragments,ivory box and inscribed white marbles all testify to the flourishing of craftsmanship during Aha's time in power.
Inscription on an ivory tablet from Abydos suggests that Hor-Aha led an expedition against the Nubians. On a year tablet, a year is explicitly called 'Year of smiting of Ta-Sety' (i.e. Nubia).
During Hor-Aha's reign, trade with the Southern Levant seems to have been on the decline. Contrary to his predecessor Narmer, Hor-Aha is not attested outside of the Nile Valley. This may point to a gradual replacement of long-distance trade between Egypt and its eastern neighbors by a more direct exploitation of the local resources by the Egyptians. Vessel fragment analysis from an Egyptian outpost at En Besor suggests that it was active during Hor-Aha's reign. Other Egyptian settlements are known to have been active at the time as well (Byblos and along the Lebanese coast). Finally, Hor-Aha's tomb yielded vessel fragments from the Southern Levant.
Hor-Aha's chief wife was Benerib, whose name was "written alongside his on a number of [historical] pieces, in particular, from tomb B14 at Abydos, Egypt".Tomb B14 is located directly adjacent to Hor-Aha's sepulchre. Hor-Aha also had another wife, Khenthap, with whom he became father of Djer. She is mentioned as Djer's mother on the Cairo Annals Stone.
Hor-Aha's mother is believed to be Neithhotep. She is also believed to be wife of the late Narmer and possibly remarries one of Hor-Aha's top three Grand Viziers by the name of Rekhit after the death of Narmer. The massive Naqada tomb Neithhotep was believed to be buried has 10 inscriptions of her in it. The same tomb also has 15 inscriptions to Rekhit.
The tomb of Hor-Aha is located in the necropolis of the kings of the 1st Dynasty at Abydos, known as the Umm el-Qa'ab. It comprises three large chambers (designated B10, B15, and B19), which are directly adjacent to Narmer's tomb.The chambers are rectangular, directly dug in the desert floor, their walls lined with mud bricks. The tombs of Narmer and Ka had only two adjacent chambers, while the tomb of Hor-Aha comprises three substantially larger yet separated chambers. The reason for this architecture is that it was difficult at that time to build large ceilings above the chambers, as timber for these structures often had to be imported from Palestine.
A striking innovation of Hor-Aha's tomb is that members of the royal household were buried with the pharaoh, the earliest known retainer sacrifices in Egypt. It is unclear if they were killed or committed suicide. Among those buried were servants, dwarfs, women and even dogs. A total of 36 subsidiary burials were laid out in three parallel rows north-east of Hor-Aha's main chambers. As a symbol of royalty Hor-Aha was even given a group of young lions.
Pharaoh is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.
Menes was a pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period of ancient Egypt credited by classical tradition with having united Upper and Lower Egypt and as the founder of the First Dynasty.
Narmer was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period. He was the successor to the Protodynastic king Ka. Some consider him the unifier of Egypt and founder of the First Dynasty, and in turn the first king of a unified Egypt. A majority of Egyptologists believe that Narmer was the same person as Menes.
Djer is considered the third pharaoh of the First Dynasty of ancient Egypt in current Egyptology. He lived around the mid-thirty-first century BC and reigned for c. 40 years. A mummified forearm of Djer or his wife was discovered by Flinders Petrie, but was discarded by Émile Brugsch.
Nynetjer is the Horus name of the third pharaoh of the Second Dynasty of Egypt. The length of his reign is unknown. The Turin Canon suggests an improbable reign of 96 years and Egyptian historian Manetho suggested that Nynetjer's reign lasted 47 years. Egyptologists question both statements as misinterpretations or exaggerations. They generally credit Nynetjer with a reign of either 43 years or 45 years. Their estimation is based on the reconstructions of the well known Palermo Stone inscription reporting the years 7–21, the Cairo Stone inscription reporting the years 36–44. According to different authors, Nynetjer ruled Egypt from c. 2850 BC to 2760 BC or later from c. 2760 BC to 2715 BC.
Djet, also known as Wadj, Zet, and Uadji, was the fourth pharaoh of the First Dynasty. Djet's Horus name means "Horus Cobra" or "Serpent of Horus".
Den, also known as Hor-Den, Dewen and Udimu, is the Horus name of a pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period who ruled during the First Dynasty of Egypt. He is the best archaeologically-attested ruler of this period. Den is said to have brought prosperity to his realm and numerous innovations are attributed to his reign. He was the first to use the title "King of Lower and Upper Egypt", and the first depicted as wearing the double crown. The floor of his tomb at Umm El Qa'ab near Abydos is made of red and black granite, the first time in Egypt this hard stone was used as a building material. During his long reign he established many of the customs of court ritual and royalty used by later rulers and he was held in high regard by his immediate successors.
Umm El Qaʻāb is a necropolis of the Early Dynastic Period kings at Abydos, Egypt. Its modern name means "Mother of Pots" as the whole area is littered with the broken pot shards of offerings made in earlier times. The cultic ancient name of the area was (w-)pkr or (rꜣ-)pkr "District of the pkr[-tree]" or "Opening of the pkr[-tree]", belonging to tꜣ-dsr "the secluded/cleared land" (necropolis) or crk-hh "Binding of Eternity".
Merneith was a consort and a regent of Ancient Egypt during the First Dynasty. She may have been a ruler of Egypt in her own right, based on several official records. If this was the case and the earlier royal wife Neithhotep never ruled as an independent regent, Merneith may have been the first female pharaoh and the earliest queen regnant in recorded history. Her rule occurred around 2950 BC for an undetermined period. Merneith’s name means "Beloved by Neith" and her stele contains symbols of that ancient Egyptian deity. She may have been Djer's daughter and was probably Djet's senior royal wife. The former meant that she would have been the great-granddaughter of unified Egypt's first pharaoh, Narmer. She was also the mother of Den, her successor.
Iry-Hor or Ro was a predynastic pharaoh of Upper Egypt during the 32nd century BC. Iry-Hor's existence was debated, with the Egyptologist Toby Wilkinson contesting the reading and signification of his name. However, continuing excavations at Abydos in the 1980s and 1990s and the discovery in 2012 of an inscription of Iry-Hor in the Sinai confirmed his existence. Iry-Hor is the earliest ruler of Egypt known by name and is sometimes cited as the earliest-living historical person known by name.
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.
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.
Anedjib, more correctly Adjib and also known as Hor-Anedjib, Hor-Adjib and Enezib, is the Horus name of an early Egyptian king who ruled during the 1st dynasty. The Egyptian historian Manetho named him "Miebîdós" and credited him with a reign of 26 years, whilst the Royal Canon of Turin credited him with an implausible reign of 74 years. Egyptologists and historians now consider both records to be exaggerations and generally credit Adjib with a reign of 8–10 years.
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.
Sekhemib-Perenma'at, is the horus name of an early Egyptian king who ruled during the 2nd dynasty. Similar to his predecessor, successor or co-ruler Seth-Peribsen, Sekhemib is contemporarily well attested in archaeological records, but he does not appear in any posthumous document. The exact length of his reign is unknown and his burial site has yet to be found.
Ka, also (alternatively) Sekhen, was a Predynastic pharaoh of Upper Egypt belonging to Dynasty 0. He probably reigned during the first half of the 32nd century BC. The length of his reign is unknown.
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.
Neithhotep or Neith-hotep was an ancient Egyptian queen consort living and ruling during the early First Dynasty. She was once thought to be a male ruler: her outstandingly large mastaba and the royal serekh surrounding her name on several seal impressions previously led Egyptologists and historians to the erroneous belief that she may have been an unknown king.
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.
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