Hor-Aha

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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.

Pharaoh Title of Ancient Egyptian rulers

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.

The First Dynasty of ancient Egypt covers the first series of Egyptian kings to rule over a unified Egypt. It immediately follows the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, possibly by Narmer, and marks the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period, a time at which power was centered at Thinis.

Egyptology Study of Ancient Egypt

Egyptology is the study of ancient Egyptian history, language, literature, religion, architecture and art from the 5th millennium BC until the end of its native religious practices in the 4th century AD. A practitioner of the discipline is an "Egyptologist". In Europe, particularly on the Continent, Egyptology is primarily regarded as being a philological discipline, while in North America it is often regarded as a branch of archaeology.

Contents

Identity

Name

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. [1]

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.

Horus Egyptian war deity

Horus is one of the most significant ancient Egyptian deities. 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.

The Greek historian Manetho's record "Aegyptiaca" (translating to History of Egypt) lists his Greek name as Athothis, or "Athotís".

Manetho Egyptian historian and priest from Ancient Egypt

Manetho is believed to have been an Egyptian priest from Sebennytos who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the early third century BC, during the Hellenistic period. He authored the Aegyptiaca in Greek, a major chronological source for the reigns of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It is unclear if he wrote his work during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter or Ptolemy II Philadelphos, but no later than that of Ptolemy III Euergetes.

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. [1] [2] 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. [2]

Early Dynastic Period (Egypt) period of Ancient Egypt immediately follows the unification of Lower and Upper Egypt

The Archaic or Early Dynastic Period of Egypt is the era immediately following the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt c. 3100 BC. It is generally taken to include the First and Second Dynasties, lasting from the end of the Naqada III archaeological period until about 2686 BC, or the beginning of the Old Kingdom. With the First Dynasty, the capital moved from Thinis to Memphis with a unified Egypt ruled by an Egyptian god-king. Abydos remained the major holy land in the south. The hallmarks of ancient Egyptian civilization, such as art, architecture and many aspects of religion, took shape during the Early Dynastic period.

Turin King List ancient Egyptian manuscript

The Turin King List, also known as the Turin Royal Canon, is an ancient Egyptian hieratic papyrus thought to date from the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II, now in the Museo Egizio in Turin. The papyrus is the most extensive list available of kings compiled by the ancient Egyptians, and is the basis for most chronology before the reign of Ramesses II.

Abydos King List

The Abydos King List, also known as the Abydos Table, is a list of the names of seventy-six kings of Ancient Egypt, found on a wall of the Temple of Seti I at Abydos, Egypt. It consists of three rows of thirty-eight cartouches in each row. The upper two rows contain names of the kings, while the third row merely repeats Seti I's throne name and praenomen.

Mainstream Egyptological consensus follows the findings of Petrie in reconciling the two records and connects Hor-Aha (archaeological) with the nebty-name Ity (historical). [1] [2] [3]

Flinders Petrie English egyptologist

Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie, FRS, FBA, commonly known as Flinders Petrie, was an English Egyptologist and a pioneer of systematic methodology in archaeology and preservation of artefacts. He held the first chair of Egyptology in the United Kingdom, and excavated many of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt in conjunction with his wife, Hilda Petrie. Some consider his most famous discovery to be that of the Merneptah Stele, an opinion with which Petrie himself concurred.

Inscription bearing Hor-Aha's serekh together with a Nebty-name expressed with the game-board hieroglyph, which could be read mn. C+B-Egypt-Fig10-TabletOfMenesFromNaqada.PNG
Inscription bearing Hor-Aha's serekh together with a Nebty-name expressed with the game-board hieroglyph, which could be read mn.

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). [1] [2] [3]

Menes Founder of Manethos 1st dynasty and unifier of Egypt

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 Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Early Dynastic Period

Narmer was an ancient Egyptian king of the Early Dynastic Period, circa 3100-3050 BC. He probably was the successor to the Protodynastic king Ka, or possibly Scorpion. Some consider him the unifier of Egypt and founder of the First Dynasty, and in turn the first king of a unified Egypt.

Theories

There has been some controversy about Hor-Aha. Some [4] believe 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.

Reign

Successor to Narmer

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. [5] 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 late 32nd or early 31st century.

Interior policy

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. [6] The sanctuary of Neith he visited was located in the north-west of the Nile Delta at Sais. [7] 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. [8]

Mastaba attributed to Neithhotep which is believed to have been built by Hor-Aha. Tombe-Nagada-de-Morgan.jpg
Mastaba attributed to Neithhotep which is believed to have been built by Hor-Aha.

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. [9] Queen Neithhotep is plausibly Aha's mother [10] 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. [7] 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. [11] 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. [7] This is a strong indication of the growing importance of Memphis during Aha's reign.

Economic development

Few artifacts remain of Hor-Aha's reign. However, the finely executed copper-axe heads, faience vessel fragments, [12] ivory box and inscribed white marbles all testify to the flourishing of craftsmanship during Aha's time in power. [7]

Activities outside Egypt

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). [13]

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. [14]

Family

Clay seal fragment bearing Hor-Aha's serekh together with h and t signs, perhaps meant to signify a personal name Htj Ahasiegel.png
Clay seal fragment bearing Hor-Aha's serekh together with ḥ and t signs, perhaps meant to signify a personal name Htj

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". [15] [16] [17] Tomb B14 is located directly adjacent to Hor-Aha's sepulchre. [18] Hor-Aha also had another wife, Khenthap, [19] with whom he became father of Djer. She is mentioned as Djer's mother on the Cairo Annals Stone.

Tomb

Hor-Aha's tomb comprises three chambers B10, B15 and B19, shown in inset. B14 could be the tomb of Hor-Aha's wife Benerib. TombOfHorAha.jpg
Hor-Aha's tomb comprises three chambers B10, B15 and B19, shown in inset. B14 could be the tomb of Hor-Aha's wife Benerib.

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. [20] 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.

See also

Related Research Articles

Djer ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the 1st Dynasty

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 Egyptian pharaoh

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 Egyptian pharaoh

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 (pharaoh) Horus name of an early Egyptian king

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 patterns of court ritual and royalty used by later rulers and he was held in high regard by his immediate successors.

Umm El Qaab Ancient Egyptian necropolis

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 ancient Egyptian queen

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, she 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 Egyptian pharaoh

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 possibly the earliest-living historical person known by name.

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.

Ka (pharaoh) Predynastic pharaoh of Upper Egypt

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 BCE. The length of his reign is unknown.

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 had placed the falcon, which symbolizes the deity Horus, atop his serekh.

Neithhotep Ancient Egyptian queen consort

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.

Benerib ancient Egyptian queen consort

Benerib was a Queen Consort of ancient Egypt from the First dynasty. Benerib's name means "sweet of heart".

Nakhtneith ancient Egyptian queen of the 1st Dynasty, consort of Den

Nakhtneith was a Queen consort of ancient Egypt. She lived during the 1st dynasty. Her name means "strong is Neith".

Nebty name

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

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Edwards 1971: 13
  2. 1 2 3 4 Lloyd 1994: 7
  3. 1 2 Cervelló-Autuori 2003: 174
  4. Stephan Seidlmayer, The Rise of the State to the Second Dynasty, quoted in Egypt: The World of the Pharaohs, 2004 (translated from German, 2010), ISBN   978-3-8331-6000-4
  5. Toby A.H. Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. S. 69–70
  6. W. M. Flinders Petrie: The Royal Tombs of the Earliest Dynasties 1901, Part II, London 1901, Taf. X,2; XI,2
  7. 1 2 3 4 Toby A.H. Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. S. 291
  8. Toby A.H. Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. S. 301
  9. De Morgan Recherches sur les origines de l'Egypte II. Ethnographie préhistorique et tombeau royal de Negadah
  10. Silke Roth: Die Königsmütter des Alten Ägypten von der Frühzeit bis zum Ende der 12. Dynastie. Wiesbaden 2001, S. 31–35
  11. Owen Jarus, Live Science, Early Egyptian Queen Revealed in 5,000-Year-Old Hieroglyphs,
  12. F. Petrie Abydos, II, London: Egypt Exploration Fund. Memoir 23, A. J. Spencer Early Egypt: The rise of civilisation in the Nile Valley, London: British Museum Press 1993
  13. W. M. Flinders Petrie: The Royal Tombs of the Earliest Dynasties 1901, Part II, London 1901, Taf. XI,1
  14. Toby A.H. Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. S. 71
  15. Aidan Dodson & Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson (2004), p.46
  16. Walter Bryan Emery: Ägypten – Geschichte und Kultur der Frühzeit. S. 47f.
  17. Toby A.H. Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. S. 70
  18. Dodson & Hilton, p.46
  19. Queens of Egypt, informations based on the book The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt
  20. W. M. Flinders Petrie: The Royal Tombs of the Earliest Dynasties 1901, Part II, London 1901, S. 7–8, Taf. LIX; and more recently: Werner Kaiser: Einige Bemerkungen zur ägyptischen Frühzeit, In: Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 91 (1964), 86–124, and 96–102

Bibliography