Khasekhemwy

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Khasekhemwy (ca. 2690 BC; Ḫꜥj-sḫm.wj, also rendered Kha-sekhemui) was the final king of the Second Dynasty of Egypt. Little is known about him, other than that he led several significant military campaigns and built the mudbrick fort known as Shunet El Zebib.

In the field of Egyptology, transliteration of Ancient Egyptian is the process of converting texts written in the Egyptian language to alphabetic symbols representing uniliteral hieroglyphs or their hieratic and Demotic counterparts. This process facilitates the publication of texts where the inclusion of photographs or drawings of an actual Egyptian document is impractical.

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.

Second Dynasty of Egypt dynasty of ancient Egypt

The Second Dynasty of ancient Egypt is the latter of the two dynasties of the Egyptian Archaic Period, when the seat of government was centred at Thinis. It is most known for its last ruler, Khasekhemwy, but is otherwise one of the most obscure periods in Egyptian history.

Contents

His Horus name Ḫꜥj-sḫm.wj can be interpreted "The Two Powerful Ones Appear", [3] but the name is recorded in many variants, such as Ḥr-Ḫꜥj-sḫm "Horus, he whose power appears", ḫꜥj sḫm.wj ḫtp nṯrwj jm=f "the two powers appear in that the ancestors rest within him" (etc.) [4]

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.

Date of reign

Khasekhemwy ruled for close to 18 years, with a floruit in the early 27th century BC. The exact date of his reign in Egyptian chronology is unclear but would fall roughly in between 26902670 BC.

Egyptian chronology timeline

The majority of Egyptologists agree on the outline and many details of the chronology of Ancient Egypt. This scholarly consensus is the so-called Conventional Egyptian chronology, which places the beginning of the Old Kingdom in the 27th century BC, the beginning of the Middle Kingdom in the 21st century BC and the beginning of the New Kingdom in the mid-16th century BC.

According to Toby Wilkinson's study of the Palermo Stone in Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt, this near contemporary 5th dynasty document assigns Khasekhemwy a reign of 17.5 or nearly 18 full years. [5] Wilkinson suggests that a reign of 18 "complete or partial years" can be attributed to Khasekhemwy since the Palermo Stone and its associated fragments record Years 3-6 and Years 12-18 of this king and notes that his final year is recorded in the preserved section of the document. [6] Since the cattle count is shown to be regularly biennial during the second dynasty from the Palermo Stone (the year of the 6th, 7th and 8th count is preserved on the document plus full years after these counts respectively), a figure of c. 18 years is likely correct for Khasekhemwy. (or c. 18 years 2 months and 23 days from the main fragment of the Palermo Stone)

Palermo Stone Fragment of a stele known as the Royal Annals of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt

The Palermo Stone is one of seven surviving fragments of a stele known as the Royal Annals of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. The stele contained a list of the kings of Egypt from the First Dynasty through to the early part of the Fifth Dynasty and noted significant events in each year of their reigns. It was probably made during the Fifth Dynasty. The Palermo Stone is held in the Regional Archeological Museum Antonio Salinas in the city of Palermo, Italy, from which it derives its name.

Biography

Khasekhemwy is normally placed as the successor of Seth-Peribsen, though some Egyptologists believe that another Pharaoh, Khasekhem, ruled between them. Most scholars, however, believe Khasekhem and Khasekhemwy are, in fact, the same person. [7] Khasekhem may have changed his name to Khasekhemwy after he reunited Upper and Lower Egypt after a civil war between the followers of the gods Horus and Set. Others believe he defeated the reigning king, Seth-Peribsen, after returning to Egypt from putting down a revolt in Nubia. Either way he ended the infighting of the Second dynasty and reunited Egypt.

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.

Upper Egypt strip of land on the Nile valley between Nubia and Lower Egypt

Upper Egypt is the strip of land on both sides of the Nile that extends between Nubia and downriver (northwards) to Lower Egypt.

Lower Egypt northernmost region of Egypt

Lower Egypt is the northernmost region of Egypt, which consists of the fertile Nile Delta, between Upper Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea — from El Aiyat, south of modern-day Cairo, and Dahshur. Historically, the Nile River split into seven branches of the delta in Lower Egypt. Lower Egypt was divided into nomes and began to advance as a civilization after 3600 BC. Today, it contains two major channels that flow through the delta of the Nile River.

Khasekhemwy is unique in Egyptian history as having both the symbols of Horus and Set on his serekh . Some Egyptologists believe that this was an attempt to unify the two factions; but after his death, Set was dropped from the serekh permanently. He was the earliest Egyptian king known to have built statues of himself.

Serekh

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

Khasekhemwy apparently undertook considerable building projects upon the reunification of Egypt. He built in stone at el-Kab, Hierakonpolis, and Abydos. He apparently built a unique, as well as huge, tomb at Abydos, the last such royal tomb built in that necropolis (Tomb V). The trapezoidal tomb measures some 70 meters (230 ft) in length and is 17 meters (56 ft) wide at its northern end, and 10 meters (33 ft) wide at its southern end. This area was divided into 58 rooms. Prior to some recent discoveries from the 1st dynasty, its central burial chamber was considered the oldest masonry structure in the world, being built of quarried limestone. Here, the excavators discovered the king's scepter of gold and sard, as well as several beautifully made small stone pots with gold leaf lid coverings, apparently missed by earlier tomb robbers. In fact, Petrie detailed a number of items removed during the excavations of Amélineau. Other items included flint tools, as well as a variety of copper tools and vessels, stone vessels and pottery vessels filled with grain and fruit. There were also small, glazed objects, carnelian beads, model tools, basketwork and a large quantity of seals.

Khasekhemwy built a fort at Nekhen, and at Abydos (now known as Shunet ez Zebib) and was buried there in the necropolis at Umm el-Qa'ab. He may also have built the Gisr el-Mudir at Saqqara.

Family

Khasekhemwy's wife was Queen Nimaathap, mother of the King's Children. They were the parents of Djoser and Djoser's wife Hetephernebti. [8] It is also possible that Khasekhemwy's son was Sanakhte.

Bibliography

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References

  1. Alan H. Gardiner: The royal canon of Turin.
  2. Khasekhemwy's fort Archived 2012-09-03 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson Ltd, 2006 paperback, p. 26
  4. Jürgen von Beckerath, Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen (1999).
  5. Toby Wilkinson, Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt, (Columbia University Press:2000 - ISBN   0-7103-0667-9), p. 258
  6. Toby Wilkinson, Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt, (Columbia University Press:2000 - ISBN   0-7103-0667-9), pp. 78–79 & 258
  7. King Khasekhem Archived 2006-09-01 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Aidan Dodson & Dyan Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, (London: Thames & Hudson, 2004) ISBN   0-500-05128-3, p. 48