Neferkara I

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Neferkara I (also Neferka and, alternatively, Aaka) is the cartouche name of a king (pharaoh) who is said to have ruled during the 2nd dynasty of Ancient Egypt. The exact length of his reign is unknown since the Turin canon lacks the years of rulership [1] and the ancient Greek historian Manetho suggests that Neferkara's reign lasted 25 years. [2] Egyptologists evaluate his statement as misinterpretation or exaggeration.

Cartouche oval with inscriptions

In Egyptian hieroglyphs, a cartouche is an oval with a horizontal line at one end, indicating that the text enclosed is a royal name. They came into common use during the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu, but earlier examples date to the mid Second Dynasty on Cylinder Seals of Seth-Peribsen. While the cartouche is usually vertical with a horizontal line, if it makes the name fit better it can be horizontal, with a vertical line at the end . The Ancient Egyptian word for it was shenu, and it was essentially an expanded shen ring. In Demotic, the cartouche was reduced to a pair of brackets and a vertical line.

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.


Name sources

The name “Neferkara I” (meaning “the Ka of Re is beautiful”) appears only in the Abydos King list. The royal canon of Turin lists a king's name which is disputed for its uncertain reading. Egyptologists such as Alan H. Gardiner read “Aaka”, [1] whilst other Egyptologists, such as Jürgen von Beckerath, read “Neferka”. Both kinglists describe Neferkara I as the immediate successor of king Senedj and as the predecessor of king Neferkasokar. [3] [4] [5]

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 nomen.

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.

Jürgen von Beckerath was a German Egyptologist. He was a prolific writer who published countless articles in journals such as Orientalia, Göttinger Miszellen (GM), Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt (JARCE), Archiv für Orientforschung (AfO), and Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur (SAK) among others. Together with Kenneth Kitchen, he is viewed as one of the foremost scholars on the New Kingdom and the Third Intermediate Period of Egypt.


There's no contemporary name source for this king and no Horus name could be connected to Neferkare I up to this day. [3] [4] In contrast, Egyptologists such as Kim Ryholt believe that Neferkara/Neferka was identical with a sparsely attested king named Sneferka, which is also thought to be a name worn by king Qaa (last ruler of 1st dynasty) for a short time only. Ryholt thinks that ramesside scribes misleadingly added the symbol of the sun to the name “(S)neferka”, ignoring the fact that the sun itself was no object of divine adoration yet during the 2nd dynasty. For a comparison he points to cartouche names such as Neferkara II from the kinglist of Abydos and Nebkara I. from the Sakkara table. [6]

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.

Kim Steven Bardrum Ryholt is a professor of Egyptology at the University of Copenhagen and a specialist on Egyptian history and literature. He is director of the research center Canon and Identity Formation in the Earliest Literate Societies under the University of Copenhagen Programme of Excellence and director of The Papyrus Carlsberg Collection & Project.

Sneferka Egyptian pharaoh

Sneferka is the serekh-name of an early Egyptian king who may have ruled at the end of the 1st dynasty. The exact length of his reign is unknown, but thought to have been very short and his chronological position is unclear.

The ancient Greek historian Manetho called Neferkara I “Népherchêres” and reported, that during this kings rulership “the Nile was flowing with honey for eleven days”. Egyptologists think that this collocation was meant to show up that the realm was flourishing under king Nephercheres. [5] [7]

Collocation Frequent occurrence of words next to each other

In corpus linguistics, a collocation is a sequence of words or terms that co-occur more often than would be expected by chance. In phraseology, collocation is a sub-type of phraseme. An example of a phraseological collocation, as propounded by Michael Halliday, is the expression strong tea. While the same meaning could be conveyed by the roughly equivalent powerful tea, this expression is considered excessive and awkward by English speakers. Conversely, the corresponding expression in technology, powerful computer is preferred over strong computer. Phraseological collocations should not be confused with idioms, where an idiom's meaning is derived from its convention as a stand-in for something else while collocation is a mere popular composition. The ability to use English effectively involves an awareness of a distinctive feature of the language known as collocation. Collocation is that behaviour of the language by which two or more words go together, in speech or writing.


Egyptologists such as Wolfgang Helck, Nicolas Grimal, Hermann Alexander Schlögl and Francesco Tiradritti believe that king Nynetjer, the third ruler of second dynasty, left a realm that was suffering from an overly complex state administration and that Ninetjer decided to split Egypt to leave it to his two sons (or, at least, rightful throne successors) who would rule two separate kingdoms, in the hope that the two rulers could better administer the states. [8] [9] In contrast, Egyptologists such as Barbara Bell believe that an economic catastrophe like a famine or a long lasting drought affected Egypt. Therefore, to address the problem of feeding the Egyptian population, Ninetjer split the realm and his successors founded two independent realms, until the famine came to an end. Bell points to the inscriptions of the Palermo stone, where, in her opinion, the records of the annual Nile floods show constantly low levels during this period. [10] Bell's theory is refuted today by Egyptologists such as Stephan Seidlmayer, who corrected Bell's calculations. Seidlmayer has shown that the annual Nile floods were at usual levels at Ninetjer's time up to the period of the Old Kingdom. Bell had overlooked, that the heights of the Nile floods in the Palermo stone inscription only takes the measurements of the nilometers around Memphis into account, but not elsewhere in Egypt. Any long-lasting drought can therefore be excluded. [11]

Nicolas-Christophe Grimal is a French Egyptologist.

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.

Famine widespread scarcity of food followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality

A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, inflation, crop failure, population imbalance, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every inhabited continent in the world has experienced a period of famine throughout history. In the 19th and 20th century, it was generally Southeast and South Asia, as well as Eastern and Central Europe that suffered the most deaths from famine. The numbers dying from famine began to fall sharply from the 2000s.

It is a commonly accepted theory, that Neferkara I had to share his throne with another ruler. It is just unclear yet, with whom. Later kinglists such as the Sakkara list and the Turin canon list the kings Neferkasokar and Hudjefa I as immediate successors. The Abydos list skips all these three rulers and name a king Djadjay (identical with king Khasekhemwy). If Egypt was already divided when Neferkara I gained the throne, kings like Sekhemib and Peribsen would have ruled Upper Egypt, whilst Neferkara I and his successors would have ruled Lower Egypt. The division of Egypt was brought to an end by king Khasekhemwy. [12]


Neferkasokar was an Ancient Egyptian king (pharaoh) who may have ruled in Egypt during the 2nd dynasty. Very little is known about him, since no contemporary records about him have been found. Rather his name has been found in later sources.

Hudjefa is the pseudonym for a 2nd dynasty pharaoh as reported on the Turin canon, a list of kings written during the reign of Ramses II. Hudjefa is now understood to mean that the name of the king was already missing from the document from which the Turin canon was copied. The length of the reign associated to Hudjefa on the canon is 11 years. Because of the position of Hudjefa on the Turin list, he is sometimes identified with a king Sesochris reported in the Aegyptiaca, a history of Egypt written by the Egyptian priest Manetho in the 3rd century BC. Manetho credits this pharaoh with 48 years of reign. Egyptologists have attempted to relate Hudjefa with archaeologically attested kings of the period, in particular Seth Peribsen.

Khasekhemwy Final king of the Second dynasty of Egypt

Khasekhemwy 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.

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  1. 1 2 Alan H. Gardiner: The royal canon of Turin. Griffith Institute of Oxford, Oxford (UK) 1997, ISBN   0-900416-48-3; p. 15 & Table I.
  2. William Gillian Waddell: Manetho (The Loeb classical Library, Volume 350). Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.) 2004 (Reprint), ISBN   0-674-99385-3, pp. 37–41.
  3. 1 2 Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards: The Cambridge ancient history Vol. 1, Pt. 2: Early history of the Middle East, 3rd volume (Reprint). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2006, ISBN   0-521-07791-5, p. 35.
  4. 1 2 Jürgen von Beckerath: Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen. Deutscher Kunstverlag, München/Berlin 1984, p. 49.
  5. 1 2 Winfried Barta: Die Chronologie der 1. bis 5. Dynastie nach den Angaben des rekonstruierten Annalensteins. In: Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde. (ZAS) volume 108, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1981, ISSN 0044-216X, pp. 12–14.
  6. Kim Ryholt, in: Journal of Egyptian History; vol.1. BRILL, Leiden 2008, ISSN 1874-1657, pp. 159–173.
  7. Walter Bryan Emery: Ägypten, Geschichte und Kultur der Frühzeit, 3200-2800 v. Chr. p. 19.
  8. Nicolas Grimal: A History of Ancient Egypt. Wiley-Blackwell, Weinheim 1994, ISBN   978-0-631-19396-8, p. 55.
  9. Francesco Tiradritti & Anna Maria Donadoni Roveri: Kemet: Alle Sorgenti Del Tempo. Electa, Milano 1998, ISBN   88-435-6042-5, p. 80–85.
  10. Barbara Bell: Oldest Records of the Nile Floods, In: Geographical Journal, No. 136. 1970, p. 569–573; M. Goedike: Journal of Egypt Archaeology, No. 42. 1998, page 50.
  11. Stephan Seidlmayer: Historische und moderne Nilstände: Historische und moderne Nilstände: Untersuchungen zu den Pegelablesungen des Nils von der Frühzeit bis in die Gegenwart. Achet, Berlin 2001, ISBN   3-9803730-8-8, pp. 87–89.
  12. Hermann Alexander Schlögl: Das Alte Ägypten: Geschichte und Kultur von der Frühzeit bis zu Kleopatra. Beck, Hamburg 2006, ISBN   3-406-54988-8, pp. 77–78 & 415.
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