|Pharaoh of Egypt|
|First monarch||King Narmer or King Menes (by tradition) |
(first use of the term pharaoh for a king, rather than the royal palace, was c.1210 B.C. with Merneptah during the nineteenth dynasty)
|Formation||c. 3150 BC|
|Residence||Varies by era|
"King of Upper
and Lower Egypt"
Pharaoh ( // FAIR-oh, US also // FAY-roh; Coptic : ⲡⲣ̅ⲣⲟ, romanized: Pǝrro) is the common title now used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty (c. 3150 BCE) until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the term "pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1210 BCE, during the Nineteenth dynasty, "king" being the term used most frequently until the middle of the Eighteenth Dynasty. In the early dynasties, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles: the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj), and the Two Ladies or Nebty (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus as well as the nomen and prenomen titles were added later.
In Egyptian society, religion was central to everyday life. One of the roles of the pharaoh was as an intermediary between the deities and the people. The pharaoh thus deputised for the deities in a role that was both as civil and religious administrator. The pharaoh owned all of the land in Egypt, enacted laws, collected taxes, and defended Egypt from invaders as the commander-in-chief of the army.Religiously, the pharaoh officiated over religious ceremonies and chose the sites of new temples. The pharaoh was responsible for maintaining Maat (mꜣꜥt), or cosmic order, balance, and justice, and part of this included going to war when necessary to defend the country or attacking others when it was believed that this would contribute to Maat, such as to obtain resources.
During the early days prior to the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Deshret or the "Red Crown", was a representation of the kingdom of Lower Egypt, while the Hedjet, the "White Crown", was worn by the kings of the kingdom of Upper Egypt. After the unification of both kingdoms into one united Egypt, the Pschent, the combination of both the red and white crowns was the official crown of kings. With time new headdresses were introduced during different dynasties such as the Khat, Nemes, Atef, Hemhem crown, and Khepresh. At times, it was depicted that a combination of these headdresses or crowns would be worn together.
The word pharaoh ultimately derives from the Egyptian compound pr ꜥꜣ , */ˌpaɾuwˈʕaʀ/ "great house", written with the two biliteral hieroglyphs pr "house" and ꜥꜣ "column", here meaning "great" or "high". It was used only in larger phrases such as smr pr-ꜥꜣ "Courtier of the High House", with specific reference to the buildings of the court or palace. From the Twelfth Dynasty onward, the word appears in a wish formula "Great House, May it Live, Prosper, and be in Health", but again only with reference to the royal palace and not the person.
Sometime during the era of the New Kingdom, Second Intermediate Period, pharaoh became the form of address for a person who was king. The earliest confirmed instance where pr ꜥꜣ is used specifically to address the ruler is in a letter to Akhenaten (reigned c. 1353–1336 BCE) that is addressed to "Great House, L, W, H, the Lord".However, there is a possibility that the title pr ꜥꜣ was applied to Thutmose III (c. 1479–1425 BCE), depending on whether an inscription on the Temple of Armant can be confirmed to refer to that king. During the Eighteenth dynasty (sixteenth to fourteenth centuries BCE) the title pharaoh was employed as a reverential designation of the ruler. About the late Twenty-first Dynasty (tenth century BCE), however, instead of being used alone as before, it began to be added to the other titles before the ruler's name, and from the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty (eighth to seventh centuries BCE) it was, at least in ordinary usage, the only epithet prefixed to the royal appellative.
From the Nineteenth dynasty onward pr-ꜥꜣ on its own, was used as regularly as ḥm , "Majesty". [ citation needed ]The term, therefore, evolved from a word specifically referring to a building to a respectful designation for the ruler presiding in that building, particularly by the Twenty-Second Dynasty and Twenty-third Dynasty.
For instance, the first dated appearance of the title pharaoh being attached to a ruler's name occurs in Year 17 of Siamun (10th century BCE) on a fragment from the Karnak Priestly Annals. Here, an induction of an individual to the Amun priesthood is dated specifically to the reign of Pharaoh Siamun. [ citation needed ]This new practice was continued under his successor Psusennes II and the subsequent kings of the twenty-second dynasty. For instance, the Large Dakhla stela is specifically dated to Year 5 of king "Pharaoh Shoshenq, beloved of Amun", whom all Egyptologists concur was Shoshenq I—the founder of the Twenty-second Dynasty—including Alan Gardiner in his original 1933 publication of this stela. Shoshenq I was the second successor of Siamun. Meanwhile, the old custom of referring to the sovereign simply as pr-ˤ3 continued in traditional Egyptian narratives.
By this time, the Late Egyptian word is reconstructed to have been pronounced *[parʕoʔ] whence Herodotus derived the name of one of the Egyptian kings, Koinē Greek : Φερων. In the Hebrew Bible, the title also occurs as Hebrew : פרעה[parʕoːh]; from that, in the Septuagint, Koinē Greek : φαραώ, romanized: pharaō, and then in Late Latin pharaō, both -n stem nouns. The Qur'an likewise spells it Arabic : فرعونfirʿawn with n (here, always referring to the one evil king in the Book of Exodus story, by contrast to the good king in surah Yusuf's story). The Arabic combines the original ayin from Egyptian along with the -n ending from Greek.
In English, the term was at first spelled "Pharao", but the translators of the King James Bible revived "Pharaoh" with "h" from the Hebrew. Meanwhile, in Egypt itself, *[par-ʕoʔ] evolved into Sahidic Coptic ⲡⲣ̅ⲣⲟpərro and then ərro by mistaking p- as the definite article "the" (from ancient Egyptian pꜣ ).
Other notable epithets are nswt , translated to "king"; ḥm , "Majesty"; jty for "monarch or sovereign"; nb for "lord";and ḥqꜣ for "ruler".
Sceptres and staves were a general sign of authority in ancient Egypt.One of the earliest royal scepters was discovered in the tomb of Khasekhemwy in Abydos. Kings were also known to carry a staff, and Pharaoh Anedjib is shown on stone vessels carrying a so-called mks-staff. The scepter with the longest history seems to be the heqa-sceptre, sometimes described as the shepherd's crook. The earliest examples of this piece of regalia dates to prehistoric Egypt. A scepter was found in a tomb at Abydos that dates to Naqada III.
Another scepter associated with the king is the was-sceptre.This is a long staff mounted with an animal head. The earliest known depictions of the was-scepter date to the First Dynasty. The was-scepter is shown in the hands of both kings and deities.
The flail later was closely related to the heqa-scepter (the crook and flail), but in early representations the king was also depicted solely with the flail, as shown in a late pre-dynastic knife handle that is now in the Metropolitan museum, and on the Narmer Macehead.
The earliest evidence known of the Uraeus—a rearing cobra—is from the reign of Den from the first dynasty. The cobra supposedly protected the pharaoh by spitting fire at its enemies.
The red crown of Lower Egypt, the Deshret crown, dates back to pre-dynastic times and symbolised chief ruler. A red crown has been found on a pottery shard from Naqada, and later, Narmer is shown wearing the red crown on both the Narmer Macehead and the Narmer Palette.
The white crown of Upper Egypt, the Hedjet, was worn in the Predynastic Period by Scorpion II, and, later, by Narmer.
This is the combination of the Deshret and Hedjet crowns into a double crown, called the Pschent crown. It is first documented in the middle of the First Dynasty of Egypt. The earliest depiction may date to the reign of Djet, and is otherwise surely attested during the reign of Den.
The khat headdress consists of a kind of "kerchief" whose end is tied similarly to a ponytail. The earliest depictions of the khat headdress comes from the reign of Den, but is not found again until the reign of Djoser.
The Nemes headdress dates from the time of Djoser. It is the most common type of crown that has been depicted throughout Pharaonic Egypt. Any other type of crown, apart from the Khat headdress, has been commonly depicted on top of the Nemes. The statue from his Serdab in Saqqara shows the king wearing the nemes headdress.
Osiris is shown to wear the Atef crown, which is an elaborate Hedjet with feathers and disks. Depictions of pharaohs wearing the Atef crown originate from the Old Kingdom.
The Hemhem crown is usually depicted on top of Nemes, Pschent, or Deshret crowns. It is an ornate triple Atef with corkscrew sheep horns and usually two uraei. The usage (depiction) of this crown begins during the Early Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt.
Also called the blue crown, the Khepresh crown has been depicted in art since the New Kingdom. It is often depicted being worn in battle, but it was also frequently worn during ceremonies. It used to be called a war crown by many, but modern historians refrain from defining it thus.
Egyptologist Bob Brier has noted that despite their widespread depiction in royal portraits, no ancient Egyptian crown has ever been discovered. Tutankhamun's tomb, discovered largely intact, did contain such regalia as his crook and flail, but no crown was found among the funerary equipment. Diadems have been discovered.It is presumed that crowns would have been believed to have magical properties. Brier's speculation is that crowns were religious or state items, so a dead pharaoh likely could not retain a crown as a personal possession. The crowns may have been passed along to the successor.
During the Early Dynastic Period kings had three titles. The Horus name is the oldest and dates to the late pre-dynastic period. The Nesu Bity name was added during the First Dynasty. The Nebty name (Two Ladies) was first introduced toward the end of the First Dynasty.The Golden falcon (bik-nbw) name is not well understood. The prenomen and nomen were introduced later and are traditionally enclosed in a cartouche. By the Middle Kingdom, the official titulary of the ruler consisted of five names; Horus, Nebty, Golden Horus, nomen, and prenomen for some rulers, only one or two of them may be known.
The Horus name was adopted by the king, when taking the throne. The name was written within a square frame representing the palace, named a serekh. The earliest known example of a serekh dates to the reign of king Ka, before the First Dynasty.The Horus name of several early kings expresses a relationship with Horus. Aha refers to "Horus the fighter", Djer refers to "Horus the strong", etc. Later kings express ideals of kingship in their Horus names. Khasekhemwy refers to "Horus: the two powers are at peace", while Nebra refers to "Horus, Lord of the Sun".
The Nesu Bity name, also known as prenomen, was one of the new developments from the reign of Den. The name would follow the glyphs for the "Sedge and the Bee". The title is usually translated as king of Upper and Lower Egypt. The nsw bity name may have been the birth name of the king. It was often the name by which kings were recorded in the later annals and king lists.
The earliest example of a Nebty (Two Ladies) name comes from the reign of king Aha from the First Dynasty. The title links the king with the goddesses of Upper and Lower Egypt Nekhbet and Wadjet.The title is preceded by the vulture (Nekhbet) and the cobra (Wadjet) standing on a basket (the neb sign).
The Golden Horus or Golden Falcon name was preceded by a falcon on a gold or nbw sign. The title may have represented the divine status of the king. The Horus associated with gold may be referring to the idea that the bodies of the deities were made of gold and the pyramids and obelisks are representations of (golden) sun-rays. The gold sign may also be a reference to Nubt, the city of Set. This would suggest that the iconography represents Horus conquering Set.
The prenomen and nomen were contained in a cartouche. The prenomen often followed the King of Upper and Lower Egypt (nsw bity) or Lord of the Two Lands (nebtawy) title. The prenomen often incorporated the name of Re. The nomen often followed the title Son of Re (sa-ra) or the title Lord of Appearances (neb-kha).
In Egyptian history, the Upper and Lower Egypt period was the final stage of prehistoric Egypt and directly preceded the unification of the realm. 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.
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.
Hor-Aha is considered the second pharaoh of the First Dynasty of Egypt by some Egyptologists, while 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.
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 Upper and Lower 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.
Sekhemkhet was an ancient Egyptian king (pharaoh) of the 3rd Dynasty during the Old Kingdom. His reign is thought to have been from about 2648 BC until 2640 BC. He is also known under his later traditioned birth name Djoser-tety and under his Hellenized name Tyreis. Sekhemkhet was probably the brother or eldest son of king Djoser. Little is known about this king, since he ruled for only a few years. However, he erected a step pyramid at Saqqara and left behind a well known rock inscription at Wadi Maghareh.
Scorpion II, also known as King Scorpion, was a ruler during the Protodynastic Period of Upper Egypt.
The pschent was the double crown worn by rulers in ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians generally referred to it as sekhemty(sḫm.ty), the Two Powerful Ones. It combined the White Hedjet Crown of Upper Egypt and the Red Deshret Crown of Lower Egypt.
Deshret was the formal name for the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and for the desert Red Land on either side of Kemet, the fertile Nile river basin. When combined with the Hedjet of Upper Egypt, it forms the Pschent, in ancient Egyptian called the sekhemti.
Hedjet is the formal name for the White Crown of pharaonic Upper Egypt. After the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, it was combined with the Deshret, the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, to form the Pschent, the double crown of Egypt. The symbol sometimes used for the White Crown was the vulture goddess Nekhbet shown next to the head of the cobra goddess Wadjet, the uraeus on the Pschent.
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.
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 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 questioned the legitimacy of Semerkhet's succession to the Egyptian throne.
The Egyptian civilization used a number of different crowns throughout its existence. Some were used to show authority, while others were used for religious ceremonies. Each crown was worn by different pharaohs or deities, and each crown had its own significance and symbolic meaning. The crowns include the Atef, the Deshret, the Hedjet, the Khepresh, the Pschent, and the Hemhem.
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.
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 might have been an unknown king.
The Third Dynasty of ancient Egypt is the first dynasty of the Old Kingdom. Other dynasties of the Old Kingdom include the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth. The capital during the period of the Old Kingdom was at Memphis.
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.
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.
Hedju Hor was a ruler in northern Egypt from the Predynastic Period. His existence is controversial. The name Hedhu-Hor means The maces of Horus.
Ny-Hor was a possible pharaoh from the Predynastic Period. His name means "The Hunter" according to egyptologist Werner Kaiser. He may have ruled during the 33rd century BC.
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