Qa'a

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Qa'a (also Qáa or Ka'a) was the last king of the First Dynasty of Egypt. He reigned for 33 years at the end of the 30th century BC.

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.

The 30th century BC was a century which lasted from the year 3000 BC to 2901 BC.

Contents

Identity

Qebeh, cartouche name of Qa'a in the Abydos king list. Abydos KL 01-08 n08.jpg
Qebeh, cartouche name of Qa'a in the Abydos king list.

Manetho calls Qa'a Biénechês and gives him a reign of 26 years. Other versions of copies of Manetho's epitomes give Óubiênthis and Víbenthis as hellenized names. [1] [2]

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.

Family

The parents of Qa'a are unknown, but it is thought that either his predecessor Anedjib or Semerkhet was his father, since it was tradition to leave the throne to the eldest son. If Manetho suggested correctly (remembering the tradition), Semerkhet was the father. [2]

Anedjib Egyptian pharaoh

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 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.

Reign

There is not much known about Qa'a's reign, but it seems that he reigned for a long time (around 33 years). Several stone vessel inscriptions mention a second Sed festival for Qa'a, which points to at least 33 years of reign. The first festival was usually not celebrated before 30 years of reign, and subsequent festivals could be repeated every third year. The Palermo Stone only mentions the year of coronation and some usual cultic events that were celebrated under every king. The numerous ivory tags dating to his reign also mention only typical arrangements, such as depicting and counting burial offerings and personal possessions of the king. Several mastaba tombs of high officials date into Qa'a's reign: Merka (S3505), Henuka (burial unknown), Neferef (burial also unknown) and Sabef (buried in the royal necropolis of Qa'a). [3] [4]

Sed festival

The Sed festival was an ancient Egyptian ceremony that celebrated the continued rule of a pharaoh. The name is taken from the name of an Egyptian wolf god, one of whose names was Wepwawet or Sed.

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.

A coronation was an extremely important ritual in early and ancient Egyptian history, concerning the change of power and rulership between two succeeding pharaohs. The accession to the throne was celebrated in several ceremonies, rites and feasts.

Ivory label of Qa'a with his serekh and Nebty name sn. Qaalabel.png
Ivory label of Qa'a with his serekh and Nebty name sn.

End of reign

Despite Qa'a's long and prosperous reign, evidence shows that after his death, a dynastic war between different royal houses began over the newly empty throne. In the tomb of the high official Merka, a stone vessel with the name of a king Sneferka was found. It is unclear whether "Sneferka" was an alternate name of Qa'a or if he was a separate, ephemeral ruler. Egyptologists such as Wolfgang Helck and Toby Wilkinson point to a further mysterious ruler named "Horus Bird", whose name was found on vessel fragments dating to the end of the first dynasty. It is postulated that Sneferka and Horus Bird fought for power and that Hotepsekhemwy ended the fight and finally ascended the throne of Egypt, thus starting the Second Dynasty. Strong clues to that theory are traces of grave robberies and arsons found in the royal tombs of Abydos. Clay seals of Hotepsekhemwy found in Qa'a's tomb suggest that he restored the tomb or buried Qa'a, maybe in an attempt to legitimize his rule. [2] [4]

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.

Toby Wilkinson English egyptologist

Toby A. H. Wilkinson is an English Egyptologist and academic. He is the Head of the International Strategy Office at the University of Cambridge, a fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and was previously a research fellow at Christ's College, Cambridge and Durham University. He was awarded the 2011 Hessell-Tiltman Prize.

Hotepsekhemwy Egyptian pharaoh

Hotepsekhemwy is the Horus name of an early Egyptian king who was the founder of the 2nd dynasty. The exact length of his reign is not known; the Turin canon suggests an improbable 95 years while the Ancient Egyptian historian Manetho reports that the reign of "Boëthôs" lasted for 38 years. Egyptologists consider both statements to be misinterpretations or exaggerations. They credit Hotepsekhemwy with either a 25- or a 29-year rule.

Tomb

Map of Qa'a's tomb. Note the subsidiary burial around the main chamber. Map of the tomb of Qa'a.svg
Map of Qa'a's tomb. Note the subsidiary burial around the main chamber.

Qa'a had a fairly large tomb in Abydos which measures 98.5 X 75.5 feet or 30 X 23 meters. [5] A long reign is supported by the large size of this ruler's burial site at Abydos. This tomb was excavated by German archaeologists in 1993 and proved to contain 26 satellite (i.e. sacrificial) burials. A seal impression bearing Hotepsekhemwy's name was found near the entrance of the tomb of Qa'a (Tomb Q) by the German Archaeological Institute in the mid-1990s. [6] The discovery of the seal impression has been interpreted as evidence that Qa'a was buried, and therefore succeeded, by Hotepsekhemwy, the founder of the second dynasty of Egypt, as Manetho states. The beautiful tomb stela of Qa'a is now on display at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Abydos, Egypt City in ancient Egypt

Abydos is one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, and also of the eighth nome in Upper Egypt. It is located about 11 kilometres west of the Nile at latitude 26° 10' N, near the modern Egyptian towns of el-'Araba el Madfuna and al-Balyana. In the ancient Egyptian language, the city was called Abdju. The English name Abydos comes from the Greek Ἄβυδος, a name borrowed by Greek geographers from the unrelated city of Abydos on the Hellespont.

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology archaeological museum

The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology—commonly called the Penn Museum—is an archaeology and anthropology museum that is part of the University of Pennsylvania. It is located on Penn's campus in the University City neighborhood of Philadelphia.

The tomb of one of Qa'a's state officials at Saqqara—a certain nobleman named Merka—contained a stele with many titles. There is a second Sed festival attested. This fact plus the high quality of a number of royal steles depicting the king implies that Qa'a's reign was a fairly stable and prosperous period of time.

A number of year labels have also been discovered dating to his reign at the First Dynasty burial site of Umm el-Qa'ab in Abydos. Qa'a is believed to have ruled Egypt around 2916 BCE. A dish inscribed with the name and titles of Qa'a was discovered in the tomb of Seth-Peribsen (Tomb P of Petrie). [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. Peter Clayton: Chronicle of the Pharaohs. Thames & Hudson Ltd, 1994. p.25
  2. 1 2 3 Wolfgang Helck: Untersuchungen zur Thinitenzeit. In: Ägyptologische Abhandlungen Band 35, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN   3-447-02677-4, page 124.
  3. P. Lacau, J. P. Lauer: La Pyramide a Degeres IV, Inscriptions Gravees sur les Vases. Cairo 1959, page 12.
  4. 1 2 Toby A. H. Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge, London/ New York 1999, ISBN   0-415-18633-1, page 81–83.
  5. Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2006 paperback p.25; the tomb is now fully published: Eva-Maria Engel: Das Grab des Qa'a: Architektur und Inventar, Wiesbaden 2017 ISBN   978-3447108768
  6. G. Dreyer et al., MDAIK 52,1996, pp.71-72, fig. 25, pl. 14a
  7. B. Porter and R.L.B. Moss. Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Reliefs, and Paintings, V. Upper Egypt: Sites. Oxford, 1937, pg 81
Preceded by
Semerkhet
Pharaoh of Egypt Succeeded by
Sneferka