Weneg (pharaoh)

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Weneg (or Uneg), also known as Weneg-Nebty, is the throne name of an early Egyptian king, who ruled during the second dynasty. Although his chronological position is clear to Egyptologists, it is unclear for how long King Weneg ruled. It is also unclear as to which of the archaeologically identified Horus-kings corresponds to Weneg.

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.

Archaeology, or archeology, is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. The archaeological record consists of artifacts, architecture, biofacts or ecofacts and cultural landscapes. Archaeology can be considered both a social science and a branch of the humanities. In North America archaeology is a sub-field of anthropology, while in Europe it is often viewed as either a discipline in its own right or a sub-field of other disciplines.

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.


Name sources and contradictions

The name ‘Weneg’ is generally accepted to be a nebti- or throne name, introduced by the crest of the "Two Ladies" (the goddesses Nekhbet and Wadjet) and the sedge-and-bee-crest. Weneg's name appears in black ink inscriptions on alabaster fragments and in inscriptions on schist-vessels. Seventeen vessels bearing his name have been preserved; eleven of them were found in the underground galleries beneath the step pyramid of king Djoser at Sakkara. Egyptologists such as Wolfgang Helck and Francesco Tiradritti point out that all the inscriptions are made in the place of existing inscriptions, which means that the names that were originally placed on the vessels were completely different.

Nekhbet Egyptian deity

Nekhbet was an early predynastic local goddess in Egyptian mythology, who was the patron of the city of Nekheb. Ultimately, she became the patron of Upper Egypt and one of the two patron deities for all of Ancient Egypt when it was unified.

Wadjet lion-headed Egyptian goddess, symbolizing the potentially destructive power of the sun, angry avatar of the gentle Bastet

Wadjet, known to the Greek world as Uto or Buto among other names including Wedjat, Uadjet, and Udjo was originally the ancient local goddess of the city of Dep. It became part of the city that the Egyptians named Per-Wadjet "House of Wadjet" and the Greeks called Buto, which was an important site in prehistoric Egypt and the cultural developments of the Paleolithic.

Bee (hieroglyph) hieroglyph

The Egyptian hieroglyph representing a honey bee. It is used as an ideogram for "bee" (bjt), but most frequently as part of the title of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, rendered nswt-bjtj.

The symbol that was used to write Weneg's name is the object of significant dispute between egyptologists to this day. The so-called "weneg flower" is rarely used in Egyptian writing. Mysteriously, the weneg flower is often guided by six vertical "strokes", three of them on each side of the flower bud. The meaning of these strokes is unknown. After Weneg's death, his heraldic flower was not used again until king Teti (6th dynasty), when it was used in his pyramid texts to name a “Weneg” as a sky and death deity which was addressed with "Son of Ra" and "follower of the deceased king". So it seems that the weneg flower was somehow connected with the Egyptian sun and death cult. But the true meaning of the flower as a king's name remains unknown. [3] [4] [5] [6]

Teti, less commonly known as Othoes, sometimes also Tata, Atat, or Athath in outdated sources, was the first pharaoh of the Sixth dynasty of Egypt. He is buried at Saqqara. The exact length of his reign has been destroyed on the Turin King List but is believed to have been about 12 years.

The Sixth Dynasty of ancient Egypt along with Dynasties III, IV and V constitute the Old Kingdom of Dynastic Egypt.

Weneg was a sky and death deity from ancient Egyptian religion, who was said to protect the earth and her inhabitants against the arrival of the "great chaos".


Since Weneg's name first became known to Egyptologists, scholars have been trying to match the nebti name of Weneg to contemporary Horus-kings. The following sections discuss some of the theories.

Weneg corresponds to Hor-Nebre (or Raneb)

BM EA 35556, the stone vessel used by Jochem Kahl to equate Weneg with Raneb. Raneb bm.jpg
BM EA 35556, the stone vessel used by Jochem Kahl to equate Weneg with Raneb.

Egyptologist Jochem Kahl argues that Weneg was the same person as king Raneb, the second ruler of the 2nd dynasty. He points to a vessel fragment made from an igneous material, which was found in the tomb of king Peribsen (a later ruler of 2nd dynasty) at Abydos. He believed he had found on the pot sherd weak, but clear, traces of the weneg-flower beneath the inscribed name of king Ninetjer. On the right side of Ninetjer's name the depiction of the Ka house of king Raneb is partially preserved. The complete arrangement led Kahl to the conclusion that the weneg flower and Raneb's name were connected to each other and king Ninetjer later replaced the inscription. Kahl also points out that king Ninetjer wrote his name mirrored, so that his name points in the opposite direction to Raneb's name. [7] Kahl's theory is the subject of continuing debate since the vessel inscription is badly damaged and thus leaves plenty of room for varying interpretations.

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, of which it was the capital city. 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.

Weneg corresponds to Hor-Sekhemib-Perenmaat

Egyptologists such as Nicolas Grimal, Wolfgang Helck and Walter Bryan Emery identify Weneg with king Sekhemib-Perenmaat and with the Ramesside royal cartouche-name Wadjenes. Their theory is based on the assumption that Sekhemib and Seth-Peribsen were different rulers and that both were the immediate successors of king Ninetjer. But this theory is not commonly accepted, because clay seals of Sekhemib were found in the tomb of king Khasekhemwy, the last ruler of 2nd dynasty. The clay seals set Sekhemib's reign close to Khasekhemwy's, whilst the Ramesside name "Wadjenes" is placed near the beginning of 2nd dynasty. [8] [9] [10]

Nicolas-Christophe Grimal is a French Egyptologist.

Hans Wolfgang Helck was a German Egyptologist, considered one of the most important Egyptologists of the 20th century. From 1956 until his retirement in 1979 he was a Professor at the University of Hamburg. He remained active after his retirement and together with Wolfhart Westendorf published the German Lexikon der Ägyptologie, completed in 1992. He published many books and articles on the history of Egyptian and Near Eastern culture. He was a member of the German Archaeological Institute and a corresponding member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences.

Walter Bryan Emery British egyptologist

Walter Bryan Emery, FBA was a British Egyptologist born in Liverpool, England. Before his career in Egyptology began, he was introduced into the study of marine engineering where he became an excellent draftsman, which resulted in the brilliantly executed line drawings that permeated his later published works on Egyptology. With the exception of six years in the British Army during the Second World War, followed by four years in the Diplomatic Service at Cairo in Egypt, his entire life was devoted to the excavation of archaeological sites along the Nile Valley.

Weneg as an independent ruler

Egyptologists such as Peter Kaplony and Richard Weill argue that Weneg was a separate king from other kings of the period. They suggest that Weneg succeeded Ninetjer and his name is preserved in Ramesside kinglists under the name "Wadjenes". Their assumption is firstly based on the widely accepted theory that Ramesside scribes interchanged the weneg-flower with the papyrus haulm, changing it into the name "Wadjenes". Secondly, Kaplony and Weill's theory is based on the inscription on the Cairo stone. They believe that the name "Wenegsekhemwy" is preserved over the third line of year events. [11] This theory is also not widely accepted, as the Cairo stone is badly damaged and the very weak traces of the hieroglyphs leave too much room for different interpretations.

Peter Árpád Kaplony was a Hungarian-born Swiss egyptologist.

<i>Cyperus papyrus</i> aquatic flowering plant species

Cyperus papyrus is a species of aquatic flowering plant belonging to the sedge family Cyperaceae. It is a tender herbaceous perennial, native to Africa, and forms tall stands of reed-like swamp vegetation in shallow water.

Palermo Stone document

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.


Little is known about Weneg's reign. The vessel inscriptions mentioning his name only show reports about ceremonial events, such as the "raising up of the pillars of Horus". This feast is frequently reported on vessels from Ninetjer's reign, which brings Weneg's chronological position very close to that of Ninetjer.

The length of Weneg's rulership is unknown. If he was the same person as king Wadjenes, he ruled (according to the Royal Canon of Turin) for 54 years. If Weneg was same person as king "Tlas", mentioned by the historian Manetho, he ruled for 17 years. But modern Egyptologists have doubts about both statements and evaluate them as misinterpretations or exaggerations. If Weneg was actually a separate ruler, as Richard Weill and Peter Kaplony believe, he may have ruled for 12 years, depending on their reconstructions of the Cairo stone inscriptions.

One theory suggests that the once unified kingdom of Egypt was divided after Ninetjer's death into two parts. Consequently, for a period after king Weneg's death, two kings ruled at the same time over Egypt suggesting that Weneg was an independent ruler. This assumption is based on the observation that both the Thinite and Memphite king lists of the Ramesside era mention the names "Wadjenes" and "Senedj" as the immediate successors of king Ninetjer. The Abydos king lists, for example, mention only six kings for the 2nd dynasty, whilst all the other kinglists mention nine kings. So Weneg may have been the last king who had ruled over the whole of Egypt, before sharing his throne (and control over Egypt) with another king. It remains unclear who the other king may have been. [5] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] Weneg's successor may have been Senedj but even that is uncertain in this shadowy period of the 2nd dynasty of Egypt.

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  1. see: P. Lacau, J.P. Lauer: La Pyramide a Degeres IV. Inscriptions Gravees sur les Vases. Cairo 1959; obj.104
  2. see: P. Lacau, J.P. Lauer: La Pyramide a Degeres IV. Inscriptions Gravees sur les Vases. Cairo 1959; obj.104
  3. B. Grdseloff: King Uneg. In: Annales du Service des Antiquités de l’Égypte, No. 44, 1944, page 279–306.
  4. Winfried Barta in: Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, No.108. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1981, ISSN   0044-216X, page 20–21.
  5. 1 2 Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards: The Cambridge ancient history, Vol. 1, Pt. 2: Early history of the Middle East, 3rd reprint. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2006, ISBN   978-0-521-07791-0, p. 31.
  6. Jochem Kahl: Das System der ägyptischen Hieroglyphenschrift in der 0.–3. Dynastie. In: Göttinger Orientforschungen, volume IV. 1994, page 354-355.
  7. 1 2 Jochem Kahl: Ra is my Lord - Searching for the rise of the Sun God at the dawn of Egyptian history. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN   978-3-447-05540-6, pp. 12–14, 74.
  8. Wolfgang Helck: Untersuchungen zur Thinitenzeit. Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN   978-3-447-02677-2, page 103–107.
  9. Walter Bryan Emery: Ägypten. Geschichte und Kultur der Frühzeit. Fourier-Verlag, Wiesbaden 1964, ISBN   978-3-921695-39-5, page 105.
  10. Gunter Dreyer in: Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Kairo, No.59. Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Orient-Abteilung (Hrsg.). de Gruyter, Berlin 2003, S. 115.
  11. 1 2 Peter Kaplony: Steingefäße der Frühzeit und des Alten Reiches. In: Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskund, Volumes 133-135. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1981, ISSN   0044-216X.
  12. Aidan Dodson: The Mysterious Second Dynasty. In: Kemet, volume 7, chapter 2 (1996), page 19-31
  13. Werner Kaiser: Zur Nennung von Sened und Peribsen in Saqqara B3. In: Göttinger Miszellen - Beiträge zur ägyptologischen Diskussion. No. 122. Ägyptologisches Seminar der Universität Göttingen, Göttingen 1991, ISSN   0344-385X, page 22–23.
  14. Barbara Bell: Oldest Records of the Nile Floods. In: Geographical Journal, volume 136, 1970, page 569–573.
  15. Hans Goedike in: Journal of Egypt Archaeology. volume 42, 1998, page 50.
Preceded by
Horus Sa
Pharaoh of Egypt Succeeded by