THE LISTS OF KINGS: DYNASTY I
THE LISTS OF KINGS: DYNASTY I
IN passing from the predynastic to the dynastic period we leave the interpretation of archaeological and legendary material, and pass from the prehistoric to the historic age of Egypt. We now for the first time have ancient records to guide us, both contemporary and later. And it is only with the help of the later accounts that the contemporary monuments can be understood, for at first they are very difficult to comprehend, being archaic and unsettled in style and meaning. But about the time of the IVth and Vth Dynasties the nation attained its full measure of civilization, and Egyptian art and the Egyptian script assumed the form which is the framework, so to speak, on which all the later developments were fashioned. The statues and reliefs of the IVth Dynasty are as typically Egyptian in their own way as those of any later dynasty, but when we see the artistic representations of the first three dynasties we are constantly brought up short by unexpected forms and bizarre appearances which failed to survive to later days.
Under the first three dynasties Egyptian art was trying its hand; it was only under the fourth that a state of equilibrium was reached, religious conservatism and artistic endeavour having compromised in a convention which, so far as representations of the gods were concerned, persisted till the end. Antoninus Pius is represented on an Egyptian temple in the costume of a king of the Vth Dynasty, some 3000 years earlier. This is as true of the writing as of any other form of art. It must not be forgotten that Egyptian written records were works of art: the painter and the writer were one and the same thing. By the time of the IVth Dynasty the forms and arrangement of the hieroglyphs had crystallized more or less into those that persisted until the end. Naturally we can distinguish at a glance an inscription of the XIIth Dynasty from one of the IVth, one of the XIXth from one of the XIIth, one of the Ptolemaic period from one of the XIXth. The difference in style is obvious. But a Ptolemaic antiquarian could have read a IVth Dynasty inscription without much. difficulty, whereas one of the 1st Dynasty would probably have been almost as unintelligible to him as to us. By the time of the IVth-Vth Dynasties certain artistic conventions as to arrangement had been introduced, and they remained till the end; under the IInd and IIIrd Dynasties the hieroglyphs are still uncertain in form, and they are cut haphazard without any particular care as to proportion and symmetry.
It is on this account that the divergences or the later king-lists from the royal names as we find them on the actual monuments of the early dynasties are easily explicable. The most important of these lists of royal names, those of Abydos and Sakkarah, were compiled at the beginning of the XIXth Dynasty. It would seem that about the time of king Seti I, the first monarch of the XIXth Dynasty (c. 1320 B.C.), attention had been specially drawn to the tombs of the earliest kings at Abydos. Either the king, wishing to build there his splendid temple which still stands, and to commemorate his dead ancestors instructed his historiographers to seek out the names of the oldest kings, or, may be, a discovery of the early royal tombs moved the king to commemorate his predecessors by building there a temple and inscribing their names in it. The list which he caused to be put up contains among its most ancient names several which, as we shall see, are obviously misunderstandings and misreadings of the archaic hieroglyphs. When the names of the Pyramid-builders (the IVth Dynasty of Manetho) are reached, lists and contemporary monuments practically agree, and we have, in the duplicate Abydos list of Seti and of his son Ramses II, the most important ancient authority as to the succession of the legitimate monarchs of the whole country.
The second ancient authority is the famous Turin Papyrus of Kings, which gives not only names but regnal years, and in some cases even months and days. Had it survived entire, it would have been our chief authority. It is in fragments, and much critical labor has had to be spent upon it in order to make it intelligible when, as is often the case, it gives information as to obscure or illegitimate kings not mentioned in the Abydos list. With this it otherwise agrees, and the accuracy of both is usually confirmed by the monuments at epochs when, as in the times of the IVth— VIth and the XIIth—XIIIth Dynasty, we possess detailed knowledge from contemporary authorities. There is, however, a discrepancy as regards Pepi I. It. is of these periods of prosperity and power that the later Egyptians like ourselves actually had most knowledge. From the style of the writing, and from its agreement with, the Abydos list as to the forms of early names, this list would also seem to date from the XIXth Dynasty.
The list of Sakkarah was set up in the tomb of a royal scribe named Tunurei, who lived in the reign of Ramses II (c. 1300—1234 B.C.). It begins, not with the traditional Mena or Meni (the Menes of Herodotus and Manetho), but with the king Merbapen (Merpeba), the Miebis of Manetho, who both in Manetho and in the Abydos list is the fifth successor of Menes. This fact is of historical importance, as we shall see later. The forms of the names of the earlier kings given by Tunurei are evidently derived from a hieratic original of his own time, such as the Turin Papyrus. For the later period this list is in itself not of much value, since, though it gives a selection of the most important royal names correctly, it turns the kings of the Middle Kingdom backwards, making the XIIIth Dynasty succeed the Vth, and the XIth precede the XVIIIth. The XIIth Dynasty kings are given in their correct order—but backwards.
The oldest list, that of Thutmose III (c. 1501—1447 BC) at Karnack, is evidently based largely upon tradition rather than formal chronicles, but it gives the names of a number of kings, known to us from monuments, that do not appear In the more reliable lists of the XIXth Dynasty. Such catalogues as these were not made for the first time under the XVIIIth and XIXth Dynasties. We know that much earlier lists existed, and not only lists but annals, inscribed upon stone stelae set up as public monuments and we have portions of such dating from the time of the Vth Dynasty (c. 2965—2825 BC, or in round numbers 2950-2800) in the Palermo Stone and other fragments of similar annal-stelae. These contained records of every regnal year back to the beginning of the 1st Dynasty, and gave the names of predynastic kings also. Had they been perfect they would have settled many disputed questions: as it is, even in their fragmentary condition they are invaluable on account of their nearness in time to the most ancient period.
The lists of the XIXth Dynasty are undoubtedly the basis of Manetho’s work. But the Ptolemaic historiographer also used continuous annals, legendary and historical, which we no longer possess. These gave him the reasons for his division of the kings into dynasties, which are not indicated in the lists, though the Turin Papyrus especially distinguishes the monarchs of the Old Kingdom (Manetho's I-VII Dynasties) from those of the Middle Kingdom (Manetho’s IX-XVII Dynasties). The break m historical continuity between the two is fully recognized. Manetho goes further in recording the minor breaks between successive ruling families; and so far as we are able to check him from the contemporary monuments his division into dynasties is entirely justified. His authorities evidently were good. But unhappily his work has come down to us only in copies of copies; and, although the framework of the dynasties remains, most of his royal names, originally Graecized, have been so mutilated by non-Egyptian scribes, who did not understand their form, as often to be unrecognizable, and the regnal years given by him have been so corrupted as to be of little value unless confirmed by the Turin Papyrus or the monuments.
The royal names given by Herodotus and Diodorus are entirely derived from tradition, recounted to them by Egyptian priests. Sometimes they are by no means bad representatives of the real names, especially in the case of the Pyramid-builders. But the true course of history was entirely deformed by the “Father of History” and he makes the IVth Dynasty immediately precede the XXVIth, for reasons intelligible to students of Egyptian art, for the Saite period was one of archaism, which carefully imitated m its monuments the style of the Pyramid-builders. All other classical authorities are entirely valueless.
To the skeleton supplied by Manetho even Champollion was able to fit many of the monuments then discovered, soon after his decipherment of the hieroglyphs. But he mixed up the XIIth Dynasty with the Ethiopians of the XXVth, and J. G. Wilkinson was the first to discover the correct position of the kings of the XIIth Dynasty. Lepsius merely confirmed the truth of Wilkinson's discovery. The finding of the Abydos list in 1864 (by Dümichen) settled the correct articulation of the skeleton. Since that time the work of fitting the kings, whose contemporary monuments we have, into the scheme, controlled and corrected by their own contemporary statements, has gone on until, at the beginning of the century, with the correct placing (by Steindorff) in the XIIIth Dynasty of certain kings formerly supposed to belong to the XIth, we had reached comparative certainty as far back as the end of the IIIrd Dynasty. The earliest kings still remained unknown from contemporary monuments, and were generally relegated to the realm of legend, if not of fable. Then, at the turn of the century, came the discovery of the earliest royal tombs at Abydos, which in the time of the XIXth Dynasty had presumably turned the attention of the scribes of that time to the most ancient kings. Their lists and Manetho were again Justified in the main; the contemporary monuments of many of the kings of the first three dynasties were found, giving the real forms of the names that the later list makers had often misunderstood. But for the beginning of the 1st Dynasty it is evident that the Menes legend, the story of the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, which was no doubt as well known in the time of Seti as in that of Herodotus, had to some extent confused the list-makers. Better interpretations of the Palermo Stone, new fragments of which have been recently published, and further archaeological discoveries, are enabling us to find our way even into the days before Menes, who though a legendary figure was no imaginary creation, since he was a real king, but in legend has attracted to himself the deeds of others who preceded and followed him,
The question of the date of Menes and the unification of the kingdom has already been treated, and it has been urged that it cannot be placed later than about 3500 BC. We have also seen that during the long predynastic age the Nile-dwellers passed from the use of stone to that of metals, and developed in the Delta and in Upper Egypt the Egyptian culture, which meets us in its own peculiar and characteristic guise, with its cult of the dead, its religion, its hieroglyphs, its art, and its state-organization, albeit in an archaic and comparatively primitive stage of development. This development has been ascribed to the infiltration into Egypt from Syria of an alien race (Armenoids), who brought to the Nile-land a higher brain-capacity than that of the native Hamitic population, and therewith developed the native prehistoric culture into the ancient Egyptian civilization which we know.
The impulse to this movement was given before the actual unification of the kingdom and the founding of the 1st Dynasty. Until recent years it has generally been supposed that it was given by an invasion of Horus-Egyptians from the south, either by way of the Wadi Hammamat (which reaches the Nile valley at Coptos, leaving the Red Sea at Kosiir), or through Nubia. We certainly seem to have echoes of a conquest of Egypt from the south (and so entirely distinct from the Armenoid infiltration from the north) in the legends of the god Horus and his followers, assisted by the Mesentiu (usually, but very doubtfully, translated “smiths'”) of Edfu (the city of Horus) against the Intiu or aboriginal inhabitants of the Nile valley. The sky-god, Horus of Edfu, whose emblem was the falcon, was the oldest supreme deity of Upper Egypt, and the special protector of the royal house. He is represented in the legend as coming from Nubia with his followers and his Mesentiu, overthrowing the Intiu (who were the followers of his rival Set), until he finally expelled them from the Delta into Asia, much as the later Egyptians expelled the Hycsos. Probably the legend, as we know it from Ptolemaic sources, has been contaminated by the stories of the union of the kingdom by the Horus-kings of the south (Menes) and of the expulsion of the Hycsos. The Intiu (whose name should mean “pillar-folk”) probably represent the main stock of the Hamitic Nilotes, akin to the Mediterraneans and to the pre-Semitic inhabitants of Palestine, who, it may be presumed, gave to the Semites their worship of sacred trees and pillars (baetyli). These Intiu left traces of their name in Upper as well as Lower Egypt, at Dendera as well as at Heliopolis (On). Set, the brother of Horus, was originally an Upper Egyptian god (of Ombos) like him, and was only established in the Delta in later times, when the mention of him would naturally cause it to be supposed that Horus had expelled him from the Delta. Originally the legend may have been perhaps merely that of a more energetic tribe of Hamites, following the banner of the falcon, who came from the south and subdued their kinsmen, the pillar-folk of Upper Egypt. To assume, on the authority of the translation of the word Mesentiu as “smiths”, that they effected this conquest by means of their knowledge of metal, is, however, more than doubtful, as it is probable that the word has no such meaning.
The Egyptians doubtless obtained their knowledge of copper-working from Mesopotamia by way of Syria, probably through the Armenoid race, which must already have made its appearance in Lower Egypt long before the end of the predynastic period. The land of Magan, which is mentioned in Sumerian Babylonian inscriptions of the fourth millennium BC as yielding copper, if rightly identified with Sinai, would suggest that Babylonians as well as Egyptians obtained copper from that peninsula.
It would seem probable that the “Armenoids”, if they also brought copper with them, originally obtained it from further north, the mountains of the modern Armenia as the Mesopotamians no doubt originally did. When the Egyptians took to using copper, a nearer source of the metal was found in Sinai, and the Babylonians also utilized it, going thither by sea in ships from the Persian Gulf. Magan, means the land of ships, the land to which ships go, and it’s obvious that much heavier masses of ore could be transported in a ship’s hold than on donkey-back to the head waters of the Euphrates and Tigris and thence southward on rafts.
HAMITES AND ARMENOIDS
A certain amount of Mesopotamian influence may have reached Egypt at this time, traces of which have been found in the similarity of Babylonian and Egyptian mace-heads, and the common use of the cylinder-seal, and of recessed brick walls. The invention of brick itself was no doubt of independent origin m both countries, as the shapes of the early Babylonian and the Egyptian brick are quite different. The cylinder-seal seems rather exotic in Egypt, where it died out at the beginning of the XVIIIth Dynasty, whereas in Mesopotamia it remained till the end. In Egypt it is first made of wood (originally a section or reed?), and may be an independent development. But the style of building with recessed walls and the common shape of the mace-head are not so easily explained away. However, whatever influence existed was slight, and Egyptian culture was little affected by it.
The characteristic writing-system of Egypt had not, so far as we can yet see, a common origin with that of Mesopotamia, nor was it influenced by it. The Mesopotamian writing-system, originally hieroglyphic, had already become simplified into a semi-cuneiform system when the Egyptian script was still an archaic picture-writing. Whether the latter owes its origin to the Hamitic Egyptians or to the invading Armenoids we do not know. It makes a very sudden appearance in Upper Egypt shortly before the unification, and this points to its having been introduced from the Delta. An ultimate Syro-Mediterranean origin is possible.
There can be no doubt now that the impetus to the development of civilization was given by these Armenoids from the north; their skulls testify to the fact that their brain-capacity was greater than that of the native Hamites, their remains are found gradually percolating southward till, in the IIIrd Dynasty, they are in Upper Egypt, and by the time of the Vth they are merging with the general population. We see their facial type, quite different from that of the-Hamite Egyptians, in the statues of the great men of the court of the Pyramid-builders. They are powerful, big-boned, big-skulled people with broad faces and mesaticephalic heads, quite different from the slight, small-boned, long-headed, narrow-chinned and bird-like Arabs and Hamites; quite different again from the typical Anatolian Hittite, with his big nose, retreating, chin, and brachycephalic skull, and differing in face from the Syrian Semite (the Jewish type), though resembling him in skull form. If, as has been conjectured, the Syrian type is the result of a fusion of Armenoids with the real Semitic Arab (who is first cousin of the Hamite), the Egyptian Armenoids must have belonged to the vanguard of the invasion, which passed on into Egypt before it had time to mix with the Semites or the related Mediterranean-Hamitic aboriginal population of Palestine. Where these Armenoids came from is uncertain, although we might well assign to them a common origin in middle Asia with the very similar Alpine type of central Europe.
However this may be, in Lower Egypt we find them as the dominant civilized aristocracy at the beginning of things, and it is by no means improbable that the ruling race of Upper Egypt, to which the unifiers of the kingdom belonged, were of Armenoid origin. The invaders were originally few in number, and so they formed a ruling caste which adopted the civilization of the conquered, and developed it. In the Delta they probably found civilization (of a primitive Mediterranean type) much more advanced than in the Upper country. What elements they contributed to the ensuing common civilization we cannot yet tell. The hieroglyphic system and all the accompanying culture that it implies may have been theirs, but was more likely Mediterranean. The main stuff of the religion of Egypt, on the other hand, the characteristic animal-gods and most other of the more fundamental beliefs, must be Nilotic and belong to the Hamite indigenes. The god Osiris, however, at all events appears to be of Syrian origin, and so are the cultivation of wine and of wheat, both of which are associated with him. The Egyptian knowledge of bee-keeping and of honey was possibly also of Syrian origin. It is significant that the ancient formal title of the king of Lower Egypt was “the Bee-man” or “Honey-man” (byati). Certainly Palestine, “the land of milk and honey” is more naturally the original home of agriculture than Egypt. But whether Osiris is Armenoid or (perhaps more probably) belongs to the Mediterranean pre-Semites of Palestine we do not know.
Accordingly, we see Egypt originally inhabited by a stone-using Hamitic race, related to the surrounding Semites, Libyans, and Mediterraneans. A second wave of the same race then comes, perhaps from the south. A foreign race, metal-using, then invades from Syria. It starts the great development of culture and founds a northern kingdom in the Delta, where a primitive culture akin to that of the Mediterranean Cretans and Aegean islanders probably already existed. No actual traces of such a primitive Mediterranean culture in the Delta have yet been found, but its existence is inherently probable, and many possible indications of it may be seen in the later religious representations peculiar to the Delta. To it may have been due the invention of the hieroglyphic writing. At all events, kings of this invading race came ultimately to rule the south and unite the two kingdoms under their scepter.
We have no means yet of estimating the duration of the period of the separate existence of the two kingdoms of the north and south, before the unification. Four centuries, perhaps, passed before tins egyptian civilization had progressed so far that the calendar was fixed, and the number of the months ordained, with the five intercalary days “over and above the year”. It may have been in the year 4241 (or 4238) BC that this advance in civilization was made, as a Sothic period begins in that year. The year 2781 (or 2778) is too late, as before that time the calendar was already in full working order. Hence we must go back 1460 years, to about four or five centuries before the founding of the monarchy, for the institution of the calendar, apparently in Lower Egypt. At that time no doubt the southern and northern dynasties existed, as the establishment of a calendar demands a state organization, with a royal will to direct it. And the hieroglyph writing-system must also have existed in its beginnings.
In the forty-third century BC, therefore, we perhaps find Egypt already divided into two civilized communities, each under its own king. These kings of Upper and of Lower Egypt are those called by Manetho the “dead demigods”. This appellation points to the fact that even to the early Egyptians they were shadowy figures of legend; for there is no doubt that Manetho’s authorities, like those of his brother-chronicler, Berosus in Babylonia, were ancient. Probably the Old Kingdom Egyptians already regarded them as demigods. The predynastic kings of Upper Egypt were known to the later Egyptians as the Followers of Horus (Shemsu-Hor), meaning either that they followed the falcon-god of Upper Egypt, Horus, upon the Hieraconpolite throne, or that they followed him to war in the legendary contest with Set, which we have already noticed. Probably both meanings were understood. As the representative of the falcon-god the king of Upper Egypt bore his name on a banner in the form of a palace-front, known as the serekh or, “Proclaimed”, surmounted by the figure of the falcon. This is known to us generally as his “Horus-name”, his name as Horus, as king, which was assumed at his accession.
The traditional centres of the two kingdoms were the cities of Sais and Buto in the Delta and those of Hieraconpolis and Edfu in the south. The memory of the original Dual State was always preserved. Neither was wholly absorbed into the other at the unification. The south conquered the north, but the north was admitted nominally, at least, to equal dignity with the dominating south. The monarch of the united kingdom was not king of Egypt only, but king of Upper and Lower Egypt. The Insi, the king of Upper Egypt, comes first, thus marking the primacy of the Upper Egyptian conqueror over the Byati, or king of the Delta; and the ordinary Egyptian word for “king” is insi. The king is lord of the two lands—though it has been suggested that this means lord of the two Nile banks; he is lord of the Upper Egyptian Vulture (since the vulture-goddess, Nekhebet, was the deity of Hieraconpolis), and of the Lower Egyptian Uraeus (since the serpent was the emblem of Uto, the goddess of Buto in the Delta), and so on. This last title seems to have been used from earliest times. And also from the first, union of both lands under one head was marked by the wearing by the earliest kings of the 1st Dynasty of the two peculiar crowns, the red crown of Lower Egypt and the white crown of Upper Egypt. And in the middle of the dynasty, Semti Den, who was the first king to use the title insibya combined the two into one crown in which the white crown was the uppermost as the senior. But the memory of the older wearers of the red crown was not proscribed. They had been the legitimate kings of the Delta. And as such they were commemorated in the official records of the kingdom.
The annals of the Old Kingdom, engraved upon stone stelae, and set up under the Vth Dynasty in various places, of which we have scattered specimens in the fragments of the Palermo Stone and its congeners, it gave lists of the pre-Menic kings of Lower as well as of Upper Egypt, each name being determined by a figure of the dead king wearing his peculiar white or red crown. The names of some of these early Delta kings are preserved: Tin, Thesh, Hsekiu, Uaznar, and others; they are primitive in form. No names of the early Hieraconpolite kings are preserved upon the extant fragments of the Vth Dynasty Annals; we know, however, that they existed thereon, from the occurrence, below a break in the stone, of the sign of the king wearing the white crown, which is the determinative of a king of Uppef Egypt.
The names of some of the pre-Menic kings of the south may have been preserved, among relics discovered at Abydos, but it is probable that only two of thesi, Ro and “the Scorpion” (the cursive form of whose Horus-name was read by Petrie as “Ka”), were really kings at all. Ro, who is merely called the Horus Ro, is probably a genuine pre-Menic king of the South. “The Scorpion”, whose personal name was Ip, is called Horus and Insi (not Insi-bya). He is known from monuments at Hieraconpolis which from their style must be placed immediately before those of Narmer or Narmerza, the conqueror of the north and unifier of the kingdom. The Scorpion also conquered the north, and was probably the first to do so, his work being completed by Narmer, whose successor, Ahai or Aha, was the first to reign undisputed over united Egypt. The Scorpion ruled undoubtedly as far north as the apex of the Delta, as his name has been found at Turra. A short distance further south both he and Narmer appear at Tarkhan, near Kafr Ammar, between Cairo and Wasta. These kings, with Aha, are the historical originals of the legendary “Menes”, the Mena or Meni of the Abydos list.
From a newly discovered fragment of the Palermo Stone it would seem that the personal name of the king whose Horus-name was Zer was Atoti, who in the Abydos list is the second successor of Meni. In Manetho his immediate successor, Zer (Athothis), judging by the style of his monuments, succeeded Aha. The “Teti” of the lists who precedes Atoti, will then be Aha, and Meni will be Narmer. Thus “the Scorpion” appears neither in the lists, nor in Manetho, who based his work on them. But he undoubtedly belongs as much to the 1st Dynasty as does Narmer. Both Narmer and Aha seem to have borne also the appellation “Men”. “Teti” may in reality be a mere reduplication of Atoti, due to confusion in the traditional accounts, Aha being really Menes II, and Narmer Menes I. In legends not only Narmer, but the Scorpion also, are evidently included in the saga of Menes, who thus appears to be a “conflate” personage of legend, bearing the name of the third of the great kings of the beginning of the 1st Dynasty, but including the deeds of all three. The dominating personality of the three is the first historical Menes, Narmer (c. 3500 BC). The later list makers were confused by the fact that in Narmer and Aha they had two claimants to the honor of being “Meni”, hence they transferred the former to a later period, reading his Horus-name, Narmer or Narmerza, as “Buzau”, the Boethos of Manetho, who follows the lists in placing him at the beginning of his IInd Dynasty. Such are the conclusions to which the progress of discovery seems to lead us; but it must be borne in mind that a new discovery may at any moment cause us to revise our statements as to these early kings.
The chief monument of the Scorpion at Hieraconpolis is a great ceremonial mace-head of stone (now at Oxford), on which are reliefs of crude vigor representing the royal hawk swooping in conquest, and rows of miserable-looking crested birds, rekhyut (the ideograph of "mankind'), hung by their necks from standards bearing representations of the sacred animals of the south, and thus symbolizing conquest by the southerners. With this were found the famous relics of Narmer, perhaps the most remarkable monuments of archaic Egyptian art; viz. another ceremonial mace-head (now at Oxford), and the ceremonial “palette” (at Cairo). This latter is a formal development of the slate palette, on which the primitive Egyptians mixed paint; it is constantly found in the predynastic tombs, and apparently one of the first objects to which the nascent art of the Egyptian decorator was turned. On the mace-head we see the king celebrating the Sed-festival, which has been regarded as the survival of an ancient custom (with many parallels elsewhere) of killing the king at the end of a thirty-years' reign. This custom was probably in abeyance by Narmer's time: we do not suppose the monument actually commemorates his forcible death, though he may have been deposed. Later on, it was always celebrated by the king, dressed up as the mummy, Osiris, and not always after a thirty-years reign; it became one of the many pompous ceremonies in which the Pharaoh had to take the leading part. On the palette we see him wearing the red crown, inspecting the headless bodies of slain northerners, attended by his vizier (zati) “the Man”, as opposed to “the God” i.e. the king) and his cup- and sandal-bearer (won-hir, face-opener), while four men carry before him the standards of the gods. He, now wearing the white crown also strikes with his mace a northerner, who is labeled “Harpoon-marsh” (the Harpoon-nome in the northwestDelta), while the falcon of Horus holds a human head, representing a northerner, by a rope through his nose, meanwhile standing on a group of six papyrus plants that probably means “the North”, three such plants being the simplified sign for this in the developed hieroglyphic script. Below, on one side, a bull breaks through the recess-walled encampment of a northerner, whom he tramples under foot, while three displaced bricks and the gap in the wall show the energy of his attack: in the enclosure is a tent with two poles. Below, on the other side, two northerners escape, looking back in terror, to seek fortress-protection as the hieroglyphs tell us.
Other fragments of similar monuments of this time, commemorating the conquest of the north, are in our museums. One in the Louvre shows the royal bull goring a northerner, while below on one side the standards of the southern gods, Anubis, Uapuaut, Thoth, Horus and Min, grasp, each with a human hand, a rope which drags some other captive whose figure is broken off. On another we see the animal-emblems of the king (?) break through with hoes into the square crenellated enclosures of towns whose names are shown by hieroglyphs, “Owl-town”, “Ghost-town”, and others of which we do not know the meaning. One is struck by the naive energy of this commemorative art, which has preserved for us a contemporary record of the founding of the Egyptian kingdom, and possibly a Libyan war.
It has been supposed that Narmer actually met the redoubtable Naram Sin of Babylonia in battle and was worsted by him. There is no absolute impossibility in the view, though it rests on a slender foundation. He undoubtedly warred against the Libyan tribes of the western Delta and his successor, Aha, against the Nubians. Aha is supposed to have been the first to conquer the district between Silsileh and Aswan, which has always been somewhat distinct from the rest of Upper Egypt, and is now inhabited not by Egyptians but by Nubians. His successors were constantly involved in warlike operations on the newly acquired frontier of “the land of the bow”, as the district of the First Cataract was then called. The native inhabitants appear to have been Beja tribes ('Mentiu of Sati') and people closely akin to the Upper Egyptians ('Intiu of Sati'). Nubia was then still inhabited by Hamites very nearly related to the Egyptians; the negro advance noticeable at the end of the Old Kingdom had not yet begun; no negroes appear on the monuments of the earliest dynasties. The modern Nubians up to as far north as Silsileh are not Egyptians or Hamites at all, but a true negro tribe, now of course much crossed with pure Hamites like the Abadeh and Beja, and with the mixed race, Hamite, Mediterranean, Libyan, Armenoid, Syrian-Semite and Negro of Egypt.
Both Aha and his successor Zer (or Khent) Atoti were either buried or possessed cenotaph-tombs in the necropolis of Abydos. We do not know whether these were real tombs or not, as Aha also possessed a great brick tomb at Nakada, not very far away, and on the whole this is more likely to have been his real tomb. The same is probable for Zer. The tombs of Narmer and the Scorpion are unknown. Another king who, to judge by the style of the vases, inscribed tablets, etc., found in his tomb, succeeded Zer, was also buried or possessed a cenotaph at Abydos. His Horus-name was Za (represented by the single snake hieroglyph, Za or Zet); he is the Ata of the lists. The name of his successor, Semti (Two Deserts), was misread by the list makers as Hsapti (two Nomes). His Horus-name was Den (or Udimu); and he was the first Insibya. A queen of the time is named “Merneit”, i.e. “beloved of Neith”. Neith was the warrior-goddess worshipped in the Delta at Sais, the Het-byati or House of the Bee-man, who was the king of Lower Egypt. Aha, too, had married a princess of Sais named Neit-hotep, and both alliances with the north were no doubt politic measures, devised to secure the loyalty of the conquered Delta. They did not altogether succeed, as later on, at the beginning of the IIIrd Dynasty, the southern king, Khasekhem, had to reconquer the north, after which he again married a northern princess, with the final result of the abandonment of Upper Egypt as the seat of royal power, and the administration of the country from Memphis. The royal house and court became northern in fact as well as by descent.
From the relics found in Semti's tomb or cenotaph at Abydos we see already a rich and picturesque civilization, energetic and full of new ideas, both artistic and of a more practical character. Gold and ivory and valuable wood were lavishly used for small objects of art, fine vases of stone were made, and the wine of the grape (irp) was kept in great pottery vases stored in magazines like those of the pithoi at Cnossus. The art of making blue glass and faience, that typically Egyptian art, had already been invented. One of the treasures from the tomb of Semti (in the British Museum) is the lid of the ivory box in which was kept his golden judgment seal: it is inscribed “Golden Seal of Judgment of King Den”. In this tomb also, as in those of other kings of the time, were found a number of small Ivory plaques, stated in their inscriptions to have been made by the king’s carpenter. Each contains the official records of the events of a single year: thus on one of these (in the British Museum) we find chronicled in the naive archaic hieroglyphs of the time a river expedition to the north-land and the capture of a fortified place, the latter shown as a broken enceinte within which is its name, with the hoe outside signifying the breaking down of the wall, as on the earlier stone fragments already mentioned above. We find on the same tablet also the statement that in this year the Falcon (i.e. the king) seized the abodes of the Libyans, and the name of the viceroy of the north, Hemaka, is mentioned. This personage appears to have been the chief man of his time, and his name appears upon numbers of the high conical clay sealings of the wine-jars, which were impressed by means of cylinder-seals. All these little tablets are the records of single years of the king's life, and they, and others like them belonging to the reigns of other early kings, formed the basis of regular annals, which, at least as early as the time of the Vth Dynasty, and probably before, were carved upon stone monuments. The Palermo Stone and the other fragments of similar annal-stelae are examples. In some years we find little recorded but the celebration of some festival or the founding of a temple or palace; in others details are given as to the royal warlike activity. Chroniclers then existed, official recorders, scribes, probably tax-gatherers and all the apparatus mat appertains to a regular and settled administration.
Wealth came to the court and encouraged the work in metal, fine stones, ivory and wood of the artists who now laid the foundations of Egyptian art. Besides the artists who made the annal-tablets, there were the carvers, like the man who made the extraordinary little Ivory figure (now in the British Museum) of an early king, wearing the white crown and a strange long woven and carpet-like robe, unlike anything in later Egyptian costume but distinctly Babylonian in appearance with its fringed border. It is about the age of Semti and may represent that king; it shows that weaving in carpet patterns was already known. There were the king’s jewelers, like the man who made the wonderful little bracelets of gold and carnelian beads that once encircled the arms of Zer's queen, or the sceptre of sard and gold that belonged to a king. There were the king's barbers, like the man who made the little fringe of false curls that somebody wore who was buried in the precinct of the tomb of Zer. There were the incense-makers who compounded their sanctified product of myrrh and sweet-savoured gums. The royal carpenters and cabinet-makers could make furniture of elaborate type; the well-known bull's hoof motif for chair-legs already appears. In fact, to enumerate no further, Egyptian civilization, so far as the court was concerned, was already luxurious under the 1st Dynasty.
The king was no doubt the absolute lord of all. He was surrounded by a court of nobles and great men, like the vizier Hemaka; the people were ruled and judged by the king and his chiefs. When he died he was buried in a tomb which was a sort of apotheosis of the tombs of his subjects, and in the development marked by the successive royal tombs we have a good representation of the general development of civilization. Whereas Aha had a brick tomb roofed with wood covered with earth, Semti's tomb was for the first time floored with granite blocks; and at the beginning of the IIIrd Dynasty Khasekhemui’s great brick-built sepulcher, also at Abydos, contains a tomb chamber wholly constructed of hewn limestone. With it begins the development which so soon was to culminate in the Pyramids. The royal tomb was called Sa-ha-Hor, “Protection-around-the-Falcon” (i.e. the king as Horus). The king's burial chamber was surrounded by a number of smaller tombs in which, apparently, were interred either the great men of his court or a number of his slaves who accompanied him to the next world.
Of priests and embalmers, who afterwards became so important, we hear nothing as yet, though later tradition had it that in Semti's time chapters of the funerary ritual, the “Chapters of Coming forth by Day” (which we call 'The Book of the Dead') were written, and books of medicine also. We can imagine the sooth-sayer and medicine-man as prominent at his court, as in other communities in a similar state of civilization. Such people, and the chiefs themselves, were the priests. The characteristic Egyptian cult of the dead, though it existed, has not yet developed into the great worship of the deity who, to many of us, summarizes most of what we know of Egyptian religion, Osiris. The dead man is not yet identified with Osiris nor have efforts to preserve the body of the Osirian in the next world yet resulted in the production of a mummy. From the beginning this cult of the dead was undoubtedly a main feature of Nilotic religion. Busiris in the Delta was, presumably, already the seat of the worship of the dead god, Osiris, but we hear nothing of him in the south. The Memphite district already had no doubt its own dead god, Sekri or Socharis, “the coffined one”, represented by a dead hawk, later identified with the other gods of the same district, Hapi the bull, and Ptah, who was already" represented as a swathed form closely related to that of Osiris, and probably already also as a misshapen dwarf. In the south we find the wolf-god of the dead, Upuaut, the “opener of the ways” at Siut; and at Abydos the jackal Anubis, “on his hill”, “in the Oasis”(?), more primitive conceptions than the anthropomorphic Osiris and Ptah, and originating in the primitive Egyptian’s barbaric desire to placate the wolf or jackal who prowled round the desert-graves of his people at night and rooted up their bodies to devour them. A more civilized conception later on spoke of Arnubis as Khentamentiu, “the head of the Westerners”, the graves being then placed usually on the western bank of the Nile (though not always, e.g. at Naga ed-Der), and eventually these deities were all more or less amalgamated as Osiris, with whom Khentamentiu was identified, while Anubis and Upuaut became lesser genii at his side.
Mummification is rare before the VIth Dynasty and was still not usual even under the XIIth. The human-faced coffins, which we know so well in every museum, first began under the XIIth Dynssty, as inner cases within the great rectangular wooden chests that are characteristic of that period and of former times at least as far back as the VIth Dynasty. No doubt they are older than this; we see that they develop from smaller wooden chests, such as those in which the bodies of 1st Dynasty people were buried at Tarkhan. The great stone sarcophagi probably first began under the IVth Dynasty as imitations m stone of the wooden chests.
Semti was succeeded by Merpeba, whose personal name was Enezib (Antjab), a king who is remarkable only from the fact that in the Memphite lists of kings he is the first to be commemorated, Menes being ignored. This looks as if he were in reality the founder of Memphis, and as if the credit of his foundation had been transferred to the legendary Menes, or, to put it in another way, as if he were the Menes who founded Memphis. Yet the “Town of the White Wall” certainly existed before his time, probably in predynastic days; and Merpeba can only be allowed the credit of perhaps being the first to make it the seat of the royal government in the north. The name Memphis was not acquired until the time of the VIth Dynasty.
Merpeba was followed by Semerkhet, whose personal name is written as the picture of a walking warrior armed with a stick, which may have been read Nekhti or Hui, “the strong” or “the striker”, by his contemporaries, but was read by the XIXth Dynasty scribes as Shemsu (“the follower”), owing to the resemblance of the hieroglyph, for to follow (a shorthand ideograph, wrongly taken to be of a warrior walking) to the archaic sign of Semerkhet’s name. With him we reach a new development of Egyptian energy. Other kings before him had warred with the tribes on the frontiers; he appears to have been the first who actually invaded the mountain-fastnesses of Sinai, and certainly was the first to cut upon the rocks there a record of his invasion, the first of its kind, in which he is represented as striking down the chief of the Mentiu, or bedouins. He is accompanied by a smaller figure of the chief and general of the soldiers, who carries a bow and arrows. There are three figures of the king, in two of which he wears the White Crown while in the third he has the Red Crown. Semerkhet was succeeded by the comparatively unimportant Ka, with the personal name Sen, which was later misread by the scribes as Kebh. But the lists are now very confused. The Abydos list next names Buzau, the Boethos whom Manetho placed at the head of his IInd Dynasty. Buzau, however, is probably a XIXth Dynasty misreading of Narmer or Narmerza, who has been transferred from his real position. The Sakkarah list rightly ignores him, but has placed, after Kebh, Biuneter ('Souls of God'), probably the Ubienthis of Manetho (the Bienekhes of Africanus), and Banentiru (“Soul of the God”). Not only are these names so similar as almost to be doublets, but the latter is properly the third king of the IInd Dynasty, the Binothris of Manetho. For from a contemporary statue in the Cairo Museum we know that Banentiru was preceded, by two monarchs, Reneb (Ke is [his] Lora ) and his predecessor, Hotepsekhemui (“Pacifying the Two Powers” viz. Horus and Set, or perhaps the South and North). Accordingly, Hotepsekhemui is the historical original of Buzau, the misread Narmer of the Abydos list. As for Reneb, the Abydos and Sakkarah lists give Kakau, which no doubt was his personal name; and its meaning (ka of kas) is extremely interesting in view of the meanings of Biuneter and Banentiru.