Who was King Narmer?
Narmer is a key character in Egyptian history. He was the founder of Dynasty I, and therefore the first pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. This occurred around 3050 BC, and his reign lasted, according to sources such as Herodotus and Sincelo, for six decades.
The name Menes was assigned to him as a throne name when he acceded to the throne of Upper Egypt. Later, he extended his territory until he conquered Lower Egypt, and made the city of Ineb Hedy “White Wall” ( the future Memphis ) the capital of his government.
The conquest process was carried out by force, as evidenced by the famous Narmer Palette, in which the pharaoh is represented wearing a crown alluding to Upper Egypt, striking one of the foreigners also represented there, with other foreign opponents defeated, at the bottom of the green shale block.
Read more: palette of narmer description
What did king Narmer do?
Narmer was the first pharaoh to unify the Egyptian territories under his command. The founding of Memphis, hundreds of kilometers north of Tinis, was a demonstration of power over Lower Egypt, which, according to the Namer Palette, he saw as a conquered people.
The origin of king Narmer was the city of Tinis, the capital of Upper Egypt, and he was married to Neithotep, originally from Naqada under Egypt, indicating that this marriage served to seal an alliance between both cities.
Among the works and temple that he made, we have the luxurious temple of Ptah (Herodotus).
During his reign, he carried out the construction of a dike allowing the waters of the more humid region of “Ineb Hedy” to drain, changing the course of the Nile until it emptied into a lake.
The name of Narmer appears on ceramic fragments in the delta region, and even in the Levant, this being evident proof of trade between these zones.
The agricultural wealth of the delta, coupled with the mineral wealth of Upper Egypt, as well as the confluence of various trade routes helped build a great empire.
King Ka who may be the father of Narmer and is considered to have possibly preceded as King of Tinis.
This conclusion is based on analyzes of the ceramics and other offerings from his grave and the type and position of his grave in the Abydos cemetery, close to the tomb attributed to Narmer.
King Narmer’s tomb is believed to be located in Umm el-Qaab , a necropolis in Abydos. It is considered that he was buried in tomb B17-18 of the complex, although there are other theories as well.
It is believed that the Scorpion king was one of the last representatives of the struggle for the unity of predynastic Egypt and that Narmer was the founder of the unified Empire, and Aha his first successor.
The name Narmer (Menas) has been found inscribed in hieroglyphs in:
- The ceremonial Mace of Narmer, in Nekhen (Hierakonpolis).
- The statue of the baboon, kept in the Altes Museum in Berlin.
- Cylindrical seals, in Naqada, eastern delta of the Nile and in the southern Levant.
A peculiar fact is that Narmer is never represented with the double crown, but alternately with one or the other.
This could mean that territorial unification would occur after the existence of a single monarch over two independent kingdoms, until a king, Aha, managed to girdle the double crown of the definitive union.
First photo: Head of a king in limestone. According to Petrie it could be Narmer. Preserved in the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archeology, London.