During the Middle Kingdom, which included the XI and XII dynasties, the Egyptian pharaohs received a single combination of five names.
The first was the name of birth and other four were conferred when they acceded to the throne. The sequence was the following:
The five names of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt
FIRST NAME CORRESPONDING TITLE
Horus ………………………………………………. Serekh
Nebty or the Two Ladies ……………….. The one of the Two Ladies (Wadjet and Nekhbet)
Horus of Golden …………………………….. Golden Horus Name
Name of Throne or Prenomen ………..The one of the sedge and the bee (King of the Lower and Upper Egypt)
Name of Birth or Nomen ………………………… Son of Ra
Example list of the names of Tutankhamun
Next we will see by way of example the list of the five names of king Tutankhamun.
In general, the pharaohs before the IV dynasty are known only by their name of Horus. This, appeared in a panel “serekh” and is easily identified by Horus falcon is located on it.
The serekh appears in Narmer’s palette dating from the beginning of the Egyptian history.
During Dynasty II, it seems that the King Sekhemib had political problems and was forced to change his name to Peribsen, and thus replaced the nominal protection of Horus with that of the god Set.
The Hawk of Horus on the panel “serekh” was replaced by the animal of set. Jasejemuy, the next king, seems to have reconciled the two factions by placing Horus and Set on his serekh.
Some kings of the primitive dynasties could have secondary titles. The sign Nebty of the Two Ladies was used by Hor-Aha in Dynasty I, but it was not part of their royal titles.
The Two Ladies or the cobra and the vulture respectively represent the Goddess Wadyet of Buto in Lower Egypt and the goddess Nekhbet of Nejbe in Upper Egypt.
In a later period of the dynasty, Semerkhet included the Two Ladies as part of their titles, but until Dynasty XII the sequence of five names did not include the title Nebty in a definitive way.
The first to use the title “The one of the sedge and the bee” (King of Upper and Lower Egypt), was Den in the 1st dynasty that also associated his name of Horus with the symbol of gold (a necklace with pendants).
The third name of the royal title, the Golden Horus, was incorporated into the Middle Kingdom.
The most immediate and frequent way to identify a real name is through its inclusion in an oval cartouche (formed by the loop of a robe whose ends are tied).
Snefru, the first king of Dynasty IV, was the introducer of the cartouche with real names, and, thereafter, the name of the cartouche replaced the name of Horus to identify the king.
Neferirkare, of the Fifth Dynasty, added a second name in the cartouche, the first being the one he received when accessing the throne (prenomen) and the second his birth name (nomen).
When there is no second cartridge, confusions may arise between kings with the same name and prenomen, for example Sobekemsaf and Ramses.
Although the sequence of five names or titles was a requirement that the pharaoh had to comply with, in practice he registered very rarely except in the celebration of his coronation.
Of the five names, the most frequently used were the first (Horus) and the fourth (throne) and the fifth (birth).