February 9, 2012

Scorpion and Narmer Kings

Scorpion and Narmer and Narmer Platte

On the e fragmented so-called 'Scorpion' Macehead, a king is seen in full ritual dress with the ritual bull's tail hanging from the back of his belt, wearing the tall White Crown (hedjet) of Upper Egypt and performing a ceremony using a hoe or mattock. Possibly he is opening he the dykes ritually to begin the flooding of the fields; or he could be cutting the first furrow for the foundation of either a temple ( here at Hierakonpolis) or of a city ( as Roman emperors more than 3000 years later are depicted on coins ploughing the outline of a city at its foundation). Before the king's face , and therefor presumably signifying his name , is a scorpion with seven-petaled flower above it. The decorative friz around the remaining top of the macehead has lapwings hanging by their necks from vertical standards. This little bird, rekhyt in hieroglyphs , means 'common people' and their fate would seem to indicate that they have been overcome by the victorious King " Scorpion'.

Scorpion King Ancient Egypt
Whatever he ceremony being performed, two things seem clear: King 'Scorpion', wearing the white Crown, is king only of Upper Egypt ( unless the missing side of Lower Egypt as well), and there has been a battle and the lapwings the event is taking place before the unification of Egypt, placing ' scorpion' before Narmer.


Two major pieces from the 'Main Deposit' at Hierakonpolis refer to Narmer: the Narmer Palette and the Narmer Macehead. the Palette , a monumental piece of dark green slate , is the earliest historical record from Egypt. it shows a victorious king whose name appears within a serekh- the early from of presenting royal names - at the head of both sides between facing heads if the cow-faced goddess Hathor. The hieroglyphs of the royal name are a mud fish depicted horizontally above a vertical chisel , read as the name of Narmer . Narmer is shown in two aspects, wearing respectively the White Crown of Upper Egypt ( the head jet ) and the Red Crown of Lower Egypt ( deshret ) , implying that he is now king of both lands , Later , the dual monarchy was to be shown by both crowns being worn together , one inside the other , and forming the Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt ( the shemty ) . The principle scene , the more dominate artistically ,has a large figure of Narmer wearing White Crown and smiting with upraised mace a prisoner whom he grasps by the forelock. This the earliest occurrence of what was to become an 'icon of majesty' throughout the rest of ancient Egyptian history , right down to Roman times . however , this side of the Platte should be the reserve since , on the other side , is cut a shallow depression that indicates the humble antecedents of this magnificent piece : it is the scoop in which cosmetic powder , probably green eye paint , Kohl , was crushed. This must then be the upper of obverse side. Here the king is shown in the Red Crown , in smaller stature but still the dominant figure , being larger than any of the other participants.

Scorpion King in Ancient Egypt

It is notable that on both sides of the Palette the king is shown barefoot with his tiny sandal - bearer ( who also appears to have been his seal-bearer, to judge from the cylinder seal suspended around his neck) following behind carrying a pair of sandals and what might be a small water jar . The king is twice represented in obviously symbolic and ritual contexts and it ma be that the events are taking place in a sacred area and the king is ritually barefoot, rather like Moses some 100 years later . Certainly the god Horus is the king's god , on his side , for ass a falcon he holds an enemy, ready for the king's attention, by a rope uncomfortably threaded through the captive's nostrils.

The frontal face of the goddess Hathor is the dominant aspect of the top of both sides of the Platte and must surly have deep significance in such a prime position. Although Horus was the god of Hierakonpolis (Nekhen) , and it maybe presumed that the principal temple was dedicated to him , it is possible that he is shown on the Palette as the younger Horus who was the son of Hathor , which would explain his mother's dominant role in the Palette's religious iconography. To draw analogies from much later in Egyptian history , the two finest remaining temples (both from the Ptolemaic period,) are built on much earlier foundations and are respectively dedicated ti Horus ( at Edfu) and Hathor ( at Dendera) , and their rituals involved an exchange of processions between them .

Narmer Platte

The Narmer Macehead also shows rituals sciences, principally the celebration of the heb-sed (jubilee) festival of renewal , where the king is seen seated , wrapped in the appropriate clock (see left). within a pavilion. A cow (Hathor?) and her calf also have a prominent place in the iconography. the king here wears the Red Crown and his sandal-bearer is again in attendance although the kings;s feet cannot be seen because of his ground- length ritual roe.


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