, pub-5063766797865882, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Anedjib, Semerkhet and Qa'a Kings of Ancient Egypt ~ Ancient Egypt Facts

March 26, 2012

Anedjib, Semerkhet and Qa'a Kings of Ancient Egypt

Anedjib, Semerkhet and Qa'a
The next king of the 1st Dynasty reigned for 26 years, if we identify Anedjib with the Miebidos of Manetho. There is some evidence at this period of a dynastic struggle, of north versus south. Anedjib seems to have come from the area of Abydos known as This and is recorded as a Thinite king on the Saqqara King List from the tomb of Thunery (p. 12). Many stone vases bearing his name had their inscriptions erased under his successor Semerkhet, who was himself omitted from the Saqqara List. The Saqqara tomb of the noble Nebitlca, previously ascribed to Anedjib (no. 3038), has an interesting architectural feature, also present in the earlier Saqqara tomb of Queen Merneith. Concealed within the normal rectangular palace fagade mastaba was the base of a stepped structure, a curious juxtaposition of two quite different forms. (Mastaba is an Arabic word for 'bench', given to the early tombs since their low flat form resembled the bench found outside the door of village houses.) Possibly here, and in the tomb of Merneith, we have the beginnings of Anedjib's tomb at Abydos (Tomb X) is one of the worst built and smallest amongst the Abydos royal tombs, a mere 53% x 29Vi ft (16.4 x 9 m), although it had a burial chamber constructed entirely in wood. The surrounding 64 graves of retainers were also of low standard.

Detail of a schist fragment inscribed with the names of Qa'a and Semerkhet, preceded by the sign ntr (god) within an enclosure fence. Cairo Museum.
The next king Semerkhet, reigned for nine years according to the Palermo Stone, or 18 according to Manetho, who notes that there were numerous disasters during the reign. These may have been connected with the problems in relation to his predecessor, it having been suggested that Semerkhet was in fact a usurper because he erased the name of his predecessor from stone vases and was himself omitted from the Saqqara King List. His tomb at Abydos (Tomb U) measures 95 x 1013/t ft (29 x 31 m) and is vastly superior in size and quality to that of his predecessor, with its brick-lined burial chamber and the well-built servants' graves. Unusually, no large tomb has been identified at Saqqara to his reign.

The last king of the 1st Dynasty, Qa'a (Qa'a-hedjet), may have reigned for 26 years, but Manetho's name of Bieneches, whom he gives as the last king of the dynasty, hardly equates with Qa'a. A large tomb found at Saqqara by Emery in 1954 (no. 3505) was ascribed to Qa'a, but we now believe it to be that of a priestly noble, Merkha, whose large limestone stele giving his name and titles has one of the longest texts extant from the period. The size of the tomb, 213 x 121 ft (65 x 37 m), was such that it led Emery to suggest that Merkha had been granted the honour of burial close to his royal master.

The superbly carved limestone stele of Qa'a shows the king embraced by the falcon-headed god Horus. It probably came from Abydos since so fine a stele must surely have been associated with the king's tomb. Louvre, Paris.
The large tomb of Qa'a at Abydos (Tomb Q) was re-excavated in 1993 by the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo. They revealed that the tomb had been subject to numerous alterations and enlargements, starting from a simple brick-lined burial chamber. Small by Saqqara comparisons, only 98‘/2 x 75Vi ft (30 x 23 m), it also had a lesser number of satellite burials, only 26. It is notable that the practice of satellite (sacri¬ficial) burials seems to have stopped in Qa'a's reign in the north, although some are still present, but not in such vast quantities, in the south at Abydos.

Petrie assigned the tomb at Abydos to Qa'a not only from the usual jar sealings but also from two fragmentary stele he found on the east side of the tomb that gave Qa'a's Horus name in a serekh. A superb limestone stele of the king acquired by the Louvre in 1967 shows him wearing the tall White Crown of Upper Egypt and embraced by the falcon-headed Horus. The White Crown also forms part of his name within the serekh above the two heads, possibly indicating the final triumph of the south, Abydos.

A change of dynasty normally indicates a break in the line of the ruling house, yet Manetho tells us that the kings of the 2nd Dynasty also came from This, being Thinite kings, from near Abydos, as were the last kings of the 1st Dynasty.


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