March 26, 2012

Hotepsekhemwy and Raneb Egyptian Pharaohs

Dynasty : 2
Period : 2890 -2686 BC
Kings : Hotepsekhemwy, Raneb, Nynetjer, Seth-Peribsen and Khasekhemwy

Manetho tells us that the 2nd Dynasty consisted of nine kings, ruling for 302 years, but it is difficult to reconcile his statement with the surviving archaeological and written evidence. According to current thinking, six kings reigned in the 2nd Dynasty, which lasted little more than 200 years. The names and sequence of the first three rulers are inscribed on the back of a statue of a priest called Hotep-dif (opposite). The names are, right to left, Hotepsekhemwy, Raneb and Nynetjer.

Hotepsekhemwy is little known. Sealings with his name have been found near the later 5th Dynasty pyramid of Unas at Saqqara and may indicate that the remains of his tomb are nearby. There is no evidence of his having built at the southern site of Abydos like his predecessors. According to Manetho he had a long reign of 38 years, but there is little to show for it. His successor Raneb had a slightly longer reign, 39 years if Manetho is to be believed, but, once again, only the tell-tale sealings in the same area of the pyramid of Unas might point to the location of his tomb. There is a granite stele from Abydos with his name in the usual serekh.

tomb stela of Raneb, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
An interesting point that Manetho adds about Raneb is that he introduced the worship not only of the sacred goat of Mendes but also of the sacred bull of Mnevis at the old sun-worship centre of Heliopolis, and the Apis bull at Memphis. (In fact scholars now believe that an earlier king was responsible for founding the latter cult, which is attested on a stele dating from Den's (Udimu's) reign.)


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