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The above statements about the Neolithic Egyptians are based upon evidence derived from the graves of the people of the South, or Upper Egypt, who from time immemorial have differed in many ways from the inhabitants of Lower Egypt and the Delta. The southerners were, comparatively speaking, shut in, and their country could only be invaded by foreigners who were obliged to cross barren wastes and deserts before they reached the Nile. The northerners were more accessible, and it was easy for the peoples of the Mediterranean and the tribes of the Eastern Desert and the peoples of Palestine and Syria to reach the Delta. And the conditions of life being easier in the fertile lands of the Delta there must always have been there more settlers from abroad than in Upper Egypt. There must have been frequent fights between the South and the North, and the rivalry between the King of the South, Nesut or Ensut, and the King of the North, Bat,1 did not
cease until Men, or Menȧ, the legendary Menes, a King of the South, vanquished the King of the North and united the two kingdoms under his rule. Probably this was not effected as the result of a single battle, but only after a long struggle which lasted for years. The Stele of Palermo has preserved the names of seven pre-dynastic kings, viz., Ska, Khaau, Tau, Thesh, Neheb, Uatchantch and Mekha, but the names of Mena's predecessors, with the exception of "the
king of the South, Ap” ↓ 40, , and the "Horus Ru"
Manetho, a priest of Sebennytus, who flourished in the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, wrote a History of Egypt which is now lost, but versions of his list of the kings of Egypt have been preserved in the works of Eusebius and Julius Africanus. In these King-Lists the kings are grouped in dynasties, the reason for which is unknown. The 30 dynasties are divided into three groups, viz., dynasties I-XI, dynasties XII-XIX and dynasties XX-XXX, and these correspond roughly with the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom. That the Egyptians did not divide their kings into dynasties is proved by the Tablet of Ṣakkârah and the Tablets of Abydos.
THE OLD KINGDOM
The First Dynasty. From This.
The first king of this dynasty and the unifier of the two Egypts seems to have been Narmer, (to call him by his "Horus
name "2), who adopted, as "King of the South and North,”
1 is usually said to represent a bee, but some entomologists think
that the insect here drawn is a hornet or wasp.
2 See the remarks that precede the list of cartouches in this book.
1. Narmer, with attendants carrying standards with sacred objects on them, going to inspect decapitated enemies.
2. Hunters lassoing animals with elongated intertwined necks.
3. The king, in the form of a bull, breaking into a fortress of the enemy.
the title MEN, or MENÅ,
wwwwwwhich Manetho turned into
Menes. He was a mighty warrior, and the latest historians, Hall1 and Petrie,2 give his date at c. B.C. 3500 and B.C. 5546 (!) respectively; the latter makes him reign more than forty years. The most striking monuments of his reign are the inscribed mace-head at Oxford, on which he recorded the capture of enormous numbers of men and cattle, and the so-called green stone "Palette" at Cairo, which is sculptured with scenes commemorating his conquests in the Delta. Assuming that Narmer was the first king of this dynasty, his successor was a king whose Horus name was Āḥa, the "Fighter," and whose Nebti name was Men. Narmer seems to have had no Nebti name, and if this be so it would follow that Āḥa was the first dynastic king to be Lord of Upper and Lower Egypt. The hieroglyphs which read Nebti are , and they represent Nekhebit, the Vulture-goddess of Nekhen, the old capital of Upper Egypt, and Uatchit, the Uraeus-goddess of Per-Uatchit (Buto). Apparently Narmer did not conquer the district the capital of which was Nekhen, and if this be so the absence of a Nebti name in his inscriptions is accounted for. Āḥa was buried in a brick-built tomb at Abydos, and the ebony plaques found in it prove that in his reign the Egyptians were able to arrange hieroglyphs in such a way as to form sentences with connected meanings. The influence under which they acquired this faculty seems to have been of foreign origin; some think it was European and others Mesopotamian or Syrian. A wife of Aḥa was called Netḥetep or Neith-hetep, who was a votary of the goddess of Saïs, or a native of her city. Aḥa was succeeded by Khent, or Tcher, h, or, and he was followed by a king whose Horus name was Tcha whose Nebti name was Tcheser; the former is the Atet, and the latter the Ata of the King-List of Abydos. Mernet, or Mer-Neith, the wife of Tcha, was probably the mother of Ten,
the next king. The Nesu-bat name of this king is m' which has usually been read Semti, but the reading Khaskheti has also been proposed. The scribe who made the draft for the list of Kings in the temple of Seti I at Abydos erred and transcribed the signs Hesepti (meaning the "two nomes," and not the "two lands"), which is the original of Usaphais, the king's name according to Manetho. Semti was a great king, and the objects that were found in his tomb at Abydos attest his glory and power. His
1 Cambridge Ancient History, Vol. I, p. 267.
nobles were rich and luxurious, and the ivory carver, the workers in gold and in stone, and skilled handicraftsmen of all kinds produced examples of their work that command our admiration to-day. His fame lasted through succeeding centuries, and we find him mentioned in the Medical Papyrus at Berlin (Brugsch, Recueil II, pl. xcix), the Ebers Papyrus (pl. 103, 1. 2); and the composition or redaction of one of the Chapters of the Book of the Dead (LXIV) is assigned to the period of his reign (Brit. Mus. Papyrus of Nu, sheet 13; Lepsius, Todtenbuch, pl. 53; Naville, Todtenbuch, Vol. II, p. 139; Budge, Chapters of Coming Forth by Day, Vol. I (text), p. 145). The inscribed ivory and ebony tablets found in his tomb contain records of important events of his reign and incidentally supply much information about the civilization of his time. Some of these record
the name of the "seal-bearer of the King of the North," ļ
No. 1. Wooden tablet of Semti enumerating the events of one of the years of his reign, viz., celebration of a festival at which the king danced before his god, the building of a sanctuary, etc.
No. 2. Tablet with a representation of Semti slaughtering an enemy.
who was the Viceroy, or Chancellor or
Wazîr of the King in Lower Egypt.
The successor of Semti was Merpeba, whose Horus name was Antchab, ; later tradition associated his name prominently with Memphis, but the objects found in his tomb at Abydos afford us little information about him. The next king bore the Horus name of Smerkha[t], [P *, and Manetho gives Semempses as his personal name. The scribes of the XIXth dynasty were puzzled by the sign (or signs) for his personal name, which appeared in the list from which they were copying, and they drew the figure of a man holding a stick before him and advancing in a threatening