People - Ancient Egypt: Khaba
OLD KINGDOM 3rd Dynasty (2603 - 2599) The age of the Pyramid. The pyramids of
Giza and Dahshur are built during this period.
Khaba in Tour Egypt
KHABA, A SHADOWY KING OF EGYPT'S LATE, 3RD DYNASTY
BY JIMMY DUNN.
We know very little about the King, who probably occupied
the throne of Egypt near the end of the 3rd Dynasty, named
Khaba, who's name means "The Soul Appears". His nswt-bity
and nbty names are unknown. It has been suggested that the
king's birth name might have been Teti.
In the Turnin King List, this king's name is marked as
"erased", but is credited with a reign of six years. The
fact that his name was marked as "erased" may mean that
there were dynastic problems, or simply that the scribe who
composed the Turin King List was unable to read his name
from more ancient records.
Khaba is attested to at four, and perhaps five sites in
Egypt, including a mastaba (Z-500) at Zawiyet el-Aryan,
where eight alabaster bowls inscribed with the king's serekh
in red ink were unearthed. This mastaba is located in an
area about two kilometers south of the Giza Plateau, halfway
between Giza and Abusir on the west bank of the Nile,
adjacent to the so-called "layer pyramid". While there is no
evidence from this unfinished pyramid itself to link it with
Khaba, it is generally attributed to him on the basis of the
inscribed stone bowls found nearby.
Evidence of Khaba in Southern Egypt is attested by sealings
found at Hierakonpolis and Elephantine. Those from
Hierakonpolis come from the Early Dynastic town, either from
houses or from the Early Dynastic stratum beneath the Old
Kingdom temple of Horus. The Elephantine sealing was
unearthed from the eastern town, and depicts a divine
figure, perhaps the god Ash, holding a long scepter, flanked
by serekhs of Khaba. There is also a diorite bowl of unknown
provenance inscribed with the serekh of Khaba that is now in
London's Petrie Museum, and another diorite bowl now in a
private collection which is said to have come from Dahshur
is likewise inscribed.
Unfortunately, even Khaba's position within the order of
succession has not been established beyond doubt, though he
most certainly ruled in the latter part of the 3rd Dynasty.
Most scholars appear to believe that he was the next to
last king of the dynasty, though it has been suggested that
Khaba could be the Horus name of the last king, Huni. Stone
bowls inscribed with the name of a king were common during
the 1st and early 2nd Dynasties ending with the reign of
Khasekhemwy, but are not attested to again until the reign
of Sneferu. Hence, this appears to suggest that Khaba
preceded Sneferu of the 4th Dynasty by only a short period.
Furthermore, the sealings of Khaba come from two sites where
Huni erected small step pyramids, which also tends to
suggest that Khaba might be identified as Huni.
Nevertheless, most scholars identify Khaba as one of Huni's
predecessors. Because of the close architectural similarity
between Sekhemkhet's unfinished pyramid and the one at
Zawiyet el-Aryan, Khaba may be most plausibly identified as
Sekhemkhet's immediate successor, provided that the layer
pyramid indeed belongs to Khaba. The substructure of this
pyramid is so very similar to the pyramid of Sekhemkhet that
it must have been built very near in time to his.
Little else is know about this king, one of many Egyptian
rulers who remain mostly anonymous. However, as a king
ruling within a major dynasty, Khaba actually stands out for
our lack of knowledge about him. Though almost always listed
as one of the last kings of the 3rd Dynasty, many modern
references otherwise ignore his reign. We know nothing of
his family, or for that matter, any of his building projects
beyond the uninscribed Layer Pyramid, nor do we have much
idea about his foreign or domestic policies. This is perhaps
another reason that it is tempting to equate him with Huni.
He was apparently never buried in the layer pyramid, and his
body has never been identified. While we may never know much
about this king, hopefully archaeologist will someday
provide us with more information than is now currently
Khaba in Wikipedia
Khaba was a Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt's Old Kingdom and is
generally considered to have reigned near the end of the
Third Dynasty. He was successor to Sekhemkhet, and he was
probably a son of Sekhemkhet and his wife, Djeseretnebti.
Khaba is believed to have reigned a relatively brief four
years between 2640 to 2637 BC, although these dates are
highly conjectural, based on what scant evidence exists of
this early king.
Khaba is commonly associated with the Layer Pyramid, located
at Zawyet el'Aryan, about 2 km south of Giza. It is an
unfinished pyramid whose construction is typical of Third
Dynasty masonry and would have originally risen about 42-45m
in height (it is now about 20m). While there were no
inscriptions directly relating the pyramid to this king, he
is attested in four or perhaps five sites and eight
alabaster bowls inscribed with the king's serekh were
discovered nearby in Mastaba Z-500 located just north of the
This king is mentioned in the Turin King List as "erased",
which may imply that there were dynastic problems during his
reign, or that the scribe working on this list was unable to
fully decipher the name from the more ancient records being
copied. It has also been suggested that Khaba may be the
Horus name of the last king of the Third Dynasty, Huni, and
that the two kings are the same person.
Khaba's name, typically displayed within a serekh rather
than the more typical cartouche form established by the end
of this dynasty, was written using the sign of a rising sun
that had the sound value of kha, and a Saddle-billed Stork
that had the sound value of ba. His name translates as "The
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