People - Ancient Egypt: Semerkhet EARLY DYNASTIC PERIOD 1st Dynasty (3050 - 2890) Little
actual history is known of the pharaohs of the early
dynasties. Their monuments, however, are some of the
most studied artifacts in the world.
Semerkhet in Tour Egypt
SEMERKHET, THE 6TH KING OF EGYPT'S 1ST DYNASTY
According to the limited information we have on Semerkhet,
the traditional 6th king of Egypt's 1st Dynasty, he ruled
Egypt for about nine years. This is from the Palermo Stone,
but Manetho records his reign as 18 years, and notes that
there were numerous disaster during his reign. This is
probably due to the problems with his succession and
predecessor, as it has been suggested that Semerkhet usurped
the throne. He destroyed the name of his predecessor,
Anedjib, on a number of stone vessels, and it would seem in
return, was himself omitted from the Saqqara King list.
Semerkhet was the king's Horus name, and means "Thoughtful
Friend" (though Nicolas Grimal in A History of Ancient Egypt
disagrees, stating that the Horus name means "companion of
the gods". Grimal also tells us that his nebty name meant
"he whom the two mistresses guard", a reference to Nekhbet,
the vulture goddess of Nekheb (el-Kab), and Wadjet, the
serpent-goddess of Pe and Dep (Buto). Grimal therefore
suggests that he may have had a priestly role prior to his
ascending the throne of Egypt.
His tomb is located at Abydos (Tomb U). It measures 29 x 31
meters (95 x 101 3/4 feet), which makes it considerably
larger then that of his predecessor. It is also of superior
quality to Anedjib's tomb. Semerkhet's tomb has a brick
lined burial chamber and is surrounded by well built
servants' graves. Petrie investigated Semerkhet's tomb at
Abydos, and found the entrance ramp saturated up to "three
feet" deep with aromatic oil, which, after some 5,000 years,
still permeated the entire tomb with scent. Archaeologists
have not discovered a mastaba tomb from his reign at North
Saqqara, though his predecessors seem to have mostly built
tombs there as well.
The only object of substance to have survived from
Semerkhet's reign is a black granite funeral stela found by
his tomb in 1898. It had originally belonged to a pair
erected outside his monument, a tradition from the very
beginning of the dynasty.
Semerkhet probably conducted trade with people who lived in
the Palestinian territories, judging from seal impressions
found at a building bearing his, along with other 1st
Dynasty kings. However, very little else is known about this
Semerkhet in Wikipedia
Semerkhet was the sixth king of Ancient Egypt's First Dynasty
who ruled around 2950 BC. Although little is known of his
reign, Semerkhet seems to have had a difficult time as king
judging by the records of Manetho. Semerkhet's name means
Semerkhet was a son of Pharaoh Anedjib and Queen Betrest (also named Batirytes). It is possible
that Semerkhet's successor Qa'a was his son, but another possibility is that Qa'a was a brother of
Semerkhet and, therefore, Anedjib's son.
Manetho states that there were numerous disasters in Semerkhet's reign but he alleges that this was
because Semerkhet was a usurper to the throne. It is considered that Semerkhet deliberately erased
Anedjib's name from numerous artefacts, but Semerket's own name was later omitted from the Saqqara King
List. He did, however, manage to build a much larger royal tomb than Anedjib despite his short 9 year
reign. Semerkhet is only otherwise known from one or two contemporary artefacts and, more importantly,
from the Palermo Stone Annals.
Although the third century BCE Egyptian priest Manetho records that this king ruled Egypt for eighteen
years, and the Turin Canon (where he is called Semsem) suggests a reign of 72 years, these figures are
considered less reliable than those in the 5th dynasty Palermo Stone. Toby Wilkinson, in his analysis of
the Palermo Stone in Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt, specifically notes that Cairo Fragment One register
III of this document gives: "Semerkhet 8 1/2 years (this figure is certain, since the entire reign is
recorded [here]." Semerkhet's royal name, written in a serekh, was also preserved in this section of
the document; hence, the nine-year reign can only belong to him. Wilkinson concludes that Semerkhet had
a reign of 9 full or partial years.
The only events listed on the Palermo Stone for his short reign appear to be religious observances.
There is an ivory seal mentioning his name as well as that of Henuka, a dignitary who seems to have
ministered to Semerkhet as well as to his successor, Qa'a. Semerkhet is buried in Tomb U of the royal
necropolis at Umm el-Qa'ab, near Abydos. - Wikipedia