First Dynasty of Egypt
Dynasties of Ancient Egypt
The First Dynasty of ancient Egypt (or Dynasty I, c. 3100 – c. 2890 BC) covers the first series of Egyptian kings to rule over a unified Egypt. It immediately follows the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, possibly by Narmer, and marks the beginning of Egyptian historical times. It is one of the two early dynasties of the so-called archaic period, a time at which power was centred at Thinis.
Known rulers in the history of Egypt for the First Dynasty are as follows:
|Narmer||probably Menes on earlier lists||starting c. 3100–3050 B.C.|
|Hor-Aha||starting c. 3050|
|Djer||c. 3049–3008 B.C. 41 years (Palermo Stone)|
|Merneith||the mother of Den||3008?|
|Den||2975–2935 30 to 50 years (40 years B.C.)|
|Anedjib||2935–2925 B.C. 10 years (Palermo Stone)|
|Semerkhet||2925?–2916? 9 years (Palermo Stone)|
Information about this dynasty is derived from a few monuments and other objects bearing royal names, the most important being the Narmer palette and macehead as well as Den and Qa'a king lists. No detailed records of the first two dynasties have survived, except for the terse lists on the Palermo stone. The hieroglyphs were fully developed by then, and their shapes would be used with little change for more than three thousand years.
Large tombs of pharaohs at Abydos and Naqada, in addition to cemeteries at Saqqara and Helwan near Memphis, reveal structures built largely of wood and mud bricks, with some small use of stone for walls and floors. Stone was used in quantity for the manufacture of ornaments, vessels, and occasionally, for statues. Tamarix – tamarisk, salt cedar was used to build boats such as the Abydos Boats. One of the most important indigenous woodworking techniques was the ﬁxed Mortise and tenon joint. A ﬁxed tenon was made by shaping the end of one timber to ﬁt into a mortise (hole) that is cut into a second timber. A variation of this joint using a free tenon eventually became one of the most important features in Mediterranean and Egyptian shipbuilding. It creates a union between two planks or other components by inserting a separate tenon into a cavity (mortise) of the corresponding size cut into each component."
Human sacrifice as part of royal funerary practice
Human sacrifice was practiced as part of the funerary rituals associated with all of the pharaohs of the first dynasty. It is clearly demonstrated as existing during this dynasty by retainers being buried near each pharaoh's tomb as well as animals sacrificed for the burial. The tomb of Djer is associated with the burials of 338 individuals. The people and animals sacrificed, such as donkeys, were expected to assist the pharaoh in the afterlife. For unknown reasons, this practice ended with the conclusion of the dynasty, with shabtis taking the place of actual people to aid the pharaohs with the work expected of them in the afterlife.
- Kuhrt, Amélie (1995), The Ancient Near East: c. 3000–330 BC, London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-01353-6.
- Shaw, Ian (2000), The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, Oxford: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-280458-8
|Dynasty of Egypt
c. 3100 – 2890 BC