Talk:Narmer Palette

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History of Palette: "Cosmetic palette"[edit]

The original Palette (Egyptian Xxxxx) (in books) were obviously pictorial, and probably hung for display (as a painting)(Not Narmer's) of today's "Rope Art". (Some contained the bored holes for the rope/string for hanging.) They often had the motif of the bird beak (actually bird head) at each side, (the term facing, or facing away: confronted, or anti-confronted (?). The circle in the center was not originally there, as sometimes an entire surface was Unadorned, (the whole palette). Only the very top, or some other point had some animal motif, reference. (An example of a proto-palette is an ovoid turtle, no adorning, just set up for hanging (with stubby turtle feet)).

There appear to be about 12, a dozen or so more spectacular palettes. (These were after the "Proto-palette"s.) An incomplete list: (from memory:)(Palette (Egyptian historical)

  1. the Cosmetic palette
  2. the Proto-palette
  3. Bull Pallette
  4. Vulture Palette
  5. Palette of the Five Standards (vis. Palette of the Hunt)
  6. Giraffe-Palm Palete
  7. Two Panther Palette
  8. Libyan Palette
  9. Two Hippopotamus Palette
  10. Tribute to City-states Palette=Libyan Palette(officiale-nominus)-(Cairo Egyptian Museum)
  11. Narmer Palette
  12. ---Etc.--Totally incomplete list. Some of the above names are the "Standard"; others mine. added Libyan Palette..(Cosmetic palette-Stub) -Mmcannis 15:29, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Any egyptophile who has perused the books, ((or attempted the Hiegoglyphic translations)), or been in the appropriate museum, (for example: Los Angeles County Museum of Art), can see these Proto-palettes on display(the above list are not the "Prote-pallette"s, but Palette (Egyptian historical)). notes from the ArizonaDesert.. -SonoraDesert-- (Also = =giving a header= = to the above unsigned First Section)...Mmcannis 18:07, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but what are you saying this has to do with the article here? The Narmer Palette is notable for its apparent depiction of the unification of the Two Kingdoms and for its mention of a unifying king not mentioned in the king list.
If you're proposing a general article on Egyptian palettes, go right ahead and create it. I caution you that giving your own names to them is original research which we cannot include here. Also be sure to provide citations for features such as the interpretation of the holes you give above. (To me, they could equally well been for hanging on a peg for storage, although with the decorative motifs a secondary purpose of display is not unlikely.) TCC (talk) (contribs) 00:44, 1 January 2007 (UTC) [The last picture I saw of a turtle palette, January2007, "Ian Shaw: (editor)" Ancient Egypt(20 authors), (P. 49, hardbound), c2000 (hardcover, ISBN 0-19-815034-2) has a hole in the top margin, center for hanging[pick the Type of hanging]: Yellow painted eye(only paint job), tiny, miniscule tail, about 1/25th, or 1/30th area of fish. No scales, but a few lines(details) here and there. The example was used as a color photo[bottom rectangle 1/2 of page], because it is so exceptional, with no breaks.)] -Mmcannis 15:29, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
The Narmer Palette appears to be the last of the 'series'. Virtually all of the previous ones are "proto-dynastic" or later, at least in style. The earliest have sometimes no adornments, only shapes (As the turtle-shape mentioned), or the bird heads, which are in the proto-dynastic motif. I am just trying to relate that the amazing Narmer palette is the last of them, .... but there are some other amazing ones too. (from the ArizonaDesert).... -Mmcannis 06:13, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
Its one of a series at any rate. If you look at the palettes of the scorpion king and other artifacts of the predynastic kings such as their mace heads and knife handles, you see the same symbols of power, the same nome gods and in particular the same responsibilities which bring the support of the nomes to the king. On the Scorpion kings palette we see the people digging ditches to create irrigated fields under the kings direction. Its that sort of leadership and organization that creates dynasties, and supports their continuation with the grant of land in return for service and thus sustenence in return for support.
Erm... The Narmer Palette is Protodynastic according to many Egyptologists, and there are many other examples of palettes, some earlier, some later, and others roughly contemporary. TCC (talk) (contribs) 06:32, 1 January 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure any are later than the Narmer Palette. I think Egypt got started, and was up to bigger and better endeavors (on the way to pyramids and all)(and language). But a Date-list of palettes would be nice-and Provenance.-- (from Arizona's,SonoranDesert-) ..-Mmcannis 15:29, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I suspect the misunderstanding may have something to do with Narmer being considered Dynasty 0 or Dynasty 1 (or even straddling the two), and is the "latest" of the finds from the Main deposit (Nekhen). It is likely that it was not the very final such palette ever made, but it is one of the more easily dateable ones, and it is datable to end of the protodynastic period.
For a picture of another protodynastic palette which could be used for an article on the subject (hint hint), see the one available on WikiMedia in the shape of a turtle at: [1].
Cheers! Captmondo 16:52, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I assume the only other ones that are date-able, are from their "Find -positions? I can only think of the Narmer as datable. The Libyan Palette has a Scorpion on it, but long before Serket, or King Scorpion..And I think only two others(1 the Libyan) have hieroglyphs(total plus Narmer P. -3). --Mmcannis 19:21, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I see there was a Protodynastic king: Serket I. -Mmcannis 19:31, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
The Narmer Palette is not actually dateable from its findspot. It was in the Main Deposit at Hierakonpolis, which was not well-recorded in situ when excavated and was evidently a kind of dumping ground for old objects that were no longer useful but too sacred to simply dump. It contained artifacts from a range of eras. The Palette was approximately dated by the comparative method, IIRC.
There are other objects, not palettes but things like labels, bearing early hieroglyphs, but since these are not the same as the later glyphs they can't be read with any certainty. TCC (talk) (contribs) 22:16, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
I've never heard of the Main deposit (Nekhen) being described as a dumping ground in the way you describe it TCC, got a citation for that one? (Not being challenging, am genuinely curious). Though I can't find the source, I remember hearing of once sacred objects being disposed of by burial if they had been desecrated in some manner, but that was millenia later than this.
And for Mmcannis' benefit, the find positions were not recorded properly when the dig at Nekhen was done in the late 1890s. Read the article for a good, if brief, overview of what is known about the dig.
Had a chance to look at once of my reference books that mentions the palettes, and what makes the Narmer Palette special is that it uniquely(?) seems to describe events involving a pharaoh who can be named. For the record, other Egyptian palettes of note to ancient Egyptian historians include the following: the Battlefield Palette, the Bull Palette, the Cairo-Brooklyn Palette, the Hunter's Palette, the Libyan Booty Palette, the Min Palette, the Ostrich Palette and the Oxford Palette. I don't believe any of them other than the Narmer palette are linkable to any other pharaoh.
For a good online source that references all of them (good start for an article on the subject), see: Masking the Blow: The Scene of Representation in Late Prehistoric Egyptian Art (kind of esoteric in terms of its subject-matter, but has pictures of most of the major known ancient Egyptian palettes). Captmondo 23:24, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Michael Hoffman characterized it that way in Egypt Before the Pharaohs unless my memory is unreliable, as it occasionally is. I don't have the book in front of me so I can't give a page reference ATM. TCC (talk) (contribs) 23:43, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

An update for the Palette List: (JUN 9, 2007)
(from memory:)-Again" (Palette (Egyptian historical)

  1. the Cosmetic palette
  2. the Proto-palette; I think it goes along with: Rhomboidal-Proto palette-(? yes?)
  3. Bull Pallette
  4. Vulture Palette
  5. Palette of the Five Standards (vis. Palette of the Hunt)
  6. Giraffe-Palm Palete
  7. Two Panther Palette
  8. Libyan Palette; the Tjehenu Palette, other names, just now updated,-8June07
  9. Two Hippopotamus Palette
  10. Narmer Palette
  11. "Tribute to City-states Palette"=Libyan Palette(officiale-nominus)-(Cairo Egyptian Museum)

and one of these is the "Oxford Palette".....from the SonoranDesert-ArizUSA...-Mmcannis 12:16, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Going to Gardiner, Faulkner, Loprieno or other sources and learning the Egyptian grammar so you can read them palettes allows you to get much more information than is immediately apparent from just looking at them. In particular a comparison of the titles of those who accompany Narmer (catfish chisel) on the palette is edifying. Rktect 12:13, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Rktect's recent edits[edit]

Rktect just made some significant edits with no explanations which I reverted (see my edit summaries). I then started to edit the article, getting some good references from my library and elsewhere. He then restored (with no effort to correct the spelling mistakes, etc), saying I should discuss first. As he was the one to make the changes with no discussion and no edit summaries, it's my opinion the burden is on him. I've reverted again and started to go through it to add references, etc. I will point out that 'rebus' is absolutely correct, as is 'decorated'. 18:07, 3 February 2009 (UTC)dougweller (talk)

I don't want to take sides on this, but when I saw your reverts to Rktect's material I thought it was a bit overzealous, especially since it appears as though he managed to expand some of the material a bit. True, the spelling was at times poor and some of the changes in wording arbitrary, but it appeared to be a good faith edit.
I agree with your point thought that what the article needs more than simply a longer description are citations to back up the assertions made.
And kudos to both of you for your work on this article. How about working together on this instead? (I will make a point of looking for more references from my own library tonight). Captmondo (talk) 18:51, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Thank you that sounds very reasonable. I'm all for working together and editing to make the article better. If you have Gardiner, Faulker, Allen or access to the Gardiner numbers, I'll put the Gardiner numbers for the glyphs here.
Gardiner p550 Middle Egyptian Aker 3kr an earth god with an Early Egyptian predynastic composite of
D1 M8
. i3hi be innundated. Its a personification with D1
for Aker the earth god with M8 be inundated. Horus is opening the dikes to allow the earth to be irrigated.
In the next register King Narmer is controlling rather than killing Aker the god of the earth. with his mace and chisel. In the name to Akers right top glyph:
(used as S38). Aker
Bottom glyph in the form of an irrigated field
(Use as
) sh, "not seldom interchanging in hieroglyphic with
. h<pyw inundations".
The shaved headed priest in the background has six additional glyphs giving his name title and position
The top glyph in the name
. is a determinative to be read along with the shaved head to indicate a priest. The rosette as a symbol of royalty and or priesthood can be found from Sumerian and Akkadian to the Phaistos Disk
Bottom glyph
. ib, heart
In his right hand he holds
. a granite bowl 3bt meaning family
Around his neck is
. htm seal as a substitute for S19 treasurers seal
He holds in his left hand a pair of sandles
S33 S33
, tbw but I doubt this makes him a sandle maker, and would suggest that because its reduplicated it has the meaning thb, immersed or soaked
In the third register we have two ancestors (not dead enemies) labled
. inb fortification.
.s3 protection
They are the guys who built the citys walls to protect it.Rktect (talk) 20:58, 3 February 2009 (UTC)
Unfortunately this is not my area of expertise, so I can't really comment in depth on this. The only thing I would say though is that most sources are uncertain that the meaning of such early forms of these symbols are necessarily those widely used in later eras. As always with these sorts of things, their meaning/context is open to interpretation.
For what it is worth though, I think adding these hieroglyphs within the article would be useful.
Nice work btw! Captmondo (talk) 02:26, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
They are cataloged by a number of sources in Middle Egyptian. Ancient Egyptian is a little different as is late Egyptian but generally the signs are very recognizable even in hiero, and there are good sources for their meaning. I will add their names, meanings and references to your preferred version, and change the description of the characters accordingly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rktect (talkcontribs)
He expanded the material a bit, but as I wrote, I felt that it wasn't actually an improvement. Perhaps I was a bit impatient as this is not one of his worst attempts to edit an article, but I find in general that his edits are OR and not an improvement. I am not at all convinced that adding the glyphs would be useful rather than misleading. Wengrow points out that the palette is written using the rebus principle, which he describes as an elementary foundation of the hieroglyphic writing system. Rktect removed the word rebus which suggests that he doesn't understand what was happening here (and was one of the reasons for my reversioh). He goes on to say that "Earlier sign combinations, such as appear on seal impressions and the Hunters' Palette (figs. 9.6, 9.7), may already have used the rebus principle, but cannot be read by analogy with later hieroglyphs. The same is true of the captions that label a number of non-royal figures on the Narmer Palette."
The context for this is that Rktect has been an editor for 3 1/2 years, accumulating an arbitration decision against him for OR and 6 blocks, some relating to that and the latest four months ago, a month's block for OR. See also his current talk page and some of the talk pages of articles he has been editing, a number of editors besides me have tried to discuss his OR with him since his last block. He's a good faith editor who still doesn't understand or agree with our policies.
By the way, I see you changed 'king' to 'pharaoh', a title not used until much later. What was the reason for this? Thanks. dougweller (talk) 06:38, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I have been an editor for 3 1/2 years, that part of Doug's charge is true. He has been informed before that his personal attacks are inappropriate, unwarrented and incorrect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rktect (talkcontribs)
I am simply stating what I and a number of other editors have observed, please don't try to chill the discussion by claiming it is a personal attack. dougweller (talk) 20:28, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I wasn't aware of Rktect's history, though on the face of it his contributions seemed to be good faith edits, albiet somewhat scattershot in their approach.

Rktect (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · block user · block log) was blocked on the 27th over a side issue that came up in an ANI thread regarding his or her possible wikistalking by (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · block user · block log), which seems to have been going to a lot of effort to revert Rktect on a range of ancient history articles and to nominate articles Rktect had written for speedy deletion. Whether or not the IP was acting in good faith was not resolved. However, in the course of looking for anything to provide background for the IP's behavior, I ran across an Arbcom case from 2005 (Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Rktect) which had resulted in Rktect being "banned indefinitely from all articles which relate to weights and measures (metrology)."

Mr Weller, (who has apparently taken a personal interest in me), will demonstrate to you his expertise in egyptology and I mine as we proceed.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Rktect (talkcontribs)

You make a good point about king vs. pharaoh in this case -- in general I default to using "pharaoh" over "king" because the two are not equivalent terms: "god-king" might be more accurate, but it is nicely wrapped up in the word "pharaoh". But in this era you may be right in asserting that "king" is better, and certainly most early dynastic studies tend to use this word a lot. I'm not certain that it is wrong, but you have a point. [this paragraph was by Captmondo]
Pharoah (from pr*h Great House)
. is a Middle and Late Egyptian ephitat applied to Egyptian kings from c. 1500 to 343 BC. The term later evolved into a generic term for all ancient Egyptian kings. The Narmer pallete is one of the first inscriptions to identify rulers as coming from a specific house where on the obverse you have the name of the house
of the treasurer ib placed in the square box that later indicates house in the pharonic sense.
. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rktect (talkcontribs)
I think the insertion of some of the glyphs within the article might help to illustrate some of the problems of interpretation of the Narmer palette, though I haven't gotten far enough along to use any of those that Rktect has inserted above. (There doesn't appear to be a catfish symbol for Narmer in Gardiner's list, nor can I find the first symbol for the name of the "vizier" figure on the obverse).[this paragraph was also by Captmondo]
There are online lists that include New Kingdom glyphs including a lot of composite signs but I'm not sure if they are incorporated in the Manual of the Manuel de Codage that seems to be the basis for hiero. Because the Gardiner list only covers the most common signs found in Middle Egyptian Texts, about 800 signs, the original edition of the Manuel de Codage also included a preliminary list of some additional 4000 signs from all other periods of the hieroglyphic writing. The definitive list of more than 4700 signs was published in the book Hieroglyphica (Jochen Hallof, Nicolas Grimal, Dirk van der Plas, PIREI 1, Utrecht/Paris 1993). I have problems using some of the manuals glyph rotation and other conventions in hiero, but its better than nothing for purposes of illustration.
On the obverse side where after we have Narmer walking along between the treasuer ib and the long hsired person named tt, (reduplicated with t indicating the feminine) where we have the passage about
. hrw Horus opening the door
. for the
. dpt ships coming down on the waters of the innundation, we have 10 bodies that are fallen
. ha , rather than dead
. mt and not necessarily enemies
, who are generally shown with their arms bound. Rktect (talk) 14:28, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Will keep plugging away at improving the article piecemeal though. Cheers! Captmondo (talk) 11:07, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Fixed a ref Rktect (talk) 14:37, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks -- I missed that! ;-)
Just wondering, can you figure out the hieroglyphs used to designate the "vizier" ("tt")? Cheers! Captmondo (talk) 16:29, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes they are
t over t reduplicated feminine so probably not a maleRktect (talk) 17:09, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Comment from an expert on Rktect's edits above[edit]

I am of course not an Egyptologist and wouldn't dream of trying to interpret the palette on my own even with the aid of Gardiner. Fortunately I know several Egyptologists, and here is what one of them tells me:

Rtect wrote:

The top glyph in the name is a determinative to be read along with the shaved head to indicate a priest. The rosette as a symbol of royalty and or priesthood can be found from Sumerian and Akkadian to the Phaistos Disk.

While the rosette sign may be a symbol for royalty (not the priesthood), the rosette is not the N14 symbol, but rather glyph M86. It stands on its own, with an uncertain meaining other than association with royalty.

He then wrote: ...Bottom glyph , ib, heart

Actually no, it isn't. As Davis notes, the second glyph under the rosette is not a known glyph sign, but could be " object that could contain sandals (Vandier 1952: 597) or might be the bulb of the plant — apparently give his title (see also Schott 1950: 22).

As for this: He holds in his left hand a pair of sandles


Some years ago I noted the following in a paper about this figure:[2]

So, in my analysis, I would say everything about this figure says not only "sandalbearer" but is actually a walking semiotic for his function in relation to the king, to whom he is subordinate.

Finally, Rtect seems convinced that the glyphs over the scribal figure /Tt/ somehow means "vizier". From where he is getting this, I do not know. Here are the glyphs for the term "vizier" [/TAty/ in Egyptian:[3]

Compare with the /Tt/ glyphs over the scribe figure in the Narmer Palette: [4]

Rtect doesn't explain why, if this figure is the 'vizier' why the glyphs don't match the known term for vizier. As for whether the figure is male or female, Rtect falls into a well-known trap of thinking that simply because an Egyptian word ends in /t/ it means the subject must be feminine. As most people who read glyphs can tell you, this is also not an absolute (for example, the male name of "Nakht" is written as /nxt/). So, in my view, the editor/writer Rktect is not only adding his own spin on the interpretation of the Narmer Palette, but with very poor understanding of the scenes, the glyphs, or even what is being represented. One may not agree with Davis's interpretation, to be sure (or even mine), but between Davis and the various other sources cited by Davis, these are, IMO, far more valid and reasonable interpretations of the Narmer Palette than what is being proposed by Rktect. Davis, W. 1992. Masking the Blow: The Scene of Representation in Late Prehistoric Egyptian Art. California Studies in the History of Art. XXX. J. Marrow. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Back to me now - Rktect, this is one of the reasons why we should be only reporting what reliable sources have to say and not doing original research. Please stop, you just don't have the background. dougweller (talk) 17:41, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

the shaved head primarily and the rosette together indicate priesthood
M86 isn't available in hiero, there are some 4700 middle Egyptian glyphs, but only what Gardiner lists in "Egyptian Grammar" can be used with this tool.
If your "expert" Katherine Griffis doesn't know what it is, and her sources don't know what it is but presumably will allow that there are some small variations between middle Egyptian and predynastic Ancient Egyptian why is she speculating its a container for sandals when a simple I don't know would suffice.
Her article suggests that the girdle he wears makes him a subordinate, I would say that is evident from his placement behind Narmer and smaller size that he is subordinate, but its also the case that he bears several badges of rank and a name and has a house which makes the fact that the rank of treasuer is a common stepping stone to the throne worth a mention. Does Katherin know how many Egyptian kings held the subordinate role of treasurer before becoming king.
I didn't claim tt was a vizier just that the glyphs giving the name were t:t. Keep in mind that you reverted the article removing what I said and I haven't edited it since except to fix a broken ref and the other editor who has been working with us is using that term of reference in quotes. Perhaps Katherine should come join us in this discussion so she isn't getting her information from unreliable sources. I note that in her reference to the title visir she left off the determinative A1, is there a reason for that? I also did not say that because it ended in t it was feminine I said that because the t was reduplicated that was suggested re: Section 26 of Gardiner the feminine ending is usually a bread t.
nkt meaning "a little", "a trifle", ends in Z9 which is a determinative Gardiner p 538 heres where he asked me and I answered

:::::::Just wondering, can you figure out the hieroglyphs used to designate the "vizier" ("tt")? Cheers! Captmondo (talk) 16:29, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Yes they are
t over t reduplicated feminine so probably not a maleRktect (talk) 17:09, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't disagree that he bears sandals but he also bears the symbol for treasurer around his neck. Those are two separate things. The sandals may be a badge of rank but I doubt that rank when applied to a treasurer is sandal bearer. There are better descriptions of him that might be used

Doug Wellers evaluation of me probably says more about him than it does me. Rktect (talk) 18:47, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

I was the one who made the assertion that the tt figure was a vizier, not based on my reading of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs (of which I know precious little) but based on a citation from Ian Shaw's Ancient Egypt: A Very Short Introduction..
Here's the pertinent extract from page 5 in full:
The official to the right is represented at a slightly larger scale, and is shown wearing a wig and a leopard-skin costume, as well as possibly writing equipment slung around his neck. He may be identified by two hieroglyphs above his head spelling the word tt [a line appears under the first 't', which I cannot render here], probably an early version of the word for vizier.
I'm not sure that the second figure is truly larger than the first "sandal-bearer" figure, so I left that out, ditto the speculation about the writing equipment, but this is where the notion of him (her?) being a vizier came from, and properly cited too.
Admittedly this is from a layman's guide to the subject, but it certainly comes from an authoritative writer on Ancient Egypt. Captmondo (talk) 02:46, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
I'd expect the glyphs near the head to generally be there for identification, either a name or a title, (as for example the beards which identify adult males to the extent that Queen Hatsepsut was forced wear one) but in the case of a title probably with some form of determinative indicating rank or position. What the distinctive object wrapping tt's neck is I can't source or cite another example immediately but I don't think its
writing equipment . Rktect (talk) 03:47, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Article class?[edit]

On a different, hopefully less contentious matter, any thoughts on where we are with the state of this article? It's currently set at "Start Class", but I don't think the article has been reviewed by anyone for a while, and it is clearly a lot more than a stub.

There's clearly still work that needs to be done on it (such as a full description of the obverse/reverse sides, along with interpretations and accompanying references) but after that I think it might be up for a B-class article review submission. Thoughts? Captmondo (talk) 17:41, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I think I'd like to see you use the names where they are given and do away with the speculation that Narmers killing the fields rather than controlling their innundation. It might be good to bring in some other sources and the rest of the Narmer inscriptions. it might be useful to post the B class requirements as a to do list and then check them off. Rktect (talk) 17:55, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Further Reading[edit]

Note: Specifical references are under each object page bibliography

  • G. Steindorff, Eine neu Art Agyptischer Kunst ... Aegyptiaca FS Ebers (1897) p. 121-41
  • J.E. Quibell, Hierakonpolis. Part I (1900)
  • F. Legge: P.S.B.A. n. 22 (1900) p. 125-39, 270-1; [P.S.B.A. n. 26 (1904) p. 262-3; n. 28 (1906) p. 87]; n. 31 (1909) p. 204-211, 297-310
  • J.E. Quibell, F.W. Green, Hierakonpolis. Part II (1902)
  • J. Capart: Les debuts de l'art en Egypte (1904)
  • G. Benedite: Monuments et mémoires A.I.B.L. 10 (=Mon. Piot. 10, 1904) p.105-22
  • J. Capart: Les Palettes en schiste de l'Egypte primitive, Rev. Quest. Scient. 13, 1908 (April), 536-557
  • T.E. Peet: The Art of Predynastic Period, J.E.A. 2 (1915) p. 88-94
  • F. Petrie: Ancient Egypt (1917)
  • F. Petrie: Prehistoric Egypt (1920)
  • F. Petrie: Prehistoric Egypt. Corpus of Prehistoric pottery and palettes (1921)
  • A. Scharff: Die Altertumer der Vor- und Fruhzeit Aegyptens (1929, 1931)
  • H. Kantor: The Final Phase of Predynastic culture - Gerzean or Semainean ? J.N.E.S. 3 (1944) p. 110-136
  • H. Wild: Choix d'objects pré-pharaoniques appartenent à des collections de Suisse, B.I.F.A.O. 47 (1948) p. 1-58 (p. 39-47, pl. IIa, IIb, IIe)
  • W.S. Smith: A History of Egyptian Sculpture and Painting in the Old Kingdom (1949)
  • S. Schott: Hieroglyphen: Untersuchungen zum Ursprung der Schrift (1950)
  • J. Vandier: Manuel d' Archaeologie Egyptienne v. I, tome 1, 2 (1952) p. 373 ff., 570 ff.
  • F. Petrie: Ceremonial Slate Palettes ... H. Petrie - M. Murray (eds.), (1953)
  • H.G. Fischer: A Fragment of Late Predynastic Egyptian Relief from the Eastern Delta Artibus Asiae 21, 1958, p. 64-88
  • E. Baumgartel, The Cultures of Prehistoric Egypt (1955, 1960) 2 v.
  • R. Weill: Recherches sur la Ire Dynastie ... B.d.E. 38, 1/2 (1961) esp. vol. 1, p. 172 ff and vol.2, p. 169-274
  • H. Asselberghs: Chaos en Beheersing: Documenten uit aeneolitisch Egypte (1961)
  • W. Kaiser: Einige Bemerkungen zur agyptischen Fruhzeit. III. Die Reichseinigung, Z.A.S. 91. 1964/ 86-125, fig.6
  • R.T. Ridley: The Unification as Seen Through a Study of the Major Knife-Handles, Palettes, Maceheads (1973)
  • R.M. Boehmer: Orientalische Einflüsse auf verzierten Messergriffen aus dem prädynastischen Ägypten, Arch. Mitteil. Iran, 7, 1974, 15-40
  • R. Tefnin: Image et histoire. Reflections sur l' usage documentaire de l' image egyptienne C.d.E. 54. 1979, 118-44
  • A.J. Spencer: Early Dynastic Objects. Catalogue of Egyptian Antiquities in the British Museum (1980)
  • W. Westendorf: Paletten, Schmink-, in: LÄ IV, 1982, 654-656
  • W. Needler: Predynastic and Archaic Objects in the Brooklyn Museum (1984) p. 319-334
  • E. Finkenstaedt: Violence and Kingship: The Evidence of the Palettes, Z.A.S. 111. 1984/ 107-10
  • P. F. Houlian, S.M. Goodman: The Birds of Ancient Egypt, 1986
  • J. Monnet Saleh: Documents Concernant l'Unification de l' Egypte I. SD 40-Scorpion, B.I.F.A.O. 86. 1986, 227-38
  • B. Teissier: Glyptic evidence for a connection between Iran, Syro-Palestine and Egypt in the fourth and third millenia, IRAN 25, 1987, 27-53
  • B. Williams: Decorated pottery and the art of Naqada III (1988)
  • J. Boessneck, Die Tierwelt des Alten Ägypten (1988)
  • J. Baines: Communication and Display: The integration of Early Egyptian Art and Writing, Antiquity 63. 1989
  • K. Cialowicz: Les palettes égyptiennes aux motifs zoomorphes et sans decorations, 1991 (Studies in Ancient Art and Civilization 3)
  • K. Cialowicz: Problems de l' interpretation du relief predyn... Motif du palmier et des girafes S.A.A.C. 4, 1992, 7-18
  • K. Cialowicz: La composition des scenes avec des animaux sur les palettes... S.A.A.C. 5, 1992 p. 7-18
  • W. Davis: Masking the Blow. The Scene of Representation in Late Prehistoric Egyptian Art (1992)
  • A.R. Schulman: Narmer and the Unification: A revisionist view, B.E.S. 11. 1992, 79-94
  • E. Gady: Les ivoires et palettes ornés de l'époque nagadienne, Sorbonne, Paris (1992)
  • B. Midant-Reynes: Prehistoire de l' Egypte des premiers hommes aux premiers pharaohs (1992) p. 183, 223-229
  • J. Vercoutter: L'Egypte et la Vallée du Nil. Tome 1 (1992) p. 180-199
  • J. Vercoutter: Le role des artisans dans la naissance de la civilisation égyptienne, CdE 68, 1993, p. 70-83 (esp. p. 75-76)
  • J. Crowfoot Payne: Catalogue of the Predynastic Egyptian Collection in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (1993)
  • W. Davis: Narrativity and the Narmer Palette, in: P.J. Holliday (ed.) Narrative and Event in Ancient Art, 1993, 21(?)-54
  • J. Baines: Symbolic Roles of Canine Figures on Early Monuments, Archéo-Nil 3, 1993, 57-74
  • J. Baines: Origins of Egyptian Kingship' in D. O' Connor - D.P. Silverman ed. 'Ancient Egyptian Kingship' (1995)
  • Stan Hendrickx: Analytical Bibliography of the Prehistory and the Early Dynastic Period of Egypt' 1995 p. 299-00
  • Karla Kroeper: Minshat Abu Omar -Burials with Palettes, in: J. Spencer ed. Aspects of Early Egypt, 1996 p.70-92
  • C. Regner: Schminkpaletten. Bonner Sammlung von Aegyptiaca 2, 1996
  • D. J. Osborn /J. Osbornova: The Mammals of Ancient Egypt, 1998

Les Canidae de la Prehistoire a la Iere Dynastie en Egypte et en Nubie (J.O. Gransard-Desmond) Memoire de Maitrise, Paris 1999 (Corpus 65-77, 96, 99)

  • S.L. Gosline: Palettes as Early Evidence of Egyptian Writing, GM 169. 1999, 65-72
  • M. Etienne, À propos des représentations d'enceintes crénelées sur les palettes de l'époque de Nagada III, Archéo-Nil 9, 1999, 149-163
  • S. Hendrickx: Autruches et flamants- les oiseaux représentés sur la céramique prédynastique ... Decorated, CCdE 1/1, 2000/ 21-52
  • K. Cialowicz: La naissance d' un royaume. L' Egypte dès période prédynastique à la fin de la Ire dynastie, 2001 (p. 176-196)
  • S. Hendrickx: Bovines in Egyptian Predynastic and Early Dynastic Iconography, in: F. Hassan (ed.), Drought, Food ..., 2002, 275-318
  • J.O. Gransard-Desmond: Histoire du chien en Egypte, CCdE 3/4, 2002, 51-74
  • E.C. Köhler: History or Ideology? New Relations on the Narmer Palette and the Nature of Foreign Relations in Pre- and Early Dynastic Egypt, in: E.C.M. van den Brink - T.E. Levy (eds.), Egypt and the Levant... 2002, (Chapter 31) 499-513.
  • J. Kahl, with contributions of M. Bretschneider and B. Kneisler: Fruhagyptisches Worterbuch, vol. 1, Harrassowitz, 2002
  • D. O'Connor: Context, Function and Program: Understanding Ceremonial Slate Palettes. JARCE 39, 2002, 5-25

*F. Raffaele: Dynasty 0, in: S. Bickel - A. Loprieno (eds.), Basel Egyptology Prize 1, Aegyptiaca Helvetica 17, 2003, 99-141

  • B. Midant-Reynes, Aux origines de l'Egypte, 2003, 336ff., 347ff.
  • L.D. Morenz, Bild-Buchstaben und symbolische Zeichen. Die Herausbildung der Schrift in der hohen Kultur Altägyptens, Fribourg/Göttingen, 2004
  • W. Westendorf, Die frühzeitliche Prunkpaletten - Die Deutung ihrer kosmischen Darstellungen und das Weiterleben der Motive in geschichtlicher Zeit, in: Moers, Behlmer, Demuss, Widmaier (eds.), jn.t dr.w Festschrift für Friedrich Junge, Bd. II, Göttingen, p. 713-727
  • S. Hendrickx, The dog, the Lycaon pictus and order over chaos in Predynastic Egypt, in: Kroeper et al., (eds.), Archaeology of Early Northeastern Africa, 2006, 723-749
  • A. Stevenson, The material significance of Predynastic and Early Dynastic palettes, in: Mairs, Stevenson (eds.), Current research in Egyptology 2005. Oxford, 2007, 148-162
  • N. Baudel, Tegumentary paint and cosmetic palettes in Predynastic Egypt. Impact of those artefacts on the birth of the monarchy, in: Midant Reynes et al. (eds.), Egypt at ..., i.p.
  • S. Hendrickx, Visual representation and State development in Egypt, in press, 2008 ...
  • S. Hendrickx - M. Eyckerman, Decorated rhomboidal palettes from Predynastic Egypt in the Royal Museums for Art and History at Brussels, in prep., 2008

Let me know if you would include any of these in the further reading list Rktect (talk)

Wow, that's certainly exhaustive, but it would be overkill to include even a third of the number of references given above (I'm not sure how "The Mammals of Ancient Egypt" would easily fit in, for example. ;-)
I think good primary sources of material on the discovery (such as those from Quibbel, Green and Petrie) would be good ones to add, along with respected academic interpreters of the meaning/symbology of the palette (David, Kohler, Gosline and Stevenson are likely additions here). The English Wikipedia also prefers listings of publications in English, so that would remove the German and French entries (unless they are considered a primary source, which I don't believe they are). Start from there. Cheers! Captmondo (talk) 19:03, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

first edit of Further Reading[edit]

We might keep Peet, Ridley, also and how could you not have Raffaele with Loprino

  • Quibell J.E., Hierakonpolis. Part I (1900)
  • Quibell J.E., F.W. Green, Hierakonpolis. Part II (1902)
  • Peet T.E., The Art of Predynastic Period, J.E.A. 2 (1915) p. 88-94
  • Petrie F., Ancient Egypt (1917)
  • Petrie F., Prehistoric Egypt (1920)
  • Petrie F., Prehistoric Egypt. Corpus of Prehistoric pottery and palettes (1921)
  • Petrie F., Ceremonial Slate Palettes ... H. Petrie - M. Murray (eds.), (1953)
  • KöhlerE.C., History or Ideology? New Relations on the Narmer Palette and the Nature of Foreign Relations in Pre- and Early Dynastic Egypt, in: E.C.M. van den Brink - T.E. Levy (eds.), Egypt and the Levant... 2002, (Chapter 31) 499-513.
  • Ridley R.T., The Unification as Seen Through a Study of the Major Knife-Handles, Palettes, Maceheads (1973)
  • Gosline S.L., Palettes as Early Evidence of Egyptian Writing, GM 169. 1999, 65-72
  • Davis W., Narrativity and the Narmer Palette, in: P.J. Holliday (ed.) Narrative and Event in Ancient Art, 1993, 21(?)-54
  • Stevenson A., The material significance of Predynastic and Early Dynastic palettes, in: Mairs, Stevenson (eds.), Current research in Egyptology 2005. Oxford, 2007, 148-162
  • Raffaele F., Dynasty 0, in: S. Bickel - A. Loprieno (eds.), Basel Egyptology Prize 1, Aegyptiaca Helvetica 17, 2003, 99-141
  • Wilkinson, Toby A.H. "What a king is this: Narmer and the concept of the ruler" Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 2000, vol. 86, pp. 23-32

Rktect (talk) 19:30, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

They should be cited as they are in the references, ie last name first (and for this in alphabetical order) with publisher and ISBN number - the last 2 aren't required for ordinary articles but I think it's a good idea and is required for Feature Articles. dougweller (talk) 19:57, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

Obverse side[edit]

Rktect, you just added:

Behind him is his treasurer bearin the symbol of his rank around his neck and carrying sandal and pot, whose name may be represented by the rosette and urn next to his head. Immediately in front of the king is a long-haired person, a pair of hieroglyphs appearing in front of him, which has been interpreted as being a name "tt" Assuming that these symbols had the same phonetic value used in later hieroglyphic writing Tshet. In front of this person are four standard bearers, holding aloft an animal skin, a dog, and two falcons. At the far-right of this scene are ten decapitated corpses. Above them are hieroglyps for a ship, a falcon, and a harpoon, indicating a name. <refGardiner "Egyptian Grammar" Third ed. Griffith Institute ISBN 19940 900416351</ref>

A reader is entitled to think that this is from Gardiner, wouldn't you agree? I don't have Gardiner as I'm not interested in the language, but does he really say all this about the Narmer Palette?

Also, please proofread your edits. Not just the spelling mistakes, but shouldn't there be a period after 'tt', and the next sentence is missing some words, possibly 'this would read' or something like that. Again, I hope that is from Gardiner and not just your opinion. dougweller (talk) 21:44, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't have that book in question, but that book is repeatedly cited as a reference on the topic in other academic books on the subject. Go to Google Book Search and do a search on "Narmer palette" and "Egyptian Grammar" and you will find several references to that text. I certainly have to assume good faith in this case. Captmondo (talk) 03:06, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
We still need a quote or a page number though. I know Rktect's sources don't always match topic. It isn't that I think he isn't editing in good faith, but that I think he doesn't understand our WP:OR policy, so he uses sources that don't actually talk about the topic to build an argument. In this case I think that all that is need is a page number, which is what our guidelines call for. He has admitted he is careless about giving references often editing in a rush and is used to others fixing them (Rktect, I am trying my best to paraphrase what you said, please forgive me if I've got it wrong but that's what I recall you writing recently - and if you did say this, please consider what you are expecting of other editors). dougweller (talk) 08:24, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
I rememembered, it was a reply to me on his talk page. He wrote I'm also lazy about writing out the entirity of a reference. I'm used to having people that do that for me.. I'm not sure what you meant there, Rktect, but it is really important to do it right (I find it tedious and time-consuming myself, but vital) and that includes page numbers. You shouldn't leave it for other editors to fix. dougweller (talk) 08:34, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Gardiners Signs Each Gardiner number refers to a discussion of the use of that glyph, where examples of it are used, with what other characters it makes words, then these are keyed to sections discussing the grammatical usage and then there are word lists showing how the glyphs are combined to make words. The main portion of the book is about sDmf forms. In early Egyptian where you have not much more than a name its pretty easy to just go look them up. At the boundary of Early and Middle Egyptian, at the time when the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor was written, we have some grammatical changes which were referenced with their Gardiner numbers as illistrative of the change. As a person learns the language they begin to realise that the spelling of the name is just a starting point,giving pronounciation with the vowels implied, its the determinatives and grammatical markers that add layers of meaning. For example the bull (k3) is a determinative which is part of the titulary of the king (strong like "Montu" with Montu being the name of a particular royal bull) similarly everything you see on Gardiners list isn't just part of a picture, it has meaning and you have to include that meaning in your context. Rktect (talk) 11:46, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
We should only be using Gardiner where he specifically mentions the palette, which he does on p.7. If there are later Egyptologists who read it differently, it's important to point that out. Any reference to a book needs a page number, articles don't. WP:Further says that if you've used it as a reference, it shouldn't be in further reading. Gardiner shouldn't of course be used as source where it doesn't specifically mention the palette. dougweller (talk) 12:34, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
We should be using Gardiner where he specifically discusses the language of the palette, on p 7 see the reference to the "garden pool" or setat I discussed above; and in parenthesis "(below, p72)" p72 "Horus strong bull arising in Thebes" as part of the titulary of the king.); what its glyphs mean, where other people writing about the Narmer palette reference what he has said in their writing. For example in discussing bulls in general and Montu as a special bull used in part of the titulary of the king.Rktect (talk) 13:26, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Sounds fine although I think we need to emphasise the use of later writers. dougweller (talk) 13:57, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. I think it is safe to say that later commentators use Gardiner as a starting point, and there have been many re-interpretations of the imagery and hieroglyphs (or proto-hieroglyphs depending on who you read) since then. The posted reading list for this article certainly hints at this.
Will try to add more info from other sources beginning this evening. Captmondo (talk) 16:56, 10 February 2009 (UTC)
Rktect: I hope I am catching you in mid-edit, but please be careful with your additions. They seem good, but I am missing the sense of what you seem to be trying to convey in a few instances; please go back and double-check your recent addition for clarity/sense. I'd re-write it, but I am not sure of what you are trying to convey in a couple of places. Captmondo (talk) 15:49, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I'm just checking for references and consistancy. In particular I wanted to deal with the titulary of pepy (E2 k3nht) in the third register. Pepy's (named ppp next to his head) the builder of the city and the bull is empowering him to build it rather than destroying it. (Gardiner E2) Rktect (talk) 15:58, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Okay. This is the first time I've every heard of any of the Pepi's being mentioned in the palette. Since they were later pharaohs (and since a copper statue of Pepi I and possibly of Pepi II were found near the Main Deposit), this might amount to the first suggestion that this palette is from the time of their reign rather than from the time of Narmer). Better double-check that one, since I've never heard anyone else reference that before (it seems a huge oversight, so best be careful here). Cheers! Captmondo (talk) 17:02, 11 February 2009 (UTC)
As great an oversight as noone noticing that the Merneptah Stela actually mentions Syria, not Israel. Rktect's explanation for this is here [5], you can see his edits adding this 'correction' here [6]and the reaction of two other editors here [7]. This 'correction' is still in at least one other article. dougweller (talk) 18:44, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

Later References[edit]

The discussion by Franco Raffaele and Antonio Loprieno would be good to bring in. Its recent and combines Franco Rafflaele's knowledge of he actual artifacts with Antonio Loprienos knowledge of the artifacts.


This article looks very strange, and I suspect contains a lot of original research or is from sources which are over-interpreting the symbolism. Egyptians hieroglyphs were not sufficiently developed at the time to permit such extravagant interpretations. I've seen simpler interpretations, such as that the reverse simply shows Narmer's subjugation of the northern delta marsh lands by the southern forces of Horus, which seems much more believable.

BTW the article seems full of errors. For example, there is no rosette symbol on the obverse, so the long and developed interpretations of this should be deleted -- along with most of the other flowery prose, I suspect. Is the claim that the struck prisoner (on the obverse) is actually a representation of the god Aker sourced?

A good start would be to revert back to before Rktect --Michael C. Price talk 10:08, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Will do. Any edits by Rktect should be reverted on site - seriously. You can be sure it will be original research and full of errors.


The so-called "Sarpopods" are two, male, wrestling, giraffes. Giraffes wrestle by banging their necks together, somewhat similar to what ancient Sauropod dinosaurs are suspected to have done (e.g. BBC Walking w/ Dinosaurs (DVD)). Perhaps the image symbolizes "Struggle", "Strife", "Contention", or some such. Please see:

Somewhat similarly, the second standard, in front of Narmer, is a Jackal (not a "dog"). The Jackal was a frequent totem image, for example, of Anubis, the mythic son of Osiris, father of Horus, the totem falcon god of Narmer's Hierakonpolis. Thus, Narmer led, as it were, "two divisions" of "Hawk Clan" warriors from Hierakonpolis ("Hawk City"), with "one division" of "Jackal Clan" warriors, from some closely allied city-state, of the "Osiris-Horus-Anubis" faction. According to [| this site], the Falcon symbolized the 2nd Nome (Upper Egypt), while the Jackal symbolized the 11th, and 17th, Nomes (Middle Egypt). This is completely consistent, w/ King Narmer leading the forces of united Upper & Middle Egypt, against opponents in Lower Egypt.

Likewise, the defeated region was — assuming the constancy of the hieroglyphic imagery — the 7th Mereotis Nome of Lower Egypt: According to Delia Pemberton's "Illustrated Atlas of Ancient Egypt" (British Museum Press), page 19, that 7th Nome was, indeed, symbolized by a boat plus harpoon, almost precisely as pictured in the palette. AND, the neighboring 3rd Lower Egyptian Nome (to the immediate southwest of said 7th nome), was symbolized by a Falcon sign. THEREFORE, the Narmer Palette unambiguously depicts King Narmer's victory, over the combined forces, of the 3rd & 7th Nomes of Lower Egypt. These two Nomes, on the extreme northwest of the Delta, could, quite plausibly, have been the last hold-outs against Egyptian Unification, existing as they did, upon the peripheral border-lands of Lower Egypt.

Indeed, too, the names of the Nomes 3 & 7 were both "A-ment", meaning "West Harpoon" (explaining the presence of the harpoon upon the palette). The three cities shown in the Narmer Palette were, thus, probably Imu (7th), and Hermopolis Parva & Metelis (3rd).

According to [| this site], the ancient name of Imu was "Hwt-Ihyt", meaning "Estate of the Cattle". According to [| this site], the ancient capitol of the 3rd Nome was "Ni-Ent-Hapi" (Apis, where was worshiped the goddess Senti), and that of the 7th was "Sonti-Nofer" (where was worshipped the god He, "Lord of the West"). Note the similarity of the goddess "Senti", worshiped in Nome 3, w/ "Sonti", the capitol of Nome 7. This seemingly suggests some sort of association.—Preceding unsigned comment added by [[User:{{{1}}}|{{{1}}}]] ([[User talk:{{{1}}}|talk]] • [[Special:Contributions/{{{1}}}|contribs]])

According to Ian Shaw, in (Shire Egyptology)"Egyptian Warfare & Weapons" pg. 8, the Battlefield Palette, which dates to the early Naqada III period (~3300 BC), depicts the defeat of Libyan invaders. And, as shown above, a few generations afterwards, Narmer defeated Nomes 3 & 7, in Lower Egypt, upon the border of Libya. This seemingly suggests some sort of association, between Nomes 3 & 7, and Libyans, to whom they surely were related, and upon whom they may have relied, for mercenary military service, against the burgeoning power of the "Horus Alliance" of Upper Egypt.