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Sebkay (alternatively Sebekay or Sebekāi[1]) was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh during the Second Intermediate Period, likely belonging to the 13th Dynasty.

Very little is known about him, since his name is attested only on a magic ivory wand found at Abydos and now in the Cairo Museum (CG 9433 / JE 34988).[2]


Since the discovery of the wand, several egyptologists have tried to identify this king with other rulers of the Second Intermediate Period.
Stephen Quirke believed that “Sebkay” was a diminutive for “Sedjefakare”, which is the throne name of Kay-Amenemhat,[3] while Jürgen von Beckerath considered the name a short form of the nomen “Sobekhotep” instead.[1] Thomas Schneider (egyptologist) (de) supports von Beckerath's hypothesis, specifying that the king Sobekhotep likely was Sobekhotep II.[4]

A more radical hypothesis came from Kim Ryholt, who suggested the reading “Seb's son Kay”, de facto splitting the name “Seb-kay” in two different pharaohs and thus filling a gap in the Turin King List before Kay-Amenemhat. Furthermore, in this reconstruction the name of the last mentioned king should be considered a patronymic too, and must be read “Kay's son Amenemhat”, thus setting a dynastic line consisting of three kings: Seb, his son Kay, and the latter's son Amenemhat. Ryholt's interpretation is considered daring and controversial by some egyptologists.[4]

In 2014 at Abydos, a team of archaeologists discovered the tomb of a previously unknown king of the Second Intermediate Period, called Senebkay. It has been suggested that this ruler and Sebkay might be the same person.[5]

Full view of the ivory wand. Sebkay's name is carved on the left side.


  1. ^ a b Jürgen von Beckerath, Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der Zweiten Zwischenzeit in Ägypten, Glückstadt, Augustin, 1964, p. 46.
  2. ^ Georges Daressy, Catalogue Général des Antiquités Égyptiennes du Musée du Caire: Textes et dessins magiques. Le Caire: Imprimerie de L'institut Français D'archéologie Orientale (1903), pl. XI.
  3. ^ "Sebkay page on". Retrieved 2014-08-18. 
  4. ^ a b Thomas Schneider, in Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss, and David A. Warburton (eds) Ancient Egyptian Chronology, Brill, Leiden – Boston, 2006, pp. 178-79.
  5. ^ Finding a Lost Pharaoh, Archaeology and arts. Retrieved 08 May 2014