Wash (pharaoh)

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King Narmer defeating Wash, Narmer Palette.[1]
Egyptian hieroglyphs

Wash was possibly an ancient Egyptian predynastic ruler. His existence is disputed.


He is known from the verso of the Narmer Palette found in Hierakonpolis, where he is depicted as a kneeling captive, "un-Egyptian in appearance",[2] about to be smitten by Narmer.[3] The hieroglyphs carved near the captive – a harpoon and a lake – have been considered by scholars to be either a location name for the Harpoon nome (located in the Northwestern Nile Delta next to the Libyan borders) or the personal name of the captive, phonetically read as Washi or Wash.[4][3]

Assuming that Wash was a historical figure, it has been speculated that he may have been the last ruler of a Lower Egyptian dynasty based at Buto, who was ultimately defeated by the Upper Egyptian leader, Narmer. However, it is possible that the Narmer Palette depicts an allegory rather than a historical event, with Wash merely being part of that construct.[5]

Archaeologist Edwin van den Brink argued that Hedju Hor – another predynastic Lower Egyptian ruler – could be identified with Wash, on the basis of the similarities between the former's serekh and the carving above Wash on the Narmer Palette.[6]


  1. ^ Egypt,” Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.), v. 9, 1911, plate II (between pp. 64 and 65),#23.
  2. ^ O'Connor, David (2011). "The Narmer Palette: A New Interpretation". In Teeter, Emily (ed.). Before the Pyramids: The Origins of Egyptian Civilization. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. ISBN 978-1885923-82-0., p.148
  3. ^ a b Heagy, Thomas C. (2014). "Who was Menes?". Archeo-Nil. 24: 59–92., p.66
  4. ^ Helck, Wolfgang (1987). Untersuchungen zur Thinitenzeit. Ägyptologische Abhandlungen 45. Wiesbaden., p.98
  5. ^ Wilkinson, Toby (1999). Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge. ISBN 0-203-20421-2., pp.40–41
  6. ^ van den Brink, Edwin (1996). "The Incised Serekh-signs of Dynasties 0–1, Part I: Complete Vessels". In Spencer, Alan J. (ed.). Aspects of Early Egypt. London: British Museum Press. pp. 140–158. ISBN 0714109991., p.147