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Title04 Den
TagsEgypt Pharaoh Royalties 3rd Millennium Bc 2nd Millennium Bc
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                            Egypt: Rulers, Kings and Pharaohs of Ancient
Document Text Contents
Page 1

Egypt: Rulers, Kings and Pharaohs of Ancient

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.

Horus Aha
Djer (Itit)
Djet (Wadj)
Den (Udimu)

Egypt: Den, the 4th King of Egypt's 1st Dynasty

Den, the 4th King of Egypt's 1st Dynasty

by Jimmy Dunn

While an early King, Den, who's name means "Horus Who Strikes" (Udimu), is perhaps better
attested than some. We believe he served as the 4th King of Egypt's 1st Dynasty. He may

have come to the throne at an early age, with his mother, Merneith, acting as regent.
He left a number of labels and inscriptions on stone vases which cite the king, including

events during his reign. We have found seals impressions and inscriptions in tombs 3035,
3036, 3038, 3504, 3506, 3507, X and a lower status tomb at Saqqara, from a tomb at Abu

Rowash and of course, from King Den's own Tomb at Saqqara.
His throne name has been identified as Semti which helps us identify him as a king in

the Abydos King list named Hesepti. He is believed to have been the first king to adopt a nsw-
bity (King of Upper and Lower Egypt) name, which was Khasty. According to Manetho, he

had a reign of some 20 years. However, he may have celebrated a Sed-festival,

which usually occurred in the 30 year of rule, and some Egyptologists believe he may have
reigned for as long as 50 years.

Page 2

Though the reigns of Den's processor and successor seemed to have been troubled, the
reign of Den was apparently a glorious and prosperous one. Yet beyond this prosperity,
like Horus Djer before him, Den left behind an intellectual reputation. We believe that the
spells found in the later funerary manual called the Book of the Dead was attributed to his

time, as well as medical formulae that were preserved in New Kingdom papyri.

Den Apparently limited the power of high officials which had previously been allowed to grow
dangerously strong during the reign of his predecessor. Such centralization always seems to
have been key to a successful royal reign. However, we believe he also pursued a policy of
conciliation with northern Egypt, probably creating a post of "chancellor of the King of Lower

Egypt:, filled by a man named Hemaka.
Hemaka is a well known figure of this time who built an important tomb at Saqqara. The
contents of this tomb provide us with our most comprehensive collection of 1st Dynasty

funerary equipment. It is also from this tomb that we find possible evidence for Den's Sed-
festival (along with a label found at Abydos, depicting the earliest known king wearing

the double crown of Egypt).

Soon, however, it appears that Den turned his focus to military affairs. An interesting ivory
label found at Abydos that was inscribed for Den records, "The time of the smitting of the
East". It shows Den in the classic pharaonic posture, with his mace raised above his head

about to club a foreign chieftain. This seems to correlate with the "Smiting of the Troglodytes"
recorded on the Palermo stone.

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