was an Egyptian Pharaoh
ruled in the 32nd century BC
Thought to be the successor to the predynastic
or "Selk" and/or Ka
, he is considered by some to be the unifier
of Egypt and founder of the First
, and therefore the first king of all Egypt. There is a
growing consensus that Scorpion and Narmer are identical, but no
identification with any early king can yet be definitively
Narmer Palette, discovered in 1898 in
Hierakonpolis, shows Narmer displaying the insignia of both
Upper and Lower
Egypt, giving rise to the theory that he unified the two
kingdoms in c.
3100 BC. Traditionally, Menes
is credited with that unification, and he is
listed as being the first king in Manetho
list of kings, so this find has caused some controversy.
hold that Menes
and Narmer are the same person; some hold that
Menes is the same person as Hor-Aha and that he inherited an
already-unified Egypt from Narmer; others hold that Narmer began
the process of unification but either did not succeed or succeeded
only partially, leaving it to Menes to complete. Arguments have
been made that Narmer is Menes because of his appearance on several
ostraca in conjunction with the gameboard hieroglyph, Mn, which
appears to be a contemporary record to the otherwise mythical
king. At the site of Nahal Tillah (see below) a pottery shard
was found with the serekh of king Narmer, showing that the Egyptian
kings had five royal names, one of which also included the signs
for mn (Menes) without further title but adjacent to the Horus name
of Narmer. This would lead to the conclusion that Menes' royal name
included Narmer. However, there are also inconsistencies within
every ostracon which mentions Menes, precluding any definitive
proof to his identity. The kings lists recently found in
's and Qa'a
tombs both list Narmer as the founder of their dynasty who was
followed by Hor-Aha (Menes was absent).
Another equally plausible theory is that Narmer was an immediate
successor to the king who did manage to unify Egypt (perhaps the
King Scorpion whose name was found on a macehead also discovered in
Hierakonpolis), and adopted symbols of unification that had already
been in use for perhaps a generation.
His wife is thought to have been Neithhotep A (literally: "Neith
is satisfied"), a princess of northern Egypt.
Inscriptions bearing her name were found in tombs belonging to
Narmer's immediate successors Hor-Aha and Djer, implying that she
was the mother of Hor-Aha.
Narmer's name is represented phonetically by the hieroglyphic
sign for a catfish
) and that of a chisel (mr
). Modern variants
of his name include "Hor Narmeru" or "Hor Merinar" (Horus
, beloved of Nar, hence perhaps Meni (Mn)?), but
scholarly convention favors "Narmer".
Tomb and artifacts
is composed of two joined chambers (B17 and B18) found in the
el-Qa'ab region of
is located near Ka
's tomb who ruled
just before him.
summer of 1994, excavators from the Nahal
Tillah expedition in southern Israel discovered
an incised ceramic shard with the serekh sign of Narmer, the same individual whose
ceremonial slate palette was found by
James E. Quibell
. The inscription was found on a large circular platform,
possibly the foundations of a storage silo on the Halif Terrace.
Dated to ca. 3000 BC, mineralogical studies of the shard conclude
that it is a fragment of a wine jar which was imported from the
valley to Israel some 5000 years
Narmer had Egyptian
in southern Canaan
— with his name stamped on
vessels — and then exported back to Egypt
. Production sites included Arad, En Besor, Rafiah, and
Gallery of images
statue of a baboon divinity with the name of the pharaoh Narmer
inscribed on its base, on display at the Ägyptisches
mud jar sealing indicating that the contents came from the estate
of the pharaoh Narmer. Originally from Tarkhan, now on
display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.Image:NamerMacehead.png|The Narmer Macehead, on display at the Ashmolean
shard inscribed with the serekh and name of the pharaoh Narmer, on
display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
- Possibly Copied: http://www.crystalinks.com/narmer.html
- Dodson, Aidan. Hilton, Dyan. The Complete Royal Families of
Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson 2004
- Gardiner, Alan. Egypt of the Pharaohs., Oxford
University Press, 1961
- Kinnaer, Jacques. What is Really Known About the Narmer
Palette?, KMT: A Modern Journal of Ancient Egypt, Spring
- Shaw, Ian. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt.,
Oxford University Press, 2000.
- Shaw, op.cit. p.196
- Narmer: Titulary
- Naomi Porat, "Local Industry of Egyptian Pottery in Southern
Palestine During the Early Bronze I Period", in Bulletin of the
Egyptological, Seminar 8 (1986/1987), pp. 109-129.