The southern king Narmer (perhaps the legendary Menes) wins a victory over the northern king which is immortalized by Narmer's Palette. The famous 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. Traditionally, Menes is credited with that unification, and he is listed as being the first pharaoh in Manetho's list of kings, so this find has caused some controversy.
Some Egyptologists hold that Menes and Narmer are in fact the same person; some hold that Menes is the same person with Horus Akha (aka. Hor-Aha) and 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.
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 perhaps for a generation. It should be noted that while there is extensive physical evidence of there being a pharaoh named Narmer, so far there is no evidence other than Manetho's list and from legend for a pharaoh called Menes. The King Lists recently found in Den's and Qa'a's tombs both list Narmer as the founder of their dynasty.
The ancient Egyptians chose to begin their official history with a king named "Meni" (or Menes in Greek) who they believed had united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. The transition to a unified state actually happened more gradually than the ancient Egyptian writers would have us believe, and there is no contemporary record of Menes. Scholars now believe, however, that the mythical Menes may have actually been the pharaoh Narmer, who is depicted wearing royal regalia on the ceremonial Narmer Palette in a symbolic act of unification. The third century BC Egyptian priest Manetho grouped the long line of pharaohs following Menes into 30 dynasties, a system still in use today.
In the Early Dynastic Period about 3150 BC, the first pharaohs solidified their control over lower Egypt by establishing a capital at Memphis, from which they could control the labor force and agriculture of the fertile delta region as well as the lucrative and critical trade routes to the Levant. The increasing power and wealth of the pharaohs during the early dynastic period was reflected in their elaborate mastaba tombs and mortuary cult structures at Abydos, which were used to celebrate the deified pharaoh after his death. The strong institution of kingship developed by the pharaohs served to legitimize state control over the land, labor, and resources that were essential to the survival and growth of ancient Egyptian civilization
Ancient Egypt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization in eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern nation of Egypt. The civilization began around 3150 BC with the political...
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