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Reign 31st Century B.C.
Dynasty First Dynasty
Horus Narmer
Golden Horus
Family Neithhotep A (wife?)

Hor-Aha (son?)

Burial Place Tomb B17

For more images see: Narmer Image Gallery.

Narmer is believed to be the founding Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. His identity has been the case of debate, often being labelled as another ruler by the name of Menes and if this is the case then he may have resided in Memphis where he was thought to have ruled. However no monument of Narmer has been found at Saqqara which at the time was the elite necropolis for Memphis.[1] This Pharaoh is best known as the Unifier of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt from the portrayal of him on the famous Narmer Palette from Hierakonpolis discovered by James Edward Quibell and Frederick Green in 1899. [1] However disputes have existed concerning whether he in fact was the first Pharaoh of the First Dynasty, the discovery of a necropolis seal impression of Qaa shows all eight First Dynasty Pharaoh's in order placing Narmer at the beginning which aids in answering this question and it is known that he was seen as a founding figure by the later rulers Den and Qaa.[1]

The family of Narmer is a difficult one to ascertain, however it is thought that Neithhotep A is a possibility for his wife as a sealing of hers was found in association with Hor-Aha. She is believed to have been his mother and as he succeeded Narmer it is logical that she was his wife.[2]. One of the many theories behind the Narmer Macehead is that is represented the marriage of Narmer and Neithhotep A. [3] Other theories think otherwise and that this may represent his Heb-sed Festival which is also shown on an ivory statue from Abydos where his ritual robe has a pattern of lozenges.[4] Another theory concerns a different festival attributed to on the Palermo Stone named the Appearance of the King of Lower Egypt (Ḫˤt-bity).[5]

It is most likely during his reign that he ruled from This, which is attested to by Manetho to have been the ruling capital of the Thinite Kings and probably was descended from the previous Thinite Kings. [1], and already during his accession the country of Egypt has a clear separation between Lower and Upper Egypt as during his reign produce from both Lower and Upper Egypt is known to have been collected differently between the two of them.[1] He is thought buried in Tomb B17 in Umm el-Qa'ab.[1]

It is evident as well that during his reign the idea and representation of the Royal regalia had already been well established from the depiction of the bull's tail which he wears from his belt.[6]

Main Deposit Narmer Ivory Cyclinder

Libyan Cylinder

His rule demonstrates the possibility of military campaigns as he is shown on numerous militaristic items.[4] though it is possible as well that extensive trade networks were already in existence all the way into Palestine/Israel,[1] including Arad and Tel'Erani where pottery bearing his name has been found.[7] Contacts between Egypt and the Asiatic peoples are known from an ivory fragment showing an Asiatic bearded man in a stooping posture, possibly showing homage from his tomb B17.[1] Narmer sent expeditions against the Libyans, mentioned on an ivory cylinder which shows the earliest representation of Libyans (t3 ṯḥnw) showing Narmer smiting them.[1] [8] Depictions of Narmer possibly also show him smiting the people of Lower Egypt, where he is shown as a catfish on a year label smiting a bearded captive who has a Papyrus over his head (a symbol of Lower Egypt).[4][1]

Associated FindsEdit

Narmer Label Abydos

Unification Year Label

  • Pottery bearing his name in a serekh in Israel.[1]
  • Year Label showing possibly the Unification of Egypt.[1]
  • Inscribed stone dated to his reign from Saqqara.[1]
  • Baboon statue which may represent The Great White inscribed with his name.[1]
  • Pottery sherds from Nekhen, Te Erani,Tell Arad, Naha Tillah, Nubia.[1]
  • Complete vessel from Minshat Abu Omar with his name in a serekh.[1]
  • Rock-cut inscription of Narmer's serekh and a second empty one at Site 18 in Wadi Qash.[1]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Wilkinson, T, A, H. (2001) Early Dynastic Egypt London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-26011-6.
  2. Dodson, A & Hilton, D. (2005) The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 9774249577
  3. Tyldesley, J. (2006) The Complete Queens of Egypt Cairo: American University Press.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Clayton, P.A (2001) Chronicles of the Pharaohs London: Thames & Hudson.
  5. Millet, N.B (1990) The Narmer Macehead and Related Object Journal of American Research Center in Egypt: Vol. 27, pp. 53-59
  6. Tyldesley, J. (2011) Myths & Legends of Ancient Egypt Glasgow: Ellipsis Books Limited.
  7. Amiran, R. (1974) An Egyptian Jar Fragment with the Name of Narmer from Arad Israel Exploration Journal. Vol.24 No.1 pp.4-12
  8. Adams, B and Cialowicz, K.M. (1988) Protodynastic Egypt Buckinghamshire: Shire Publications.
Preceded by:
Pharaoh of Egypt
1st Dynasty
Succeeded by:

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