Narmer in hieroglyphs

The first pharaoh of the First Dynasty, a.k.a. Menes

King Menes is credited with uniting the Two Lands and was thus the first pharaoh of the Kingdom of Egypt according to New Kingdom king lists. They name Meni as the first king, and drawing from the same sources, Africanus and Eusebius name him Menes, while Herodotus calls him Min. This conforms well with the name Menes.
There is no contemporary archaeological evidence containing the cartouche name of Menes, as the use of cartouches did not begin until the time of the Old Kingdom.
In the king lists of the New Kingdom, the nebty names were placed into cartouches because the scribes were unable to recognize or locate the corresponding names from the ancient sources. Fittingly, Meni means : He who endures.

The contemporary Horus name of the first king, Narmer, is well attested. It is firmly established that he indeed was the first ruler of the kingdom. The early kings were only known by their Horus name, and there is no evidence that Narmer used any other.

Precedessor
Mekh

Successor
Aha

Reign of Narmer
AE Chronologyc. 2900
Grimal3150–3125
Manetho (Africanus)62 years
Manetho (Eusebius)30 years

The Royal Titulary

From the hieroglyphic records

The Dual King

Horus Narmer  The Dual King Meni*

Horus names

Horus name

The oldest form of the name of a pharaoh, a falcon representing Horus is perched on the palace facade.

Horus name
Narmer
nꜤr-mr
Fierce catfish of Horus
K24-U23
Narmer Palette (JE32169)
Petrie, Royal Tombs, II, plate II (3)
Translation: Leprohon, The Great Name: Ancient Egyptian Royal Titulary, 22 (3)
Beckerath, “Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen”, 2nd ed. MÄS 49 (1999). 36-37, x+4:H1
Horus name variant
Narmer Tjaj
nꜤr-mr-ṯꜢi
Manly catfish of Horus
K24-U23-G47
Petrie, Tarkhan, I, plate II (2)
Beckerath, “Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen”, 2nd ed. MÄS 49 (1999). 36-37, x+4:H4
Horus name variant
Nar
nꜤr
Catfish of Horus
K24
Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo , 38, fig. 14-15, #40
Petrie, Royal Tombs, II, plate XIII (91,92)
Beckerath, “Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen”, 2nd ed. MÄS 49 (1999). 36-37, x+4:H3

Nebty name

Two ladies hieroglyphs

The “Two Ladies”, the goddesses Nekhbet and Wadjet, representing Upper and Lower Egypt respectively.

Nebty name
Men
mn
mn
Ivory label with king Aha attending a funerary ritual for the deceased Menes
Cairo Museum JE 31773 (CG 14142)
Garstang, (1905). “The tablet of Mena” in ZÄS 42, 61-64
Edwards, Cambridge Ancient History, 11

Throne names

Prenomen or throne name

Announced at the coronation and always written in a cartouche. The “official” name of the pharaoh. Also known as the Prenomen.

Throne name
Meni*
mni
He who endures
mn:n-i
Abydos Canon no. 1
Mariette, Abydos, I, plate 43 (1)
Beckerath, “Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen”, 2nd ed. MÄS 49 (1999). 38-39, 1:E1
Throne name variant
Meni*
mni
He who endures
mn:n-i-A1
Turin King List 3.10
Gardiner, The Royal Canon of Turin (1959) II:10
Throne name variant
Meni*
mni
He who endures
mn:n-i-y-G7
Turin King List 3.11
Beckerath, “Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen”, 2nd ed. MÄS 49 (1999). 38-39, 1:E2
Gardiner, The Royal Canon of Turin (1959) II:11
Throne name variant
Meni*
mny
He who endures
mn:n-ii
Epigraphic Survey, Medinet Habu, Vol IV, plate 213
Lepsius, Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Äthiopien, III, 163

The sources of antiquity

From the writings of the historians and scholars of antiquity

AuthorGreekTranscriptionReign
Eusebius i, 1 Μηνης Menes 30 years
Herodotus 99.2 Μινα Mina
Diodorus 1.45.1/3 Μηναν / Μηνα Menan / Mena
Eratosthenes 1 Μηνης Menes 62

Bibliography

  • Gauthier, H. Le livre des rois d'Égypte. MIFAO 17 (1907): 1–3; 17–19
  • Beckerath, J. “Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen”, Second edition, MÄS 49 (1999) : 36–37
  • Leprohon, R. J. The Great Name: Ancient Egyptian Royal Titulary (Atlanta, 2013): 22
  • Baker. D. D. The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I (London, 2008): 237–240
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