Semerkhet in hieroglyphs

The seventh pharaoh of the First Dynasty,

Semerkhet was the first pharaoh using the Nebty title in its ultimate form. The name in the New Kingdom king lists is Semsu or Semsem, which means the eldest, which might tie in with the 72 years mentioned in the Turin papyrus, but he likely only ruled for a decade or so. According to Africanus and Eusebius he was named Semempses by Manetho.

Precedessor
Adjib

Successor
Qaa

Reign of Semerkhet
AE Chronology2763–2756
v. Beckerath2861–2853
Malek2826–2818
Turin King List63 (years?)
Manetho18 years

The Royal Titulary

From the hieroglyphic records

The Dual King

Horus Semer khet  The Dual King Semsu*

Horus name

Horus name

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

Horus name
Semer khet
s-mr-ḥt
Companion of the Gods
U23-s-X
Petrie, Royal Tombs, I, plate XXVIII
Beckerath, “Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen”, 2nd ed. MÄS 49 (1999). 40-41, 7:H

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
Iry
iry
The Dual king who belongs to the Two Ladies
A469
Ivory label British Museum EA 32668
Petrie, Royal Tombs, I, plate XII (1)
The archaic sign (A469) is similar to A17 and was likely confused by the NK scribes.
Throne name variant
Semsu*
smsw
The eldest
A23D
Abydos Canon no. 7
Mariette, Abydos, I, plate 43 (7)
Beckerath, “Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen”, 2nd ed. MÄS 49 (1999). 40-41, 7:2
Throne name variant
Semsem*
smsm
The elder (of Horus)
s-m-s-m
Turin King List 3.18
Beckerath, “Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen”, 2nd ed. MÄS 49 (1999). 40-41, 7:3
Gardiner, The Royal Canon of Turin (1959) II:18

The sources of antiquity

From the writings of the historians and scholars of antiquity

AuthorGreekTranscriptionReign
Africanus i, 7 Σεμεμψης Semempsis 18 years
Eusebius i, 7 Σεμεμψης Semempses 18 years
Eratosthenes 5 Πεμφως Pemphus 18

Bibliography

  • Gauthier, H. Le livre des rois d'Égypte. MIFAO 17 (1907): 11–14
  • Beckerath, J. “Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen”, Second edition, MÄS 49 (1999) : 40–41
  • Leprohon, R. J. The Great Name: Ancient Egyptian Royal Titulary (Atlanta, 2013): 26–27
  • Baker. D. D. The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I (London, 2008): 376–378
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