by Eduard Meyer
Meyer, Eduard. 1904. Aegyptische Chronologie. Berlin: Verlag der Königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften.
English translation of the original German text
Extract of the relevant parts of Meyer's book regarding the Royal Canon (pages 105-178). As most of Meyer's book investigate the chronological aspects of Ancient Egypt, which have little or no bearing on the Royal Canon, they have been left out. Note: The German transliteration is kept 'as is', i.e. Chasechemui is not 'corrected' to Khasekhemwy etc.
History and description of the Royal papyrus of Turin.
By far the most important document for royal succession and chronology is the Turin Canon. Completely preserved, it would make all other documents superfluous. Even in its present state, it forms the basis of all investigations in this field. Strangely enough, this has hitherto been only to a very small extent. On the contrary, in spite of some very good investigations, (especially by Hincks and de Rougé, and a treatise by Lauth, which, in addition to many fantastical treaties w4hich offer a great deal of usefulness,) most Egyptologists have stayed away with fearful anxiety, and more is to be extracted from the fragments.
According to a widespread written tradition, the credibility of which I cannot testify; it was almost intact when Drovetti acquired the papyrus. In any case, when his collection had been bought and surrendered by the Sardinian government to the Turin Museum, the papyrus had crumbled into innumerable small fragments, which were interspersed with the fragments of many other papyri in a crate. Champollion investigated the contents of this crate in November 1824, and recognized the cohesion of a number of fragments, as well as the invaluable value of the "royal canon," the remnants of which they had formed, and published a brief note of his discovery in the Bulletin Universel. He planned to publish this work in 1826, but never did; it was only in 1850 that his brother published the transcript. It consists of 48 fragments, denoted by letters, of which there are only six incomplete lines; some of the shreds are very tiny. The publication is of great value because it gives a more vivid picture of the primordial condition of these fragments than words, and so the great merit which Seyffarth has acquired around the papyrus is first put into the right light.
In the meantime, Seyffarth arrived in Turin in 1826, gathered all the fragments belonging to the papyrus, and arranged them according to the form of writing and paper, about 300 in total. The royal names of the monuments known at that time did perhaps assist him in the arrangement; but he could not really read the characters because he was caught up in his absurd theories about the nature of the Egyptian script. This, was however an advantage rather than a disadvantage for the mechanical task which had been given to him. With a careful consideration of the fibers of the papyrus, and the combination of the signs on the front and the back, he has as far as possible, joined the small fragments, reducing the number of fragments to 164, including about sixteen pieces, 10–12 not counting assembled scraps. The large fragments, which are immediately adjacent to one another and are composed of fragments 71, 81 and 97-99, yield the remains of 13–14 lines of the upper part of three connected columns. The fragments thus produced have been ordered and numbered in twelve columns. In this form, the papyrus was carefully traced by Lepsius, and based on Lepsius' drawing, a new collation produced only a few quite irrelevant changes of the boundaries between the original fragments, as far as they were still recognizable by careful examination of the fibers of the individual fragments and with the back of Wilkinson.
In modern works, there is mention of a copy of the papyrus by Champollion, from which there is more to be read than in these publications; that fragments has been lost from the papyrus since then. This myth has been refuted for 53 years by the detailed reports of Champollion-Figeac. His essay seems to be quoted often, but never read. Only the above-mentioned copy of the 48 individual fragments originate from Champollion. Eight fragments which his brother could not find in Lepsius’ publication, were therefore regarded as lost, but four are easily verified, three contain only parts of the royal titles (Dd, Rr, Ss), and only one, Tt, with the numbers 3, 20, and 4 below each other, I cannot verify.
The so-called copy of Champollion, on the other hand, is nothing more than the processing of a copy of the papyrus, which Seyffarth gave him at the end of 1827. Champollion has left a translation of the two sides, which contains a great deal more than the facsimiles, especially in the figures. It has been thought that pieces are lost there, but it is certain that Champollion amended the text several times, and that it never appeared in the papyrus. For example, in fr. 1, line 11, “Les rois (du) roi (de la famille), Ménès (a) ont exerce la royaute, 200 ...”, line 12 “durée de la vie en le roi Ménès a exercé la royauté 60?” where only the underlined text is really in the text, and the additions are, for the most part, quite inaccurate. Champollion, attempted to connect as many fragments as possible in his translation, for example, the number 60 for Menes is undoubtedly from Eusebius, as is the number 200... for the dynasty. I do not doubt that what he otherwise offers of the papyrus is based on his own additions, where some of his fragments have somehow displaced other fragments. In any case, his "copy", since it is exclusively based on Seyffarth, has no independent value compared to the original produced by the latter.
Writers who have never seriously concerned themselves with the subject, one often assert that Seyffarth's reconstruction of the papyrus is of no value whatsoever, and that we should only adhere to the original small fragments. The papyrus would be useless for establishing the royal succession and the chronology. Seyffarth is reproached for the fact that he attached the fragments to each other, so that the joints can scarcely be recognized anymore. Such an opinion is self-evident, as already Wilkinson rightly remarked that this is precisely proof of how carefully he made the assembly. Since I learned of Champollion’s copy from 1824, my respect has only grown of Seyffarth’s achievement. In his time, the kings of the Old and Middle Kingdoms were unknown. The Abydos Table of Seti's I created a foundation, which has since been further supplemented by the monuments.
The arrangement of the kings in the papyrus has thus been almost universally confirmed, and the numbers and succession of the Twelfth Dynasty and the subsequent kings of the Thirteenth Dynasty are proven to be absolutely correct by contemporary documents. He has carefully observed all the points on which the fragments of a papyrus must be put together, that we can regard the positions of the individual fragments as quite reliable. In fact, there are very few places where he has connected fragments directly.
The distribution of the fragments, which are not directly connected to the individual columns, is in general, surprisingly successful. The line spacing and writing of the signs are the mainstay. In detail, however, the progress of understanding has changed much. Above all, it is known that Col. II belongs before Col. I, and that the fragments assigned to Col. I, III, IV are to be combined into two columns. Col. X probably belongs to the end, and the incoherent fragments distributed in Col. XI and XII may belong in a single column. Some of the small fragments, which are now distributed over all the columns, and from which (at least in their isolation) nothing, or almost nothing can be derived, the assignments remain doubtful.
It is to be seen how far a further investigation of the original can be made by a technician, mastering the advanced art of papyrus assembling, and by an Egyptologist who is familiar with hieratic writing. It is urgently hoped for that the current highly deserved director of the Turin Museum, Ernesto Schiaparelli, would give a hand with such an attempt. Many things have yet to be wished for the verso, before the work has been done, and it would be a great gain if only a few further fragments were safely arranged with the help of these, and above all , if the present arrangement of the principal fragments could be verified. The facsimile of Lepsius, revisited by Wilkinson, seems to provide a perfectly secure basis for the reading of the obverse. Only in a few places, for example, the royal names fr. 20 line 5 and fr. 47, line 3 might an expert of Hieratic recognize something more in the original.
According to Wilcken, the royal list of Turin is actually the back of a papyrus, on the obverse of which, in the most superficial script, recording taxes of a royal office (deliveries from the oasis) from the time of Ramses II. Nevertheless, I have maintained the usual designation backside, or verso, especially as it is doubtful whether Wilcken's assurance that the horizontal fibres of a papyrus make up the first face used, the vertical fibres the backside, and therefore written later.
In any case, it is certain that the royal list was not a private record or a copy for home use. Rather, the papyrus bears the character of a manuscript on the outside; it is beautiful, the first column even very well written, with big, firm moves and wide line spacing. So one will probably have to assume that it belonged to the the office concerned. Here one needed an authentic list of kings, since all the documents were dated in years of rule by the kings. It is possible that the old specimen used became suffered damage, and needed replacement. It is well known that in antiquity paper was used sparingly. We also still use it carefully, despite how cheap it has become. The height of the described part of the column is 400 mm. The author has wrote 26-29 lines in the first five columns (= I-VI of the editions) with large lettering and wide line spacing. He realized that the space for the long list of names he still had to copy was scarce; so he begins to write narrower in the sixth column (Col. 6 = VII 30 lines; 7 = VIII and 8 = IX 31 lines, see above p. 63), and the columns become narrower. Even closer written and therefore much worse is the next, or the next two (XI XII = 9 or 9. 10). Then another scribe replaced him, with coarser, thicker features; from him comes the last remaining column X = 10 or 11, on which are the names mentioned above, p. 63, 2, which probably belong to the Hyksos. It appears that this belongs to the end of the papyrus, written in a different hand than Col. XI and XII.
However, this cannot have been the last column of the King list. For among the surviving fragments there is not a single name of the New Kingdom; but it is unthinkable that such a list would be broken several centuries earlier. There are also no fragments of the final summation, and introduction containing several lines by the scribe, which must not have been wanting. That the papyrus extended further, is confirmed by the fact that fr. 110, which belongs to the left margin of Col. X (it contains the end of reign dates, see also 107, 109, 111, and 113), on the verso, where it forms the beginning of the taxes, and the end contain several lines more. Thus, from the beginning of the verso, a whole column has been lost except for these signs: on the reverse side contain the conclusion of the list of Kings, about 25 names from the New Kingdom, and the conclusion of the whole work.
That the Royal papyrus of Turin is a copy of an original and not an original work is self-evident; confirmed by, as we have seen, the sum of the Twelfth Dynasty is not calculated by the writer of the papyrus from the posts, but is taken from elsewhere. What time the template comes from is impossible to say. It is clear that such lists must have been edited and continuously updated, in the same way as, for example, the Ptolemaic canon. That this Redaction took place at the earliest at the beginning of the New Kingdom seems to be verified by the treatment of the 13th (including the 14th) dynasty: the ephemeral governments lined up can scarcely have been enumerated by contemporaries, but must have been ordered when this epoch was already completed. As the tablet of Saqqara has already indicated, the papyrus probably show the official king's list, as it was in the Lower Egyptian kingdom.
The papyrus, like all later similar traditions, begins with the gods. Followed by the human kings, organized into dynasties, some of which differ greatly from the ones of Manetho. Indeed, the author distinguishes between larger groups, which are summed up by summations, and single dynasties, indicated by the fact that the words "he ruled" stand between the name of a king and the years of his reign. Otherwise these words are not present, even at the beginning of a column (Col. 3 = III, 7 = VIII, 8 = IX), with the exception of Col. 6 = VII, where they stand after the rule of Amenemhet IV. Reigns are consistently given in years, months, and days, with very few exceptions, or in full-years, with no surplus months. The age of the kings is given only for the first three dynasties of Manetho (p. 140). The sums are recorded after the red sign "total", and except for the Sixth Dynasty, by years, months and days. As a rule, but not always (for example, nowhere in Thirteenth Dynasty, nor for Menes), at a dynastic start the royal titles is also written in red. Special headings which designate the next dynasty have "kings since Menes" (Dyn. 1-5), the Heracleopolites, Eleventh, Twelfth, Thirteenth, but not the Sixth Dynasty, unless the scribe began Col. 4 one line higher than the rest.
Between the Sixth Dynasty (+8), that is, the end of the Old Kingdom, and the Heracleopolitians stood several lines, which included other summaries and further notes. Similar information is given in Col. 9 (XI, XII) (see above, p.64). Further, we find brief, incomprehensible remarks after the dates of the reigns in Col. 3 (III) line 8, and Col. 6 (VII) line 6. Some of the isolated and for us completely incomprehensible fragments 35-39 contain such remarks too.
The later columns, from the Twelfth Dynasty onwards, have already been discussed briefly above. The preceding sections will be thoroughly analyzed in the following section, and where possible reconstructed. The accompanying plates II-V, are drawn from the facsimile of Wilkinson and reduced in photolithography to five-sixths. The lines are counted. The length of the columns is measured written line to the bottom line; the top line is a uniform starting point, consistently calculated to 15mm. The slight difference in the length of the described part of the individual columns (which, of course, was not equal to the millimeter). Col. 2: 400mm, Col. 3: 391mm, Col. 4: 398mm, Col. 5: 393mm, can easily be reduced more by slight shifts in the distance of the individual fragments. I am indebted to Dr. G. Möller for the reading of the difficult passages, especially in Col. 2.
The first column of the Papyrus.
The first column of the Turin Papyrus preserve a list of gods on fr. 11 + 10; continuing, as Lauth realized, with the name of the Re on fr. 141, with a horizontal line above it from the previous line. Since a blank piece of 80mm width is preserved to the right before the characters, the column to which this piece belonged was the first of the royal papyrus, and the same one on the right had a wide blank margin.
The upper part of the page is lost, because a headline must have preceded the text. The line spacing is 15mm, and if the scribe had not begun the first column a little lower, the page would have contained 27 lines, as some headings and summation are to be deducted, there could not have been more than 20 names of gods.
In addition, Lauth placed fr. 40 in this column. It reads:
"Son of Ptah"
"Saankh" (rest of a personal name?).
In fact, one would like to put this at the beginning of the list of gods; but above that is a gap of 24mm, below it almost as large, at the end of which are two strokes. This fragment barely connect with fr. 141 and the beginning of 11; it must belong to some other, unknowable context.
The fragments obtained are:
|King Geb [his life]time ...|
|King Osiris ...|
|King Set… 200 years|
|||King Horus 300 years|
|||King Thoth 3126 years|
|King Maat ... years|
For the first dynasty we get at least ten names. It is very striking that Maat, the consort of Thoth, appears among the rulers, whereas Nut and Isis, for example, do not. The name following hers is either a second Horus distinct from the son of Osiris, or perhaps Hathor. In any case, the list clearly shows that the conventional equation of the first dynasty of gods with the Ennead (Atum-Re, Su and Tefnut, Geb and Nut, Osiris and Isis, Set and Nephthys) is not tenable, as there is no proof. Neither in the papyrus, nor in Manetho does the first dynasty of deities (which of course contains the names of the chief gods as well as the first Ennead) include nine reigns. The equation of the following dynasties with the second and third Ennead is up in the air. The kings were not enumerated according to the system, but in the history of the gods they ruled consecutively, and only those of them who had really ruled as kings over Egypt.
Certainly in Col. 1, the number "28 days," written down to the next column (fr. 20, line 1), implies the end of a reign. Further, the number 12818 in fr. 12, line 1, the number 7 in line 2, and in line 3 the sign of Horus. Other fragments are uncertain.
The Second column.
From Col. 2, at least a little of each line is preserved. Fr. 1 containi summations of the mythical dynasties before Menes and two of his successors, beginning with the first line of the column, over which on the front and back a piece of the upper, blank margin is preserved. This fragment is joined to fr. 20 + 21 and fr. 19, containing the other kings until Sendi and Neferke[re]; the latter's successor was Neferkesokar according to the tablet of Abydos, named in Col. 3 as the first king. The column with fr. 19 is confirmed by the fact that the reverse side shows a part of the lower blank edge.
The length of the written surface is 400mm. The error cannot be more than 3-4mm. We may therefore fix the length of the written part of the columns of the papyrus to 400 mm.
The column contains 26 lines (Col. 1 is a little narrower); the average line width is 15,4mm. In fact, the line spacing varies between 14 and 16mm.
Fr. 17 belongs at the extreme end of line 2, as there is a fibre correspondence with fr. 18 (Col. 3). Furthermore, according to Wilkinson, the small fragments 2, 3, 6, and 7 belong here, the latter with numbers, probably at the end of lines 5-8; however, we cannot infer anything from them. Opposite that, fr. 22 with remainders of three king titles and two unreadable names, does not belong here, but either in Col. 5, or according to the line spacing (12mm) rather to one of the last columns.
The Kings before Menes.
The upper part of column 2 reads:
Line 1 his [years?] 1000 ...
Line 2 20, his years 1110, months? ...
Line 3 10, his reign amounted to ...
Line 4 his [years] 330, [his life]time ...
Line 5 10, his reign, his lifetime years 1000 + x
Line 6 these ... from Memphis 19, years 11, months 4, days 22
Line 7 venerable(?) from the North 19, years 2100 + x
Line 8 ... for their father, women 7, their years and [life]time ...
Line 9 venerable Semsu Hor, years 13420 + x
Line 10 Reigns up to Semsu Hor, years 23200 + x
Line 11 ... King Menes
The last line was either, the conclusion of the summation: “[until] King Menes,” or the heading subsequent to the “dynasty of Menes.” One problem with the preceding lines is that the part obtained, as shown in line 12 and 13, begins near the edge, whereas in line 6, 7, 8, and 9 there is scarcely any space to supplement the word in the middle of which the surviving fragment begins. On the other hand, each line (except perhaps line 7/8, which probably belong together) seems to have formed a post for itself. Assuming that the first eleven lines have start further to the right than the following list of kings will not be easy to accept.
Even though the complete text cannot be established, there can be no doubt about the meaning in general. Line 9 record a 13,420 years duration of the reign of Semsu Hor, the "Horus servant," the νέκγες of Manetho. Line 10 gives a sum of 23,200 years "up to Semsu Hor." The obvious thing is to consider them included, so that the added 9000 years would be the sum of the preceding posts in lines 1-8. Line 8 has given a concluding remark to the preceding reigns, first the statement that the son regularly followed the father, then that among them were seven women whose reigns and lifetimes were stated. This corresponds to the well-known statement of Herodotus II 100, that among the 330 kings, whose names the priests read to him from a scroll, were 18 Ethiopians, μια δε γυνη επιχωριος, οι δε αλλοι ανδρες Αιγυπτιοι. In a similar note in the mythical kings before Menes, a list of names (known from the Palermo Stone) are not enumerated.
The first 7 lines contain a summary listing of these dynasties preceding Semsu Hor. Already the first line offers a sum, 1000 + x years. Of course, whether this dynasty was the first to follow the gods, or other in Col. 1 is impossible to tell.
2. 20 rulers for more than 1110 years
3. 10 rulers for more than x years
4. x rulers for more than 330 years
5. 10 rulers for more than 1000 years
6. 19 ... “these ... from Memphis (
7. “19 venerable (rulers) from the North” for over 2100 years.
The total sum of these seven dynasties may well have been around 9000 years and were added to the years of Semsu Hor in line 10. The Semsu Hor then, are the eighth and last prehistoric dynasty.
On the other hand, the dynasties of gods are scarcely included in these figures; the first entries are too small for a sum of gods, and if the Semsu Hor ruled for 13,420 years, one expects a much higher number for them (compared to 12,818 in fr. 12). We have a series of intermediate dynasties between the gods and the historical rulers from Menes and on. Compare this with the tradition of Manetho, which to a certain extent is complete only in Eusebius.
I. Dynasty of gods:
1. Hephaistos = Ptah,
2. Helios, his Son = Re,
3. Sosis (Ares) = Su,
4. Keb (Kronos), Son of Helios = Geb,
7. Horos, son of Isis.
II. post quos per successionem protractum est regnum usque ad Bidin, in spatio annorum 13900.
That this number include the total of the gods (I and II) is taught by Eusebius' summation p. 135, 15 f.
III. post deos regnavit gens semideorum annis 1255. The start of this dynasty as per Barbarus:
Deinceps mitheorum regna sic:
I. prota Anubis — the rest is from an insert not belonging here. It might, however, be presumed that Anubis actually belongs to the beginning of the second dynasty of gods, wrongly placed by Barbarus among the demigods.
IV. atque rursus alii reges dominati sunt annis 1817.
V. post quos alii 30 reges Memphitae annis 1790.
VI. post quos alii Thynitae 10 reges, annis 350.
VII. ac deinde manium et semideorum regnum annis 5813.
According to Eusebius the total sum for Dyn. 3-7 is 11000 years, which is rounded off from the correct number of 11025.
So here too we find, as in the papyrus, between the dynasties of gods and νεκυες ημιθεοι = Semsu Hor a number (4) of dynasties partly of demigods, partly of earthly rulers, of Memphis and Thinis. The agreement of the papyrus with Eusebius is on many occasions so great that one tries to bring both into harmony; but this is impractical, especially as the papyrus is in a state of disrepair which does not make it certain that the individual items belong. Only now is it completely clear that all the ever-renewed attempts to portray the tradition in Eusebius as distorted is untenable. Indeed, the Egyptian tradition has known several dynasties of earthly rulers between the gods and the Semsu Hor, in which Sethe rightly finds the historically tangible kings of the two kingdoms of Hierakonpolis and Buto immediately before Menes. I do not hesitate to discern in it a faded, but in their core quite correct recollection of Egypt's prehistory, which goes far beyond the time of the Menes, and indeed those of the two kingdoms. We will come back to that with the Palermo stone.
The lower part of the second, and the third column.
The lower part of the second column contains the successors of Menes. To this belong (so also de Rougé) fr. 30, 10 lines (the first is damaged) indicating the age of the kings. The last line belongs to the lower edge of a column and therefore cannot come from Col. 3, as this conclude with a sum for the dynasty. On the other hand, the writing and the line spacing of Col. 2 agrees.
In lines 12 and 11 King Menes receives the blessing which otherwise only appears very occasionally in the papyrus (eg. Col. 3 line 8 by Huni). Normally kings are always followed by the determinative, and it is striking that Menes is not written in red ink.
Line 15 (fr. 20, 1) contains only the number "28 days," written over the edge of Col. 1 and with a framing drawn around it, as in fr. 61, 72a, 97. Comparison with the other royal lists show that in col. 2 the line is blank, while in the other three cases a king's name is added.
No line is completely lost in Col. 3. The headpiece fr. 18 consists of two folds. As Lauth, de Horrack, de Rougé have recognized, between them is fr. 32 so that the first line of fr. 32 fills the gap between the two halves in the fifth row of fr. 18. Fr. 32 joins fr. 34, which certainly belongs to this column, since the last lines contain the names of the last three kings of the fifth dynasty and the sum of the rulers from Menes to Unas. According to the verso, this line forms the end of the page; it would also be quite unlikely that the summation would have followed only one line with the headline or the first reign of the next dynasty.
In the editions fr. 34 is added to fr. 32 that is only half the height of the first line of fr. 34, the last is identical to fr. 32. But that is impossible; for on the edge there are two lines immediately touching each other, which must both be remnants of the sign , but can not be connected with each other. Thus, the first line from fr. 34 must follow the last from fr. 32. If we put them together with the line spacing of 16 mm, like the adjacent lines, the length of the column described is 391 mm, ie. an insignificant deviation from the 400mm width of Col. 2. This makes it clear that we have correctly reconstructed the column.
The column thus had 27 lines with an average spacing of 14,5mm. The width is about 160mm.
Fr. 31 with the names Huni and Snofru certainly belongs to this column. Furthermore, fr. 46 contain at the extreme left the start of a pair of lines (belonging to Col. 4) to which fr. 47 is properly connected, if as Wilkinson indicate (appear to correspond) it follows that the left side of the column has been blank at least for the last 9-10 lines to a width of about 40mm.
The royal lists of the First and Second dynasties.
The Turin Papyrus considers the kings of the Old Kingdom, the first five dynasties of Manetho, as a single entity. Twice it record by red ink and repetition the words “he reigned” between name and year, Col. 3 line 5 by Zoser and line 20 in the seventh last king of the list. Thus, the papyrus obeys a more unequivocal division than that of the dynasties of Manetho: it correspond only to three of Manetho’s five dynasties.
I present first of all the list of 18 kings up to Zoser, which correspond to the first two dynasties of Manetho and the first king of the third, and compare them to the lists of Abydos and Saqqara, the list of Manetho according to Africanus and Eusebius, and across that the list of Eratosthenes. The attached transcription is intended merely as an orientation for those who wish to use this compilation without reading hieroglyphs. A positively correct transcription cannot be given for all of these names (see the supplement).
It is obvious that the list of Eusebius is only an impaired and cursory variation of Africanus. In individual names (I 8, II 2) Eusebius preserved the better form; the deviations in the numbers are probably based entirely on oversights and spelling errors, even in the sums. That the original sum for Dyn. I must have been 263 is taught by the sum of Manetho. The names Ουσαφάιδος and Μιεβιδός in Africanus in contrast to Ουσαφάις and Νιεβαίς (read Μιεβίς) in Eusebius, Διαβιής (read Μιαβιής) in Eratosthenes seem to show that in Africanus’ model the royal names stood in the genitive. The interpolation of Eratosthenes on the basis of Manetho is already spoken about above.
Whether the oldest available form of the list really reflect the authentic Manetho is, of course, not to say. According to what we have come to know about Dyn. 12-19, we will not expect historically useful numbers at this time.
That the total sum of the first two dynasties, 565 years for 17 kings (on average, over 33 years), is historically impossible, has often been emphasized; the attempt recently made by Sethe to defend it would hardly be widely accepted.
The few dates obtained in the papyrus appear much more credible. The last four kings together rule only 66 years, 1 month and x days.
The first three of them did not reach old age; the first one, Neferkesokar, if 20 + x is correct for his age (might also be read as 30), came to the throne as a young adult, his successor Huzefa with 22 years, and Zazai still as a boy. For the preceding kings a much higher age is given, but so that the numbers are consistently possible; but it is unlikely that two kings, of a very similar name, Beunoter and Benoteren, should have reached the same high age of 95 years. Even though there was a viable tradition about these things – and that is what the Palermo stone speaks of, on which the birth year of Chasechemui is recorded - it is very possible that occasionally inaccuracies and exaggerations occurred. For credibility speaks in any case that no age is given for Kekau; apparently there was no tradition for him. If the age information was only based on fiction, one would certainly have invented a number for him.
Of special interest is that Nebka, the last king of the dynasty, receives 19 full years, with no months or days; also his age is not specified. Since it is unlikely that he died on the last day of his nineteenth year, this means that his twentieth year was equated with the first of his successor, Zoser, and his reign was not counted until his death. He may have maintained himself in a part of Egypt for a longer time, just as Zoser ruled somewhere before. However, the official royal list, which the papyrus reproduces, did not recognize this government, but dated the change of throne on the New Year's Day of the twentieth year of Nebka. Zoser was thus a usurper; explaining the new dynasty papyrus beginning with red ink.
If we now compare names and royal successions, it turns out that the papyrus before Zoser also named 18 kings as did Manetho; and the tablets of Abydos and Saqqara together contain 19 names. In detail, however, in addition to numerous agreements, the most striking deviations arise. The small correspondence in the total number of reigns of a dynasty proves the identity of the individual names has already been shown to us by Dyn. 12, and likewise teaches, for example, the lists of Africanus and Eusebius for Dyn. 26 and 27.
First, the eighteenth king, the predecessor of Tosorthos = Zoser, is not the last king of the second Thinite dynasty, but the first of the third Memphite dynasty. Since the name Necherophes or Necherochis agrees badly with Nebka, we probably need not look for him in this, but instead for an independent predecessor of Zoser who according to Manetho's source, as opposed by the papyrus, a legitimate king was recognized instead of Nebka. Also connected with this, is that the Saqqara tablet does not mention Nebka. However, that is just an uncertain assumption.
Why the Saqqara list omitted the first five kings is not to say. The names in the papyrus agrees with the tablet of Abydos; on the other hand, both give way in the third and fourth names of Manetho. For in those two lists the second, third, and fourth king have very similar names, which we may best speak of as three Athothis – and surprisingly Eratosthenes agrees, who name the second and third kings Athothis; in Manetho these kings are named 2. Athothis, 3. Kenkenes, 4. Uenephes.
It will certainly be asserted that Kenkenes and Uenephes are not other names for and , but other kings who ruled in a different part of Egypt than Athothis II and III. Of course, no further details can be found, especially since the names of the successors of Menes in the tablet of Abydos completely abandon us.
The fifth and sixth kings are in agreement. For the fifth, =
Turin is also correct in the following, where deviations are present, usually in Saqqara, not in Abydos. The next kings are identical in all lists:
10. Kekau = Κεχωος,
11. Benote = Βίνωθρις,
12. Uznas = Τλάς,
13. Sendi = Σεθένης.
Then some new deviations. Abydos passes over the three following kings of Turin and Saqqara, while the next Zazai in Abydos becomes misspelt as Bebi in Saqqara, and Bebti in Turin. In Manetho, king II 6 Χαίρης appears, unknown in the other lists. This is followed by the first two of the three kings of Turin and Saqqara:
14. Neferkere = II 7 Νεφερχέρης,
15. Neferkesokar II 8 Σέσωχρις.
In contrast, Manetho's last King II 9 Χενερής cannot be equated with
16. Huzefa in Turin and Saqqara, nor with
Here, too, there are deviations that point to turmoil in the succession and various accounts of legitimate rulers.
We have already spoken about the last king, Nebka in Turin and Abydos (this time passed over in Saqqara) and III 1 Necherophes of Manetho.
The kings of the first two dynasties according to the monuments.
Let us now compare these results with the data from the monuments of the first dynasties acquired in the last decade. Here we encounter great difficulty. The ancient kings of Egypt did not yet, as is well known, use the later naming system according to which each ruler held a throne name entitled “King of Upper and Lower Egypt”, followed by his proper name and the title “son of Re”. This custom did not come into existence until the Fifth Dynasty, and was not always used during the Sixth. Later, the throne name became the official name, usually appearing alone in the Turin, Saqqara, Abydos lists, while Manetho also drew the king from his proper name, the name.
The first dynasties did not use this system yet. But even here the king seldom names his proper name, but the name is usually introduced by Horus enclosed by the facade of the royal palace, which we call the Horus name; the Turin, Saqqara, Abydos lists on the other hand, as well as Manetho and Eratosthenes, all give the personal name here. Where a king’s name is only preserved as a Horus name in the monuments, the relation to a name in the lists is therefore always uncertain and completely arbitrary and scientifically useless.
Incidentally, we can be all the shorter of the First Dynasty, since the ingenious approaches of Flinders Petrie have recently been thoroughly examined and corrected by Sethe. His results may essentially be considered certain. His list:
|5.||Horus|| (||King||(?) = , Usaphais|
|6.||Horus|| (||King|| (|
|7.||Horus|| (||King||(Unknown pronunciation) = in Abydos, perhaps Semsempses of Manetho|
|8.||Horus|| (||King|| (|
As you can see, there are also eight kings here. But in detail, there is no similarity to our resources here as it is in the lists. Menes and No. 5 and 6 are identical everywhere. About No. 2-4 nothing can be said, since we do not know their royal names; neither do we know whether nos. 3 and 4 correspond to the kings in Turin and Abydos, or those of Manetho. More difficult is No. 7 , found in Abydos, but omitted in Saqqara. As has already been mentioned, we do not know whether the phonetically written name contained in the papyrus corresponds to it, or whether it is identical to Semempses. In addition, as Petrie and Sethe have probably noted, the succession was disputed at this time: Miebis name is found on stone vessels of Usaphais, while is found on several vessels of Queen Meritneit, the wife of Usaphais, and that of erased Miebis; and he suffered the same fate again through his successor. After that, it seems that Usaphais, the son of Meritneit (who therefore received a magnificent tomb) followed Miebis, but was ousted by . His successor Senmu (?) would have been a legitimate king, following the memory of the usurper.
Under these circumstances, it seems reasonable to suppose that Semempses in Manetho and Eratosthenes, and perhaps also the destroyed name in Turin, do not correspond to the recorded only by Abydos, but to this Senmu. In any case, it is certain that the latter cannot be identical with the next king in Turin, Saqqara, Abydos, Qebhu; both names have nothing in common with each other. We have seen that Manetho likewise does not know Qebhu, but enumerate Ubienthes, recorded in Turin and Saqqara as his successor.
The third to eight Kings of the monuments form a unified group. They are all buried next to each other in Abydos, surrounded by their household, and their tombs show a steadily advancing development. They are preceded by a series of simpler graves, some of which may belong to older local rulers. Alternatively, the first two kings of the dynasty are not buried in Abydos, but Menes in Naqada across from Koptos, while the tomb of Narmr is yet to be found. In any case, this king resided above all in Hierakonpolis, where his most important monuments have been found. We do not doubt that the dynasty comes from the Thinite district in which Abydos lies; but the first two kings do not seem to have built their residence there. Perhaps Menes lived in Koptos, and his successors in Hierakonpolis, the ancient capital of the Upper Egypt; only the third king has returned to the home of his family.
The consecutive series of tombs of Abydos stops with Senmu; of the subsequent rulers, only two have built their tombs there. They alone of all the Egyptian kings we know used the title of “Horus and Set”.They were indeed the first to connect both names of the gods with their two royal names: “Horus (Shemjeb) Set (Perjebsen),” while the other place both names in the facade of the palace, and the group of Horus and Set on it: (or ). The first part of the group, Chasechemui, is the Horus name, which very often appears alone; the second is the proper name, of whose first constituent, the two hawks of Horus, we do not know the pronunciation; likely “…hotep-wonf” or “...wonf-hotep”. From this king comes also a granite door enclosure from Hierakonpolis; moreover, the Palermo Stone mentions his birth. He must, as Petrie already recognized, have been the predecessor of Zoser, since his wife “the mother of the royal children Nemaathapi, who will fulfill every word she speaks ” as “mother of the king” under Zoser appears on eight wine jug seals in Bet Khallaf. As it is well known from the time of Snofru, officials received instructions from her death-cult (LD II, 6), it appears that they had a place in the Memphis area, presumably by the step pyramid of Zoser; thus, the queen was probably rightly referred to as the ancestress of the Third Dynasty. Her husband would therefore probably correspond to Necherophes (Necherochis) of Manetho (III, 1), the founder of the new dynasty; but even an equation with Nebka of the lists or Manetho's Cheneres (II, 9) can not be refuted. Any connection between his and this (or the neighboring) name is, of course, impossible. This approach corresponds to the place where his birth is mentioned on the Palermo stone. The fact that he is separated from the First Dynasty by a large gap is evident from the location and layout of his tomb in Abydos and, above all, the large burial chamber built of stone.
Peribsen, whose rather small tomb lies sideways from the First Dynasty tombs, but differs noticeably with a burial chamber of brick (instead of wood) and the surrounding corridor, is closely dated to the time of ...hotep-Avonef. His name does not appear in the lists. In contrast, his death cult (written ) is associated with that of King Sendi from the mastaba of Shery in Saqqara. Sendi, mentioned in all lists, has not yet appeared at Abydos, or any of the other sites in Upper Egypt. That Perjebsen ruled before him can not be inferred because he precede him in the inscription of Seri.
In any case, this inscription shows that King Perjebsen, who built a tomb in Abydos, also ruled in the area of Memphis and that he had a death-cult there and probably a tomb. In Memphis, we also find traces of the Second Dynasty. One of the oldest surviving statues, the kneeling statuette of the Dedet-dhuti (?) in the Museum of Giza, carries on his shoulder the Horus names of three kings: , and , Hotepsechemui, Nebre and Ntrn. The first two had tombs at Saqqara, east of the pyramid of Unas, where several seals with their names have been found on wine jugs. The first one with the full name “Horus Hotepsechemui, King Hotep”, of the second, only the Horus name Nebre is preserved. Shards of stone vessels of both kings can also be found in the tomb of Peribsen at Abydos.
Nebre is the name of the third of these kings, Ntrn, was added afterwards; and a shard belonging to the latter has also been found in the tomb of Peribsen. Here his name is written King Neteren-ua, although it is not entirely certain that the last character, the ua-boat, belongs to the personal name. Otherwise, his Horus name would be identical to his proper name, which never occurs. King “Horus Ntrn” is also found on the Palermo stone, and one can scarcely resist the temptation to identify him with Binothris (II 3) of the lists, despite the misgiving that this is a Horus name. – Moreover, according to a report by Borchardt, an inscription from the Memphis area was recently found by Reissner, linking the name Bezau to Manetho’s Second Dynasty king Boethos, so far known only from A, to the Fourth Dynasty kings buried at Giza, and probably also the location of his tomb.
These are all the kings of the Second Dynasty that we can verify so far. We can only identify Sendi with certainty, but so far, no contemporary monuments has been found. Additionally, Binothris is identified. The remaining names are completely inconsistent with those in the lists. Names and sequence in the monuments are:
|3.||Horus||Neteren||King||Neterenua (?) = Binothris II, 3 (?)|
|5. (?) Sendi = Sethenes II, 5|
|6.||Horus||Chasechemui||King||…hotep wonef ()|
These are followed by King Zozer.
As can be seen, the tendency, except during the First Dynasty, is to use an element of the proper name in the Horus name (1. Hotep, 3.neteren, 4. jeb). In addition, also adding the sign sechem to kings I 4-6, so that the name of the sixth king is very similar to that of the first. It is tempting, in agreement with Petrie and others, despite Sethe's contradiction, to add a seventh king to this dynasty, namely “Horus Chasechem”, well-known from numerous monuments in Hierakonpolis. On the king’s granite and alabaster vases, which glorify his victory over the North, the vulture goddess of Eileithyia holds a round signet ring enclosing the signs Bes. Sethe believes like Quibell that he recognizes the proper name in the ring the archetype of the later so-called Cartouche; since this does not occur during the Second Dynasty, its use will begin later. However, this argument is not certain, nor the assumption that Bes is a proper name, and it will certainly be difficult to separate King Chasechem from Chasechemui; in any case, the latter belongs to the end of the dynasty.
That Egypt was not united at at all times is shown by the cited victory-monument of Chasechem; but it would be premature to attempt to determine more precisely the power of the individual rulers from the few surviving monuments.
As can be explained by the almost complete discrepancy between lists and monuments, whether the kings, in addition to the names appearing on the monuments, lead to other names not mentioned yet, or whether we must accept a breakup of the country into several states, are questions to which we can not respond in any way with our previous means. This must not induce us to overlook the differences and create an artificial concordance for which there is no foundation.
The result of our investigation may make the following list reasonably clear. The prefixed numbers are those of the papyrus, the numbers of Manetho are in parentheses.
For the period of the first two dynasties, not much can be determined from the material. There are numbers in Turin only for the last four reigns, totalling 66 years, 1 month, x days.
This gives the same average of sixteen and a half years, which we will find later in the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties. After that, the 18 kings from Menes to Nebka would have ruled for a total of 18 x 16½ = 297 years. This approach (300 years) is based on my minimum dates (GdA I, § 79 A.). However, it is obvious how uncertain such a calculation is. According to the ages mentioned in the papyrus, three of the last four kings died young, while their predecessors usually reached a fairly old age. However, some of them may well have been brothers; but it is probable that the average duration of the reigns during the dynastic heyday was higher than at the end.
According to the inscriptions preserved at Abydos, Usaphais,  and Qa Sen celebrated the Sed-festival, signifying ruling for over 30 years, and the same is probably true of Miebis (see the section on the Palermo stone).
For Menes and his first successors, we also have quite long reigns, the First Dynasty may have ruled for more than 200 years. On the other hand, it would be just as exaggerated if we wanted to equate every reign to a generation, three to a century – that would yield 600 years for 18 kings, an approach that would be double the size for the last four kings (who then received 1333 1/3 years instead of 66 years). Between this maximum and the minimum of 300 years, the truth may lie roughly in the middle.
Reconstruction of Column 3 of the Papyrus.
The Second Dynasty in the papyrus begin with King Zoser, here are the four first posts
1. King Zozer . . . reigned years 19 months [omitted] his lifetime [lost]
2. King Zozer-ti . . reigned years 6 months ...
3. ...]-zefa ...years 6 months 1+x
4. ...[end of cartouche] years 24 [gap]...?...
For Zoser the number of months and days seems to be omitted by the scribe, since the sign for month is written out. However, there is as little information for his successor as for Nebka; perhaps this could be explained by a co-regency. In the case of the third king, …zefa, the months (and days) are given, but for the following kings they are all lost. In the column for the kings age, which is noted for Zoser, but not preserved, they are not filled in for his successors; in the place for the fourth king, there is a note, which unfortunately is undecipherable. Now, for the last 8-9 kings of the column, a large piece of the left margin in fr. 46 is blank, the papyrus no longer had any age information here: suggesting that this column is left out altogether and the lines close with the reign figures. It seems that Zoser was the last king, for whom the papyrus contained an age statement. For this, it seems that interest was only for the earliest kings, surrounded by the romantic nimbus of gray antiquity.
As with the fourth king of the dynasty, we have received only the year (in five cases this has also been broken off) in the fifteen following, as well as the strokes behind the names which designate the cartouche and the determinative (respectively ). In addition, line 20 contains the note irnf m stnjt indicating a dynastic change. Only the names of the last three kings are preserved: equalling the last three kings of the Fifth Dynasty of Manetho. Besides, fr. 31 preserve the beginning of the names Huni and Snofru, which according to S and the Papyrus Prisse immediately follow each other.
It is possible to determine which years belong to which royal name. An upgrade from below can not lead to a certain result, since the number and sequence of the kings of the Fifth Dynasty are not consistently established from other sources; and even more uncertain is the tradition of the early kings of the Third Dynasty. The following facts offer a certain indication:
1. The sequence for the Fourth Dynasty is Khufu (Cheops), Dedefre, Khafre (Chephren), Menkeure (Mykerinos); followed by (possibly after an interim government) Sepseskaf. Furthermore, according to the monuments and the Papyrus Westcar, it is at least highly probable that Snofru was the immediate predecessor of Cheops;
2. The great pyramid builders Snofru, Cheops, Chephren, and Mykerinos must have ruled for quite some time, while we may set shorter reigns for the other kings;
3. the fragments of the papyrus give some indication of the length of the lost royal names. For the names of the Fourth Dynasty, by far the shortest is Cheops; belonging in a place where the papyrus reveals a short name;
4. the first three kings of the Fifth Dynasty are Userkaf, Sahure and Nefererkere Kakai (see Papyrus Westcar). One would first assume that Userkaf belonged to the dynasty change in line 20 of the papyrus. However, following Nefererkere is the fourth-to-last king of the dynasty Newoserre Ini, while we have at least two more kings to accommodate. The change of dynasty must therefore have taken place elsewhere in the papyrus, and Userkaf should be brought up at least two places, according to line 18, where in a name with OO is written. The diminutive name Sahure fit in line 19, where a short name is expected, Nefererkere in line 20, where a fairly long name is expected; so the papyrus would have recorded the exchanged names. Then we get: Userkaf 7 years, Sahure 12 years, Nefererkere x years. It is impossible to go further, as the previous reigns are too short for these rulers.
This offers the following theoretical possibilities:
In Option A, Cheops stand in a place that has a rather long name, and Mykerinos and the reign of Sepseskaf is much (4 and 2 years). In Option B, Cheops gets one of the longest names in the entire column. In Option C, Cheops, the builder of the largest pyramid, receives only 8 years. Thus, the only remaining possibility, Option D, with Cheops in the position with one of the shortest names of the column. Dedefre then receives 8 years, which fits very well, and Chefren in a position where the characters obtained in the papyrus can be supplemented very well to . Then Huni and Snofru are to be placed after lines 8 and 9, each at the age of twenty-four, and in fact the beginnings of their names can be found in fr. 31 with final strokes in fr. 32:
With great reservations, de Rougé already supplemented this part of the column, and I have followed him in GdA. I p. 79. I then thought, likewise following de Rouge (p.75), that the first kings of the Fifth Dynasty should be allowed to move up to line 15 (n. 11) but then we get Sahure 4, Nefererkere 2 years, which is impossible. There is nothing left to suppose that in lines 14-17 (Nos. 10-14) there were three kings besides Sepseskaf of which there are no traces in the monuments: and these three kings are found at the end of the Fourth Dynasty not only with Manetho, but they are also in the Saqqara Table!
Accordingly, Option D can be considered secure.
As already noted, the destroyed cartouches of the Saqqara Table can be precisely determined. The piece in question has the following form:
|p r e s e r v e d||D e s t r o y e d||lower part preserved|
|Upper line||Amosis||Amenophis I||Thutmosis I||Thutmosis II||Thutmosis III||Amenophis II||Thutmosis IV||Amenophis III||Harenhabi||Ramses I|
|p r e s e r v e d||D e s t r o y e d||p r e s e r v e d|
There are five kings between Chephren and Userkaf. The first, of course, was Mykerinos, one of the following Sepseskaf; besides, there were three unknown names here, as well as in the papyrus and Manetho.
The list of Eratosthenes reads 5. Πεμφως followed by 7 kings, which are equated by the redactor of Manetho’s third Memphite dynasty, proven by the addition of Μεμφίτης for the first of them. The first, Τοιγαράμαχος Μομχειρί [Μεμφίτης], may be a corruption of Zoser Τόσορθος stuck (corrected by Gutschmid to Τοισαράμ Άχος Μοσχειρί), as well as 8. Γοσορμίης (which Gutschmid changed to Τοσορμίης) may correspond to the second Zoser; and 10. Άνωυφίς is probably Manetho's III 5. Σώυφις. With the four names in 6-12, there is nothing to add. In 13-17 we find the kings of the Fourth Dynasty of Manetho, except that Kings 5 and 6 are placed before 2-4:
Eratosthenes 13. Ραυωσις = Manetho IV 5. Ρατοισης
Eratosthenes 14. Βιυρης = Manetho IV 6. Βιχερις
Eratosthenes 15. Σαωφις = Manetho IV 2. Σουφις
Eratosthenes 16. Σαωφις II = Manetho IV 3. Σουφις II
Eratosthenes 17. Μοσχερης = Manetho IV 4. Μενχερης
It is obvious that the names of Manetho are given independently and partly in a better form than in this case; thus Σαωφίς is an excellent transcription of Khufu (pronounced Khaufu), which forms a link between Herodot's Χεοψ and Manetho's Σουφις. Thus, Eratosthenes confirms two of the three names of Manetho are not yet detectable in the monuments. The Palermo stone will give further confirmation.
As with the Second Dynasty, Eratosthenes pass over the fifth; immediately continuing with the kings of the Sixth Dynasty.
Eusebius shows even greater lack of interest here than for the Second Dynasty. Thus with him the last king of the Third Dynasty is dropped, the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties are reduced to a single one; accordingly, his sum for the Third Dynasty includes only the records of the first eight kings, while his sum for the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties, 448 years, originate from Africanus' sum for the Fifth Dynasty, 248 years. This number is 30 years higher than the individual result, but preserved in the Tomos; so the individual items were probably incorrectly handed down. Conversely, in the Fourth Dynasty the sum 277 is confirmed by the sum of the Tomos, while the posts yield 284 years. Incidentally, it is precisely here that Eusebius also used the Africanus himself. Because Africanus reports that he acquired the holy book of Suphis I (that the Epitome correctly identifies with Herodotus’ Cheops): ουτος δε υπερπτης εις θεους εγένετο καὶ τὴν ιερὰν συνέγραψε βίβλον, ην ως μετα χρημα έν Αιγυπτω γενόμενος εκτησάμην – a detail now illuminated by the new fragment of Africanus’ Κεστοί in the Oxyrynchos papyri. Eusebius (who assigned Suphis I to Cheops and Suphis II to Chephren) makes it clear: ος και υπερόπτης εις γέγονεν, εως μετανοήσαντά αυτον τυν ιεραν συγγράψαι βίβλον, ην ως μέτα χρημα Αιγυπτιοι περιέπουσι.
Finally, I mention that the Karnak table contain the following strange selection of kings of the Old Kingdom:
4. Ini = Newoserre
5. Asosi = Dedkere
Furthermore, it contains Merenre and Pepi (nos. 9 and 10 in Lepsius); Newoserre is probably completely displaced at No. 28 Userenre.
I now put together the lists for Dyn. 3-5 (see the supplement).
The Fourth and Fifth Dynasties.
When comparing the lists, a sharp contrast emerges between the Third Dynasty on the one hand, and the Fourth and Fifth on the other hand: there is almost complete agreement that they strengthen each other. T and S are also complete here, as far as we can see; but S has incomprehenibly omitted the acclaimed King Newoserre Ini – is that intentional or in error? – and therefore has one less king than T. According to M (and E) the third king of the Fourth Dynasty in the other lists, Dedefre, is left out.
This can not be coincidence, but must be related to the fact that Dedefre, who built his pyramid in Abu Roash, occupies a special position not yet enlightened between the builders of the pyramids of Giza. Therefore, Manetho has one less place than the papyrus, 17 kings from Soris to Onnos, while the papyrus from Snofru to Unas has 18 (Saqqara for the reason given also only 17). On the basis of these facts, and in any case an unbiased contemplation of the monuments, I still have no doubt that Snofru corresponds to Soris, the first king of the Fourth Dynasty; with him begins the coherent series of the great Memphites.
Incidentally, the first kings of the dynasty agree in the both the lists and the monuments:
Snofru = IV 1 Σωρις
Khufu = IV 2 Σουφις (E. Σαωφις); Herodotus II 124 Χεοψ; Diodorus I 63 Χεμμις
Dedefre is missing
Khafre = IV 3 Σουφις II; Herodotus II 127 Χεφρην; Diodorus I 64 Κεφρην
Menkaure = IV 4 Μενχερης; Herodotus II 129 Μυκερινος; Diodorus I 64 Μυκερινος, ον τινες Μεγχερινον ονομαιουσιν with an excellent transcription.
Of the following kings only Sepseskaf = IV 7 Σεβερχέρης (or Σεβεσρχέρης) is known from the monuments. However, we have already seen that the three other rulers, which Manetho mention and which Eratosthenes also knows two, are also present in the papyrus and the Saqqara tablet – unfortunately their names are not preserved. Sepseskaf was, after Manetho, the third successor of Mykerinos, which in the papyrus yield 4 years. This is quite possible and will be proved correct below by the Palermo stone; but there are two reigns between him and Mykerinos, of which the second covers 18 (or even 28) years and yet has left no monuments, while according to the biographies of Sechemher and Ptahseps, we assume that Sepseskaf directly followed Mykerinos. Here lies a difficulty which can not be solved with our present means; perhaps we can assume here too, as in the Twelfth Dynasty, that the sum in the papyrus was taken from elsewhere, not simply by adding the reigns. In any case, even the contemporaries of the successors of the Mykerinos have considered only Sepseskaf as legitimate; hence his mortuary cult is often mentioned under the Fifth Dynasty, while Ratoises, Bicheris, and Thamphthis and their graves are never mentioned; and also the Abydos table only name Sepseskaf.
In marked opposition to the correspondence of the names stands the difference in numbers. According to the long-standing legend that the creators of the great pyramids must be ascribed exceptionally long reigns. Thus, Herodotus (as well as Diodorus, whose source, Hekatacos of Abdera, merely revisited Herodotus) give Cheops 50, Chephren 56 years, Mykerinos on the other hand, because of the smallness of his pyramid only 6 years – and that Cheops and Chephren were brothers and Mykerinos the son of Cheops! In Manetho, they receive the absurd numbers 63, 66, 63 years.
In contrast, the papyrus record 23 years for Cheops (his predecessor Snofru, who has two great pyramids built, one year more). Towards the end of the dynasty, Manetho’s numbers do not agree with the papyrus. The obtained numbers for the six reigns (kings 23-25, 29-31) add up to 79 or 89 years (plus x months); if we estimate that Chephren, Mykerinos, and his unknown successor (kings 26-28) reigned for about 70 years, then the duration for the entire dynasty would be about 160 years, instead of the 277 years of Manetho.
It is often emphasized that the monuments do not permit the duration of the dynasty to be much longer. Because the favorite wife of Snofru, Merit-atefes, who passed into Cheops’ harem (that is, around his accession when he was 16-18 years old), was still alive under Chephren, and Prince Sechemkere, perhaps a son of Chephren, lived under Mykerinos, Sepseskaf, Userkaf and Sahure. After that, the dynasty did not encompass more than two, perhaps quite a long lives, ie. about 160 years. This corresponds to the fact that it covers only five generations represented by Snofru, Cheops, Chephren, Mykerinos and Sepseskaf.
Manetho start the Fifth Dynasty with Userkaf, with whom a new generation came to the throne. The papyrus, on the other hand, record the break only with his second successor, Nefererkere Kakai. According to the tale of the Westcar papyrus, Userkaf, Sahure, and Kakai were triplets fathered by Re to become kings, and it is usually assumed that they were at least brothers. One may doubt whether this is historical; it would be quite remarkable that the first two did not pass on the throne to their sons. Perhaps they were all three usurpers who united against the old dynasty and agreed that they should take the throne one after the other. Thus, Nefererkeref Kakai may indeed have been the progenitor of the new dynasty; it is probable that it was only with him that the new phrase came to an end, that he was the first king to use a throne name.
Like the first three names, the last three agree in all sources. In place of the fourth-to-last, King Newoserre Ini, omitted in S, Manetho recorded Ραθουρης, which can only be a strange transcription for Newoserre, as it is impossible that this was this mighty ruler. The fourth and fifth rulers of the dynasty offer greater difficulties.
The lists provide:
Saqqara Abydos Manetho 28 Sepseskere 29 Neferfre V 4 Σισιρης 29 Khaneferre – V 5 Χερης
From the monuments we know the royal names Neferfre and Akeuhor, the latter with the Horus name Sekhemkhau, furthermore the Horus name Neferkhau. A scarab perhaps belonging to Sepseskere has the legend . As H. Schäfer remarks after Borchardt, the names are grouped in the following way, taking into account the harmony between the Horus- and Throne-name:
Sepseskere = Σισίρης (Manetho)
Akeuhor = Χερης (Manetho)
In both cases, unlike the procedure followed for Nefererkere, Newoserre and Dedkere, Manetho gave the proper name of the kings, while S gave the proper name for the first, and the throne name for the second, and A recorded only the first king with his throne name.
As to the reigns of the papyrus, it should be noted that the number assigned to Newoserref (No. 37), of which only the lower part of the tens-sign is preserved, could also be read 10, 20 or 30. Since this king reigned for a long time and celebrated Sed-festival, 30 should be correct. Dedkere, to whom the papyrus record 28 years, celebrated a Sed-festival, which in turn is no reason to challenge the number, since the feast certainly should be a 30th anniversary, but was surely celebrated several times before the 30th anniversary of a king. Here the dates of the papyrus completely agrees with Manetho:
Turin 35 (Sepseskere) 7 years = Manetho (V, 4) Σισίρης 7 years,
and approximately two:
Turin 33 (Sahure) 12 years = Manetho (V, 2) Σεφρής 13 years.
Turin 38 Menkeuhor 8 years = Manetho (V, 7) Μενχερής 9 years.
Most of the other differ wildly. In the papyrus, seven of the nine reigns are recorded, the reign is incomplete for Newoserre; their sum is 122 years + x months. Of the two missing reignlengths, neither Nefererkere nor Akeuhor’s can have been particularly long; proved not only by the small number of monuments, but by the fact that Ptahsepses, born under Mykerinos and having married a daughter of Sepseskaf, was still a priest at the Suntemple of Sopujebre, built by Newoserre Ini. He lived from the end of the Fourth Dynasty, through the first half of the Fifth Dynasty, right up to the reign of the sixth king. Supposing that at the end of the Fouth Dynasty he was about 30 years old, and reached the age of 90 years, allowing at most 50 years for the first five rulers of the dynasty. Probably it was considerably less, with a maximum of 40 years.
In general, however, we see that the time from Snofru to Newoserre encompass three interlinked lives. The given dates results in:
At most, 200 years passed from the coronation of Snofru until the accession of Newoserre. Adding to this, the dates in the papyrus for the four last kings of the Fifth Dynasty (Newoserre to Unas): around 100 years.
The total duration of the Fifth Dynasty may therefore not be more than 140 years, compared to the 248 of Manetho, and the total duration of the flowering Old Kingdom from Snofru until Unas, no more than 300 years, compared to 525 according to Manetho. We also see that the information given in the papyrus is in perfect agreement with the monuments.
The average for the eighteen kings of the two dynasties is thus 16.6 years, a figure which by no means seems too low, considering that six reigns (nos. 25, 30, 31, 32, 35, 38) together only account for 36 years (+ x months), ie. 6 years on average, and two others (28 and 36) were hardly longer. For the remaining 10 about 250 years remain, that is, a high average of 25 years. This result is unassailable, even if the above distribution of the names in the papyrus is incorrect.
The Third Dynasty.
In contrast to the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties, and the approximate agreement of the lists in the first two dynasties, the third shows the strongest discrepancies. Apart from the eight kings of Manetho (the first, Necherophes, is no longer considered here, see p. 127) and the seven of Eratosthenes, there are only four kings in all three Egyptian lists. These only agree on the first two names, Zoser and Zoser-Atoti [only Atoti in A], which are mentioned in Manetho as Τόσορθος (III, 2) and Τοσέρτασις (III, 6), and which can be found in Eratosthenes with difficulty. For the next two, the Egyptian lists provide:
3. Turin: (zefa) Saqqara: Nebkere, Abydos: szs
4. Turin and Saqqara: Huni Abydos: Neferkere
It would be surmised that Nebkere in Saqqara would be the predecessor of Zoser in Turin and Abydos, Nebka, who had fallen into the wrong place, and skipped over in Saqqara, if the papyrus Westcar did not give the succession of Zoser, Nebka, Snofru, and Cheops.
We do not need to concern ourselves with double names, as in the Fifth Dynasty. The unity of the kingdom broke down, except perhaps during Zoser and Zoser-Atoti, thet is why the lists consider the other rulers legitimate. So it may also explain why M and E have many more names: more ephemeral kings ruled in this epoch than in others. Perhaps it may also be explained that the papyrus in record 18. Nebka, 19. Zoser and 20. Zoser-Atoti, and give the duration of the reigns in full years, without months and days; then the numbers would be based on an adjustment between different annual counts.
That the list of the papyrus is chronologically complete is beyond doubt. The sum is only 55 years (+ x months), i.e. an average of only about 14 years. That the interval between the last Thinites of the Second Dynasty and the accession of Snofru is not greater, and that the 214 years for the Third Dynasty of Manetho are completely misleading us, for which we shall obtain an unassailable confirmation from the Palermo stone.
Of the kings of the Third Dynasty, only the first, Zoser, with the Horus name , Ntrcht, is present in the monuments, who we have already met as the son of Nemafathapi. The great step pyramid of Saqqara belongs to him, and he resided in the Memphis area, as did his predecessors. Moreover, his name is found on numerous seals in the great tomb of Betchallaf northwest of Abydos; it seems that he built two tombs, one in the older, and one in the new style he first created. The inscription of Sehel contains essentially authentic information, which attributes to him the donation of the Dodecan coinage to the cataract gods, and that the wise doctor and building master Imhotep live under him, has been proven by Sethe. There is also a victory inscription on the Sinai peninsula attributed to him. On all these monuments, he only used the Horus name; however, a shard found in the royal tomb at Abydos bear the name Zoser. Inscriptions from later times prove that both names designate the same ruler. That the Memphite ruler stood in high esteem in later times is evident from the fact that Sesostris II erected a statue for him.
Zoser's successor, Zoser II Atoti, we do not yet know from contemporary monuments; but a Memphite priest of the Persian period was a priest of Zoser and Zoser-Atoti, so Zozer probably had his tomb in Saqqara as well. In Betchallaf, not far from the tomb of Neterhet-Zoser, lies another, the seal of which bears the name Horus , which is probably Sa-nht (see Sethe); according to a stone fragment, he added to the cartouche, which Sethe probably rightly attributed to Nebka (or ). Then he is the third king in the Saqqara table, and in the papyrus Westcar between Zoser and Snofru. A priest of the Funerary Temple of mention quarry stones from a very old Mastaba at Abusir; probably from the tomb of the king. – King Huni (fourth in Turin and Saqqara) we know only from the papyrus Prisse, who calls him the direct predecessor of Snofru. The remaining names of the lists are not verifiable.
Against this, the name  Hornefersa is found on an alabaster plate, and the same is repeated in the same spelling in the ancient papyrus Boulaq 8, found in the sand by the step pyramid of Saqqara. Since the Horus is in a cartouche, it is hardly a Horus name, but the proper name Nefersahor, which does not appear in our lists, but belong to the Third Dynasty (or the end of the fourth?). Another king of this, or the Second Dynasty is Shtn (??), to whom, according to the Palermo stone, king Nefererkere of the Fifth Dynasty made a donation and whose “house” he employed as his office.
Finally, another seal found in Hierakonpolis with the Horus name , under which probably one of the kings of this time is hidden.
That is all that can be ascertained about the Third Dynasty.
The fragments of the fourth and fifth columns.
The fourth column is the most important one, and the most difficult to reconstruct; only very scant debris remain for Col. 4 and Col. 5. Fortunately, we have two larger fragments (59 and 61 + 62 + 63), on which the line ends of one and the beginnings of the other are preserved, so that both columns complement each other. Fr. 59 is considered to be Col. 4, i.e. the Sixth Dynasty, properly proven by the fact that in line 5 a reign of more than 90 years is preserved, and in line 6 a year and a month are recorded, which, as Hincks has already recognized, can only belong to Phiops (Apappus) and Menthesuphis of Manetho. The part belonging to Col. 5 of fr. 61 contains in line 1 the words: “Sum 18 kings”, and in line 2, the heading of the next dynasty: “kings”. Below that are four lines beginning with king titles, then two names. They are the kings Nebchrure and Sanchkere, well known in the monuments, and both appear in the tablets of Abydos and Saqqara just before Amenemhet I. They belonging toward the end of the Eleventh Dynasty. Fr. 61 is followed immediately by fr. 64 + 67, containing the reigns of the Twelfth Dynasty, and forming the end of the column. Seyffarth (though he had no idea which dynasties they belonged to) correctly arranged the fragments, especially for the backside, where they fit very well together.
On the second line of fr. 64 is the heading of the Twelfth Dynasty (“[kings of] the court of Ithtaui”), above that, in the first, the number 160, which must be the sum of the Eleventh Dynasty. In the editions is now the last line of fr. 61, below Sanchkere, joined by the first of fr. 64; the beginning of the summation formula must therefore have stood here. But there are still two black lines clearly preserved, which can only come from the wings of the bee of the king's title of Lower Egypt; but this can not have occurred in a summation formula.
Nevertheless, Seyffarth connecting fr. 61 and 64 is generally believed to be correct, based on the conviction that Sanchkere must have been the last king of the Eleventh Dynasty. But Breasted has shown me that this assumption is not inevitable, but that it seems quite possible, indeed necessary, to have him followed by another king, Nebtauire Mentuhotep IV. He has at my request, summarized the results of his investigations in the following section, for which I am indebted to him with the greatest thanks.
The Eleventh Dynasty, by James Henry Breasted.
Since Steindorff showed that the Intf’s do not all belong in the eleventh dynasty, the greatest uncertainty has prevailed as to the length of this dynasty, and the order of the kings belonging to it. A closer examination however, will, I believe, permit of a fairly safe arrangement of these kings, and determine also how long the family reigned.
It is evident from the monuments which they have left, that they conquered the North, and overthrew the Heracleopolitans. Now this conquest can be made the basis of a rearrangement of the family which accomplished it. It is possible from the contemporary monuments to determine whether the reign of a given king falls before or after the conquest of the North. Let us apply this test to the four Mentuhoteps known to us. These are:
The monuments of his successor,
In the case of
But it is still uncertain whether there may not have been a reign or two between Nb-ḥtp and the vassal Intf. This last question will be resumed later.
Before discussing the position of
“... her northern boundary as far as the nome of Aphroditopolis. I drove in the mooringstake (that is, I landed) in the sacred Valley, I captured the entire Thinite nome, I opened all her fortresses (or prisons). I made her the 'door of the North'.” This 'door of the North' is of course his northern frontier, corresponding to the 'door of the South' at Elephantine, known since the sixth dynasty.
We have now determined the relative positions of six kings of the dynasty. That of
We may therefore restore the seven kings of the Turin Papyrus as follows:
|Nomarch Intef I||x years|
|Horus ||50 + x|
|46 + x|
|28 + x|
|2 + x|
An examination of the chronology of this reconstruction shows that it will fulfil the demands in this respect also. From the Stela of Intf-ykr at Leyden, we know that this man's great grandfather had been appointed to a scribal office in the Thinite nome by
One of them is
Reconstruction of Col. 4 and 5.
The reconstruction of Col. 5 no longer present any difficulties. Placing fr. 61 in the manner determined above fr. 64, between fr. 59, which contains a piece of the upper margin, and fr. 61 three lost lines with an average width of 15mm, of which the first at the end of fr. 59 contain a trace of the king sign. The first line in the fr. 6 summation, thus comes in line 10 of the column, and of the 18 kings of this dynasty, this column recorded nine.
Now, fr. 46 + 47 undoubtedly belong at the end of column 4, the beginning of ten lines, the first of which contains the remains of red ink, hence the dynasty title; so there were also nine royal names here. It can be seen that the two columns conclude excellently and completely. The dynasty is that of the Heracliopolites, as the name Achthoes in fr. 47 line 2 proves.
The upper part of the fourth column is established by fr. 59 and 61. Fr. 59 contains six lines (the second unrecorded); between him and the first line of fr. 61 missing three lines of 14 mm width. The column was written a little narrower than Col. 5, as taught by the pieces preserved by both. On fr. 61 the lower part of Col. 4 is blank; the merge with fr. 46 shows that the end of this blank piece of the first line of fr. 46, in which the head of the dynasty stood; Between this and the last described line were two lines of 15mm width. Col. 4 has therefore had 28 lines, Col. 5, however, only 26, since, as already mentioned, it is written with a somewhat larger line spacing and, moreover, in the middle of fr. 61, where the writing passes from Col. 4 to the next column, almost a full line is lost.
Of the remaining fragments that Seyffarth placed after Col. V (= 4), fr. 41 (above p. 117, 2) and 42 certainly do not belong here, but according to evidence after the names on fr. 43 and 48 (quite wrongly connected to fr. 47). The latter contains in line 1 the hint of a dynastic change. In line 2, shifted far to the left, so that the writing of the preceding column must have extended into the next, the name Neferkere, characteristic of the Sixth and Eighth dynasties. In line 3 to 5 are the remnants of three further names. Because of line 2, it cannot be placed anywhere in Col. 5, nor next to fr. 46; the only place where it can belong is shortly after the end of the Sixth Dynasty. If we put it after line 7, then Menthesuphis (ruled 1 year 1 month), the successor of the 100-year-old Pepi II, is followed by a dynastic change, and the indented line comes next to the remark to Huni on Col. 3 line 8, the may have crossed over to Col. 4. After that, we may regard this position of the fragment as fairly secure.
However, fr. 43 contains four royal names, and in the first place Nt-'aqert i. e. certainly Queen Nitokris, reproduced by Eratosthenes as Αθηνα νικηφορος. After Manetho (and Eratosthenes)–she does not appear anywhere else–she is the successor of the Menthesuphis and the last ruler of the Sixth Dynasty; therefore this fragment has generally been allowed to followe directly after fr. 59. Now fr. 48 occupies that place, and in there is no more space for fr. 43 with Nitokris in Col. 4. That the fragment can indeed not belong in this column is evident by the reverse side, which contains the ends of four lines and behind them a large empty space, while the reverse side of Col. 4 shows the first half of a broad, densely written column. On the other hand, the reverse fits very well with Col. 5, and the only place where it can be placed is at the end of fr. 59. The four names it contains are then the last four of the Heracleopolitan dynasty. If that is correct, then Nitokris has was placed incorrectly by Manetho, perhaps by the influence of the name Neterkare, which follows Menthesuphis in the tablet of Abydos.
The upper part of Col. 4 contained 13 royal names in the papyrus, corresponding to the Sixth and Eighth dynasties of Manetho. In fr. 61 on line 14 the number 181 follows, which can only represent the sum of the years (of which there is still traces of the word for year) of these 13 kings. Then follows two lines with notations that continue into the next column. Then two more lines, which are blank at the end, then the heading of the next dynasty. So here's the biggest break in the papyrus; the summation of the Sixth Dynasty (+ 8) was followed by no less than four lines with further notations before the heading of a new dynasty.
Now Seyffarth placed fr. 44 here, which contains four lines with summations and corresponding notations; that go back to Menes. It cannot belong to one of the later columns due to line spacing and writing, nor to any earlier place. As the summation of the archaic dynasties up to Menes is in Col. 2, lines 10-11, that of the first five dynasties of Manetho is at the end of Col. 3. The place where Seyffarth placed it is therefore the only one possible; at the same time it is the only one where demonstrably, as fr. 61 shows, that such a summation of several lines exist. Also the back fits very well with fr. 61 and 46 + 47, although unfortunately establishing a connection here as little as usual has been successful. I therefore regard the position of the fragment as undoubtedly assured.
In line 4 of the fragment shows clearly the number "955 –that can only be years– days 10 + x". It is clear that this can only be the sum of all previous dynasties since Menes. So here's an invaluable date. How fr. 44 is to be connected with fr. 61 cannot be said with certainty; of the two possibilities, I think the proposed arrangement on Plate V to be more probable. Then line 14-18 reads (the rubra are underlined):
Line 14. Sum of kings Year 181
Line 15. Sum of kings
Line 16. since King Menes, their reigns and years ....
Line 17. .... years 955 days 10 + x.
Line 18 might have included a heading for the second part of the papyrus.
Comparison of the king lists. Sixth Dynasty.
We can now put the lists next to each other (see the supplement). As you can see, Eusebius is without any value here. The Tenth Dynasty variant of Barbarus at 204 years instead of 185, does not matter. Because if we add the sums of the First and Sixth dynasties 263 and 197 (instead of 253 and 203) the book sum 2300 years and 70 days handed down evenly by Africanus and Eusebius, in fact yields itself. The sum of the kings in contrast, yields 201 instead of 192. The mistake is probably in the Eighth Dynasty, where Africanus favors 27 kings, Barbarus 14; if we adjust dynasties XIV to XVIII, we get 192.
The error of the Sixth Dynasty is very simple. Africanus (or his source) gave the statement about Phiops εξαετης αρξαμενος βασιλευειν διεγενετο μεχρις ετων εκατον, i.e. he came to the throne at the age of six and ruled until the age of one hundred, i.e. 94 years, misunderstood that he had ruled 100 years; after that he also increased the sum of the dynasty by six years. The same misunderstanding was committed by the Redactor of the list of Eratosthenes, who correctly (especially Nitokris) recognized that the kings referred to here corresponded to Manetho's Sixth Dynasty. He adds to Apappus (which puts the true pronunciation, presumably Apopi, much closer to Manetho's Phiops) the remark ουτος ως φασι παρα ωραν μιαν εβασιλευσεν ετη εκατον, which enhances the curiosity even more.
It results from the fact that the traditional dynastic sums in Africanus are (or should be) calculated from the individual items, but that he took the sums from his vorlage, but that this too is based only on slightly older, but historically equally worthless dynastic sums, which we found above for the second book. Manetho, of course, just like the papyrus, will have given totals in his main sections: but we have no guarantee that the traditional sums are really his own, but with the second book, the contrary has been proven. It is remarkable that Manetho separated Amenemhet I from his descendants and placed him in his first book, in an intermediate position between the Eleventh and Twelfth dynasties; but it is to be understood that he placed the new consolidation of Egypt under him in the first volume.
Like Apappus with Phiops, the redactor of Eratosthenes equates the ridiculous name of Echeskosokaras with Menthesuphis II, and therefore assing one year to him. The first part of the name is obscure; the spelling of the Abydos Table Zefaemsaf is an adjustment of ...emsaf, as Merenre I (= Methusuphis I by Manetho) writes in his pyramid; but here we do not know the pronunciation of the first sign. Μοσθης by Eratosthenes will in fact be distorted from Οθοης, Pammes will correspond to Pepi I.
The tablet of Saqqara names only the four most important kings of the Sixth Dynasty. Then follow, as already mentioned, the Eleventh and Twelfth dynasties follow immediately, but in reverse order.
The tablet of Abydos give four names before Neferkere = Pepi II instead of three as in Saqqara and Manetho. King Userkere, who follows Atoti, does not appear anywhere else. But even the papyrus named four rulers before the ninety-year-reign, of which the second was either farther to the right, outside the year's colum, or absent altogether. So obviously, it held Userkere too. Perhaps the presumption is correct that he is identical with the ephemeral king Ati, for whose pyramid stones were broken in Hammamat in the "year of the first count" of the census (see below).
The years of the reign of the first king, Atoti V (Teti), are not preserved in the papyrus and are otherwise unknown. For the third, Merire Pepi I, it gives 20 years, for Merenre I, 4 years, for Neferkere III = Pepi II over 90 years–the ones are lost–so undoubtedly 94; Merenre II Menthesuphis II finally receives 1 year 1 month. The last two numbers agree with Manetho, the previous ones do not. About Nitokris see above. Thus, we receive for the dynasty:
Papyrus Manetho Y M D Y 1. Atoti V..... x 6 21 1. Othoes 30 2. Userkere (=Ati?) ——— 3. Pepi I 20 2. Phios 53 4. Merenre I ...emsaf I 4 3. Methesuphis 7 5. Neferkere Pepi II 9 4. Phiops 94 6. Merenre II ...emsaf II 1 1 5. Menthesuphis 1 6. Nitokris 12As a sum for the papyrus, if we set the first two reigns as Manetho's Othoes at 30 years–probably too high–result in about 149 to 150 years, compared to 197 (or without Nitokris 185) of Manetho. It is very striking that the three middle kings in the papyrus only have full years. The same phenomenon is found with Nebka and the first two kings of the Third Dynasty. The initially tempting idea that under the Sixth Dynasty one did not count the royal years, but according to the full civic years (according to Sethe), is hardly tenable, since with Atoti V and Merenre II as well as the kings of fr. 61, months and days are mentioned. So the rounded number is perhaps more likely to be explained by co-regency. However, the sum is also only given in years (181), although it will hardly be exact. Full clarity cannot be gained, especially with the very fragmentary state of the papyrus. The figure of 20 years for Pepi I probably contradicts the data of the monuments, according to which he celebrated the Sed-festival for the first (and as far as we know only) time in the "Year after the eighteenth" of the census. That would be, if the census took place every two years (see below), in his 36th or 37th year. Since otherwise the Sed-festival is never celebrated later than in the thirtieth year, but occasionally earlier, Sethe assumes that the inscriptions did not come from the year of the feast, but mentioned the earlier celebration, which had in a sense become an attribute of the king. This is not impossible, but it is more probable to me that under him the "count" took place irregularly and several times in two years, as under Snofru. Merenre I mentions the "year of the fifth time" of the census in two inscriptions; that would only be compatible with the number of the papyrus if the counting took place annually [so Sethe]; then he would have died and the papyrus would have omitted his surplus months and days. The fact that he died at a young age is proven by his corpse, and if his brother Neferkere Pepi II really came to the throne as a six-year-old child, he could not have ruled for more than five years. The year in the papyrus is therefore perhaps historically incorrect for Merenre I and certainly also for Pepi I. The biography of Una, who came of age at the time of Atoti V and then had a long and illustrious career under Pepi I, and finally died under Merenre in the highest offices (or at least wrote his epitaph) speaks for a longer reign of Pepi. Admitedly, we will not be able to give the 53 years of Manetho to Pepi I. Because then Una, now an old man in his high seventies, would have been the governor of the south and conducted large quarry work.
We cannot determine whether the 94-year reign of Pepi II is really historical (that he celebrated Sed-festival at least twice, proves nothing); it is not physically impossible, but it would be without parallel in world history.
The Seventh to Tenth dynasties.
With Pepi II, the monuments are almost completely destroyed, and what is preserved from the following centuries rarely bears a royal name. This corresponds to the fact that the tablet of Saqqara (as well as that of Karnak) completely passes over the following period until the Eleventh Dynasty. The epitome of Manetho, whose original author had obtained a quite correct picture from his work, no longer quotes the names from the Seventh to Eleventh dynasties, but content themselves with the sum figures. The state of the Old Kingdom, internally transformed since the Fifth Dynasty, is coming to an end under Pepi II; the assumption that during the following dynasties Egypt fell into several states and was torn by internal wars has been documented from the time of the Heracleopolites.
According to Manetho the Sixth Dynasty concluding with Nitocris is followed by the whimsical Seventh Dynasty, with 70 kings of Memphis for 70 (Eus. 75) days. If there is anything historical about it at all, one can only see an interregnum in it during which the highest officials of the kingdom each represented the government for one day, similar to the Roman Interregnum where priests ruled for five days each. In any case, this "dynasty" has come into the list of kings only through a construction of the same kind as the later Greek chronographs included the Vizier Artabanos, who murdered Xerxes, in the list of Persian kings: they wanted to include in the table the fact that an intermediate period of rule had taken place.
Then follows the Eighth Dynasty, which, as we have seen, probably consisted of eighteen Memphites that, according to the epitome, lasted for 146 years. It seems to correspond to the long list of 17 kings in the tablet of Abydos after Merenre II and before the kings of the Eleventh Dynasty. Their names, which consistently follow those of the Sixth (and Fifth) Dynasty, clearly show that the old traditions lived on.
It is significant that for six of them the personal names are united in the same cartouche with the throne name (as in Merenre II ... emsaf), a phenomenon which recurs during the Thirteenth Dynasty. We do not possess any monuments that contain their names, except a few scarabs. In addition, a papyrus fragment in Berlin, which belongs to a find "from the end of the Sixth Dynasty," whose knowledge I have received from Dr. Möller, contains the royal name Sechemkere; which probably can be assigned to the Eighth Dynasty.
In the papyrus, where an break was probably made just after Merenre II, there were only seven of rulers, of whom three names (Neferkere, …ndti, ...i) are preserved, as well as the figures of the last four, who reigned together for only 9 years 4 months 3 days. Then follows the summation, which is for both dynasties together (VI and VIII), which it treats as one unit with dynasties III-V, is 181 years. It is clear that the papyrus did not give a complete list of the Eighth Dynasty, but rather breaks off when a new dynasty emerged in Herakleopolis. The later kings of the Eighth Dynasty, who is considered by the Abydos Tablet to be the only legitimate one, may have asserted themselves for a century or more in Memphis or in the Delta, in addition to the Heracleopolites. The circumstances are obviously similar to those in dynasties 22-26. However, the papyrus clearly had no intention of naming all rulers who once had the title of king during this time, unlike with the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties, but only wanted to present a chronological continuity.
That the next dynasty of 18 kings corresponds to the Heracleopolitans of Manetho is not in doubt. According to Manetho, their first ruler was called Achthoes (Ochthovis by the Armenian), "who was more dreadful than anybody else in Egypt and did bad things to all inhabitants of Egypt, but later descended into madness and perished by a crocodile." His name is known as Khti (pronounced: Akhtoi), and we know two rulers of this name, Jebmerire Khti and Uahkere Khti. In the orthography , one of them appears in the papyrus as the fourth king of the dynasty; the first, whose name is lost, may very well have been called the same. As a later Heracleopolite, we know Kamerire from the great nomarch inscription of Siut published by Griffith, according to which he was at war with the southern kingdom of Thebes; he may be identical to Merkere on the sarcophagus of Apaanchu from Saqqara. Furthermore, the king known from the Eloquent Peasant, taking place at Herakleopolis Nebkaure belongs here.
In the papyrus only a few remnants of the names are preserved, most clearly from the personal names, not from the throne names. The third king was called Neferkere, a proof that this dynasty also sought attachment to the ancient traditions. The name returns again in fr. 43, which, if our arrangement is correct, contains the last four names of the dynasty: Nitokris, Neferke[re] with the supplement “Hunu the young,” Neferes and Jeb.
According to Manetho, the Heracleopolites disintegrate into two dynasties of 19 kings each. The former may correspond to the eighteen kings of the papyrus. Here, too, it becomes apparent that it had no intention of listing all the rulers of this time; but as soon as the Theban dynasty attains independent power, it passes over to it. We have seen that the first Thebans were at war with the Heracleopolites for many years; the kings of this period may correspond to Manetho's second Heralcleopolitan dynasty, which the papyrus ignore.
Conversely, Manetho may try to balance the numbers, as he certainly does in the Twenty-second thtough Twenty-sixth dynasties; this is the only way that can explain how his 16 Thebans of the Eleventh Dynasty – the number is certainly too high, even if all the nomarchs of the pre-royal period are counted – only lasted 43 years. In fact, it would be not be unthinkable that the last Heracleopolites would have continued as shadow kings until the time of Nebkhrure Mentuhotep II; compare the “King's Sons” in a cartouche (Ahmose se Pa'ar, Binpu, and others), who appear at the beginning of the New Kingdom alongside the first kings of the Eighteenth Dynasty.
On the other hand, it is undoubted impossible to estimate the duration of the monumentless period of the Eighth through Tenth dynasties together with the Eleventh Dynasty, can not be reconciled with the 783 years in the Manethonian epitome, but must be reduced in a similar manner as the interval between the Twelfth Dynasty and the New Kingdom. The remnants of the Turin Papyrus provide sufficient support for the production of more useful numbers.
Findings. The dates of the first eleven dynasties.
We can now look at the entire structure of the king's list of the papyrus. It divides the history of Egypt from Menes to the Hyksos – it preserves nothing of the time thereafter – in two large sections, which correspond exactly to the epochs of the Old and the Middle Kingdoms set up by modern research. The break happens before the appearance of the Heracleopolites. The Old Kingdom is divided into two periods delimited by summations formed by the end of the Fifth Dynasty. Each of these breaks down into several subdivisions (= dynasties), which are partly designated by Rubra (in Zoser), perhaps only by the words "he reigned." The Middle Kingdom consists of four periods formed by summations:
Heracleopolites, the Eleventh Dynasty, the Ithtaui dynasty (= the Twelfth Dynasty), the Thirteenth and Fourtenth dynasties, of which only the last decay into several (at least 6-7) subdivisions. Of the summation, which could not have been missing at the end, nothing is preserved.
In the schema, I designate the dynasties of the papyrus by consecutive Arabic figures, and Manetho's by Latin numerals, thus:
I. The Old Kingdom
First Period, from Menes to Unas.
Dynasty 1 – 18 Thinites (= I and I)
Dynasty 2 – 15 Memphites (= III and IV to Sahure)
Dynasty 3 – 7 kings (Elephantines?) from Nefererkere to Unas (= V)
Second Period, from Atoti V to the end of the Old Kingdom
Dynasty 4 – 6 Memphites (VI)
Dynasty 5 – 7 Memphites (VIII) } 181 years
Total 53 kings for 955 years, 10+x days
II. The Middle Kingdom
Dynasty 6 – 18 Heracleopolites (IX and X)
Dynasty 7 – 7 Thebans (XI) 160 + x years
Fifth Period, the “kings of the court of Ithtaui”
Dynasty 8 – 8 Thebans (XII) 213 years, 1 month, 17 days
Sixth Period, the “kings after the dynasty of Amenemhet I”
Dynasties 9-14 – (or more) dynasties (XIII and XIV) are no longer fully preserved.
Then follows the Hyksos, of whom perhaps some names are still preserved in the papyrus. Up to the end of the Twelfth Dynasty, the papyrus has 86 kings, compared to 129 of Manetho, 65 on the tablet of Abydos, and 46 on that of Saqqara.
As you can see, from Dynasty 4 (= VI) and on they essentially correspond to Manetho, except, of course, that the Seventh Dynasty is absent and the Heracleopolites are combined into one. Similarly, the Thinites and the Third and Fourth dynasties are combined into one unit, but the dynastic break set Dynasty III and V apart. We have discussed earlier how this can be explained.
The most important result, however, is chronological. With the sum of 955 years from the time of Menes to the end of the Old Kingdom, we have gained a solid basis. Since at the same time the sum for Dynasties 4-5 (= VI-VIII,) preserve 181 years, while the first three dynasties of the papyrus preserve 774 years (= I-V) - compared to Manetho’s 1304 years. Also the sum of the Theban Dynasty 7 (= XI) is preserved, a little over 160 years; from about 2165/60 to 2001/1998 BC, or approximately, with an margin of error of 10 years, from 2160 to 2001 BC.
I do not want to claim that the figures of the papyrus are historically absolutely exact; we have seen that the figures for Pepi I and Merenre I are quite problematic; and spelling and arithmetic errors have certainly occurred. But it can only be years and decades, not centuries; and that information obtained in an official (or at least semi-official) document that is one millennium older than the epitome of Manetho, which a best, reached us from a third or fourth hand, requires no explanation.
The figures in the papyrus for the Old Kingdom are well within the limits of probability, which are far exceeded by Manetho. 40 kings (dynasties I–V) for 774 years yield an average of 19 1/3 years, 53 kings (dynasties I–VIII) for 955 years yield 18 years. If one considers that in the latter sum no less that 15 reigns that lasted for less than 10 years are included, which altogether only ruled for 70 years (+x months), and that thereby the average for the remaining rises to over 23 years. However, even among these, several reigns were provably quite short, and it is clear that a higher number would hardly be permissable.
According to what we have found out from other sources, the numbers of the papyrus are on the whole the best. We have seen that the Fourth and Fifth dynasties added together must have ruled for almost exactly 300 years. The four kings of the Third Dynasty reigned for a total of 55 years according to the papyrus. For the first two dynasties, we have obtained between 300 and 600 years; according to the papyrus 420 years.
We will soon see how completely these results are confirmed by a document about 1400 years older, the chronology of the Palermo Stone.
The only item missing from the papyrus is the figures for 18 Heracleopolites. This time, to which the later Memphites of Manetho and the Tablet of Abydos certainly belong, we have at present no means to eastimate. We can only say that according to the character of the monuments from the end of the Sixth Dynasty and the beginning of the Middle Kingdom – among them, as Dr. Möller points out, that even the writing of the papyri – reservations will be made to appreciate it too highly. The average of 18 years determined above – that is 324 years for 18 kings – is certainly too much. Some of the kings may not have ruled longer than the last kings of the Old Kingdom in the papyrus and those of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties – whose example shows us how little can be done with such estimates in such times.
If I propose to set the time of the 18 Heracleopolites at 200 years (11 years per reign), I am well aware that this is quite arbitrary. The suggested figure may a century too large or too small. But within this limit lies the error, and since all the other positions are given, the uncertainty for the time of the Old Kingdom and the beginning of the historical period of Egypt in the narrower sense is limited to a margin of 200 years with the accession of Menes. Thereby we can soothe ourselves in such a distant time.
Thus we have the following dates:
|The accession of Menes||c. 3315 BC|
|18 Thinites (Dyn. 1-2) c. 420 years||3315–2895 BC|
|Zozer and his three successors (Dyn. 3) 55 years||2895–2840 BC|
|Snofru’s accession||c. 2840 BC|
|Fourth Dynasty (c. 160 years)||2840–2680 BC|
|Fifth Dynasty (c. 140 years)||2680–2540 BC|
|Sixth (and Eighth) Dynasty 181 years||2540–2360 BC|
|18 Heracleopolites (Dyn. 9-10) c. 200 years||2360–2160 BC|
|7 Thebans (Eleventh Dynasty) 160 years||2160–2000 BC|
|Amenemhet I (Twelfth Dynasty) starts||2000/1997 BC|
From the Herakleopolitans onwards, all data can be moved up or down by about 100 years, i.e. the accession of Menes lies between 3400 and 3200 BC.
The exhibition and introduction of the Egyptian calendar in Lower Egypt on 19 July 4241 B.C. is still about a full millennium before Menes. In truth, Egyptian history is that old.