The Papyrus of Kings, restored

by Giulio Farina


Farina, Giulio. 1938. Papiro dei re, restaurato. Rome: G. Bardi.

English translation of the original Italian text


A short history

This papyrus was part of the first Drovetti collection, purchased by the Sardinian government, between the end of 1823 and the beginning of '24. Legend has it that it was found intact but had crumbled during transport.[1] Unfortunately, several manuscripts in Egyptian and Coptic, suffered this sad fate, the infanda clades[2] described by Amedeo Peyron; but in this particular case without any foundation whatsoever. It came to the museum in minute pieces in a box, mixed with other infinite. J. Fr. Champollion[3] saw it in 1824, when he traveled to Turin to study the Drovetti collection, already exhibited in the Academy of Sciences building.

He managed to separate "some twenty fragments with the first names of 77 Pharaohs" from the pile. The importance of the document did not escape him. In a letter to his brother[4] he designated it as a “véritable trésor pour l'histoire... un tableau chronologique, un vrai canon royal,” which, for paleographic reasons, must be from no later than the Nineteenth Dynasty. In another letter of the 15th of the same month, he wrote that having completed the examination, he put together 40 fragments with about 160–180 first names. There is reason to believe that the headings in the middle of others are the leaders of dynasties.[5] Actually, it should be stated that 48 fragments were collected, containing 140 royal titles; only twenty of them are complete and 67 partials. Champollion did not attempt to put them in order, he just annotated them by alphabetic letters.[6]

The merit of having been patient in the search and to reconstruction of the manuscript belongs to Gustav Seyffarth. In 1825 he obtained a mission from his sovereign to visit Italy, France, England and Holland; with a full year spent in Turin. The fragments were shown to him, still enclosed in a crate. Relying exclusively on the study of the fibers and the texture of the papyri, he restored fifteen, more or less healthy: the erotic papyrus, the play of ladies, etc. He devoted three months of '26 to the canon and identified nearly three hundred pieces. He was able to reconnect several, reducing the number to 160. He then ordered them into twelve columns arranged on a long sheet, 2,31m wide and 0,46 high.

On December 27, 1827 he showed the tracings to J. F. Champollion, who made a copy,[7] as briefly noted by Seyffarth in “The London Literary Gazette” (July 1828) in the article: Remarks upon an Egypt. History in Egyptian characters in the R. Museum at Turin. In return, Champollion[8] charged Cordero di San Quentin to have hidden fragments “... à ce pauvre et honnête Seyffart; celui-ci les a copies, et, au lieu de le faire en distinguant chaque fragment et sa forme, il les a arrangés dans un certain ordre, non sans intervertir quelques-uns, comme je m'en aperçois dans la première page, où il a mêlé les reignes des Dieux avec ceux des Rois de la Ire Dynastie.”[9]

In the same letter, addressed to Costanzo Gazzera November 20, 1831, he accuses San Quentin of having designed to conceal other pieces. Where were these others? To both his brother (November 15, 1824), and the Duke de Blacas, Champollion boasts of having recognized the fragments “au milieu de la poussière”, “dans une masse de débris de papyrus, de plusieurs pieds cubes.”[10] He thought he had finished: “enfin j'ai terminé l'examen des debris,” while in truth, it had just begun! It seems that San Quintino found more, when Champollion left to hold a lecture at the Royal Academy of Sciences on January 13, 1825. He points to the formula: “The king reigned 20 years, and 8 months, having died in the twenty-fifth day of Choiak”; but for some reason, only exhibits the hieratic and demotic numerals. The note can be found in the end of Leziono archaeologiche of 1824-1825 printed in Turin.

Rosellini,[11] certainly at the suggestion of his teacher, did not speak too kindly with Gazzera (May 16, 1828): “... Mr. Seyffarth showed us the copy of Manetho he found. It’s madness! But of these fragments of papyrus that he found, God knows how to put them together, there much interest...” In his Monumenti (Pisa, 1832) Part I, Volume I, pp. 145–149, he refuses to use the chronology; because it did not fit with his own system. Gazzera wrote again, on January 21, 1833: ”... I thought of the Turin papyrus manuscript you told me about, and you see that I spoke with little faith. But I do not neglect what he's said, chiefly in Germany. I will say that he had great curiosity of our Champollion, and a few days before his illness became serious, I wrote to suggest a trip to Turin to see Seyffarth’s reconstruction...” This preconceived hostility, and silly jealousy does little honor to the two men. Before condemning blindly, they should have made a diligent examination of the work.

Seyffarth’s reconstruction, in its broad outlines, is correct; even wonderful, if you remember that the author, for his strange theories about Egyptian writings, was not able to read the texts. Maybe that's why he never published the document. The first edition was the work of R. Lepsius, who studied it in '35 and again in '40. Under the title: Die Turiner Koenigs-Annalen, it appeared on plates III-VI in his Auswahl der wichtigsten Urkunden des Aegypt. Alterthums (Leipzig, 1842). The fragments are numbered from 1 to 164. Connected to this book is the news given by Bunsen in Aegyptens Stelle in der Weltgeschichte (Hamburg, 1845) p. 82ff.

The assertion by J. J. Champollion-Figeac,[12] that his brother’s copy was superior and more complete than that of Lepsius has been proven erroneous, and some fragments (Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu) cannot be found anymore. It seems certain that Champollion had arbitrarily amended several lacunae. On sheets in the museum of Turin (inventory number 281) there were some pieces attributed to the papyrus, which has been impossible to reunite.The very fanciful copy of the Canon by J. B. C. Lesueur in Chronologie des rois d'Egypte (Paris, 1848) p. 212ff; reproduces the text with many fantastic additions in red. They are dismissed in Livre des Rois d'Egypte (Cairo, 1907) by Gauthier, Volume I, p. 1-6, maybe the columns were exchanged from another papyrus.

The second edition of the document is due to Sir J. Gardiner Wilkinson, who came to Turin in 1849 to collate the copy of Lepsius, and eventually publish the manuscript. He found only three very slight omitted traces of signs! The book appeared in London with the title Hieratic Papyrus of Kings at Turin and contained four plates and four transcriptions from hieratic into hieroglyphics, with comments published in The fragments of the hieratic papyrus at Turin containing the name of Egyptian Kings (London 1851). He discussed and indicated some transpositions in the attached plates.

His composition of column I is partly right. Fragment 40, if it belonged to the papyrus, would be fine in the column; it connects fragments 39 and 40, though placed too low by Wilkinson. Fragment 150 is out of place and so is 41 for the verso. Removed two appendices at the bottom right of Fragment 12. Fragment 141, with the name of the God Ra, at the head of the list, is wrongly placed, according to both the fibers and the verso. Fragments 35 and 36 belong to another manuscript. Column II are fine, fragments 1 (less the first line, which is an erroneous addition of Seyffarth), 20, 21, 19, 30 (a little too low); fragments 22, 27, 7, and 4 do not belong. Column III, excluding fragment 134 is perfect. In column IV, the fragments 59, 43, 61, 44, 46 are correct; fragments 25, 26, 30 do not belong. Fragments 71, 70, 68, 69 do not belong to column V; but 48 does, although at the top. No transposition is proposed for, columns VII, VIII, IX (= VI, VII, VIII in Wilkinson). The reduction to two (IX-X) of the final three columns (X, X XI) of Seyffarth, does not hold up, despite there being place for a few fragments.

To save time, I do not intend to dwell on the extended bibliography of the canon; the problems facing us are many.

I limit myself to mentioning just a few works that have or had importance. Thus, for example, both Brugsch in Aegyptens Geschichte (Leipzig, 1877), and de Rougé, in Recherches sur les monuments qu'on peut attribuer aux six premières dynasties de Manéthon (Paris, 1866) have given the canon it deserves and have reproduced parts. The assumptions made by Lauth in his chronography Manetho und der Turiner Koenigs-Papyrus (Monaco, 1865) are not all acceptable. Competence and great acumen is revealed by Meyer’s considerations in his Aegyptische Chronologie ("Abhandl. Der K. Preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften", 1904), in Die Nachträge zur Aegypt. Chronologie (ib., 1907), in the new edition of his Geschichte des Altertums (Stuttgart and Berlin, 1913) and in the supplement to this, Die ältere Chronologie Babyloniens, Assyriens und Aegyptens (ib., 1925).

Countless good and bad hypotheses arose for a century around the canon, and how to rearrange the papyrus, with new information of Egyptian chronology. I have always believed that the accomplishment of this work must be by an Italian, who for too long have remained absent. Since 1922, I have obtained large-scale photographs to find a more exact placement of the fragments; but I could not carry in with my attempt, because the minute examination of the fibers was at that time impossible and I postponed the enterprise to a better occasion.

When I moved to Turin in 1928, my first thought was to prepare the museum workshop for the restoration of the papyri, to increase our knowledge of the large number of valuable documents that remained torn and abandoned, and I was lucky enough to find a collaborator full of intelligence, skill and zeal in Miss Erminia Caudana, who saved so many books for the national library.

The laboratory was at that time unequipped for the restoration of the royal papyrus. I suggested to not delay it further, and also the need of the reconstruction experience of Dr. Hugo Ibscher. S. E. Roberto Paribeni, then Director General of Antiquities and Fine Arts, understood the importance of the work and with a great heart gave the required budget. Even his friend prof. Günther Roeder pleaded the good cause with the Berlin Museum and prof. Schubart sent Ibscher to Turin, where he arrived in July 1930. How many lovers of ancient Egypt will be grateful with me to these egregious persons who favored the execution of my design.[13]

The restoration was long and difficult, as expected. The fragments were detached from the sheets on which they had been glued, reconnected according to the fibers, placed between two glass panes in three manageable panels. Some parts that did not belong to the papyrus was naturally taken away; including pieces from inventory no. 281, above. Tweaking on my part lasted until October 1934; and several of the connections made by Ibscher seems to be impossible. Among the many pieces I added, there is also some related to the Hyksos.

The undoubtedly significant contribution that this brings to Egyptian history by establishing most of its chronology justifies my long labor.


Description of the papyrus

Judging from the remaining parts, the papyrus originally had a length of about 1.70 meters; a height of 0:41 meters. Four 42 cm wide sheets had been glued together. There are seven reinforcement pieces, each 2 cm from the upper edge and one 5 cm from the lower edge at the bottom; at irregular distances of 13 or 14 cm.

The writing on the real verso, the one that contains the royal canon, is arranged in eleven columns, preceded by an 11 cm blank margin. The width of the columns varies, from a minimum of 8.5 cm. to a maximum of 17 cm. The line spacing in the last two is almost zero; in the others, around 0.5 cm.

The recto contain only six columns, also preceded by a indeterminable blank margin, quite broad though. The maximum width is 36 cm, the minimum 16.

The papyrus is written in hieratic signs of the Lower Egypt type and only assumes cursive forms here and there. The recto contains information on in-kind fees that various officials of the Libyan oasis sent to the tax authorities under the reign of Ramesses II (1301-1234 BCE). They occupy six columns, and because they are not of interest, they will be published in a more appropriate place.

On the reverse side is the list of Egyptian kings. It is clear it belonged to the same tax office, and needed for administration. As is well known, ancient Egypt lacked eras, civil or religious; so they had to keep accurate lists of sovereigns, with the duration of individual reigns, for reference to the past. Copies of them were in the public offices and kept updated. Our dates back to the reign Ramesses II and, if you can believe that an old useless papyrus was used, all the way until pharaoh Merneptah (1234-1225). On the face of it, as we shall see, in the last column we see only a part of the Seventeenth Dynasty; it must be concluded that the remaining, along with the Eighteenth and Nineteenth (at most thirty names) were transferred to another column.

The work entitled will have owned a title, as did the ancients, and will have been (but not swear!) Like this: “List of the Gods, and the kings who ruled in Egypt starting with the god Ptah; years of their reigns, etc. etc.”

The canon only give the names of the gods, and the ages for the first dynasty. Up to Menes, the traditional unifier of Egypt, it merely indicate the total number of the rulers and the total sums of their duration on the throne. From Menes, each pharaoh the years, months and days they reigned and their age are given; but, starting with Soser, age is abandoned. The reason for this change seems to be that the scribe had planned to copy the entire list on the verso. In the third column he noticed that continuing with similar amplitude, the space would not be sufficient and then suppressed parts not necessary for chronological purposes and narrowed the column and increased the number of lines. Even so, some dynasties, as we said, were left out.

The monarchs carry the title of the Protocol, “King of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt,” which we will only translate “King.” Sometimes the ring surrounding the royal names has the added: “Life, Prosperity, and Health (Ankh wedja seneb)” This label was reserved for a living monarch; and is out of place here, as they are dead. It was certainly instinctively added by the scribe. We abbreviate it as: LPH.

The founders of royal families or dynasties are distinguished by heading the title “King”; but the scribe does not always remember to change ink. The constant norm is in those cases to write the formula for lying “... years spent in the kingdom ... months ... days ...” Successors are always “years”, even if these are zero, and the numbers of the months and days are separated by a big point. When one of the three are missing, the space is empty, but the points are there. With the exception of “month.”

The mention of another element is necessary. The numbers are preceded by the ideographic sign wsf, written in red as a rule, which prof. Borchardt provisionally read wzf and interpret as “lacuna.” We have to recognize a period of anarchy, where rulers do not arise – similar to that which the papyrus Harris describes (pl. 75, 1. 2 ff.) in the age of Nahtsêth the end of the Nineteenth Dynasty – but that must be equally calculated for the exact correspondence of time.

In spite of the zeal employed to put in place the smallest fragment, valuable for the Egyptian chronology, the canon still has gaps, which in large part at least is relatively easy to return. To this end, the so-called “lists of ancestors” will be used. Some pharaohs loved to be represented in prayers in front of his predecessors, indicated by images and names, or for brevity only by these. They are derived from the canon, and we can therefore establish a match with our papyrus.

The four most notable:

1. The Karnak list of Thutmose III (Eighteenth Dynasty), now in the National Library of Paris. It consists of sixty kings, from the Fourth to the Sixth, from the Eleventh and onwards. Arranged out of order, makes it less usable. Cf. Lepsius, Auswahl, pl. I; names in Urkunden, Vol. IV, pp. 608-610.
2. The Abydos list of Sethos I (Nineteenth Dynasty), still on site. His seventy-six kings begin by Menes. Published by Mariette, Abydos, Vol. I. pl. 43.
3. The Abydos list of Ramesses II (Nineteenth Dynasty), now in London, a copy of the previous one, but almost ruined. Also in Lepsius, Auswahl, pl. 2.
4. The Saqqara list, from the tomb of the priest Selej, a contemporary of the precedent. Preserved in the Cairo Museum. The fifty-eight kings from the middle of the First Dynasty until Sethos I. Published by Mariette, Monuments divers, pl. 58.

Of the second and fourth, copies revised by Borchardt and Schäfer for the Berlin Dictionary are reproduced at the end of the chronology of Meyer, pl. I.

We will also use, with all caution, the Greek lists of the pharaohs from Manetho. This Egyptian priest wrote a history of his country, derived from the sacred archives around 280 BCE. The book has been lost; but a compendium, an epitome of the various dynasties, with some lean historical news, preserved in the Chronograph by Georg Syncellus (about 792 CE). This resulted in Pentabliblon by Julius Africanus (about 220 CE), another by the Chronicle of Eusebius (about 327 CE). In both, there is the no Armenian version of Eusebius. Lastly, lists designated ‘barbarian,’ from the time of Justinian, by Scaliger (1658) are unknown. It is not critical of these modest pieces to want to make a concept of Manetho’s story and goodness of his sources. The names of the pharaohs were often deformed by copyists, because they sounded strange to the Greek ears; numbers, as usually happens, were easily altered. When possible, we will try to correct it.

The dynamics of the Gods and Heroes

Since the text began at the same height as the other columns, ten lines should be assumed to be missing; in all they were twenty-five. Some have placed the fragments 40 + 39 + 37 here; but the fibers are different; paleographically they are from another papyrus; as for the recto it is absolutely out of place; the text has nothing to do with the canon.

There is no doubt from the remains of the epitome of Manetho, which the first dynasty counted in the annals was that of the gods. It began with the god Ptah (= Hephaistos) of Memphis, followed by his son, the sun-god Re (= Helios); then the god Sosis (= Ares) and the god Geb (= Kronos). John of Antioch preserves the transcription of Egyptian names. In the first column, the first intact readable name is Geb; but we can see the traces of the three previous ones. We put Sosis and Re in there and put the name of Ptah at the head.

Column I

Farina hieroglyphs

col. I

11[King Ptah whose life span wasyears]100 + x
12[Re ″]...
13[Shu ″]103 + x
14Geb [whose life]span [was1]773
15Osiris [ ″]...
16Seth [ years]100 + x
17Hor (LPH) 300
18Thoth (LPH) 3726
19Maa 100 + x
20Hór- . . . [ ]...
21Total [kings 10 whose y]ears were ...

As for the god Ptah, some Greek sources do not indicate a fixed duration of years, but an infinite kingdom; this is not the opinion of our manuscript. As for the two gods named Horus, the first was the son of Osiris; the second, another form, perhaps Arueri.[14]

The continuation of the column seems to be:

Column II

Farina hieroglyphs

Column II

22To[tal kings] 9 [that came after]
23king Hor-..
24[Total of their years] 7718 ...
25[Total] ...

In the last line, we see the upper traces of two signs. I think it is the sum total of the divine dynasties. We now give the text of the second column up to line 10

Column II

Farina hieroglyphs

Col. II

1[Ꜣḫ of –] 20 whose years were 4, months [... days ...]
2Ꜣḫ of [–] 10 whose reigns amounted to [years ...]
3Ꜣḫ of [– ...] whose years were 330, the duration [of their years in life ...]
4... 20 whose reigns and years in life (sic!) were years 1000 + x
5... those of “Le Cinte” 19, years 11, months 4, days 22.
6Ꜣḫ that were in Lower Egypt 19, 2412 years [months ...]
7… for their father, women 7, whose years [were ...]
8Ꜣḫ Semsu-Hor years 13420 + x ...
9Total of the reigns up to Semsu-Hor was years 23100 + x ...
10[Total their years up to] king Menes (LPH) was [36520 years + x …]

At the beginning of this column are shown the sovereigns Ꜣḫ who reigned between gods and men. As to the "Dead" translation of their title (which means nothing) I prefer that of "Heroes" indicated by some sources. According to the canon, these dynasties of heroes were eight:

The Ꜣḫ of W. king 20reigned years1111
The Ꜣḫ of X.10
The Ꜣḫ of Y....300
The Ꜣḫ (?) of Z.201000 + x
The Ꜣḫ (?) Memphis1911, months 4, days 22
The Ꜣḫ of the Delta192412
... women7
Total years13100 + x
The Ꜣḫ Semsu-Hor...13420 + x
up to king Menes36520 + x

There is nothing in the epitome of Manetho that can help reconstruct what is missing in the canon. The fourth god Geb is followed by three, Osiris, Typhon, Oros; i.e. only the first two. Their empire would have lasted until Bydin (the Egyptian god Biti?) with a sum for the two dynasties of 13900 years. They would be followed by

2Other kingsX1817

Some Christian chronographers, on which we depend for these figures, have reduced them to match the Jewish chronology. A vague indication of the length of this period can also be found in the annals. According to the reconstruction of Borchardt, 184 sovereigns are mentioned on the Cairo fragment, in Palermo there are 146. By using another method, I reached 148. This section of the papyrus indicate 114 kings; therefore, the remaining ones must be distributed in the various gaps. The omission of 38 (or 36) in Palermo is unexplained.

There is only one way to solve the difficulty; suppose that the houses of the first line in the copy of Cairo were not all as narrow as in the remaining fragment. The Annals knew the names of Menes predecessors of course. Nine of them in Palermo belong, according to the ideogram, to the group of the iḫ of Lower Egypt; ten in Cairo (minus the third) in Upper Egypt, i.e. the Semsu-Hor of the papyrus.

On the years that predynastic reigns cumulatively, it is useful to note how it would turn out to be a multiple of the Sothic period (1461 x 25 = 36525) and therefore not due to tradition, but in part the result of religious speculation.

The first three historical dynasties

At line 11 of column II, the human dynasties begin with Menes. In this and in III the kings of the first five dynasties of Manetho are catalogued. The canon, on the other hand, distributes them in four. The first goes from line 11 of column II to 16; the second, from line 17 to line 4 of column III; the third, from line 5 to line 18; the fourth, from line 19 to line 25. We completely ignore the reasons for these grouping differences; however, in order to avoid introducing deep disturbances in ancient Egyptian history, it is appropriate to limit oneself to the now classical dynasties of the epitome, taking only into consideration the varieties of the canon.

Let us examine the list of pharaohs up to Senfore (Col. III 9). At line 13, after Menes, the third name is destroyed. We must read it by following the list of Abydos, no. 3, jtj. The fourth name, line 15, must be Abydos no. 4 jtjw. At line 18 the traces of the signs suggest a reading of špss. In the next line, the name is recoverable according to Abydos no. 8 and Saqqara no. 2. Line 21 after the lacuna is restored according to the writing of the canon, which is analogous with Abydos no. 40 and Saqqara no. 4. The reading of line 22 corresponds to Saqqara no. 5, that of line 23 to Abydos no. 12. At the bottom of the column, the scribe has omitted the first part of the royal cartouche and the sign Re- which we insert according to Saqqara no. 8. The author of the list of Abydos transferred it to no. 19 instead of 14. The third name in column III lack the end of the cartouche, as noted by Saqqara no. 11. The fourth name is according to Abydos no. 15; in Saqqara the cartouche is in fourteenth place, instead of in twelfth, and preceded by an erroneous Re.

For the first eight names from Menes to Qebhe, the agreement between the canon and the Abydos list is incontrovertible. Of those, the list of Saqqara has only two, the sixth and the eighth. For the other ten kings from Nesrbew to Nebka, uniformity is instead with Saqqara, where only the last one, Nebka, is moved to no. 14, under the name Nebkerie. In Abydos, we find these discrepancies: in place of Nesrbew we find Bosew; Nefrkerie was transferred to no. 19; the two successors, Nefrkezoker and Husofe, are omitted.

Now let us see the text and the translation.

Column 2

Farina hieroglyphs

Col. II

11King Menes (LPH)[reigned years … lived years …]
12King Atoe
13King [Atoereigned years … lived years …]
14[months] 10 and days 28
15King [Ato]e[reigned years … lived years …]70
16       Espajte[reigned years … lived years …]61
17King Merejbjapen [reigned years … lived ]years 73
18       Sepses [reigned years … lived ]years 73
19       [Qe]bhe[reigned years … lived ]years 72
20       [Nesr]bew[reigned years … lived ]years 95
21       [Kaj]ekow[reigned years … lived ]years
22       [Bi]nosre[reigned years … lived ]years 93
23       [Wasla]s[reigned years … lived ]years 70
24       Snete[reigned years … lived ]years 74
25       Nefrke(rie)[reigned years … lived ]years 70

Column 3

Farina hieroglyphs

Col. III

1Nefrkazokeryears 8, [months] 3, …[lifetime] 30 + x
2Husofeyears 11, [months] 8, [days] 4[lifetime] 34
3Sesojyears 28, [months] 2, [day] 1[lifetime] 40 + x
4Nebkoyears 19, [months] 0, [days] 0

With regard to the two dynastic groups in which the canon divides the kings, it should be noted that the list of Saqqara begins precisely with Marebjajpen; and this position at the head of the Second Dynasty could provide an explanation.

The names of these kings also appear in the epitome of Manetho and partially in Eratosthenes, often altered, as I said, by the copyists.

On the first two kings of the first dynasty there is agreement. The third for Eratosthenes is another Athothes (II) ; in agreement with the Egyptian tradition. The others give a Kenkenes, it is not known where he came from. These also call the fourth king Uenephes, while for the Egyptians there was a third Athothes. The fifth is Usaphaes, the shortened form of Usaphaidos, probably due to the subsequent name.

Marebjajpen is normally reduced in Hellenistic times as Miebjàjpen; so that the spelling of the epitome must be corrected in Miebaes. The reading of Miebidos can also be influenced by the previous name. If the seventh king was called Sepses, the three variants Semempses, Mempses and Pemphos, should be restored as Se[m]pses. The eighth is also corrupt: Bieneches, Ubienthes, Vibesthes. We are unable to amend it with certainty, because we do not know the exact pronunciation of the Egyptian equivalent; but one could suppose a Chebeches.

The Second Dynasty of Manetho includes 9 kings and Zoser, who in the canon is first king of the Third Dynasty, but according to the epitome, the second king. The best list is that of Africanus. Boethos corresponds to the Bosew of Abydos no. 9; Kaiechos, Binothris, and Tlas are excellent transcriptions of the Egyptian names. The fifth king, Sethenes, should be Senethes. The sixth king, Chaires, is evidently moved. In the Egyptian documents they are followed by Neferkerie and Neferkasokar, which undoubtedly correspond to the seventh and eighth of the epitome, Nephercheres and Sesochris, in place of Nepherchesochris. For Sesoj we should have Sisois or Titoes and variants in Greek. It is impossible to read the next two names, the sixth is Chaires, and the ninth Cheneres. While it is certain that the first king of the Third Dynasty, Necherophes, Nechorophes, Necherochis, Nacherochis, must be corrected to Nebcheres. And the Memphite king of Eratosthenes, Momcheiri?!

From the comparison it is clear in what desperate conditions we received the work of Manetho through his compilers; and how, therefore, it is dangerous to continue to embrace the Egyptian chronology within those bottlenecks.

The contrast is even more jarring for the Third Dynasty. The list of Saqqara before Senfore gives us: Soser (12), Soser-it (13), then Nebkerie (14) moved here by mistake, as we said above - then Ahjinaj (15). That of Abydos: Soser (16), Ateti (17), Hudjefa (18, badly written zss) and Neferkerie (19) of the mid Second Dynasty, missed in its rightful place.

The same four kings given in the canon:

Column 3

Farina hieroglyphs

Col. III

5King Soserre[igned] years 19, month 1lived years …
6Soser [Ato]te[years] [months] 6lived years …
7Husofereigned years 6, months 1+x, days 1+x
8Ahjinajreigned years 24...

It is evident that the Nebkerie of Saqqara is there by mistake; because both the canon and Abydos agree to place it at the end of the Second Dynasty, where Saqqara has no such thing. It is also evident that Nefrkerie of Abydos was placed in the Third Dynasty by mistake; because the canon and Saqqara both agree on the middle of the Second Dynasty, not present in Abydos. The agreement of two witnesses is at the expense of the third.

However, there is also the Westcar papyrus! In this collection of strange tales supposedly recited to Pharaoh Cheops and referring to the times of his predecessors, the series of kings appears to be: Soser, Nebko, Senfore. Now, a purely literary text cannot embody an official document like the canon; and it is strange that a historian such as Edward Meyer has let himself be persuaded. The same story, prophesying the advent of Wesrkoef, says that between Cheops and him, there is a son, a nephew and then Wesrkoef. Instead there are six kings between them, not even counting the generations. It is false that Wesrkoef is the brother of his two successors. Therefore, I cannot reverse Nebko's position due to the historical ignorance of the storyteller! For the Third Dynasty of Manetho we have the complete list of Africanus with nine kings; Eusebius quotes the first two, omitting the rest, reducing them to six.

So the nine of the Fourth Dynasty passed him by, and Suphis-Cheops is the third and not the second to him.

The Greek tradition appears certain from this point. We all agree in identifying Soser with the second king of Africanus, Tosorthros (Eusebius, less correct, Sesorthros, Eratosthenes, Gosormies). I cannot explain why the name use the –thros ending. His successor, Soser-atote is recognizable in the sixth king, Tosertasis. The third king of the Egyptian lists, Husofe, is the fifth of Africanus, Soiphis (variant Soyphis) and, perhaps the fifth of Eratosthenes, misspelled as Anoyphis. The last, Ahjinaj, is the seventh, Aches. The reigns for Tyreis is 7 years, for Mesochris, 17 years, for Sephuris, 30 years, for Kerpheres, 26 years, the third, fourth, eighth and ninth of Africanus, should be relegated to the imaginary realm.

For the first three dynasties there are 22 kings (8 + 10 + 4) compared to 26 of the Greek epitome (8 + 9 + 9).

We also have the possibility to check, albeit with a certain approximation, the data of the canon and offer it to the aforementioned annals of the Fifth Dynasty. As Borchardt reconstructedt them, we would have two long reigns in the second line; six in the third line; five in the fourth line; six in the fifth line. The first eight represent the eight kings of the First Dynasty; the other eleven correspond to the ten of the Second (according to my proposal) plus Zoser. The sixteen and a half years that Borchardt assigns to the last king of the fifth line may represent the 19 years that the canon gives to that king. In the sixth line on the Palermo Stone, there is the reign of Senfore; returned to its place at the beginning, there remains 30 years and 7 months for the Third Dynasty, according to the canon. Nor is it fair to believe that, because the First dynasty of Manetho corresponds to the second and third lines, the Second Dynasty must correspond to the fourth and fifth lines. First of all, as we have seen, the canon begins with Marebjajpen II, and he is at the middle of the third line. The Fourth Dynasty begins with Senfore whose reign is not at the beginning of the sixth line. Worse still, it would create a king, the eleventh, which is completely unknown to the Greek and Egyptian lists. For these reasons, I think that this is Zoser.

According to the annals, the duration of the dynasties would be a minimum of 246 years for the First; 265 for the Second; and for the Third, according to the canon, 49 years and 8 months.

The sums transcribed in the epitome are respectively: 252 (253), 302, 214; those obtained by uniting the posts of the individual kings vary. I do not think it is worth wasting time trying to make them agree.

I would have liked to look for the names that the Egyptian tradition of the Eighteenth Dynasty referred to correspond to those on monuments; but this task seems to be outside the papyrus and it is up to history; I hope to discuss them there.

The Fourth and Fifth dynasties

After Ahjinaj, the group in which the canon divided the kings continues with ten other names, from line 9 to 18 of the third column. Beginning at the nineteenth line, a dynasty with 7 kings, the last of which is Wenjos; in total 17 kings. The names have unfortunately been lost, up to and including line 12; except for xa-sign ḫꜤj at line 12, and kA-sign kꜢ at line 17. In the list of Abydos there are 14 (nos. 20-33) and 17 in that of Saqqara (nos. 16-32), as many as in the canon. However, proceeding to their comparison, a problem arises. Saqqara has left out pharaoh Naweserre after no. 29, so the kings would be 18. Due to the fibers and especially the recto it is impossible to insert a line, as Meyer did in his reconstruction. On the other hand, it does not seem to be possible to challenge the reconstruction of the Saqqara list, based on the well-known succession of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth dynasties. We are unable to say why the list of Saqqara suppressed such a famous pharaoh as Naweserre, and inserted another completely unknown.

Let us have the canon with the names returned:

Farina hieroglyphs

Col. III

9King Senforeyears24
10 (Ḫawwofwe)23
11 (Setwefrie)8
12 Ḫaw[efrie]10 + x
13 (Menkowrie)...
14 (Šepseskoef)18
15 ...4
16 ...2
17King [Wesr]koef7
18 (Sahwrie)12
19King (Nefrkarie) reigned...
20 (Šepseskerie)7
21 (Nefrefrie)x + 1
22 (Nawserrie)11 + 3 or 4 (or 21+)
23 Menkowhor8
24 Set(kerie)28
25 Wenjos30
26Total of the reigns from Menes up to [Wenjos years...]

All Egyptian and Greek lists agree to King Hawefre succeeding Menkowrie, and not placing him on line 13 would be ridiculously absurd. As for Sepseskoef, his close connection with Menkowrie from Sepsesptah's biography, who spent his childhood in the court of the latter and his youth in that of the former (Urk. I, 51). It would be absurd if we were to insert another king with 18 years of reign between the two, as Meyer and others do. The king also built the grandiose pyramid of Dahsur, now called Mastabat-el-Faraun; and a too short reign is not convenient. The two kings of lines 15 and 16 were evidently usurpers, of whom there is no mention in the inscriptions referring to this time.

In the canon, the Fourth Dynasty would start with Nefererkerie. Here again we have contrast with the tales of the Westcar papyrus, which also presents Wesrkoef, Sahwrie and Nefererkerie as brothers; while it turns out that the second is the son of the first and the son-in-law of Menkowrie.

In the epitome of Manetho, according to Africanus, there are 8 Memphite kings which make up the Fourth Dynasty and 9 from Elephantine, the Fifth. Soris is undoubtedly Senfore. The two Suphis that follow - Saophis in Eratosthenes - are equivalent to Cheops and Chephren (or Chabryes) of other writers, which are more recent phonetic variants. Besides Mencheres you have Mycherinos and Mencherinos. The Greek lists have forgotten Setwefre, unless you want to find it moved and incorrect in Ratoises, reading Tatophres. In the same way you could proceed to Sebercheres, changing it into Sepsescheres, so all would be satisfied! The two that remain, Bicheris and Thampthis would represent usurpers; but it is impossible to find the Egyptian forms from their names!

In the Fifth Dynasty the only exact ones are Nephercheres and Onnos; to which, with slight corrections of consonants, are added: Sephres, Tancheres, Rathures; and, notwithstanding the false ending, Usercheres, and Mencheres. However, Chaires and Sisires are incomprehensible, so much so that both are corrupted.

In Eusebius the Fourth Dynasty is Memphite and embraces 17 kings, of which the third is Suphis-Cheops, and extends to Onnos (8 + 9). As for the canon, the Sixth Dynasty is the Fifth. An error or a more ancient tradition? Difficult to decide.

Africanus assigns 274 years (277) to the Fourth Dynasty, 248 to the Fifth; the individual items add up to 254, 218; Eusebius counts 448. By making up the missing figures as best we can, we are led to believe that it is probable, at least to consider, 93 for the Fourth, 125 for the Fifth, validated by some well-known biographical data (Urk. I 166 bis; 51). The annals do not give us anything certain for this time. At the end of column III the papyrus offer a summation of the reigns, from Menes to Wenjos, now lost; but which has to be: “years 768” as we will see later. Africanus instead gave 1294!

from the Sixth to Twelfth dynasties

Column IV contains 27 lines: the first fourteen have names of kings; the next four contain summations, from line 19, another 9 names.

Even here, unfortunately, there are serious gaps can only be redressed partially. Six kings following Wenjos in the list of Abydos (Nos. 34-39), whose sequence is secure from the monuments. Saqqara mentions only 4 (Nos. 33-36). We rely on these elements to complete the missing parts of the canon:

Column 4

Farina hieroglyphs

col. IV

1[King Atotereigned years...]621
2<Wesrkerie>[reigned years...]
3<Marerie>reigned years20
4<Mernerie>reigned years[1]4
5<Nefrkerie>reigned years90 (+x)
6<Mernerie>reigned years11
15[Total] kings reigned [of this court: 14, which makes years:] 181,
16[mo]nths: 6, days: 3, lacuna: 6, total [years]: 1[87, months: 6, days: 3. Total] kings
17[from] Meni the kings the years and the lacuna [they make years: 94]9, days: 15, and a lacuna of years: 6.
18Total [years of their reign] 955, days 1[5].

Four kings remain to be identified. According to our manuscript, the present dynasty is the Fifth. It includes fourteen kings, who reigned 181 and a half years. The reinstatement of the missing letters in lines 15-18 are what the context wants and according to the traces of some signs. The estimated sum from Menes up to this period is 955 years and 15 days.

In the Greek lists there is the usual disarray. The kings are reduced to six by Africanus. The first, Othoës (variant Othoes), must be identified with Atothis of the monuments. He skipped Userkerie, who follows him according to Abydos. The name occurs on a seal in the Berlin museum (No. 20396) and I see no reason to raise doubts about its existence. The reign was ephemeral and perhaps illegitimate, since contemporary biographies has no mention of it. Instead, as second in the list, Africanus marks Phios, which in Egyptian is Pjope, the personal name of King Marerie. The third, Methusuphis, corresponds in hieroglyphics to a word, the reading of which is uncertain. The special form of a falcon with which the name begins could be read before the epithet of the god; but we are too far from the Greek transcription and it is not satisfactory. We can formulate a hypothesis.

Among the places where he was venerated, is one known as Mensew. Now I think that as for another city Hebnew, where there was an similar cult, with the epithet Hebnewej “That of Hebnew” attached to the god, so from that the adjective Mensewej “That of Mensew” was formed, which fits the Methu of Africanus. Hence I would read the name Mensuemzuf as “Mensewej protects him”. The fourth king, another Piops, with different Greek orthography, is placed so as to distinguish the two kings. I believe the Apappus reading by Eratosthenes is incorrect, caused by confusing the similar Egyptian personal name, Apope, better rendered Apophis in Greek. The fifth king, labelled as the third, but here differentiated into Menthesuphis, more in keeping with my proposed reading. The last one on the list, Nitocris, corresponds to the eleventh of the canon and therefore four intermediate kings and three others skipped, including Jebe, whose tomb was recently found. Nitocris would have been a queen. This name recurs in the subsequent centuries in the form Nitoqre, where the second element is an adjective. The canon seems to have written Niteqorte, replacing the adjective with the third person singular female of the permissive. It may be that the well-distinguished j is an reading error for the "papyrus roll", whose signs in hieratic are virtually the same. However, we have no way of deciding one way or the other.

Eusebius puts Othoes at the head of his Fifth Dynasty that embraces thirty-one kings from Elephantine: but he limits himself to mentioning only Piops, the fourth. For the Sixth (he does not indicate provenance nor number), only mentioning Nitocris; but assigns 203 years of reign, the same number according to Africanus.

We will attribute the first six sovereigns to the Sixth Dynasty; the next eight to the Seventh, including queen Nitoqre of Eusebius.

The sum of the epitome is at this point 1497, and no magic can bring it to the modest 955 of the canon.

At line 19 of column IV of the canon, we begin another section that reaches up to line 4 of the following column; but it is better to go to line 18, where we have another sum:

Column 4

Farina hieroglyphs

Column 5

Farina hieroglyphs

col. IV

19King ..[reigned years …]
20 ...[reigned years …]
21       Nefrkerie[reigned years …]
22       Agtoj[reigned years …]
23       Setwet[reigned years …]
24       Agtoj[reigned years …]
25       Mer…[reigned years …]
26       Set[reigned years …]
27       He...[reigned years …]

col. V

1.....[reigned years …] month 1 + x
2.....[reigned years …]
3.....[reigned years …]
4.....[reigned years …]
5King ...[reigned years …]
6       Nefrkerie...[reigned years …]
7       Agtoj[reigned years …]
8       [Markerie][reigned years …]
9       ...[reigned years …]
10 Total kings 18 [that make years …]
11 King [of the court of …]
12 King...[reigned years …]
13       S[aneḫabrie][reigned years …]
14       Neb[towe]rie[reigned years …] 49
15       <Nebḫpetrie>[reigned years …] 8
16       Nebherwetrie[reigned years …] 51
17       Saneḫkerie[reigned years …] 12
18Total kings 6 that makes years [100 + x, lacuna years] 7: total 142

Unfortunately, it is not possible with the remaining fragments we have today to complete the numerous gaps in the canon. The list of Saqqara, mentioning Neferkerie (n. 36), offer us only the names of Nebḫerwetrie and Saneḫkerie, the first at 46, the second at 45. Their order is inverted, like the other pharaohs between the numbers 36 and 47. Meyer simply reversed his numbering. The Abydos list indicates the sixth king Mernerie Mensuemzuf at no. 59, Nebḫerwetrie at 37, Saneḫkerie at 58, and 17 kings between them. They could be an excerpt of the 32 pharaohs in the canon. The name Neferkerie, in honor of the centenary Pjope II, which many of them have taken, is also found in the canon: but it is impossible to match them. They have not left monuments, apart from Nefrkowhor (No. 55), of which we have some decrees from Abydos (Urk. I 295-304) of his first year of reign. The name of another pharaoh, Waskerie, also occurs in an inscription of this time (Urk. I 305).

For Agtoj, mentioned on lines 22 and 24 of the fourth column and on the seventh of the fifth column, we have precisely three known ancient inscriptions: but there is no way of specifying the time in which they lived. One has the vague impression that they are arranged in this order: Wahkerie Agtoj (I), Marabrie Agtoj (II), Nebkow Agtoj (III). However, the reasons are too tenuous to consider. Restoring the name Markerie to line 8 of the fifth column is however historically safe.

Despite the fact that the kings of this section are divided into two groups (the Sixth and Seventh dynasties of the canon), the sum was given at the end of line 10 and unfortunately the loss of this total is the most regrettable for the chronology and we will have to return later.

The heading on line 11 undoubtedly gave the name of the royal family, of Armant or Thebes (the Eight Dynasty of the canon).

To complete the gap we have several elements. The fifth king is the pharaoh Nebhpetrie Menthotpe, because we find him associated in the temple of Deir el-Bahri. Traces of a part of the name on line 14 (column V), a neb- or a towe, authorize us to place pharaoh Nebtowerie Menthotpe here. Line 13 shows the upper part of the s: so the name of Saneḫabtowe seems certain. The sign that stands at the beginning of the previous royal cartouche is not decipherable.

From the list of Karnak (Urk. IV, 608) we know that Enjotef, a nomarch whose name is not written in a royal cartouche and therefore did not actually reign, headed the early Thebans of this period. His successors were: Hor Tep-aj Menthotpe; another Enjotef, whose title of Hor according to a monument discovered by Vandier in Tôd was Sahretowe and a third Enjotef, whose title has disappeared, but it should probably be returned Wahoneḫ, known from other inscriptions. This was followed, according to an inscription published by Pier, and a stele from the British Museum (No. 1203): Nahtnebtepnofre Enjotef, and his son, Saneḫabtowe Menthotpe. This is what we find in line 13, and we can therefore assume Nabtnebtepnofre Enjotef in line 12. The other Thebans were probably only local rulers and not listed in the canon. Therefore, we can return the names of the six kings with some certainty.

Their duration was 135 years, plus seven of anarchy, for total of 142 years. If we give Saneḫabtowe Menthotpe the 14 years that appear in one of his stelae (British Museum No. 1203), a year would remain for the first.

Now we can turn to examine the data that the epitome has transmitted to us. The historical period we are dealing with corresponds to the Seventh through Eleventh Dynasties of Manetho. According to Africanus, the Seventh Dynasty was composed of 70 Memphite kings who reigned for 70 days: according to Eusebius, five kings reigned 75 days (or a second variant, 75 years). We have no trace of this in the canon. It probably indicate years of anarchy, which in this case amounted to six. The figure 70 kings for 70 days is in any case suspect, due to the artificial character. It could instead be that the five kings in 75 days are more corresponding to reality.

The Eight Dynasty according to Africanus is Memphite and include 27 kings for 146 years. The figures are obviously incorrect. The figure of Eusebius, 5 Memphite kings for 100 years, is closer to the truth. We could make them correspond to kings of lines 19-23 in column IV. Achthoes, who begins the Ninth Dynasty would then be the second of this name that occurs in the canon, namely in line 24. Eusebius place 4 kings in the Ninth Dynasty, to whom he again assigns 100 years, which would correspond to the end of column IV; while the 19 Heracleopolitans of Africanus with their 409 years are obviously corrupt. The same figure of 19 Heracleopolitans and 185 years, repeated for the Tenth Dynasty by both authors and to put them in agreement with the canon, we must correct it to the Ninth. So too are the numbers of the Eleventh Dynasty incorrect, as we have 16 Diospolites for 43 years, instead of 6 for 142 years, as our text expressly says.

The 740-years figure of Africanus, even reduced by almost half according to Eusebius, is absurd for 19 sovereigns, of which the tenth and last reigned only a few months without leaving any traces. If we consider an average of 85 years for the 9 kings of the Tenth Dynasty; about 28 for the 4 of the Ninth; 33 for the 5 of the Eight, the total will not be too far from reality.

Now let us return to the canon. From line 19 of column V to line 3 of column VI, we have a new dynasty.

Column 5

Farina hieroglyphs

Column 6

Farina hieroglyphs

col. V

19[King of] the court of Itjtowe
20[King Sahte]pab[rie]reigned[years2]9

col. VI

1Maḫrowriereigned years9months3days27
2Nofrusebkriereigned years3months10days24
3Total kings of the Court [of Itjtowe] 8, which is years 213, months 1, days 19

The canon agrees with the two lists. Saqqara gives eight kings from number 37 to 44, still in reverse order like the previous ones; Abydos omits the last name, the queen Nofrusebkrie (sic) where they go from 59 to 65. We know another sovereign who has to be in this dynasty, Awabrie Hor. What makes it necessary to place him here is the fact that some objects found in his tomb in Dahshur bear the seal of Lamarie. Until another pharaoh is found, apart from Amenemhee III, who also bears that prenomen, we must consider Hor as a member of that family, perhaps a brother. It is not even hard to justify his exclusion from the canon. He could have died just a few days after the appointment as co-regent with his father. His brother will have buried him with regal honors; but for sake of brevity, not reported.

It would appear from line 21 that the canon indicated the maximum age for the individual kings and in the final sum deduced the periods of reigns to two; since that is less than the figure that is obtained by adding the items.

The Greek epitome reduced the pharaohs to seven Diospolites; because the first was affixed at the end of the Eleventh Dynasty and thus ended the first volume of Manetho. The reading Ammenemes is correct; the form of Eratosthenes, Stammenes, presents a merged prenomen and nomen, and should be corrected to Stammenemes, incorrectly repeated later for the second Amenemhet.

The head of the dynasty then was Ḫeperkerie Zanwosre (I), whom Africanus called Sesonchosis. The name is better rendered Sesostris; but there are also contracted forms in Sesoosis (variant Sesosis); or altered, as in the present case, perhaps due to the influence of the other royal name, Sosenqe (= Sesonchosis). The second pharaoh is called Ammanemes, only to distinguish him from the first, with a slight alteration, a procedure already noted for others. Pliny (H. N., XXXVI 74) knew a Nencoreus “son of Sesosidis” which is no other than Amenemhee II, indicated, more conforming to the Egyptian use, from the prenomen, Nebkowrie. It would be very useful to determine from which source the author acquired this information. The Sesostris that follows is in place of two with the same name, the second and third. To reach the number of seven, the epitome doubled Amenemhet (III), once as Lachares (to be corrected Lamares, according to the variants Lamaris, Labaris, Mares) and as his successor Amares, which is the prenomen of king Lamare. Exact is instead the position of Amenemes as the seventh of our canon. The dynasty closes with the name of a queen. In the latest Egyptian lists, she is Nofrusebkrie, “The beauty of Sobek-re” but on her own monuments, Nofrusebksetite, “The beauty of Sobek of Crocodilopolis”. Manetho, misunderstood the hieroglyphic sign of the god, placed in front out of respect, must have transcribed Schemnophris incorrectly; which Africanus later rendered as Schemiophris. Here too the tradition is far from correct.

The poorly transmitted figures that the epitome assigns to the duration of the Twelfth Dynasty are only correct regarding the 4 years of the queen. The global sum in Africanus is 160; in Eusebius 245, while adding the individual figures result in 142!

The Thirteenth and Fourtenth dynasties

From the Thirteenth Dynasty onwards, the canon is the only remaining source for the succession of the pharaohs since the lists of Abydos and Saqqara completely omit this period and immediately pass to the Eighteenth. Karnak preserve some names, but the incompleteness and disorder is of no chronological use. Each fragment, though minimal, of our papyrus has an exceptional value in this part.

In the canon as a whole, all the sovereigns, from line 5 of column VI to line 13 of column X, are referred to as kings that followed Sahtepabrie (Amenemhee I). They are divided into twelve subgroups, by an unknown criterion. The epitome of Manetho, on the other hand, distribute them in five dynasties, when they are in agreement with the document, must remain the basis of any classification. Not even the Greek compilers have given up a specified list for this period; they merely refer to the number of kings and the sum per dynasty. It is understood that the information often disagree and must be subjected to scrutiny.

The Thirteenth Dynasty of Diospolis were 60 kings according to Africanus and Eusebius, and the Fourteenth Dynasty of Xois were 76 kings. According to Africanus and Josephus, six Hyksos Kings, who constitute the Fifteenth Dynasty, follow them. According to Africanus, the Sixteenth Dynasty were 32 Hyksos kings and the Seventeenth Dynasty were 43 Hyksos, and as many Thebans reigning contemporaneously. Eusebius differs from the others, indicating the Fifteenth Dynasty as Diospolites, without specifying the number of kings; the Sixteenth also of Thebes with five or eight kings and the Seventeenth of Hyksos, of which he mentions four names, and not the total number.

The canon places the Hyksos on line 15 of column XII and in the preceding line; it indicated the sum of the years of reign up to them. The names are 126 in total, not too far from the 136 that the epitome attributes to the Thirteenth and Fourteenth dynasties combined. To maintain the division of Manetho we could assign the Thirteenth Dynasty thus:

  • 11 pharaohs in column VI, from line 5 to 15;
  • 14 from line 16 up to line 2 of the next column;
  • 29 ranging from line 3 of column VII to line 3 of column VIII.

We would thus have 54 kings, instead of the 60 of the epitome. The Fourteenth Dynasty would thus contain:

  • 16 pharaohs of column VIII, from line 4 to line 19;
  • 30 from line 20 up to line 19 of the next column;
  • 26 from line 20 of column IX to line 13 of column X.

This group include 72 kings against the 76 of the epitome. One can imagine that Manetho had originally formed a group of 60 and another of 66 but due to a mistake in copying it became 76.

Let us now examine the text of the relevant passages.

Column 6

Farina hieroglyphs

Column 7

Farina hieroglyphs

Column 8

Farina hieroglyphs

col. VI

4 King [that came] after King Sehotepibre LPH
5 Ḫewwowerie[re]igned years2months 3days 24
6 Saḫmkerie Amenenheesenbefyears<5>lacunayears 6
7 Amenemheeyears3 (+x)..
8 Sahtepabrie[year]1
9 Afnaj...
10 Saheḫabrie...
11 Semnkerie...days 4
12 Sahtepabrie...days 4
13 Suskerie...days 6
14 Nesmabrie.months 1+x...
15 Sebkhotpe son of Men[thotpe]...days 2+x
16 King Rinesonbespentmonths 4
17 Awetabrie..... 9
18 Sesefkerieyears.....
19 Ḫewwtowesaḫmrie Sebkhotpeyears.....
20 Wesr[ke]rie Ḫenseryears.....
21 Semneḫkerie Emremese.....
22 [Senfer]ke[rie].....
23 [Ke]seth[rie].....
24 [Sustowe]saḫmrie Sebkhotpeyears3[months] 2
25 Ḫa[saḫem]rie Nefrhotep son of Haanḫefyears11
26 Zihathoryears.days 3
27 Ḫanofrurie Sebkhotpe.....

col. VII

1Ḫahotprieyears 4months 8days 29
2Wahabrie Jaibyears 10months 8days 18
3King Mernofrurieyears 13months 8days 18
4Marhotprieyears 2months 2days 9
5Saneḫenrie Snobteyears 3months 2
6Mersekhemrie Jenteyears 3month 1days 1+x
7Suskerie Herweyear 1.....days 8
8Marnesmrie Ha...years 2.....days 4
9...............days 11
10...............days 3+x
14[Neb]maarie Jibe.....
15[Nefr]webnrie Hor.....

col. VIII

1Nhoseyears ....days 3
2Ḫacḫerwetrieyears ....days 3
3Nebfeewrieyears 1months 5days 15

Two names in column VI (lines 15 and 26) are malformed, with the addition of a -re element they do not have. Some rulers are already known from other monuments. The first hold the personal name Wegjof. The second, a papyrus of Kahun (pl. IX, 9) offers the date of year 5. Ḫahotpre (VII, I) and another Sebkhotpe. Marnofrurie (line 3) and an Ay; Merhotpre (line 4), Sebkhotpe; Mar[onḫ]rie (line 21) and Menthotpe; Merkowrie (line 23) also Sebkhotpe.

Column 8

Farina hieroglyphs

Column 9

Farina hieroglyphs

Column 10

Farina hieroglyphs

Col. 8

4KingSahebriereignedyears 3months ...[days] 21 (+x)
5Marsoferieyears 3.....
6Suskerie years 1.....         23
7Nebsoferieyears 1          22
8Webnrie years .               4         27
9.....years 1               1 (+x)         21 (+x)
10...soferieyears .               4.....
11...webnrie.....               3
12Awetabrie.....lacunadays 18
13Herabrie (LPH!).....          29
14Enbosenmonths 5days 20   lacuna
15S...rie.....         21 (+x)
16Saḫperenrieyears .               2         1 (+x)
17Setḫrowrieyears .               2         20 (+x)
18Saneḫkerie         19
19...nefrtemrie.....         18
20Saḫm[ke]riereignedmonths ...
21Kamenmenwetrieyear sic...
22Nefrabrieyears ...
23E...rie (LPH!)years ...

Col. IX

1...rie...[days] 18
2.....months 2[days] 26 ... the god ...
19Hepe[years ... months ... days ...]
25.....[rie].....[rie].....[rie] son of ........
29...Hepe.....[rie] 'anate.....[rie] Beblom.....[rie].....

Col. X

9Nesensebk sew........
14 [Total kings x] they made [years ... months ... days ... lacuna ...]

In this section concerning the Fourteenth Dynasty, the kings are almost all unknown from other sources. The Apopi of column IX line 16 is certainly Egyptian. A Hyksos king with the same name also assumed an indigenous name. One might think that Apope somehow favored their entry into the country, calling on them as his auxiliaries in civil struggles and thus earned his gratitude. Two Canaanites, instead, are ‘Anati and Beblom in lines 30 and 31. The name of the first is found in the Hebrew ‘anat (Amarna, Anati); the second presents the well-known Semitic ending –am/-om. Manetho relates the advent of foreigners with the pharaoh Tutimaios, or a Setmose, which must be identified. We know two of them. In the canon, the first is in line 13 of column VII and belongs to the Thirteenth Dynasty. The second could be mentioned on line 9 of column IX, and therefore the first name should be completed Sethotpre. In this case, another mutilated name starting with Set... that appears on line 27 of column VIII would be Setonḫrie Mentemzuf.

The Hyksos

According to the canon, they formed a dynasty of their own, corresponding to the Fifteenth, which resided in Avaris, as stated by Egyptian sources. Some of their elements could already have infiltrated at the end of the Fourteenth Dynasty and perhaps these barbarians remained in the eastern corner of the Delta, until King Ahmose of the Eighteenth drove them away. Nevertheless, six of them must have reigned as rulers throughout the country and willingly or not, recognized successors of the then missing national rulers.

Their capital was east of the Bubastite (or Pelusiac) arm, at the confluence of the Psetkew canal, in the Sethroite nome (corrupted in Armenian Eusebius as Methraite). It is not identifiable with Pelusiac, nor with Piramesse, or Tanis, as it has been affirmed without any foundation in the past. It may have been near today's Es-Salhia.

As is well known, regarding the Hyksos we are informed to some extent of a passage from Manetho, roughly interpolated, that Josephus quotes in the polemic Against Apion (I, 14). Their kings: first Salatis, for 19 years; then Beon, for 44 years; third Apachnas, for 36 and a half years; fourth, Apophis, 61 years; fifth Jannas or Janias, 50 years; finally 49 years for Asses or Aseth.

The epitome is very different. Africanus gives the following series: Saites, 19 years; Bnon (variants Beon, Buon) 44 years; Pachnan, 61; Staan, 50; Archles, 49; Aphobis, 61.

Eusebius, perhaps misinterpreted Josephus, moved the Hyksos to the Seventeenth Dynasty: Saites, 19 years; Bnon, 40; Aphophis, 14; Archles 30. In the Armenian version, Aphophis became the last and Archles the penultimate.

Syncellus reports another list that goes back to the Book of Sothis: Silites, 19 years; Baion, 44; Apachnas, 36; Aphophis, 61; Sethos 50; Kertos 33 and then As[s]eth, 20 years.

In his History, Manetho suggested the name Hyksos was an etymology of Hyk- in the sacred (literary) language means “king”; -sos, in the spoken language “shepherd”; hence “Shepherd king”. In fact, the two words are found in ancient Egyptian in the forms hiq “king” and sos “nomad”; but, as far as we know, a similar compound never appears in the inscriptions. Griffith, first proposed a different explanation, linking the word to a title that recurs in front of names on scarabs: ḥiḳ-ḫos “king of a foreign country”, at the Ptolemaic age indeed pronounced hiksos (PSBA, XIX, 1897, p. 297). The canon confirm this brilliant hypothesis, as it use that title.

Significantly, this indicate princes of Syria, as shown by Sinuhe's account of the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty. The names of the people and those of their divinities, which are the only elements available to us, suggest that the invaders from that place departed and confirmed the qualification of “Phoenicians” as Africanus undoubtedly derived from Manetho.

The canon confirm six Hyksos kings; but unfortunately, the passage is full of lacunae. We can barely read the prenomen of the last king: Ḫemete, determined by the sign of the boomerang, which in Egyptian means foreigners. No such ruler is given in any of the lists, unless one wants to find him, very corrupt, in Kertos (from Khentos).

The individuals who carry the actual title Hyksos in the Egyptian inscriptions, which we mentioned above, are three: Heranat, Semqon and Ḫajjan. Of these, only the last one used a cartouche and the pharaonic protocol with the prenomen Suserenrie. Many recognize him as Jannas (Janias and Staan) and, having nothing better so far, I would not be averse to accepting the identity.

Apophis is equivalent to the Egyptian name Apope, as already said, and we know three distinct ones from different prenomens: ‘Awesrrie ‘Aqnenrie, Nebḫopsrie. The former reigned more than 33 years, and for chronological reason, cannot be included among the Hyksos. The second I would place on line 16 of column IX, because he appears as lord of the country from reused monuments. If, as I think, there is a link between the two, the symmetry of the prenomens should also be noted. The third can be identified for archaeological reasons as the prince of Avaris who attacks pharaoh Tao at the end of the Seventeenth Dynasty.

The epitome indicates two dynasties composed of Hyksos and parallel to the national ones; of course, the papyrus of Turin give only this one. King Herja’aqob should belong to them according to every appearance; since his name is composed like that of the Hyksos Her’anat; ‘ammi and Jaom of Canaanite origin and last Apope III.

Recently Dr. Borchardt[15] mentioned a genealogy of a Memphite priest, in which, beside the ancestors, the pharaohs under whom they lived are often indicated. One was indeed a contemporary of Apope and his predecessor named Šrk. Steindorff made the hypothesis that the name should be read Šalak and therefore corresponds to the first Hyksos king, corrected to Salakis in the manuscripts of the epitome. The hypothesis is seductive. In this way, we would have returned the entire Fifteenth Dynasty and until other documents come to illuminate our darkness, we will remain satisfied with the result.

The duration of the six Hyksos was, according to the canon, 108 years. There are also four figures for the first kings: 13 years, 18 years and 2 months; 10 (+ x); 40 (+ x); the last ones reigned for a maximum of 26 years, depending on the amount of x that could be added to the 10 and 40. Josephus attribute to them 259 years and 10 months; Africanus 284; Eusebius, 103, because he reduced them to four; the Book of Sothis, 254 years. Thanks to the reconstruction of the papyrus, this serious problem of Egyptian chronology is finally settled.

Here is the text and the translation of the passage:

Column 10

Farina hieroglyphs

Col. X

15[Hyksos...reignedyears 1]3 [months ... days ...]
16[Hyksos...[years 1]8               2 ...
17[Hyksos...[years 10 (+x) ...
18<Hyksos Apope>[years 40 (+x) ...
19<Hyksos Ḫajjan>[years ...]
20[Hyksos] Ḫemete>[years ...]
21[Total Hyk]sos 6 make the years 108 [months ... days ...]

The names that are given are the ones that I think are certain, for various reasons; the others I have proposed only have a high probability.

The Sixteenth and Seventeenth dynasties

Just below the midpoint of column X at line 22 is a section of nine kings; and another ten kings from the last line 31, up to line 9 of column XI. Also a third from line 10 to 14, of five kings, for which the particular sum in line 15 was given; the fourth, incomplete, seems to go from line 16 to 30; the last consist of five other kings, from line 31 to 35. In all, 44 pharaohs. It is not clear how to proceed with the division into dynasties. The Sixteenth can be recognized in the nine kings of column X following Eusebius, if he indeed indicated eight; and insert the remainder in the Seventeenth. It is a simple formal question of no importance. The scribe decided as already noted in truncating the Seventeenth, and therefore at least the four kings that close it are missing: Sḫentenrie, Senḫetenrie, Seqnenrie Tio, Wasḫoprrie Kamose.

Meanwhile we give the text and translation:

Column 10

Farina hieroglyphs

Column 11

Farina hieroglyphs

Col. X

22[King.....reignedyears ...]
24...towe          ...
25Sekteyears ...
26erqmee            ...
31King.....reigned[years ...]

Col. XI

1...saḫmrieyears 3
2...saḫmrieyears [1]6
3...saḫmrieyears 1
4Saneḫ[en]rieyears 1
5Nebereaweyears 6
6Nebereawe                       months ...
7Semnneferrieyears ...
8Suserenrieyears 12     lacuna   days ...
9Sestwoissaḫmrieyears ...
10...rie[reignedyears ...]
15[Total] kings 5 they did [years ...]
16KingWesr...rie[reignedyears ...]
31King.....reigned[months] 2
32.....years 2
33.....years 4
34...Saheb[rie]years 3
35...webnrieyears 2

One could try to integrate some of the names; but there is a lack of sufficient data. King Sekte should be integrated with the ideogram as shown on his scarab (Br. Mus. 37668). Those of line 5 and 6 (column XI) must be corrected by inserting a jr before the entry wj.w, which had already been reduced to e- for some time and eliminating the word -re, introduced mechanically here by the scribe, as we saw in other cases. The first of the two kings had the prenomen Susenrie, as it turns out from a recently found deed of sale (Cairo n. 52453).

I have deliberately neglected to examine the problem concerning the duration of the Thirteenth to Seventeenth dynasties, because it was essential to have all the necessary elements to discuss it.

The chronological position of the Eighteenth and Twelfth dynasties determined with relative certainty, because we have two texts that mention on what day the star Sirius, the Egyptian Sothis, rose. To obtain good precision, it is not enough to count cyclically four years for each day that the star moves away from the Egyptian New Year's Eve, but to proceed with astronomical calculations. I have used the doctrine of Prof. Dr. P. V. Neugebauer of the Rechen-Institut of Berlin, who has studied the question of the so-called “Sothic period” in depth, pointing out important and decisive new elements; and I am deeply grateful for the exquisite courtesy given me.

The first of the documents is a calendar that written on the back of the Ebers medical papyrus. A lot has been said about it, and it is worthwhile to deal with it a little. The ancient Egyptian year is known, in theory it began with the heliacal elevation of Sirius (Sothis), which, around 3350 BC at the latitude of Memphis (hypothesis of the 9º arc of vision), it took place mostly July 16th and coincided with a terrestrial phenomenon of great importance, the inundation of the Nile. The year was counted as only 365 days; then, after a four-year period, Sirius showed up on the following day. Having fixed a month of 30 days, the Egyptians did not bother to follow the phases of the moon; so with their year they gave up following Sirius and kept it a convenient convention. However, since it is useful to know how the three mobile seasons corresponded to the natural ones, the day of the appearance of Sirius that defined them was kept in the calendar and distinct from the start of the common year, or “the first (day) of the year”, with the name “the (day) starting the year.”

The disturbance was essentially small; because in the average life of a man, about sixty years, the star moved half a month. On the contrary, the insertion of an intercalary day, in a country without an era, was impossible and even when it was introduced in 238 BC, Ptolemy III Euergetes I, it immediately dropped into disuse.

In Egyptian documents, whenever it is the year in general, it is supposed to be the year in which Sirius appears at the start of the year. For example, in the Ebers papyrus we find recipes that are used from the first to the second month of the second season (p. LXI, 1, 15); others, from the third to the fourth month (ib., 1, 5) and belong to that conventional calendar. It was easy to apply the prescriptions to the mobile year, knowing on which day Sirius actually appeared. A key of this kind the scribe of the papyrus believed himself obliged to offer to his readers. He notes that in the year IX of Amenhotpe I, almost certainly the one in which the work was copied, “the (day) starting the year, rise of Sirius” happened on the ninth of the third month of the third season (i.e. in the eleventh month). So far, so good. Except that, because of excess of zeal, he built a chronological chart for the other months and here his wisdom and his attention failed him.

In the first column he indicated some feasts that occurred in the eleven months; in the second, months and seasons and, next to these, repeated eleven times “day 9”; in the third, under “rise of Sirius”, repeated eleven times the large point that corresponds to our quotation marks (= idem).

About the repetetion marks, I agree that there was a distraction; because Sirius did not appear heliacally every day 9! Instead from this last it was inferred that, beyond the calendar year, there was a sacred one, or "Sothic", indicated by the twelve feasts of the first column; whose months in the present case ranged from 9 to 8 of the next. Meanwhile, however, it could not be explained why the scribe had skipped the five complementary days, which are always interspersed between the twelfth and the first month. Here too, another distraction! What’s more, Egyptian texts show that those feasts were celebrated on fixed dates; but with a two month difference to the Ebers calendar.[16]

The festival of Hathor was not on the second month of the year, as indicated, but on the fourth and so on. Another enigma.

Recently prof. Borchardt[17] doubted the reading of “day 9” and proposed instead "day of the new moon”. This interpretation cannot be accepted. The sign for the ninth as the date of the month, identical to this contested one, is found in the papyrus Louvre 3226 (Möller, Paläogr. voi. II pg. 60 no. 664; time of Thutmose III). "New Moon" in the three examples of the papyri of Kahun (Illahun) that he cites (pg. 20 no. 1) have, in his opinion, an n and the ideogram "festival"; without them, the group would read only 9.

We know very little about the origin of the feastivities in the first column; but this is not enough to conclude that they do not represent lunar months, as, based on the impossible reading “day of the new moon", proposed prof. Borchardt, but instead fixed feasts, even if one or two of them were celebrated at the new moon. An almost identical list is found in the tomb of Sonnajmaw (sn-jnj-mw.t) which does not shed any light on this,[18] and even there the first festivity is “the (day) starting the year”. This always happens, when the year considered is the theoretical one or due to improper language. The calendar year begins instead with the feast of the "Birth of the Sun", or "The outward journey of (the god) Hor" referring to the summer solstice. After the Eighteenth Dynasty, some of those festivities were replaced by others more important in Thebes and their sequence shifted by a month; because the change of 1314 BC (July 18) to transfer the "Birth of the Sun" to the twelfth month (June 12 – July 11) where the solstice happened (July 5). Not everyone followed the new order; but in the end, it imposed itself. Nevertheless, even at that time they are feasts and not names of months, as stated. Only in this way is it possible to understand why it said: “month ... of the ... season in the (festival of) ...” where “in the (month of) ...” would have no meaning. Which real names of months appear for the first time in the Aramaic papyrus of Elephantine (Persian period) and we do not know if the innovation is of those kings or of the Twenty-seventh Dynasty. Strictly speaking, only from this time we can use the names for months, at most since 1314; for convenience we will extend them even to the previous centuries.

Now back to the conundrum of festive sequences in the Ebers calendar.

Sirius appeared then in the eleventh month. According to the texts in that one “(The exodus of the god) Hentegtaj” was celebrated. In its place, the scribe has put: “The (day) start of the year”. In the following, the 12th, he should have indicated the festival of jp.t-ḥmj.t; instead, deceived by the theoretical series he had learned at school and forgetting the two terms of the year, he placed the tḫj.w, belonging to the second, and moved all the other festivals by two months. We must now use the date of the Ebers for the chronology: in the ninth year of the Amenhotpe O (Nineteenth Dynasty) Sirius rose helically on the ninth of the eleventh month of the Egyptian calendar year. The second document, a papyrus found in Kahun (Illahun): a circular prevents the rising of Sirius from taking place on the 16th of the eighth month of the calendar year. The document was written in the seventh year of an unknown pharaoh in the temple register. It can be deduced that it appeared on July 18, 1877-1876-1875-1874; the seventh year and 1878-1877 (minimum 1875-1874); the first of the kingdom 1884-1883 (minimum 1881-1880). The unnamed pharaoh by Prof. Borchardt was supposed to be Zanwosre III; so that the Twelfth Dynasty, to which he belongs, would end in 1786 (minimum 1783) BC.

A millennium and a half later, in the Greek epitome, the interval would be reduced to just 210 years! This space of time is small indeed. It is not so much the number of kings included, which could have short reigns on average, but the figures given to us by the canon that absolutely oppose this bottleneck. The years of reign preserved in the last three columns are minimal, but even so, the total is greater. In the Thirteenth Dynasty, 28 kings with 74 years remain, and the years of 26 are missing. In the Fourteenth Dynasty, 16 kings with 11 years, and the years of 56 are missing. In the Sixteenth and Seventeenth, 40 years for 10 kings and missing years for 34, over a gap. If we add a minimum of ten years for the last four Theban pharaohs of the Seventeenth Dynasty, and 108 years for the six Hyksos, the remaining 64 kings for 243 years is out of the question. We should also acknowledge that the other 116 pharaohs, for which there are no figures left, could not have reigned!

I am willing to acknowledge that this age was very tumultuous; that many kings appeared on the throne just for some fractions of a year, in that frantic race to the crown. However, the figures are not an opinion, and they have not been lost. To speak of the existence of contemporary kingdoms and dynasties is to ignore the function of the canon completely. At the very least one test would be needed.

There is a way out. Neither of the two heliacal rises can be removed, but it can be disputed that Kahun refers to the reign of Zanwosre III. Paleographically the fragment of the circular, as far as one can judge on Möller’s essays, is on its own and does not resemble the writing of year 6, nor that of the year 9. It could be that several scribes kept the book of the temple, but for us it suffices to note that there is no evidence of identity between dated and undated writings.

The strong historical reasons want to exclude pharaoh Zanwosre III and the only one who, to remain within the framework of the Twelfth Dynasty, should refer to the circular is Amenemhee IV. In my opinion, this opinion of mine would find evidence from another testimony. Among the precious documents of Kahun there is an account from year 30-31 of an unknown pharaoh, where it is clear that the calculation was done on the moons, rather than on months of the Egyptian calendar year:


Two rulers may be involved here: Amenemhee III and Zanwosre III. The calculation of the moons I made for the first king has no real agreement; for the second one it did. In my chronology the two years could correspond for Zanwosre III to 1942-1941 and 1941-1940 (for the four-year period 1939-1938 and 1938-1937); and there may be some fluctuations because the 49 years attributed to Amenemhet III and the 38 years of Zanwosre III are hypothetical, without proof. Of the contemporary moons those that match are in 1938-1937. The dates of the Egyptian calendar year corresponded to the following Julian dates:

day26monthXyear30=12 October 1938 BC
25XII=10 December 1938 BC
20II31=8 February 1937 BC
19IV=7 April 1937 BC
18VI=5 June 1937 BC
17VIII=3 August 1937 BC

The new moon days (at Memphis) are:

1938 BC12 October5 h.Circa
10 December13 h
1937 BC8 February53’
7 April8
5 June6
2 August23

Based on these elements, I would establish the beginning of the reign of Zanwosre in December 1968 BC; that of Amenemhet IV in 1882-81 BC (the year of his death on December 5, 1876 BC); the beginning of the Twelfth Dynasty in 2081 BC, the end at 1869-8 BC.

If the Eighteenth Dynasty began in 1575 BC, we could distribute the 293 years in this way, proportioning them to the missing reigns: the Thirteenth Dynasty 83 years; the Fourteenth Dynasty 33 years; the Sixteenth Dynasty 18 years, and the Seventeenth Dynasty 52 years.

Starting from these dates, we will try to move further back in time to reach Menes. The Tenth Dynasty actually ends around 2224 BC.; according to the canon the first seven dynasties lasted 955 years; to the remaining three, the Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Dynasties, we have assigned, correcting Manetho, almost one hundred and fifty years; so that the beginning of the first dynasty would be just ahead the 3300 BC. This figure could be made more precise. Professor Borchardt, in his already mentioned Annalen, pointed out (p. 53) that some tablets of King Ser Atoe commemorate a rise of Sirius for that date and that it may be related to the festival s.t of the eighth year of the pharaoh, mentioned in the Palermo stone.

It was celebrated every 120 years and, judging from this fact, it would indicate the return of Sirius to the heading of the months. The author thought that the star was then at the beginning of the second; but the 4116 thus obtained could not be reconciled with the chronology, even if approximate, of the successive dynasties. Without so serious consequences, on the other hand, I would suggest that the s.t festival coincide with the first day of the ninth month (Pachon), corresponding to July 16th of 3269-3266 BC., and then Menes would have begun his reign at 3340, the Sixth and Seventh dynasties 955 years later, from 2555 to 2370. Also this figure could be validated by graffiti from the Hatnub quarry (no. 9) which does not contain a Pharaoh's name, but is located below the texts of Pjope II and is paleographically identical to them. The date is: "Second month (Phaophi) the (day) starting the year". Then the star Sirius, to which it refers, appeared on July 17. It remained in that month from 2653 to 2534. The graffito would then belong to the beginning of the reign of Pjope I (2539 BC). Until new finds enlighten us, we will have to be satisfied with this result.

I would like to take the opportunity to propose a few more chronological changes for the period of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth dynasties, which, in a certain way, fall within the scope of the canon.

The first concerns Thutmose III. The date of his advent to the throne varies widely among historians: 1515, 1505, 15o4, 15o3, 1501; however, it can be fixed with absolute certainty. As is well known, in his annals there is mention of two new moons: one on the 21st of month IX (Pachon) of year 23, and the other on the third of month VI (Mechir) of year 24. The calculation shows that :

Year 23 - 21 IX (Pachon) = 12 May 1468 BC. - 11 May at hour 18.

Year 24 - 30 VI (Mechir) = 20 February 1466 BC. 19 February at hour 21.

The date calculated by Mahler for year 24 is impossible; because in 1480 BC the 30. VI (Mechir) corresponds to February 23, and the moon to February 24 at hour 16. The reign of Thutmose III began on 4. IX (Pachon) of 1490 BC on May 1.

The second chronological change concerns the pharaohs Sethos (Sethosis) I and Ramesses II. It is certain, after the demonstration by Prof. Sethe[19] that the star Sirius appeared at the Egyptian head of year in the years 1-4 of Sethos I. In such case the king ascends to the throne in 1314, in which July 18 precisely corresponds to I. (Thoth). How long he reigned is unknown; the maximum number we have of him is his ninth year. However, we can define this exactly, basing ourselves on the limits of the reign of his successor Ramesses II. We have in fact mention of a new moon in the papyrus of Leiden I 350 (col. III, line 6): year 52, day 27 VI (Mechir). This is equivalent to December 25, 1250 BC., because there was the moon on the 24th at hour 14. Starting from this, the reign of Ramses II began in 1301 BC; that of Sethos I lasted no longer than 13 years. He cannot have reigned long as noted by Meyer[20] because of his unfinished monuments (at Karnak, Abydos, and Qurna) and the apparent age of the remains.

Here we will give a list of the various dynasties until the nineteenth, with the new dates proposed by me:

Dynasty (capital)KingsDates
I (Thinis)83340–3092
II (Thinis) 103091–2821
III (Memphis) 42821–2773
IV (Memphis) 8 (9)2273–2681
V (Elephantine) 92680–2556
VI (Memphis) 62555–2386
VII (Memphis) 82385–2370
VIII (Memphis) 52369–2337
IX (Heracleopolis)42336–2309
X (Heracleopolis)92308–2224
XI (Thebes) 62223–2082
XII (Thebes) 8 2081–1869
XIII (Thebes) 54 1868–1786
XIV (Xois) 72 1785–1753
XV (Hyksos) 6 1752–1645
XVI (Thebes) 9 1644–1627
XVII (Thebes) 39+x 1626–1575
XVIII (Thebes) 12 1575–1340
XIX (Thebes) 8 1340–1211

Turin, December 13, 1935.


  1. Lesueur, Chronologie (Paris, 1848}, p. 212.
  2. From Latin: ”unspeakable destruction”?
  3. Champollion, Lettres relatives au musée Royal ègyptìen de Turin, Seconde lettre (Parigi, 1824) p. 43.
  4. Published in excerpt in “Bulletin universel” Papyrus égypt. historiques du musée Royal égypt. (November 1824, article No. 292).
  5. Champollion-Figeac J. J., “Papyrus royal de Turin”, Revue Arch. 7 (1850), p. 399.
  6. See the article mentioned above, plate 149.
  7. Champollion-Figeac J. J., art. cit. p. 468, 403.
  8. Gabrieli G., Lettere egitologiche inedite di Champollion le Jeune, "Rendic. R. Accad. Lincei", ser. VI. vol. 2, fasc. 1-2 (1926), p. 45.
  9. Translation: “… the poor and honest Seyffarth; the latter has copies of them, and, instead of distinguishing each fragment and its form, he arranged them in a certain order, even inverting some, as I perceive on the first page, where he has mingled the reigns of the gods with those of the Kings of the First Dynasty.”
  10. Translation: “in the middle of the dust”, “in a mass of papyrus debris, several feet deep.”
  11. Gabrieli G., Lettere inedite di Ippolito Rosellini, "Aegyptus", vol. VI (1925), p. 145 and 151.
  12. See the article in Revue Arch. mentioned above, p. 466.
  13. My friend comm. Bardi, with the skill of his editorial art, has been able to surpass big difficulties and deserves praise.
  14. Ed. note. Older reading of ḥr-wr, i.e. Horus the Elder.
  15. Sitzungsber. Preuss. Akad. der Wissenschaften vol. 24 (1932), p. 618-622, now published in Die Mittel zur zeitl. Festlegung von Punkten der äg. Geschichte, Cairo, 1935, p. 96.
  16. Gardiner A., Mesore as first month of the egypt. Year, ZÄS 43 (1906), pp. 136-144.
  17. Borchardt L., Die Mittel zur zeitlich. Festlegung von Punkten der ägypt. Geschichte. Cairo, 1935, p. 19 ff.
  18. The Metropolitan Museum of Arts. The egypt. Exped. 1925-1927. New York, 1928, p. 40.
  19. Sethe K. Sethos I und die Erneuerung der Hundsternperiode, ZÄS 66 (1931). p. 1-7.
  20. Meyer Ed., Geschichte des Alterthums, ed. 2 (1928), vol. II, 1, p. 455.

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