Saqqara Canon

The Saqqara Canon (a.k.a. Saqqara Tablet) contains a list of Egyptian pharaohs. Mariette wrote of the discovery to his patron Vicomte de Rougé in March of 1860, but the list was not published until 1864.

It was found in a funerary shrine above the tomb of a lector priest by the name Gardiner: V13-G43-N35-Z2-D21-Z1-M17-M17 Tjunery (ṯwnry), who lived during the reign of Ramesses II. The location of the tomb is lost, but supposedly south of Djoser's step pyramid, close to the pyramid of Unas, between the Monastery and Sekhemkhet’s enclosure.

The inscription originally listed 58 kings in two rows of 29 kings each, in reverse chronological order, starting with Ramesses II, going backwards to Adjib. It was discovered in eight parts, with a section missing, which was searched for but never found. It is assigned inventory number JE 11335 (CG 34516), and is on display in Hall 9 at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

It was written in the tradition of Lower Egypt, i.e. preferring honored ancestors with a strong affinity in Lower Egypt. The purpose of the list was to show celebrated "ancestors," and was not meant to be a complete chronological list, apparent by the exclusion of Hatshepsut and the heretic Amarna pharaohs.

Cartouche number 39 was recorded by Mariette in 1864 containing the name Menkaura, but this is the only attestation for this. In all subsequent line drawings, the cartouche is drawn as unreadable, so the reading can not be trusted, it was likely added by Mariette.

Saqqara Canon king list

Curiously, the New Kingdom kinglists have differing numbers of kings for the Fourth Dynasty. Abydos holds six kings (20-25), Saqqara nine (43-35) and the Royal Canon of Turin eight (4.9-16). At some point, the records of the Fourth Dynasty suffered damage that resulted in incompletely preserved archives for posterity. Centuries later, scribes accessing the archives for information about the ancient kings either failed to realize that the records were incomplete, or misinterpreted the contents. The variation in the three king lists is puzzling.

Upper row - From left to right

# Hieroglyphs Name in list Pharaoh
1  User Maat Ra, setep en Ra
wsr-mꜢꜤt-rꜤ stp.n-rꜤ
Ramesses II
Reconstructed partial name
based on known predecessors.
2  Men Maat Ra
mn-mꜢꜤt-rꜤ
Seti I
Reconstructed partial name
based on known predecessors.
3  Men pehty Ra
mn-pḥti-rꜤ
Ramesses I
Reconstructed partial name
based on known predecessors.
4  Djoser kheperu Ra, setep en Ra
ḏsr-ḫprw stp-n-rꜤ
Horemheb
Reconstructed partial name
based on known predecessors.
5  Neb Maat Ra
nb-mꜢꜤt-rꜤ
Amenhotep III
Name missing from the list.
Position based on known predecessors.
6  Men kheperu Ra
mn-ḫprw-rꜤ
Thutmose IV
Name missing from the list.
Position based on known predecessors.
7  Aa kheperu Ra
ꜤꜢ-ḫprw-rꜤ
Amenhotep II
Name missing from the list.
Position based on known predecessors.
8  Men kheper Ra
mn-ḫpr-rꜤ
Thutmose III
Name missing from the list.
Position based on known predecessors.
9  Aa kheper en Ra
ꜤꜢ-ḫpr-n-rꜤ
Thutmose II
Name missing from the list.
Position based on known predecessors.
10  Aa kheper ka Ra
ꜤꜢ-ḫpr-kꜢ-rꜤ
Thutmose I
Name missing from the list.
Position based on known predecessors.
11  Djoser ka Ra
ḏsr-kꜢ-rꜤ
Amenhotep I
12  Neb pehty Ra
nb-pḥti-rꜤ
Ahmose I
13  Neb hapet Ra
nb-ḥꜢpt-rꜤ
Mentuhotep II
14  Sankh ka Ra
s-Ꜥnḫ-kꜢ-rꜤ
Mentuhotep III
15  Sehotep ib Ra
s-ḥtp-ib-rꜤ
Amenemhat I
16  Kheper ka Ra
ḫpr-kꜢ-rꜤ
Senusret I
17  Nebu ka Ra
nbw-kꜢ-rꜤ
Amenemhat II
18  Kha kheper Ra
ḫꜤ-ḫpr-rꜤ
Senusret II
19  Kha ka Ra
ḫꜤ-kꜢ-rꜤ
Senusret III
20  Ni Maat Ra
ni-mꜢꜤt-rꜤ
Amenemhat III
21  Maa kheru Ra
mꜢꜤ-ḫrw-rꜤ
Amenemhat IV
22  Sobek ka Ra
sbk-kꜢ-rꜤ
Neferusobek
23  Nefer ka Ra
nfr-kꜢ-rꜤ
Pepi II
24  Mer en Ra
mr-n-rꜤ
Nemtiemsaf I
25  Pepi
pipi
Pepi I
26  Teti
tti
Teti
27  Unas
wnis
Unas
28  Maat ka Ra
mꜢꜤt-kꜢ-rꜤ
Djedkara Isesi
29  Men ka Hor
mn-kꜢ-ḥr
Menkauhor Kaiu

Lower row - From left to right

30  Kha nefer Ra
ḫꜤ-nfr-rꜤ
Neferefra Isi
31  Shepses ka Ra
špss-kꜢ-rꜤ
Shepseskara Netjeruser
32  Nefer ir ka Ra
nfr-ir-kꜢ-rꜤ
Neferirkara I Kakai
33  Sahu Ra
sꜢḥw-rꜤ
Sahura
34  User kaf
wsr-kꜢ-f
Userkaf
35 Destroyed cartouche Unreadable
Hieroglyphs destroyed or unreadable
36 Destroyed cartouche Unreadable
Hieroglyphs destroyed or unreadable
37 Destroyed cartouche Unreadable
Hieroglyphs destroyed or unreadable
38 Destroyed cartouche Unreadable
Hieroglyphs destroyed or unreadable
39  Men kau Ra
mn-kꜢ.w-rꜤ
Menkaura
Uncertain reading, only seen by Mariette in 1864.
40  Khaf Ra
ḫꜤ.w-f-rꜤ
Khafra
41  Djedef Ra
ḏd-f-rꜤ
Radjedef
42  Khufu
ḫwfwf
Khufu
43  Sneferu
s-nfr-w
Sneferu
44  Huni
ḥw-ni
Huni
45  Neb ka Ra
nb-kꜢ-rꜤ
Nebkara
46  Djoser Teti
ḏsr-tti
Sekhemkhet
47  Djoser
ḏsr
Djoser
48  Beby
bby
Khasekhemwy
49  Hudjefa
ḥw-ḏfꜢ
Hudjefa I
50  Nefer ka Sokar
nfr-kꜢ-skr
Neferkasokar
51  Nefer ka Ra
nfr-kꜢ-rꜤ
Sneferka
52  Senedj
snḏ
Senedj
53  Wadjlas
wꜢḏ-l-s
Wadjenes
54  Ba netjeru
bꜢ-ntrw
Ninetjer
55  Kakau
kꜢ-kꜢw
Nebra
56  Bau netjer
bꜢw-nṯr
Hotepsekhemwy
57  Qebehu
ḳbḥw
Qaa
58  Meri bia pen
mri-biꜢ-pn
Adjib

Illustrations

Saqqara king list 1864
Mariette 1864

Plate XVII
Size: 1462x519 (270 kB)

deRouge 1865
de Rougé, 1865

Album photographique, no. 143-145
Size: 1195x566 (146 kB)

Saqqara king list 1866
de Rougé 1866

Recherches sur les Monuments..., Plate I
Size: 2000x608 (362 kB)

Saqqara king list 1872
Mariette 1872

Plate 58
Size: 1861x939 (472 kB)

Saqqara king list 2011
Pharaoh.se 2011-12

My own reconstruction
Size: 3766x876 (957 kB)

Saqqara king list 2015
Pharaoh.se 2015

My own updated reconstruction
Size: 3766x920 (788 kB)

Saqqara king list

Photograph
Size: 2036x963 (301 kB)

Bibliography

  • Mariette, Auguste: "Lettre de M. Aug. Mariette A M. le Vicomte De Rougé" in Revue Archeologique, N.S. ii, (Paris 1860) p. 20-23
  • de Rougé, Emmanuel: Album photographique de la mission remplie en Égypte, (Paris 1865), Photographs, No. 143-145 de Rouge, Album Photographique, 1865
  • de Rougé, Emmanuel: Recherches sur les Monuments Qu’on Peut Attribuer aux Six Premières Dynasties de Manéthon, (Paris 1866), Plate I de Rouge 1866
  • Mariette, Auguste: "La table de Saqqarah" in Revue Archeologique, Vol 10, (Paris 1864) p. 169-186, Plate XVII Mariette 1864
  • Mariette, Auguste: Monuments divers recueillis en Égypte et en Nubie, (Paris 1872) Vol. II, Pl. 57b, 58, text Vol. I, p. 18-19 Mariette, Monuments, 1872
  • Meyer, Eduard: Ägyptische Chronologie, Plate 1, (Berlin 1904)
  • Kitchen, Kenneth A.: Ramesside Inscriptions, Vol. III, pp. 481-482 (Oxford 1980) Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions, III, pages 481-482
  • Porter and Moss: Topographical Bibliography, Vol. III, part 2, pp. 666 (Oxford 1981)
  • Beckerath, Jurgen von: Chronologie des pharaonischen Aegypten, p. 216 (Mainz 1997)
  • Devéria, Théodule: Squeezes in the Louvre, 6165



End of page
Kinglists
Ancient historians
Terms & information

OK – Old Kingdom
Dynasties 3-6

MK – Middle Kingdom
Dynasties 11-12

NK – New Kingdom
Dynasties 18-20

SIP – Second Intermediate Period
Dynasties 13-17

Thebes – The Southern capital

Memphis – The Northern capital

Epitome – Manetho’s original Aegyptiaca was lost in antiquity, and in the following centuries, it was replaced by Epitomes (summaries) by rivalling advocates of Jewish, Egyptian, and Greek history that saw each side trying to establish the truth according to their point of view.

Vorlage – From the German for prototype or template, a vorlage is a prior version of a manuscript, in this case an earlier version of the canon.

Recto and verso – Recto is the front side and verso is the back side of a written or printed text.

Cartouche – oval band enclosing a pharaohs name

Hieratic – cursive form of hieroglyphic script

Hyksos – Greek form of ḥḳꜢ-ḫꜢswt or “rulers of foreign lands,” referring to peoples who migrated and controlled parts Egypt during the SIP.

Mortuary Temple – where the gods and the king who built the temple were worshipped.

CC BY   Creative Commons
license


All content on this website is free to copy, redistribute and adapt in any medium or format, provided you give the appropriate credit. Yes, this includes images and texts. Keep information free!

This page was retrieved from PHARAOH.SE
PHARAOH.SE
© 2011–2021 by Peter Lundström — Some Rights Reserved — V. 4.0
Disclaimer: Content should be accurate, but errors and/or omissions are possible.
All information is provided "as is". Always check the sources! Best on a large screen.