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The Pharaohs

Horus name: Narmer ("The Striking Catfish")
Rule: c.3100 BC, king at some point during "dynasty 0" (Early Dynastic Period)
Noteworthy relatives: Hor-Aha (son?)


At one time Upper and Lower Egypt existed as two separate kingdoms. Narmer, the pharaoh of Upper Egypt, conquered Lower Egypt and became ruler of both kingdoms around 3100 BC.

What we know about Narmer does not come from tomb paintings, papyrus scrolls, or inscribed monuments. Instead, Narmer's "biography" is featured on an artifact known as the Narmer Palette. At a ripe old age of about 4900 years, the Narmer Palette is the earliest historical record from Egypt.

The Narmer Palette is actually a decorated tablet which would have been used for grinding makeup into powder, like a pharmacist's morter and pestle. Makeup would be ground in a depression in the middle of one side, and the entire thing was carved front and back with scenes of victory. On one side, Narmer is shown wearing his white conical crown (hedjet) of Upper Egypt. On the back he is wearing the red wedge crown (deshret) of Lower Egypt. Topping his head with the official regalia of both Upper and Lower Egypt symbolized his rule over both of these kingdoms.

The Narmer Palette. By Unknown, perhaps more than one [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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