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Merneith
Merneith
(also written Meritneith and Meryt-Neith) was a consort and a regent of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
during the first dynasty. She may have been a ruler of Egypt in her own right, based on several official records – if this was the case, she may have been the first female pharaoh and the earliest queen regnant in recorded history. Her rule occurred around 2950 BC[1] for an undetermined period. Merneith’s name means "Beloved by Neith" and her stela contains symbols of that deity. She may have been Djer's daughter, and was probably Djet's senior royal wife. The former meant that she would have been the great-granddaughter of unified Egypt's first Pharaoh, Narmer. She was also the mother of Den,[3] her successor.

Contents

1 Family 2 Biography 3 Tomb 4 References 5 External links

Family[edit] Merneith
Merneith
is linked in a variety of seal impressions and inscribed bowls with the kings Djer, Djet
Djet
and Den. Merneith
Merneith
may have been the daughter of Djer, but there is no conclusive evidence. As the mother of Den, it is likely that Merneith
Merneith
was the wife of Djet. No information about the identity of her mother has been found.[4][5] A clay seal found in the tomb of her son, Den, was engraved with "King's Mother, Merneith".[3] It also is known that Den’s father was Djet, making it thus likely, that Merneith
Merneith
was Djet’s royal wife. Biography[edit]

Segment of King list from tomb of Den at Saqqara, Merneith
Merneith
is mentioned twice as King's Mother Merneith
Merneith
(mwt-nsw mr nt)

Merneith
Merneith
is believed to have become ruler upon the death of Djet. The title she held, however, is debated. It is possible that her son Den was too young to rule when Djet
Djet
died, so she may have ruled as regent until Den was old enough to be the king in his own right. Before her, Neithhotep
Neithhotep
is believed to have ruled in the same way after her husband King Narmer
Narmer
died, but whose son was too young to rule. Her name was written on a Naqada seal inside a serekh, which was the way the kings' names were written. This would mean Merneith
Merneith
may have actually been the second female in Egypt's first dynasty to have ruled as pharaoh. The strongest evidence that Merneith
Merneith
was a ruler of Egypt is her tomb. This tomb in Abydos (Tomb Y) is unique among the otherwise exclusively male tombs. Merneith
Merneith
was buried close to Djet
Djet
and Den. Her tomb is of the same scale as the tombs of the kings of that period. Two grave stelae bearing her name were discovered near her tomb. Merneith's name is not included in the king lists from the New Kingdom. A seal containing a list of pharaohs of the first dynasty was found in the tomb of Qa'a, the third known pharaoh after Den, her son. However, this list does not mention the reign of Merneith.[5] A few other pieces of evidence exist elsewhere about Merneith:

Merneith’s name appears on a seal found in the tomb of her son, Den. The seal includes Merneith
Merneith
on a list of the first dynasty kings. Merneith's name was the only name of a woman included on the list. All of the names on the list are the Horus names of the kings. However, Merneith's name is accompanied by the title "King's Mother". Merneith’s name may have been included on the Palermo Stone.[5] Items from the great mastaba (Nr 3503, 16 x 42 m) in Saqqara, where her name has been found in inscriptions on stone vessels, jars, as well as seal impressions. In particular, there is one seal from Saqqara, which shows Merneith's name in a serekh.[5] The so-called Merneith
Merneith
Enclosure is a group of tombs from the cemetery at Shunet el-Zebib. These tombs are dated to the time of Merneith.[6] Merneith's name was found on objects in king Djer's tomb in Umm el-Qa'ab.

Tomb[edit]

Cemetery B, Umm el-Qa'ab. Tombs of the pharaohs of the first and second dynasty of Egypt.

Plan of the main chamber of Merneith's tomb.

At Abydos, the tomb belonging to Merneith
Merneith
was found in an area associated with other pharaohs of the first dynasty, Umm el-Qa'ab. Two stelae made of stone, identifying the tomb as hers, were found at the site. In 1900 Flinders Petrie
Flinders Petrie
discovered Merneith’s tomb and, because of its nature, believed it belonged to a previously unknown pharaoh. The tomb was excavated and was shown to contain a large underground chamber, lined with mud bricks, which was surrounded by rows of small satellite burials, with at least 40 subsidiary graves for servants.[5][7] The servants were thought to assist the ruler in the afterlife. The burial of servants with a ruler was a consistent practice in the tombs of the early first dynasty pharaohs. Large numbers of sacrificial assets were buried in her tomb complex as well, which is another honor afforded to pharaohs that provided the ruler with powerful animals for eternal life. This first dynasty burial complex was very important in the Egyptian religious tradition and its importance grew as the culture endured. Inside her tomb archaeologists discovered a solar boat[8] that would allow her to travel with the sun deity in the afterlife. Abydos was the site of many ancient temples, including Umm el-Qa'ab, the royal necropolis, where early pharaohs were entombed.[9] These tombs began to be seen as extremely significant burials and in later times it became desirable to be buried in the area, leading to the growth of the town's importance as a cult site. References[edit]

^ a b Teeter, Emily (ed.). Before the Pyramids, The Origins of Egyptian Civilization. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2011, p. 207 ^ vergl. Günter Dreyer, in: Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Abteilung Kairo. (MDIAK) Bd. 43, von Zabern, Mainz 1986, S. 115-119. ^ a b Wilkinson, Toby A.H. Early dynastic Egypt Routledge; 1 edition (14 Jun 2001) ISBN 978-0-415-26011-4 p.74 [1] ^ Aidan Dodson & Dyan Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson, 2004, ISBN 0-500-05128-3, p.140 ^ a b c d e J. Tyldesley, Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt, 2006, Thames & Hudson ^ Porter and Moss Topographical Bibliography; Volume V Upper Egypt Griffith Institute. p.55 ^ [2] Tomb of Merneith
Merneith
at Abydos ^ Egypt solar boats ^ "Tombs of kings of the First and Second Dynasty". Digital Egypt. UCL. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Merneith.

v t e

Pharaohs

Protodynastic to First Intermediate Period  (<3150–2040 BC)

Period

Dynasty

Pharaohs  (male female ) uncertain

Protodynastic (pre-3150 BC)

Lower

Hsekiu Khayu Tiu Thesh Neheb Wazner Mekh Double Falcon

Upper

Scorpion I Crocodile Iry-Hor Ka Scorpion II Narmer
Narmer
/ Menes

Early Dynastic (3150–2686 BC)

I

Narmer
Narmer
/ Menes Hor-Aha Djer Djet Merneith
Merneith
Den Anedjib Semerkhet Qa'a Sneferka Horus Bird

II

Hotepsekhemwy Nebra/Raneb Nynetjer Ba Nubnefer Horus Sa Weneg-Nebty Wadjenes Senedj Seth-Peribsen Sekhemib-Perenmaat Neferkara I Neferkasokar Hudjefa I Khasekhemwy

Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC)

III

Nebka Djoser Sekhemkhet Sanakht Khaba Qahedjet Huni

IV

Snefru Khufu Djedefre Khafre Bikheris Menkaure Shepseskaf Thamphthis

V

Userkaf Sahure Neferirkare
Neferirkare
Kakai Neferefre Shepseskare Nyuserre Ini Menkauhor Kaiu Djedkare Isesi Unas

VI

Teti Userkare Pepi I Merenre Nemtyemsaf I Pepi II Merenre Nemtyemsaf II Netjerkare Siptah

1st Intermediate (2181–2040 BC)

VIII

Menkare Neferkare II Neferkare III Neby Djedkare Shemai Neferkare IV Khendu Merenhor Neferkamin Nikare Neferkare V Tereru Neferkahor Neferkare VI Pepiseneb Neferkamin
Neferkamin
Anu Qakare Iby Neferkaure Neferkauhor Neferirkare Wadjkare Khuiqer Khui

IX

Meryibre Khety Neferkare VII Nebkaure Khety Setut

X

Meryhathor Neferkare VIII Wahkare Khety Merykare

Middle Kingdom and Second Intermediate Period  (2040–1550 BC)

Period

Dynasty

Pharaohs  (male female ) uncertain

Middle Kingdom (2040–1802 BC)

XI

Mentuhotep I Intef I Intef II Intef III Mentuhotep II Mentuhotep III Mentuhotep IV

Nubia

Segerseni Qakare Ini Iyibkhentre

XII

Amenemhat I Senusret I Amenemhat II Senusret II Senusret III Amenemhat III Amenemhat IV Sobekneferu
Sobekneferu

2nd Intermediate (1802–1550 BC)

XIII

Sekhemrekhutawy Sobekhotep Sonbef Nerikare Sekhemkare
Sekhemkare
Amenemhat V Ameny Qemau Hotepibre Iufni Ameny Antef Amenemhet VI Semenkare Nebnuni Sehetepibre Sewadjkare Nedjemibre Khaankhre Sobekhotep Renseneb Hor Sekhemrekhutawy Khabaw Djedkheperew Sebkay Sedjefakare Wegaf Khendjer Imyremeshaw Sehetepkare Intef Seth Meribre Sobekhotep III Neferhotep I Sihathor Sobekhotep IV Merhotepre Sobekhotep Khahotepre Sobekhotep Wahibre Ibiau Merneferre Ay Merhotepre Ini Sankhenre Sewadjtu Mersekhemre Ined Sewadjkare Hori Merkawre Sobekhotep Mershepsesre Ini II Sewahenre Senebmiu Merkheperre Merkare Sewadjare Mentuhotep Seheqenre Sankhptahi

XIV

Yakbim Sekhaenre Ya'ammu Nubwoserre Qareh Khawoserre 'Ammu Ahotepre Maaibre Sheshi Nehesy Khakherewre Nebefawre Sehebre Merdjefare Sewadjkare III Nebdjefare Webenre Nebsenre Sekheperenre Djedkherewre Bebnum 'Apepi Nuya Wazad Sheneh Shenshek Khamure Yakareb Yaqub-Har

XV

Semqen 'Aper-'Anati Sakir-Har Khyan Apepi Khamudi

XVI

Djehuti Sobekhotep VIII Neferhotep III Mentuhotepi Nebiryraw I Nebiriau II Semenre Bebiankh Sekhemre Shedwast Dedumose I Dedumose II Montuemsaf Merankhre Mentuhotep Senusret IV Pepi III

Abydos

Senebkay Wepwawetemsaf Pantjeny Snaaib

XVII

Rahotep Nebmaatre Sobekemsaf I Sobekemsaf II Sekhemre-Wepmaat Intef Nubkheperre Intef Sekhemre-Heruhirmaat Intef Senakhtenre Ahmose Seqenenre Tao Kamose

New Kingdom
New Kingdom
and Third Intermediate Period  (1550–664 BC)

Period

Dynasty

Pharaohs  (male female ) uncertain

New Kingdom (1550–1070 BC)

XVIII

Ahmose I Amenhotep I Thutmose I Thutmose II Thutmose III Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut
Amenhotep II Thutmose IV Amenhotep III Akhenaten Smenkhkare Neferneferuaten
Neferneferuaten
Tutankhamun Ay Horemheb

XIX

Ramesses I Seti I Ramesses II Merneptah Amenmesses Seti II Siptah Twosret
Twosret

XX

Setnakhte Ramesses III Ramesses IV Ramesses V Ramesses VI Ramesses VII Ramesses VIII Ramesses IX Ramesses X Ramesses XI

3rd Intermediate (1069–664 BC)

XXI

Smendes Amenemnisu Psusennes I Amenemope Osorkon the Elder Siamun Psusennes II

XXII

Shoshenq I Osorkon I Shoshenq II Takelot I Osorkon II Shoshenq III Shoshenq IV Pami Shoshenq V Osorkon IV

XXIII

Harsiese A Takelot II Pedubast I Shoshenq VI Osorkon III Takelot III Rudamun Menkheperre Ini

XXIV

Tefnakht Bakenranef

XXV

Piye Shebitku Shabaka Taharqa Tanutamun

Late Period and Hellenistic Period  (664–30 BC)

Period

Dynasty

Pharaohs  (male female ) uncertain

Late (664–332 BC)

XXVI

Necho I Psamtik I Necho II Psamtik II Wahibre Ahmose II Psamtik III

XXVII

Cambyses II Petubastis III Darius I Xerxes Artaxerxes I Darius II

XXVIII

Amyrtaeus

XXIX

Nepherites I Hakor Psammuthes Nepherites II

XXX

Nectanebo I Teos Nectanebo II

XXXI

Artaxerxes III Khabash Arses Darius III

Hellenistic (332–30 BC)

Argead

Alexander the Great Philip III Arrhidaeus Alexander IV

Ptolemaic

Ptolemy I Soter Ptolemy II Philadelphus Ptolemy III Euergetes Ptolemy IV Philopator Ptolemy V Epiphanes Ptolemy VI Philometor Ptolemy VII Neos Philopator Ptolemy VIII Euergetes Ptolemy IX Soter Ptolemy X Alexander I Ptolemy XI Alexander II Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos Berenice IV Cleopatra
Cleopatra
Ptolemy XV Caesarion

Dynastic genealogies

1st 4th 11th 12th 18th 19th 20th 21st to 23rd 25th 26th 27th 30th 31st Ptolemaic

List of pharaohs

v t e

First Dynasty of Ancient Egypt

Pharaohs

Menes/Narmer Hor-Aha Djer Djet Den Anedjib Semerkhet Qa'a

Regents

Neithhotep Merneith

Queen consorts

Benerib Herneith Penebui Nakhtneith (Khenthap) Semat Serethor Seshemetka Betrest

Officials

Amka Hemaka Sabef Meriiti

Other people

Ahaneith

Artefacts and monuments

Narmer
Narmer
macehead Narmer
Narmer
palette Tomb of Anedjib Den seal impressions Abydos boats MacGregor plaque Mastabas S3503 and S3504

Capital<

.