Second Dynasty of Egypt

Second Dynasty of Egypt
c. 2890 BC–c. 2686 BC
Statue of Khasekhemwy, Ashmolean Museum
CapitalThinis
Common languagesEgyptian language
Religion ancient Egyptian religion
GovernmentAbsolute monarchy
Historical eraBronze Age
• Established
c. 2890 BC
• Disestablished
c. 2686 BC
Preceded by Succeeded by
First Dynasty of Egypt
Third Dynasty of Egypt

The Second Dynasty of ancient Egypt (or Dynasty II, c. 2890 – c. 2686 BC) is the latter of the two dynasties of the Egyptian Archaic Period, when the seat of government was centred at Thinis. It is most known for its last ruler, Khasekhemwy, but is otherwise one of the most obscure periods in Egyptian history.

Though archaeological evidence of the time is very scant, contrasting data from the First and Third Dynasties indicates important institutional and economic developments during the Second Dynasty.

Rulers

For the first three pharaohs, sources are fairly close in agreement and the order is supported by an inscription on the statuette of Hetepdief, who served in the mortuary cults of these three kings.

Name Years Reigned Burial
Hotepsekhemwy 25–29 Gallery Tomb A, Saqqara?
Nebra (also known as Kakau) 10–14 Gallery Tomb A, Saqqara?
Nynetjer 40 Gallery Tomb B, Saqqara

But the identity of the next few rulers is unclear. Surviving sources might be giving the Horus name or the Nebty name and the birth names of these rulers. They may also be entirely different individuals, or could be legendary names. This might never be resolved.

It has been theorised that following the reign of Nynetjer, the country was split and ruled by two successors due to the overly complex state administration of the whole of Egypt.

The following list contains various king names from different sources:

Name Notes Burial
Weneg / Wadjenes Listed as the fourth king of the dynasty on the Turin, Saqqara and Abydos king lists.
Only attested in Lower Egypt.
Weneg is generally accepted as a nebti (or throne) name and it is unknown what his horus name was.
Theorised to be the same person as Raneb, Sekhemib-Perenmaat or a completely separate king from the others of the Second dynasty.
Senedj Listed as the fifth king of the dynasty on the Turin, Saqqara and Abydos king lists.
Horus name unknown.
May be identifiable with Horus Sa.
Neferkara I Only attested in later documents dated long after the time period of the Second dynasty.
Listed as the sixth king of the dynasty in the Saqqara and Turin King lists, but omitted from the Abydos King List.
May have only ruled Lower Egypt.
Neferkasokar Only attested in later documents dated long after the time period of the Second dynasty.
Listed as the seventh king of the dynasty in the Saqqara and Turin King lists, but omitted from the Abydos King List.
May have only ruled Lower Egypt.
Hudjefa I Name literally means "erased" or "missing", showing that this king's name was unknown or lost by the Nineteenth Dynasty.
Listed as the eighth king of the dynasty on the Saqqara Tablet, but omitted from the Abydos King List.
May have only ruled Lower Egypt.
Theorised to be the same person as Peribsen and may have been deliberately omitted.
Seth-Peribsen Name connected to Seth deity rather than the traditional Horus.
Attested by contemporary inscriptions, but not on later king lists.
Only attested in Upper Egypt.
Tomb P, Umm El Qa'ab
Sekhemib-Perenmaat Attested by contemporary inscriptions, but not on later king lists.
May be the same person as Seth-Peribsen or his immediate successor.
Tomb P, Umm El Qa'ab (?)
Nubnefer Birth name of a king, unknown placement.
Name does not appear on any known official king lists.
May be birth name of Raneb or a completely separate ephemeral king who ruled at some point following Nynetjer's reign.

With the last ruler, the sources return to an agreement:

Name Years Reigned Burial Consort(s)
Khasekhemwy 17–18 Tomb V, Umm El Qa'ab Nimaathap

Manetho states Thinis was the capital, as in the First Dynasty, but the first three kings were buried at Saqqara, suggesting the center of power had moved to Memphis. Beyond this, little can be said about the events during this period as the annual records on the Palermo stone only survive to the end of the reign of Nebra and for parts of Nynetjer's. One important event, the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, might have occurred during the reign of Khasekhemwy as many Egyptologists read his name as "the Two Powers arise".

See also


This page was last updated at 2024-04-18 17:52 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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