The title “Pharaoh” is used for those rulers of Ancient Egypt who ruled after the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by Narmer during the Early Dynastic Period, approximately 3100 BC. However, the specific title “Pharaoh” was not used to address the kings of Egypt by their contemporaries until the rule of Merneptah in the 19th Dynasty, c. 1200 BC. Along with the title Pharaoh for later rulers, there was an Ancient Egyptian royal titulary used by Egyptian kings which remained relatively constant during the course of Ancient Egyptian history,
During the thirty first century BC, two separate and distinct civilizations inhabited the Nile valley. The set worshipers of Upper Egypt in the south, and the Horus worshipers of low Egypt in the north. An ambitious Upper Egyptian king named number managed to conquer lower Egypt and declared himself the first ruler of both lines. This began Egypt’s early dynastic period and laid the foundation for one of history’s most extensive and long-lived civilization, lasting nearly 3,000 years.
Throughout the previous centuries, both Upper and Lower Egypt developed at similar rates,
But by the end of the thirty second century BC, increased trade with neigh boring civilizations like Mesopotamia shifted the balance of power in Upper Egypt’s favour. While lower Egypt was solely comprised of provinces called Nomes, several cities had already sprung up in Upper Egypt. They soon found themselves in need of more resources to satisfy their increasingly expanding urban areas. Narmer, also known by the honorific title “Menes’, meeting “he who endures”, originally rulled over the Upper Egyptian city of thinis. He formed a confederation of tribal leaders which Egyptologist referred to as the “Thinite confederacy” with the goal of mounting an invasion against the north. The group achieved total victory over Lower Egypt, uniting both lands in the process. Narmer’s story is told on the world’s oldest discovered historical documents, the number Palette. The pilots is a two foot-tall engraved piece of selects discovered in the Ancient Egyptian city of Nekhen, more mmonly known by it’s Greek name, Hierakonpolis. The fronts of the Palette depicts Numbers as a tall man sized hierarchically wearing ‘Hedjet’, or White crown of Upper Egypt. Characterized by it’s bowling pin-like appearance. Narmer is positioned above an enemy, grasping a lock of his hair in one hand and wielding a mace in the other, ready to smash his head. This stance is referred to as a “smiting pose.” It indicates victory and remained a common symbol throughout of Ancient Egyptian history. The small rectangle at the top of the palette known as a ‘serekh’, meaning faceade in Ancient Egyptian identifies the tall man as Narmer. The serekh shows a palace façade containing two small figures within, phonetically representing Narmer’s name. The first figure is of a catfish, pronounced “nar”, and the second of a chisel, pronounced “mer” in Ancient Egyptian. These are some of the earliest hieroglyphic inscriptions ever discovered. Above the enemy Horus, represented as a falcon. Standing atop several papyrus flowers, the symbol of Lower Egypt.
The falcon grasps a rope in his talons that’s attached to an enemy’s nose, indicating Narmer’s completes dominance over the Lower Egyptian people. Below them lay Narmer’s dead enemies.
The story continues in the palette’s opposite side with Narmer and his men marching in a procession, as his enemies lay naked, Bound and decapitated with their heads placed between their legs.
Once again, Narmer’s depiction is scaled hierarchically, emphasizing his god-like, persona. However, he’s now shown wearing the district, or the red crown of Lower Egypt. The crown is characterized by its protruding coil, representative of a cobra. This is the first depiction of a single ruler wearing both crowns of Egypt. Below them, two men pull on ropes attached to mythological beasts with intertwining necks.The creatures are hybrids between serpents and leopards called serpopards. The design is thought to symbolize the union of Egypt’s two lands. At the bottom of the palette, number is represented as a bull demolishing the enemy’s walls and trampling a vanquished foe. Another artifacts relating to the first pharaoh, and also found in Hierakonpolis, is a decorative mace head made of limestone, commemorating the unification of Egypt, called the number Macehead. it shows Narmer on a throne, wearing the enemy’s red crown and being presented with treasure and captives. At the bottom of the macehad, a record of the spoils of war can be seen which reads. 400,000 cattle, 1,422,000 guests, and 120,000 captives.
Narmer solidified his rule by strategically marrying a lower Egyptian princess named Neithhotep who became his Queen and mother to his and successor, Hor-Aha. The newly unified kingdom came to be known as the “Two Lands” among the ancient Egyptian people for most of their history.
During his reign, Narmer expanded the newly unified kingdoms borders with ministry excursions in canaan to the north, and in Nubia the south. He founded the city of Memphis to strategically Located at the mouth of the Nile delta, and it quickly developed into a commercial and cultural powerhouse within the region. Symbols such as the Ankh, the ancient Egyptian symbol of life, and the Djed, four-teenth pillar representing Osiris’sSpine, were popularized under his rule. Narmer was entombed in a necropolis near the upper Egyptian city over of Abydos, where the teams of many of Egypt’s first rulers of are found. Through the blood and conquest, number became Egypt’s first pharaoh, initiating the early dynastic period.