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The importance of king narmers palette to egypt

For other languages, please see the available translations below. Before that, it is generally assumed that the country was divided in two parts: Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.

  1. The recto of the Narmer Palette is divided into two scenes. His role is normally interpreted as that of a 'shaman' and is not paralleled in later sources.
  2. The dominant theme however is the victory of the god incarnate over the forces of evil and chaos. Below this central scene, underneath the king's feet, lie two overthrown, naked enemies.
  3. The scene at the bottom of the palette's front face continues the imagery of conquest and victory. Before that, it is generally assumed that the country was divided in two parts.
  4. He is thus walking on sacred ground and is barefoot out of respect for the gods and goddesses, in order to perform the ritual act of execution. At the top of both sides are the central serekhs bearing the rebus symbols n'r catfish and mr chisel inside, being the phonetic representation of Narmer's name.
  5. The deposit where it was found also contained other artefacts stemming from the early beginnings of Ancient Egypt's recorded history.

From then on, the Egyptian kings would rule Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt and one of the many names used for the country would be "Two Lands", reflecting the original duality of Egypt. The identification of Menes with one of the archaeologically attested kings of Early Dynastic Egypt has been a matter of debate among Egyptologists for quite a long time and has not yet been resolved. Some identify Menes with Narmer - B. The most important document pertaining to the unification of Egypt is the Narmer Palette.

Quibell was excavating the royal residences of various early Egyptian kings at Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt when he discovered that large ceremonial palette of King Narmer with other objects. The palette, which has a shield-shape, is decorated on both sides. It was once erected for display in the temple of Horus in Nekhen. The Narmer Palette was cut out of one piece of dark-green-coloured schist, approximately 64 cm or 23 in.

It has survived intact. The palette was a votive or gift offering by the King to his "father", the god Amun-Ra. Not only does it hold one of the oldest known specimens of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, its well-preserved decoration also shows us a chapter of Ancient Egyptian history: This is announced in a very clear and simple way: Narmer would then be the first kiing to reign over both lands.

Despite its small size, this document is one of the most important sources informing us about Early Dynastic Egypt. It marked an early example of a prevalent trend in Egyptian art to glorify the king. The message is conveyed not through narrative but through symbolic imagery and relies on some basic artistic conventions.

The Egyptians had a marvelous knack for distilling an idea to its purest form in an abstract and powerful way. The Narmer Palette reveals several important social aspects about how the Egyptians lived and were structured.

It reveals the meaning of hierarchy of Egyptian life. It has been suggested that the art, which developed during those years, which showed the king as a distant the importance of king narmers palette to egypt, away from his subjects, was the correct view of the ever-growing power of the king. The Palette also shows their value in recording historical events - with such items of war and political power struggles being 'newsworthy' events.

It would be a mistake however, to read the Narmer Palette as a mere tale of conquest. Through military conquests however, Narmer was able to lay the political foundations of the kingship which endured thereafter as long as a king wore the two crowns. The importance of king narmers palette to egypt actual finding of a palette proves that the Ancient Egyptians had established a written form of communication, now known as the Egyptian hieroglyphs.

The palette was depicted however by Egyptian scribes using a complex combination of ideograms and phonetic signs.

The recto of the Narmer Palette is divided into two scenes.

  1. Quibell was excavating the royal residences of various early Egyptian kings at Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt when he discovered that large ceremonial palette of King Narmer with other objects.
  2. The minor figures in active poses, such as the king's captive, the corpses and the handlers of the serpopard beasts, are much more freely depicted. The top scene takes up most of the recto of the Narmer Palette.
  3. In ancient Egypt a circle or sphere was symbolic of unity, and was a reference to the unification of the 'two lands' Fact 24 on Narmer Palette. In addition, a label found in during excavations in Abydos, does seem to confirm the historicity of the palette.

Above the top scene, the king's name is written inside a serekh ancestor of the cartoucheflanked on each side by a cow's head, in exactly the same manner as on the back. The top scene takes up most of the recto of the Narmer Palette. Dominating the scene is a large figure of the king, with a ceremonial beard and wearing the White Crown which is said to represent Upper Egyptas well as the symbolic bull's tail.

All the important features of the body are present: A solid and static, almost monumental feeling is obtained by having the weight evenly divided on both legs with one leg well in advance of the other. In his right hand the king wields a mace, ready to smash the skull of a kneeling man possibly a Libyan whom he holds by the hair with his left hand.

The name of this kneeling man wash written in hieroglyphs above his head suggests that he may have been important or that it may be referring to a group of people.

  • This lower circular area indicates the place where a cosmetic would be put if this were not a ceremonial palette;
  • It is however equally likely that the marshland on the palette represents just that:

Above the victim's head and in front of Narmer's face, the falcon Horus of Nekhen - symbol of Egyptian royalty and protector of the king - is sitting upon the plants of a personified papyrus marshland. The papyrus blossom in early hieroglyphs stands for the numeral one thousand - this group therefore means that the king had captured six thousand enemies.

This is frequently used to symbolise Lower Egypt. Therefore the meaning of this part of the scene is quite clear: As on the back, Narmer is followed by a smaller person carrying his sandals. He is thus walking on sacred ground and is barefoot out of respect for the gods and goddesses, in order to perform the ritual act of execution.

  • It is believed that the circular depression created by the curved necks may have used to hold or make cosmetics on the palette - if ever it was really used to handle cosmetics;
  • The mention of a marshland on the palette has very often been seen as a reference to the marshy lands of the Nile Delta, Lower Egypt;
  • Its disposition in the upper part of the palette gives it a celestial character and prooves the high esteem of the pharaoh towards her;
  • If they do represent one, she would be the oldest known goddess of Ancient Egypt.

Narmer, in this way, may be dedicating his victim to the gods and goddesses perhaps thanking them for their help in conquering his foes.

Below the feet of the king, below the main scene, are two naked, fallen Deltaic enemies lie helplessly on the ground, and a representation of their walled town. They too confirm the victorious imagery repeated all over the Narmer Palette. The back of the Narmer Palette is divided into three levels. Above the top level, the king's name, "Narmer" n'r - fish, and mr - chisel, which translates into 'Catfish'is written inside a serekh.

This serekh is flanked on each side by a cow's head, possibly a reference to either the goddess Hathor or another named Bat ["it is doubtful that there was even a goddess named Bat, although she may have been a nome deity" Jonathan Van Lepp, personal communication ], often represented as a cow.

If they do represent one, she would be the oldest known goddess of Ancient Egypt. The association of Hathor, usually represented with inwards horns, and as mother of the king is seen in most of the Egyptian art and literature.

Narmer Palette

Its disposition in the upper part of the palette gives it a celestial character and prooves the high esteem of the pharaoh towards her. The Narmer Palette displays the earliest known representation of Hathor with the king. On the left hand side of the top level, the king, followed by a smaller figure carrying his sandals - known as the Sandal Bearer - is represented wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt.

In his left hand, he holds a mace, in the other a flail, symbol of his royalty. His name is repeated just before his face. He is preceded by his vizir, and by a female figure called Tjet, holding a kind of sceptre in her left hand. All the people are represented smaller than the king. The entire procession is walking towards ten decapitated bodies - divided in two rows of five persons each, lying on the ground, with their disembodied heads between their legs.

They represent the king's vanquished enemies. In the central scene, two persons tie together the elongated necks of two feline animals, which could be alluding to panthers, symbol of the eastern and western heavens. The two felines are often interpreted as the two parts of the country tied together, since they simbolise harmony and unity.

It is believed that the circular depression created by the curved necks may have used to hold or make cosmetics on the palette - if ever it was really used to handle cosmetics.

In the bottom scene, the Apis bull is represented trampling a scared, naked bearded Deltaic foe. The symbolism of this scene is made clear: Some later kings would add a title such as "Victorious Bull" to their titulary.

The dominant theme however is the victory of the god incarnate over the forces of evil and chaos. The king's role was that of the preserver of unity of land and to overcome the enemies of Ma'at, goddess of Truth, Order and Justice.

  • Fact 19 on Narmer Palette;
  • His name is repeated just before his face;
  • Between the animal's necks, a circular area is a bit deeper than the palette's surface;
  • The association of Hathor, usually represented with inwards horns, and as mother of the king is seen in most of the Egyptian art and literature.

The unification of Egypt was not the work of one single man, but, like most important historical events, a process of time and evolution - of which alliances and marriages were part. Somewhere at the end of the Fourth Millennium B. The interpretation of the Narmer Palette seems clear: Narmer is represented wearing both Egyptian crowns; he conquers lands and overthrows the enemy. He is inspecting the victims of his war. The Narmer Palette deals with a war, but also dramatically indicates one of the most important events in the history of Ancient Egypt: