Neithhotep

Queen Neithhotep, the First Queen of Ancient Egypt!







Dynasty: 1st
Husband: Narmer
Parents: Local Naqada
Son: Aha
Titles:
- Consort of the Two Ladies.
- Foremost of Women
Burial Place: Naqada "Great Tomb"
Also known as Neithotep

A Naqada  III  ceremonial palette  recovered  from  the  ruins of  the Early Dynastic temple of Horus at Hierakonpolis,  southern Egypt  (and  now displayed in Cairo Museum)  celebrates King Narmer at the moment of his triumph. On one side of the palette we see Narmer wearing the white crown of a southern Egyptian king as he raises a club to smash  the head of the unfortunate enemy who grovels at his feet. On the reverse we see him wearing the red crown of a northern Egyptian king as he marches with his army to inspect the ranks of decapitated war dead. High in the sky above the king we see a woman with horns and cow ears observing events - she is Bat,  an early form  of  the goddess Hathor. Even at  this  early stage in Egypt's  history,  it  is  obvious  that  Narmer  rules  a  land whose kingly iconography is already well developed.


The meaning of  a  second  ceremonial  relic,  also  found  in  the Hierakonpolis temple,  is less clear. The Narmer Macehead (today housed in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) shows the king, wrapped in a ceremonial cloak and wearing the red crown, seated in a raised pavilion or tent. Above the pavilion a large vulture hovers protectively. Around the pavilion there are disjointed images of captives, soldiers carrying standards, a sandal bearer, animals, a temple or shrine and a schematic representation of  the sacred enclosure at Hierakonpolis. Approaching the pavilion in carrying chair is a shrouded,  featureless  figure of  indeterminate gender Early Egyptologists  leapt  to  the conclusion  that  they were observing wedding. But the ancient Egyptians rarely mention their weddings. This marriage,  then,  must  have  been  an  occasion  of  above-average  importance. Narmer,  a  southern warrior king,  must have united his  land by force  then  sealed  his  position  by marrying  a  daughter  of  his  defeated northern enemy.
Confirmation of the wedding theory was sought from the name of the woman generally assumed to have been Narmer's wife. The name Neithhotep translates as  '[the goddess] Neith is'satisfied'. The argument that only a northern woman would be named after the Delta goddess Neith, ingenious though it is, does not stand up to scrutiny. Neith had a powerful link with queenship and many of Egypt's Early Dynastic queens bore names compounded with 'Neith'. Indeed,  the fact that she was buried at Naqada indicates that Neithhotep is more likely to have been a daughter of  the  long  line of  local Naqada chiefs or kings. An alternative,  more acceptable interpretation of the macehead scene suggests that Narmer is celebrating his heb-sed, or jubilee, before a shrouded divinity.

The Great Tomb (Where Neithhotep is buried)


Excavating  some 2 miles  (3  km)  outside  the modern Naqada  village  in1897,  Jacques  de Morgan uncovered  a  1st Dynasty  tomb  so  splendid it was immediately labelled the Great Tomb and assigned  to  the legendary King Menes.  Seen  from  the  outside  the  tomb was  a  typical mastaba rectangular mud-brick superstructure built above a burial pit and name after  the Arabic word mastaba,  meaning  low bench).  But  this mastaba lacked a burial pit;  instead,  the superstructure had been converted into a ground-level burial chamber surrounded by  storage chambers. The super structure, measuring an impressive 177 by 88 ft  (54 x 27 m), had recessed or niched  'palace facade'-style mud-brick walls,  and the whole complex was  protected by  a  thick  enclosure wall. The  tomb,  already  looted in antiquity,  yielded a  series of  cosmetic items, stone vessels,  ivory labels and clay sealings giving the names of Narmer, his son and successor Aha, and Neithhotep herself. The Naqada tomb was re-excavated by John Garstang in 1904. By  then it was suffer
ing badly from post-excavation erosion and it vanished soon after.
Additional  references  to Neithhotep have been  found at Abydos and Helwan. Neithhotep is nowhere describe as either a King's Wife or a King's Mother - these kingship titles are not found before  the 2nd Dynasty. However,  on an ivory lid recovered from the tomb of Djer at Abydos she is described as Consort of the Two Ladies, an epithet which may be  the ancient equivalent of  'consort'. On  just one seal (represented by several impressions) recovered from Naqada her name is presented in a serekh, the rectangular box representing the entrance to an Early  Dynastic  palace  in  which  Egypt's  earliest  kings
wrote their names. On top of the traditional king's serekh perched Horus the falcon,  symbol of the living Horus kings. But on top of Neithhotep's serekh  were  the  pair  of  crossed  arrows  that  symbolized  the  goddess Neith.  On  the basis  of  this  evidence  it is  generally  agreed  that Neithhotep was a queen who outlived her husband, Narmer, and was buried by her son Aha in the Great Tomb. Some scholars would take this further, citing the use of  the serekh and the exceptionally large tomb as evidence that Neithhotep actually ruled Egypt on behalf of the infant Aha.

Neithhotep

Queen Neithhotep, the First Queen of Ancient Egypt!







Dynasty: 1st
Husband: Narmer
Parents: Local Naqada
Son: Aha
Titles:
- Consort of the Two Ladies.
- Foremost of Women
Burial Place: Naqada "Great Tomb"
Also known as Neithotep

A Naqada  III  ceremonial palette  recovered  from  the  ruins of  the Early Dynastic temple of Horus at Hierakonpolis,  southern Egypt  (and  now displayed in Cairo Museum)  celebrates King Narmer at the moment of his triumph. On one side of the palette we see Narmer wearing the white crown of a southern Egyptian king as he raises a club to smash  the head of the unfortunate enemy who grovels at his feet. On the reverse we see him wearing the red crown of a northern Egyptian king as he marches with his army to inspect the ranks of decapitated war dead. High in the sky above the king we see a woman with horns and cow ears observing events - she is Bat,  an early form  of  the goddess Hathor. Even at  this  early stage in Egypt's  history,  it  is  obvious  that  Narmer  rules  a  land whose kingly iconography is already well developed.


The meaning of  a  second  ceremonial  relic,  also  found  in  the Hierakonpolis temple,  is less clear. The Narmer Macehead (today housed in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) shows the king, wrapped in a ceremonial cloak and wearing the red crown, seated in a raised pavilion or tent. Above the pavilion a large vulture hovers protectively. Around the pavilion there are disjointed images of captives, soldiers carrying standards, a sandal bearer, animals, a temple or shrine and a schematic representation of  the sacred enclosure at Hierakonpolis. Approaching the pavilion in carrying chair is a shrouded,  featureless  figure of  indeterminate gender Early Egyptologists  leapt  to  the conclusion  that  they were observing wedding. But the ancient Egyptians rarely mention their weddings. This marriage,  then,  must  have  been  an  occasion  of  above-average  importance. Narmer,  a  southern warrior king,  must have united his  land by force  then  sealed  his  position  by marrying  a  daughter  of  his  defeated northern enemy.
Confirmation of the wedding theory was sought from the name of the woman generally assumed to have been Narmer's wife. The name Neithhotep translates as  '[the goddess] Neith is'satisfied'. The argument that only a northern woman would be named after the Delta goddess Neith, ingenious though it is, does not stand up to scrutiny. Neith had a powerful link with queenship and many of Egypt's Early Dynastic queens bore names compounded with 'Neith'. Indeed,  the fact that she was buried at Naqada indicates that Neithhotep is more likely to have been a daughter of  the  long  line of  local Naqada chiefs or kings. An alternative,  more acceptable interpretation of the macehead scene suggests that Narmer is celebrating his heb-sed, or jubilee, before a shrouded divinity.

The Great Tomb (Where Neithhotep is buried)


Excavating  some 2 miles  (3  km)  outside  the modern Naqada  village  in1897,  Jacques  de Morgan uncovered  a  1st Dynasty  tomb  so  splendid it was immediately labelled the Great Tomb and assigned  to  the legendary King Menes.  Seen  from  the  outside  the  tomb was  a  typical mastaba rectangular mud-brick superstructure built above a burial pit and name after  the Arabic word mastaba,  meaning  low bench).  But  this mastaba lacked a burial pit;  instead,  the superstructure had been converted into a ground-level burial chamber surrounded by  storage chambers. The super structure, measuring an impressive 177 by 88 ft  (54 x 27 m), had recessed or niched  'palace facade'-style mud-brick walls,  and the whole complex was  protected by  a  thick  enclosure wall. The  tomb,  already  looted in antiquity,  yielded a  series of  cosmetic items, stone vessels,  ivory labels and clay sealings giving the names of Narmer, his son and successor Aha, and Neithhotep herself. The Naqada tomb was re-excavated by John Garstang in 1904. By  then it was suffer
ing badly from post-excavation erosion and it vanished soon after.
Additional  references  to Neithhotep have been  found at Abydos and Helwan. Neithhotep is nowhere describe as either a King's Wife or a King's Mother - these kingship titles are not found before  the 2nd Dynasty. However,  on an ivory lid recovered from the tomb of Djer at Abydos she is described as Consort of the Two Ladies, an epithet which may be  the ancient equivalent of  'consort'. On  just one seal (represented by several impressions) recovered from Naqada her name is presented in a serekh, the rectangular box representing the entrance to an Early  Dynastic  palace  in  which  Egypt's  earliest  kings
wrote their names. On top of the traditional king's serekh perched Horus the falcon,  symbol of the living Horus kings. But on top of Neithhotep's serekh  were  the  pair  of  crossed  arrows  that  symbolized  the  goddess Neith.  On  the basis  of  this  evidence  it is  generally  agreed  that Neithhotep was a queen who outlived her husband, Narmer, and was buried by her son Aha in the Great Tomb. Some scholars would take this further, citing the use of  the serekh and the exceptionally large tomb as evidence that Neithhotep actually ruled Egypt on behalf of the infant Aha.

Latest ancient Egyptian jewelry, information and products: