Home History & Archaeology The Abydos King Checklist Safeguards the Identities of 76 Egyptian Kings

The Abydos King Checklist Safeguards the Identities of 76 Egyptian Kings

The Abydos King Checklist Safeguards the Identities of 76 Egyptian Kings


Abydos is among the oldest historical Egyptian cities (3,100 – 332 BC) and is among the most necessary archaeological websites in all of Egypt. Many historical temples and tombs could be discovered there, providing a glimpse into historical Egyptian historical past, the individuals who lived throughout these instances, and the historic occasions that occurred. Abydos developed into a vital cult web site in historical Egypt, as finally it grew to become very fascinating to be buried there. One of the vital necessary websites in Abydos is the Temple of Seti I. Inside this temple is a listing of seventy-six Egyptian kings. This checklist has served as an necessary instrument in piecing collectively historical Egyptian historical past, and in figuring out the rulers from that point.

Exploring the Rival Kingdoms of Memphis, Thebes, and Herakleopolis

The checklist (typically known as the King Desk) accommodates three rows of 38 cartouches. A cartouche is a kind of oval border which signifies that the identify inside is the identify of a king. This checklist offers the names of historical Egyptian kings in chronological order and is the only real naming supply of most of the kings from the Seventh and Eighth Dynasties.

The names contained on the Abydos King checklist are quite a few – 76 in all – together with extra generally identified ones similar to: KhufuSneferuAmenhotep, and Seti.

You probably have performed the mathematics and are questioning why 3 rows of 38 solely gives 76 kings, it’s as a result of the third line is devoted solely to a repetition of the cartouche and nomen of Seti.

Whereas the checklist is very invaluable because of the names it gives, it’s not complete, and extremely favors the Memphite kings. Of the three rival kingdoms, Memphis, Thebes, and Herakleopolis, Memphite kings are predominant, not one of the Herakleopolitan kings are included, and Theban kings have been solely included at some extent after Memphis ceased to exist.

Detail of the Abydos King list in Egypt. (Public Domain)

Element of the Abydos King checklist in Egypt. (Public Area)

A number of Egyptian kings have been omitted from the checklist, together with Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV)Tutankhamun, Ay, Hatshepsut, and Meryneith. It’s supposed these kings have been thought of illegitimate, and definitely in Hatshepsut’s case, there was an historical try to clean the information naked of her identify and existence.

Drawing of more of the cartouches in the Abydos King List. (PLstrom/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Drawing of extra of the cartouches within the Abydos King Checklist. (PLstrom/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Seti I’s Legacy: Crafting Ancestral Bonds in Stone

Like many different lists detailing the historical past of a area as set by their leaders, the Abydos desk shouldn’t be an entire historic documentation, nevertheless, it does mirror the cultural scenario on the time. Some students recommend the checklist, as set down by Seti I, was to symbolize the royal ancestors in a ritual, carried out on their behalf. Seti I himself was not of royal lineage, and so to make sure his personal legitimacy he might have constructed a grand temple worthy of the gods and stuffed it with the names of legit ancestors.

The façade of the temple of Seti I in Abydos, Egypt. (Steve F-E-Cameron/CC BY 3.0)

The façade of the temple of Seti I in Abydos, Egypt. (Steve F-E-Cameron/CC BY 3.0)

Regardless of his extra widespread background, Seti was an necessary determine in Egyptian historical past. He strove to re-establish Egyptian sovereignty over Syria and the Levant within the aftermath of the dysfunction brought on by Akhenaten’s spiritual reforms.

The temple itself is cited by many because the most spectacular spiritual construction nonetheless standing in Egypt. It did a lot to reassure the folks of Egypt that the previous gods weren’t forbidden, and it symbolized a return to custom.

Tall and imposing, highly decorated pillars line the Temple of Seti I, in Abydos, Egypt. (Public Domain)

Tall and imposing, extremely embellished pillars line the Temple of Seti I, in Abydos, Egypt. (Public Area)

It was believed to be the place the place Osiris was buried, and as such is a vital cult heart. The sprawling limestone temple contained two open courts, two hypostyle halls, seven shrines, a chapel, and lots of different chambers. There was additionally a submerged tomb-like Osireion on the again.

The king checklist throughout the Temple of Seti in Abydos gives necessary data and perception into historical Egyptian tradition and historical past. Even with the omissions, the Abydos King checklist is invaluable in figuring out tombs and naming Egyptian Kings whose names may in any other case have been misplaced within the sands of time. 

Prime picture: The Abydos Kings checklist cartouches within the Temple of Seti, Abydos. Supply: Olaf Tausch/CC BY 3.0

By M R Reese



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