King Menes and the Unfication Battle

The Battle for Egyptian Unification and King Menes (aka Narmer)

Narmer’s Palette and Integration of Upper and Lower Egypt: One of the earliest and most valuable evidence of the pre-dynastic period of Ancient Egypt is the Narmer Palette. The cosmetic palette is a slab with a central depression that combines colors for personalized makeup. Pallets, on the other hand, played a very memorable role and were made of valuable materials. Narmer pallets are made of slate, have an almost triangular shape, measure 64 x 42 cm, and were built around 3000 BC. It was found in 1898 at the ruins of the Temple of Horus at Hierakonpolis, near Edfu, and is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Narmer, also known as Menes, was the first monarch to be included in the royal catalog of Abydos, which included the names of almost all the pharaohs of the Nile Valley. He is considered the founder of the first dynasty and one of the progenitors of the structure of the Egyptian state. The iconic study of this palette reveals the purpose of glorifying Narmer’s character and allows us to understand the political significance of his reign. Both sides of the product are engraved with reliefs representing efforts to unify North and South Korea.

Narmer Palette at the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities

Narmer Palette (3100 BCE) - Cairo Day Trip
Narmer Palette – Cairo Day Trip

The picture on the left corresponds to the back of the palette and is divided into 3 stages. The king’s name is engraved in a symbol on the top of the box, supported by two cow heads, meaning the goddess Hathor. It has a human figure on its head, which is one of the oldest images of a god with this figure. In the center of the register, a giant Narmer appears, dressed in Egyptian royal garb with an Upper Egypt white crown, a fake beard, and a short oxtail skirt. He raises the mace with his right hand to kill a defeated enemy and grabs his hair with his left hand. This image alludes to the king’s conquest of the northern part of the country and establishes iconography that was later widely used in Egyptian art to depict the military might of the pharaohs. Narmer accompanies a friend called his “sandal bearer,” or personal butler. His shaved head and the bottle in his right hand indicate that he is most likely a priest. The Egyptian god Horus is represented by a hawk on the opposite side. He sits on six Papyrus stems representing the Nile Delta (Lower Egypt) and subdues his foes with piercing hooks through his nose. This image represents the Egyptian god Horus, controlling the breathing or life of those who resist him. Horus’ intervention stems from the idea that the pharaoh is an earthly manifestation of a god and that his actions were influenced by divine powers. The names of Horus and Narmer were also written with similar symbols. As a result, the image represents the conqueror pharaoh who brought order to chaos by conquering the Delta region and first uniting the entire Nile Valley. Finally, downstairs, you can see two terrified enemies fleeing Narmer’s wrath. There are 4 scenes on opposite sides of the palette. At the top, there is an inscription between two cow heads, identical to the one on the back. Narmer arrives on the next floor wearing the crimson crown of Lower Egypt and other power symbols such as a mace. He is again supported by the sandal holders carrying the purifying vessel, in this case. In front of the monarch are his dignitaries and four horsemen, each representing one of the nomos, or prefectures, of that country. On the right, you can see 10 beheaded victims with their heads between their knees as Narmer performed a ritual that hinted at victory over his enemies. Above them are depictions of a hawk and a symbolic ship, possibly used on a pilgrimage to the sacred city of the Western Delta. Throughout the third floor, there are two majestic four-legged creatures with entangled long necks that two servants try to grab tightly with ropes. This is undoubtedly a metaphor for Pharaoh’s power to unify Egypt’s North and South and bring about peace. Finally, Narmer is represented as a strong bull, capable of tearing down fortress walls, and one of his enemies is under his feet at the base of the composition.

Historians believe that this painting depicts the so-called ‘white triumph’, the final stage of Egypt’s struggle for unification. King Menes is known for inventing government structures such as parliaments, protocols, and politicians that are still used today. There is no better way to see all these amazing elements of civilization than on a tour package in Egypt or on the Nile River cruise with Cairo Day Trip.

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