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Name of Chaba
Stone bowl of unsecured origin with the serech of King Chaba.
Horus name
N28 G29
The Ba appears
Gold name
Netjernub 02.png
Netjer-nub / Hor-Nubti
Nṯr-nwb / Ḥr-nwb.t
Goldener Falcon / Goldener Horus

Chaba (actually Hor-Chaba ) is the Horus name of an ancient Egyptian ruler ( Pharaoh ) who ruled during the 3rd Dynasty . Thomas Schneider dates his reign to the period around 2670 BC. BC, Michael Rice, however, to the period between 2640 BC. BC and 2637 BC Chr.

Thanks to clay seal impressions and vessel inscriptions, Chaba is archaeologically proven and documented, but questions about his person and reign have arisen that have led to diverging theories and views within research. Chaba seems to have been the first ruler of Egypt to have a Gold Horus name .

Its chronological position within the dynasty and its exact length of rule are disputed. The reason for this are contemporary seal inscriptions, which do not provide any information about particular political , cultural or religious events, but are limited to the stringing together of royal names and official titles . There are also later king lists from the Ramesside period , in which heavily distorted cartouche names appear, which contradict each other with regard to the position and number of rulers' names . These inaccuracies and a lack of sources make it difficult to reliably evaluate the historical figure of the Chaba and his reign. For this reason, various Egyptologists and historians have set up and presented different attempts to equate Chabas Horus names with cartouche names from Ramessid king lists.

It is also controversial where Chaba was buried. While the majority of Egyptologists favor a step pyramid in Saujet el-Arjan as a burial site, others suspect the nearby Mastaba Z500 as the burial site.

supporting documents

Chaba (Egypt)
Saujet el-Arjan
Saujet el-Arjan

Chaba is documented by a total of nine vessel inscriptions. Locations are Saujet el-Arjan , Abusir and Naga-ed-Deir . The vessels are all bowl-shaped , made of magnesite , diorite and travertine and have a polished, smooth surface. The inscription is always on the inside and consists only of the name of Horus .

Chaba's name also appears on several clay seals that have been preserved in fragments. Locations include Quesna (in the Delta) Saujet el-Arjan, Hierakonpolis and Elephantine . The greatest number of seals were discovered on Elephantine. It is believed that other seals can be found under the current garden of the Elephantine Museum . The background to the assumption is the fact that an archaeological excavation site is adjacent to the present garden , in which the aforementioned seals were found. The clay seal impressions contain far more inscriptions than the vessels, however, due to their age, the impressions are badly eroded and the clay seals broken.

One of these clay seals, registered as UC-11755 , is of uncertain origin, but of particular interest for Egyptology : The inscription is incomparably well preserved and presents Chabas Horus name alternating with a possible gold name.


To the king's name

King Chaba is only known by his name of Horus and gold, his name for the throne (Nisut-Biti) and Nebtin have not been passed down. Its gold name has so far only been proven on one clay seal. At the same time, Chaba is one of the few rulers of the early period and the Old Kingdom for whom a gold name has been archaeologically proven. The gold name is regarded as a kind of forerunner of the later Goldhorus name. It is possible that Chaba introduced the final shape as its gold name was the first to contain the miniature representation of a Horus falcon. The correct reading and interpretation of the name are controversial. Alexandre Moret refers to the gold name of King Djoser , which was Ra-Nubti (" Golden Sun ") and was composed of a sun symbol over a gold sign. King Chaba replaced the sun sign with a Horus falcon on a standard after the sun, as a celestial body under Djoser , had been raised to the independent deity Re .

Moret reads Chaba's Gold Horus name as Hor-Nubti and translates this as "Golden Horus". Thomas Schneider and Jürgen von Beckerath tend in a very similar direction and read Netjer-nub , which they translate as “golden falcon”. Peter Kaplony in turn reads Nub-iret , alternatively also Nub-iret djedef , whereby he is unsure whether the syllable djedef still belongs to the title or is an addition in the form of an honorary title. He does not see the Horus Falcon as part of the gold name, but as an independent title.

Besides Chaba, the only previous kings before King Snofru (founder of the 4th dynasty ), for whom gold names have also been passed down, are the rulers Djer , Den (both 1st dynasty ), Ninetjer , Chasechemui (both 2nd dynasty ) and Djoser (3rd dynasty ) . Dynasty). From King Sneferu on, the Gold Horus name was part of the permanent title program of every Egyptian ruler, regardless of the duration of his reign.

Equation with Ramesside king lists

Stone vessel with Chaba's name; Petrie Museum , London .

The fact that Chaba's reign and his chronological position within the dynasty are controversial results from later, mainly Ramessid king lists, which were drawn up during the 19th and 20th dynasties and use the birth names of deceased rulers. The birth name and the nebtiname of Chaba are not preserved on contemporary artifacts, so that Egyptologists disagree with which Ramessid king name Chaba can be identified. The list of kings of Abydos presents the cartouche names Nebka , … djeser-sa , Teti , Sedjes and Neferkare for the 3rd dynasty . The royal list of Saqqara in the tomb of the high official Tjuloy lists the names Djeser , Djes erti , Nebkare and Huni . And the Turin royal papyrus gives Djeser-it , Djeser-itj , Hudjefa II. And Huni as rulers ' names . The Egyptian historian Manetho , who writes in Greek , names nine rulers for the 3rd dynasty: Necheróphes, Tosorthrós, Týreis, Mesôchris, Sôÿphis, Tósertasis, Achês, Sêphuris , and Kerpherês . However, according to a new investigation by Christoffer Theis, some of these are names of rulers who invaded the third dynasty from the fourth dynasty for unknown reasons. Egyptologist Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, for example, identifies Chaba with the cartridge name Teti .

Wolfgang Helck and Aidan Dodson, on the other hand, equate Chaba with the cartridge name Hudjefa II . The ancient Egyptian word hudjefa means "destroyed" and does not represent a real personal name, but is a note by the authors of the king lists that the original king name was no longer legible. Since the first authors (probably accidentally) framed the word with a cartouche, Hudjefa was understood by subsequent scribes as a royal name and adopted accordingly. The Turin Royal Papyrus is the only document that mentions a reign of six years for the now lost ruler. Such a short reign would also suit a rather poorly documented ruler like Chaba.

Rainer Stadelmann , Nicolas Grimal and Toby Wilkinson contradict the aforementioned theories and instead suggest equating Chaba with a ruler named Huni . This ruler is, if only sparsely, also contemporary occupied and is described in the Ramesside king lists unanimously as the last ruler of the 3rd Dynasty. The background to the equation proposal is the layer pyramid of Saujet el-Arjan . This grave monument is attributed to King Chaba by some scholars, as there is a mastaba in the vicinity , in which several stone bowls with Chabas Horus name were found. Stadelmann and Grimal are convinced that the pyramid was originally completed, but that it must have taken several years of government to complete. Since the Turin royal papyrus specifies a reign of 24 years for the name Huni , Stadelmann sees the link between Chaba and Huni as one and the same person: the 24 years specified in the papyrus would adequately cover the construction of the layered pyramid. To support his thesis, Stadelmann refers to a step pyramid on Elephantine, near which clay seals of the Chaba were discovered and which at the same time is assigned to Huni.

According to a new investigation, Chaba could be identical to the cartridge name Neferkare.

Manetho's list of rulers

It is unknown whether King Chaba was included in the royal chronology of Manetho. Equating the names of the rulers mentioned by him with contemporary rulers is generally viewed as problematic, since Manetho uses Greek names, the sources of which are unclear. At the point where Chaba's name should appear, Manetho mentions the pretenders Mesôchris and Sôÿphis . Wolfgang Helck and Eberhard Otto , however, equate these names with Sanacht , another king of the 3rd dynasty. But at last it was made clear that neither Mesôchris nor Sôÿphis were kings of the third dynasty, but that both are written Greek names from the fourth dynasty. This means that all previous equations mentioned in the literature are no longer applicable.


The exact chronological position of Chaba's reign cannot be precisely determined, as the Ramessid king lists partly contradict each other with regard to the number and position of certain king names. An evaluation of possible government events is also difficult.

Chronology and duration of rule

Clay seal of the Chaba with the badly damaged representation of a deity.

Nabil Swelim imagines Chaba's government at the beginning of the 3rd dynasty. The background to this theory is the striking similarity between Chabas Horus name and that of King Chasechemui , the last ruler of the 2nd dynasty . Both names begin with the hieroglyph N28 ( sunrise symbol, reading Cha ). Swelim is reminded of the Horus names of the kings Netjerichet and Sechemchet , both of which end with the same symbol (hieroglyph F32 , reading Chet ). According to the majority of Egyptologists, Sechemchet was the direct heir to the throne of Netjerichet. According to Swelim, such matches in ruler's names are a strong indicator of direct succession to the throne.

Michael Rice, on the other hand, regards Chaba as an independent ruler and sees in him the direct predecessor of King Huni.

Both theses are not uncontested. Grimal, Helck, Wilkinson and Stadelmann point to a vessel design typical of the 3rd Dynasty, in which only the Horus names of kings are affixed to stone vessels. In addition to Chaba, this type of design has also been proven for the kings Netjerichet and Sneferu . This fashion was partly still practiced under Sneferu. Since the stone vessels of the Chaba only show the name of Horus, this is considered to be reliable evidence of the dating of Chaba's reign in the 3rd dynasty. In addition, there are the theories of equation between Chaba and Huni, presented by Stadelmann and Grimal. Therefore, the majority of Egyptologists believe that Chaba was at the end of the 3rd dynasty.

Clay seal of the Chaba with the mention of the title of mayor or prince .

A more precise definition of Chaba's reign turns out to be problematic because of this fact. If Chaba should be identical to Hudjefa II from the Turin Royal Papyrus, his reign lasted six years; on the other hand, if the equation with King Huni is correct, then he ruled for 24 years.


The current archaeological find situation allows only few conclusions to be drawn about possible events during the rule of Chaba. The evaluations are made more difficult by the fact that contemporary stone vessels of the 3rd Dynasty are unlabelled except for the name of Horus. This is documented, for example, for Horus names such as Netjerichet , Chaba and Nebma'at . The only exception is a stone bowl from Abusir with the throne name of King Huni. Especially during the 3rd dynasty, the royal vessel decoration only included the name of Horus of the reigning king, images of figures of gods, depictions and names of buildings as well as mentions of cult festivals are completely missing. Stone vessels from the previous dynasties, on the other hand, are extensively labeled and name events that were important in terms of cults and economics that took place under the named ruler.

The numerous clay seal impressions, especially from Elephantine, also hardly allow any conclusions to be drawn, although they have more inscriptions than the mere representation of the king's name. The seal inscriptions name the function titles of high officials typical for this era as well as the places of origin of the vessel contents to which the clay seals once belonged. According to inscriptions, most of the vessels came from Thinis . A special official title that has been handed down from the reign of the Chaba is that of the " Gaufürsten / Mayor and Treasurer of Elephantine". The official's name has not been preserved. Other seals show remains of figurative representations of the goddess Bastet . Clay seals with the remains of the representation of the god Ash come from the ruins of a local Horus temple near Hierakonpolis . Ultimately, however, the clay seal impressions hardly allow any conclusions to be drawn about the course of Chaba's reign, as it was customary until the late middle of the Old Kingdom for clay seal inscriptions to be limited to the stringing together of king names, official titles and figures of gods in alternation.


Ruins of the Chaba pyramid in Saujet el-Arjan.

Main article: Chaba pyramid

A step pyramid in Saujet el-Arjan , about 8  km southwest of Giza , is believed to be the burial place of King Chaba . The monument was excavated by John Shae Perring around 1839 and is now located within a restricted military area . The original height of the pyramid is estimated at approx. 42 to 45 m with an edge length of approx. 84 m. Archaeologists and Egyptologists such as Jean-Philippe Lauer suspect that the structure should consist of five levels. Today only two steps remain and the total height is only approx. 17 m. The remaining stump is completely surrounded by rubble and loose bricks and is therefore called the “rubble-hill pyramid” by the locals. Due to the current state, it can no longer be determined with certainty whether the monument was completed or remained unfinished. The assignment to King Chaba has so far only been made due to the fact that stone vessels and fragments of clay seals with the name Chabas Horus were discovered in the nearby Mastaba Z500 and the mastaba very likely belongs to the grave complex of the Layered Pyramid. The assignment of the pyramid to Chaba is not uncontested, however.

Researchers like Miroslav Verner argue that Chaba may not have been buried in the pyramid but in Mastaba Z500. The background to this is the fact that numerous artifacts with Chaba's name were discovered in this tomb. No grave goods have yet been found in the pyramid itself and the underground grave galleries are unlabeled. The pyramid would therefore belong to another, as yet unknown ruler.


  • Rainer Hannig : Large Concise Dictionary German-Egyptian: (2800-950 BC): the language of the pharaohs (= cultural history of the ancient world, vol. 86). von Zabern, Mainz 2000, ISBN 3-8053-2609-2 .
  • Wolfgang Helck : Investigations on the Thinite Age (= Ägyptologische Abhandlungen (ÄA) , vol. 45). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN 3-447-02677-4 .
  • Alexandre Moret: The Nile and Egyptian Civilization . New edition, Taylor & Francis, Hoboken 2013, ISBN 1-136-19867-9 .
  • Frank Müller-Römer : The construction of the pyramids in ancient Egypt , Utz 2011, ISBN 978-3-8316-4069-0 .
  • Michael Rice: Who's Who in Ancient Egypt . Routledge, London 2002, ISBN 1-134-73419-0 .
  • Thomas Schneider : Lexicon of the Pharaohs . Albatros, Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN 3-491-96053-3 .
  • Stephan J. Seidlmayer : The Relative Chronology of Dynasty 3. In: Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss, David A. Warburton (Eds.): Ancient Egyptian Chronology (= Handbook of Oriental studies. Section One. The Near and Middle East. Volume 83 ). Brill, Leiden / Boston 2006, ISBN 978-90-04-11385-5 , pp. 116-123 ( online ).
  • Christoffer Theis, Remarks on Manetho and the Manethonian Tradition 1: The Third Dynasty, in: Welt des Orients 44 (2014), pp. 109–125.
  • Christoffer Theis, Among the names found on the Lepsius XIII pyramid. The question about Nfr-k3 and B3-k3, in: Studies on Ancient Egyptian Culture 43 (2014), pp. 426–438.
  • Miroslav Verner : The pyramids (= rororo non-fiction book. Volume 60890). Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-499-60890-1 .
  • Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt . Routledge, London 2002, ISBN 1-134-66420-6 .

Web links

Commons : Chaba  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Rainer Hannig: Large Concise Dictionary Egyptian-German (2800 - 950 BC). P. 1284.
  2. Hieroglyphic representation based on Alexandre Moret : The Nile and Egyptian Civilization . P. 149; Fig. 42.2.
  3. a b c d e f Alexandre Moret: The Nile and Egyptian Civilization . Pp. 149-150.
  4. Jürgen von Beckerath (author), Günter Burkard, Dieter Kessler (ed.): Handbook of Egyptian King Names (= Munich Egyptological Studies. Vol. 49). von Zabern, Mainz 1999, ISBN 3-8053-2591-6 , p. 50.
  5. a b c Thomas Schneider: Lexicon of the Pharaohs . P. 97.
  6. ^ A b c Michael Rice: Who's Who in Ancient Egypt . P. 92.
  7. a b c d e f g h i j k l m Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt. Pp. 84-86, 171, 172 and 177.
  8. a b c d e f g h i Jean-Pierre Pätznik: The seal unrolling and cylinder seals of the city of Elephantine in the 3rd millennium BC Chr. Pp. 73-75.
  9. a b c d e Aidan Dodson: The Layer Pyramid of Zawiyet el-Aryan: Its Layout and Context . In: Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt. (JARCE) No. 37, 2000, American Research Center (Ed.), Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake / Bristol 2000, ISSN  0065-9991 , pp. 81-90.
  10. ^ Luxor Times: British archaeologists discovered an Old Kingdom Mastaba in Delta
  11. Peter Kaplony: Inscriptions of the early Egyptian times. Vol. 3. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1963, ISBN 3-447-00052-X , pp. 173-174.
  12. a b Christoffer Theis, Comments on Manetho and the Manethonian Tradition 1: The Third Dynasty, in: Welt des Orients 44 (2014), pp. 109–125.
  13. ^ Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards, CJ Gadd: The Cambridge ancient history: History of the Middle East and the Aegean Region . Cambridge University Press, New York 1975, ISBN 0-521-08691-4 , p. 156.
  14. ^ A b c Wolfgang Helck: Investigations on the thinite age . P. 109.
  15. a b c d e Rainer Stadelmann: King Huni: His Monuments and His Place in the History of the Old Kingdom . In: Zahi A. Hawass, Janet Richards (Eds.): The Archeology and Art of Ancient Egypt. Essays in Honor of David B. O'Connor. Vol. 2, Conceil Suprême des Antiquités de l'Égypte, Cairo 2007, pp. 425–431.
  16. Christoffer Theis, On the names found on the pyramid Lepsius XIII. The question about Nfr-k3 and B3-k3, in: Studies on Ancient Egyptian Culture 43 (2014), pp. 426–438.
  17. ^ Wolfgang Helck, Eberhard Otto: Lexikon der Ägyptologie. Vol. 5, Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1984, ISBN 3-447-02489-5 , p. 250.
  18. a b Werner Kaiser: City and Temple of Elephantine. 13./14. Excavation report. In: Communications of the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo Department (MDAIK) , 43rd edition. Orient Department (ed.), De Gruyter, Berlin 1987, pp. 75-114.
  19. ^ Nabil Swelim: Some Problems on the History of the Third Dynasty (= Archaeological and Historical Studies. Vol. 7). The Archaeological Society of Alexandria, Alexandria 1983, pp. 199-202.
  20. ^ Nicolas-Christophe Grimal: A history of ancient Egypt . Wiley & Blackwell, London 1994, ISBN 0-631-19396-0 , p. 66.
  21. Gerald P. Verbrugghe, John Moore Wickersham: Berossos and Manetho, Introduced and Translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 2001, ISBN 0-472-08687-1 , p. 189.
  22. a b Miroslav Verner: The pyramids . Pp. 174-177.
predecessor Office successor
Gently ? King of Egypt
3rd Dynasty
Qahedjet ? Huni ?
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on August 8, 2014 .