The (king)

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Names of Den
Horus name
Den / Dewen
D [w] n
Who spreads his wings
The one of the two deserts
Gold name
I12 S12
Iaret-nebu -schen
gold cobra
Royal Papyrus Turin (No. II./16)
V10A Aa8
X1 Z4
V11A G7

... (with a name ideogram
for a king representing the
Horus falcon)
List of Kings of Abydos (Seti I) (No.5)
Hiero Ca1.svg
Hiero Ca2.svg
Der, the two great districts
Greek Manetho variants:
Africanus : Ousaphaidos
Eusebius : Ousaphais
Eusebius, AV : Ousaphais

Den (actually Hor-den ), also called Dewen or Udimu , is the name of Horus of an ancient Egyptian king ( Pharaoh ) of the 1st Dynasty ( early Dynasty ), who was from around 2930/10 BC. Ruled.

Den ruled for about 42 years and brought his country inner peace and prosperity. Many innovations were introduced under his rule.

Name and identity

Cartridge name Sepati in the Abydos list.

The throne name is documented for the first time under Den , whereby the reading of Den's Horus and throne names has so far proven to be problematic. While the Egyptologists Kurt Sethe and Alan Gardiner, for example, translate the Horus name Den with “The Waterbringer” and the throne name Chasti with “The Bedouin”, others like Hermann A. Schlögl prefer the translations “The one who spreads his wings” (Horus name) and “The hunted one Nomade "or" The foreigner "(throne name) with reference to Dens triumph over several desert peoples.

Manetho calls Den once Usaphâidós and another time Kênkenés . The name Usaphaidos is simply a translation of the throne name ( Nesu-bit ) that King Den had introduced. The name Kenkenes, on the other hand, could be the description for Chasti .

Origin and family

Modern research sees Den as the son of Wadji , but so far this thesis has only arisen from the fact that Wadji was his predecessor. His mother was Meritneith . Den was married to Semat , Nachtneith and possibly also to a certain Qaneith . The latter, however, is controversial. The pharaohs Anedjib and Semerchet are considered to be possible descendants .


He introduced the king's title " throne name " ( Nesut-biti ). With this he legitimized himself as "Lord of Upper and Lower Egypt " ( Nebet-taui ). At the same time, the first depiction of an Egyptian ruler with a double crown was found in his grave .

Also under Den, the year counting is documented for the first time with numerical hieroglyphics , after the government years were previously only provided with the mention of the most important event.

Ivory tablet of den; British Museum, London

In the first years of his rule Den shared the rule with his mother Meritneith, who, presumably still underage, was given a grave of royal proportions as queen in Abydos .

In Den's rule, an event occurred in the 31st year of his reign that was misread in the past as a “nationwide census ”. The exact translation of the entry is difficult, which is why two suggestions were shortlisted. However, a census could be ruled out with certainty. Furthermore, the victory over a foreign armed force is recorded on several ivory plaques, which is described in the inscriptions as the “First Suppression of the East”. The hostile "strangers" are referred to as Iuntiu (in German about "arch people"). The "Iuntiu" were predatory nomads who came from the Sinai Peninsula and are mentioned in a relief inscription by King Sechemchet ( 3rd dynasty ). There are also two or three reliefs of King Den in Sinai. They are the first in a series of royal representations and inscriptions on Sinai.

Years 18–22 on the reverse of the Kairostein fragment C5

A well-known ivory tablet that depicts such a triumph over enemies from the East is the so-called “ MacGregor plaque ”.

Several ivory plaques (mostly broken) report an epidemic in the Nile Delta . The inscription also contains the depiction of a shaman with an indistinctly depicted vessel in front of him. Whether the inscription Henu stands for “supply” or should represent the beginning of the name of the senior official Henuka remains a matter of dispute due to the damage to the badges.

Several annual entries emerge from the fragments of the Annals Stone of the fifth dynasty : Oxford fragment (years 4 to 7), Cairo fragment (years 18 to 22) and on the Palermo stone, the second larger fragment of the same stone (years 28 to 41).

year Events
4th year First time the gold count
5th year Escort of Horus , second time of the count
6th year [..., ...] the Rechit
7th year Escort of Horus, third time of the count
8-17 year [ No information received ]
18th year Visit of the god Wer-Wadjet ... (remainder missing)
19th year Smashing the Setjet
20th year Birth (manufacture) of the Mafdet fetish ; Erecting the Senti pillars
21st year Destruction of the Tesem people
22nd year Visit to the Semer-Netjeru residence ; Celebration of the first Sedfest
23-27 year [ No information received ]
28th year Visit to the temple of the god Ptah ... (remainder missing)
29th year Smashing the Iuntiu
30th year Appearance of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt; Inspection of the Sedfest
31st year "Organization? of farms? of the northwest delta and all people in the eastern delta. "Or" Planning (?) And digging the western and eastern canals (through) the area of ​​the Rechit. "
32nd year Celebration of the 2nd Djet festival
33rd year Stretching the cord for the fortress seat of the gods ( Isut-Netjeru )
34th year Stretching of the string for the palace of the fortress of the gods Isut-Netjeru by the priest of the goddess Seschat
35th year Inauguration of the pond of the Isut-Netjeru god fortress ; royal hippopotamus hunt
36th year Stay in Herakleopolis and on the lake of the god Herischef
37th year Drive to Sah-setni (?), Destruction of the city of Wer-Ka
38th year Birth (manufacture) of a statue of the god Sed
39th year Appearance of the King of Lower Egypt, 1st ascent of the Apis run
40th year Birth (manufacture) of a statue of the goddess Seschat and the Mafdet
41st year Appearance of the king of Upper and [Lower Egypt] ... (remainder missing)

Vessel fragments from Den's grave complex in Abydos confirm that the second Sed festival was celebrated.

Numerous high officials have survived from the time of Den's reign, in particular Ipka , Anchka , Hemaka , Nebitka , Amka , Inika and Kasa are archaeologically documented. The grave steles of the dancing and court dwarf Serinpu come from other side graves .

Later traditions

The Medical Papyrus P Berlin 3038 comes from the Ramesside era , in which treatment methods and therapies are described, some of which are said to go back to Den (here called "Hesepti"). However, these statements are to be regarded as unhistorical, since the papyrus puts King Den in the same reign as King Sened . However, the latter ruled during the 2nd dynasty .

In the 64th chapter of Ani's Book of the Dead , Den's throne name is also mentioned, here he is called Semti .

The grave of Den

The tomb of Den in Umm el-Qaab

The grave of the located in the necropolis Umm el-Qa'ab at Abydos under the name Tomb T . Overall, the grave is a further development of the royal tombs through the introduction of a 24 m long staircase that leads down from the outside and widens upwards. Further down, in the entrance area, there are slots for the falling stone in the side masonry. The bottom of the grave with red Aswan - granite designed. Grave T has no side chambers, but numerous side graves and a large valley area, in which the ruler's cult of the dead took place.

There are also graves from the time of Den in Saqqara : S 3506 , S. 3035 and S 3036. Mastaba No. 3506 in Saqqara is possibly the grave of the royal sealer Hemaka , a high official who is also well known from other sources . The superstructure is built in the " palace facade style ". As with Den's grave in Abydos, stairs lead to the coffin chamber .


  • Jürgen von Beckerath : Handbook of the Egyptian king names . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Berlin, ISBN 3-422-00832-2 .
  • Jürgen von Beckerath: Chronology of the pharaonic Egypt. von Zabern, Mainz 1997, ISBN 3-8053-2310-7 .
  • Günter Dreyer : Umm el-Qab. Follow-up examinations in the early Königsfriedhof, 3rd / 4th centuries. Preliminary report . (= Communications from the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo Department, Vol. 46) 1990.
  • Günter Dreyer: For the reconstruction of the superstructure of the royal tombs of the 1st dynasty in Abydos. (= Communications from the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo Department, Vol. 47) 1991.
  • Walter B. Emery : Egypt, History and Culture of the Early Period, 3200-2800 BC Chr. Goldmann, Munich 1964.
  • Martin von Falck, Susanne Martinssen-von Falck: The great pharaohs. From the early days to the Middle Kingdom. Marix, Wiesbaden 2015, ISBN 978-3-7374-0976-6 , pp. 42-49.
  • Jochem Kahl : Inscriptional Evidence for the Relative Chronology of Dyn. 0-2. 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. 94-115 ( online ).
  • Wolfgang Helck : Investigations on the thinite period (= Egyptological treatises. Vol. 45). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN 3-447-02677-4 , studies on thinite time. in Google Book Search.
  • Werner Kaiser : A cult district of King Den in Sakkara (= communications from the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo Department, vol. 41) 1985, pp. 47-60.
  • Peter Kaplony : Inscriptions of the early Egyptian period. Vol. 3 (= Egyptological treatises. Vol. 8). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1963.
  • RB Parkinson, Whitfield Diffie, Mary Fischer, RS Simpson: Cracking codes: the Rosetta stone and decipherment. Volume 2. California Press, New York 1999, ISBN 0-520-22248-2 .
  • William Matthew Flinders Petrie , Francis Llewellyn Griffith : The royal tombs of the First Dynasty. 1900: Part 1. (= Memoir of the Egypt Exploration Fund. Vol. 18, ISSN  0307-5109 ). Offices of The Egypt Exploration Fund, London 1900, digitized .
  • Thomas Schneider : Lexicon of the Pharaohs. Albatros, Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN 3-491-96053-3 .
  • Toby AH Wilkinson : Early Dynastic Egypt. Routledge, London / New York 1999, ISBN 0-415-18633-1 .

Web links

Commons : Den  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. a b c Term of office: 20 years.
  2. Early name for a Bedouin people from the Sahara
  3. What is meant is a founding ceremony

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt . London / New York 1999, pp. 207ff.
  2. ^ Alan H. Gardiner: The royal canon of Turin . Griffith Institute, Oxford 1997, ISBN 0-900416-48-3 , illustration 1; The presentation of the entry in the Turin papyrus, which differs from the usual syntax for hieroboxes, is based on the fact that open cartridges were used in the hieratic . The alternating time-missing-time presence of certain name elements is due to material damage in the papyrus.
  3. Year numbers according to Schneider: Lexicon of the Pharaohs .
  4. Wolfgang Helck : Investigations on the thinite age. Wiesbaden 1987, p. 124, investigations on the thinite age. P. 124 in Google Book search.
  5. ^ Alan Henderson Gardiner: Egypt of the Pharaos . Pp. 401-402.
  6. Hermann A. Schlögl : The old Egypt (= Beck'sche series. C.-H.-Beck-Wissen. Vol. 2305). 3rd revised edition. Beck, Munich 2008, ISBN 978-3-406-48005-8 , p. 70.
  7. ^ Nicolas Grimal : A History of Ancient Egypt . Wiley-Blackwell, Weinheim 1994, ISBN 978-0-631-19396-8 , pp. 53-54.
  8. ^ Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt . London / New York 1999, p. 75.
  9. Francesco Raffaele: Den-labels No. 1 + 9 (English)
  10. ^ Siegfried Schott: Ancient Egyptian festival dates. Verlag der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz / Wiesbaden 1950, p. 52.
  11. Wolfgang Helck: Investigations on the thinite age. Wiesbaden 1987, pp. 158-177.
  12. ^ A b Toby AH Wilkinson: Royal annals of ancient Egypt: The Palermo Stone and its associated fragments . P. 108 ff.
  13. Wolfgang Helck: Investigations on the thinite age. Wiesbaden 1987, pp. 157, 161 & 187, investigations on thinite time. P. 157 in Google Book search.
  14. Pierre Tallet: Zone Miniere Pharaonique du Sud Sinai, I, Catalog complémentaire des inscriptions du Sinaï , Cairo 2012, ISBN 978-2-7247-0629-1 , pp. 16–18, No. 1–3
  15. ^ RB Parkinson, W. Diffie, M. Fischer, RS Simpson: Cracking codes: the Rosetta stone and decipherment. Volume 2, New York 1999, p. 74.
  16. Wolfgang Helck: Investigations on the thinite age. Wiesbaden 1987, p. 160, Investigations on the thinite age. P. 160 in Google Book search.
  17. Toby AH Wilkinson: Royal annals of ancient Egypt: The Palermo Stone and its associated fragments . Pp. 248-252.
  18. Fragments C5 and K5.
  19. Front side of the Cairo fragment C5 Reconstruction after de Cenival
  20. ^ Heinrich Schäfer : A fragment of ancient Egyptian annals (= treatises of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences. Appendix: treatises not belonging to the academy scholars. Philosophical and historical treatises. 1902, 1, ZDB -ID 221471-4 ). Publishing house of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Berlin 1902, pp. 18-21, online .
  21. Wolfgang Helck: Investigations on the thinite age. Wiesbaden 1987, p. 157.
  22. ^ Günther Dreyer: Communications of the German Archaeological Institute Cairo (MDAIK) , 46th edition 1990; P. 80; Fig. 9
  23. Wolfgang Helck: Investigations on the thinite age. Wiesbaden 1987, pp. 160-162 & 212-214.
  24. D. Wildung: The role of Egyptian kings in the consciousness of their posterity ; Pp. 22-31 & 49.
  25. Walter B. Emery: Egypt, History and Culture of the Early Period, 3200-2800 BC. Chr . P. 90.
  26. ^ Plan on Digital Egypt
  27. Walter B. Emery: Egypt, History and Culture of the Early Period, 3200-2800 BC. Chr . P. 89ff.
  28. ^ Toby AH Wilkinson: Early Dynastic Egypt . London / New York 1999, p. 147.
predecessor Office successor
Wadji King of Egypt
1st Dynasty