|Name of Huni|
Nisut-Hu / Ni-Suteh / Hu-en-Nisut
|Royal Papyrus Turin (No. III./8)||
|List of Kings of Saqqara (No.15)||
Africanus : Achés
Eusebius : missing
Eusebius, AV : missing
Huni (original reading of the proper name unclear) was probably the last ancient Egyptian king ( Pharaoh ) of the 3rd Dynasty ( Old Kingdom ). According to Thomas Schneider, it may be between 2690 and 2670 BC. Have ruled. In the Turin Royal Papyrus he was awarded a reign of 24 years.
Modern research regards Huni as an elusive ruler because, on the one hand, there are later sources about him, on the other hand, very few contemporary artifacts or monuments have survived. In addition, later king lists and chronicles contradict each other with regard to the number and order of kings during the 3rd dynasty. There is only agreement that the king lists that mention Huni always describe him as the predecessor of King Sneferu , the founder of the 4th Dynasty . It is also unclear under which Greek name Huni appears in the famous Aegyptiaca of the ancient historian Manetho . Egyptologists like Winfried Barta consider the name Achés to be conceivable, which Manetho lists in seventh place in his description of the 3rd dynasty. Contemporary evidence only mentions Huni indirectly and withholds any information about his family and origins. Previous conclusions about his identity and reign are therefore mainly assumptions and reconstructions.
The red granite cone was found on Elephantine in 1909 , near a small step pyramid . The 160 cm high, 69 cm thick and 50 cm wide monument is now kept in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo (JE 41556). According to Rainer Stadelmann , it was originally placed visibly on the outside of the small pyramid.
In 2009 and 2010 Miroslav Barta found another example of King Huni, a stone vessel made of polished magnesite, during the excavations of the mastaba AS-54 in Abusir- South . The short inscription reads: King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Huni . The name of the ruler is written without a cartouche , the name of the grave owner has not yet been identified.
In the mastaba of the high official Metjen ( Mastaba L6 in Saqqara , end of the 3rd dynasty) the name of Huni is also mentioned. The owner of the grave is referred to as the "head of King Huni's death fund in the 2nd Lower Egyptian district ".
Furthermore, Huni is named on the back of the famous Palermo stone . Under the rule of Neferirkare ( 5th dynasty ) there is evidence of a property that bears the name of Hunis. However, this facility has not yet been located.
This indicates that Huni is the direct predecessor of Snefru, which corresponds to the later king lists: The Turin royal papyrus and the king list of Saqqara also describe Huni as a direct predecessor of King Snefru.
A well-known find that is often attributed to Huni is the so-called "Brooklyn King's Head" made of polished rose granite (see cover picture). Due to the chubby face, he is also assigned to Pharaoh Cheops .
Name and identity
The name "Huni"
There are different variants of the king's name "Huni", which can basically be divided into an older and a younger spelling: On older documents it is used with the Gardiner symbols M23 (rush), X1 ( loaf of bread ), N35 ( waterline ) and V28 ( Rope rope or candle wick) or written similarly - so on the granite cone made of Elephantine (possibly contemporary), on the Palermostein ( 5th dynasty ), on the epitaph of Metjen ( 3rd to 4th dynasty ) and on the stone vessel from Abusir (3rd to 4th dynasty). In addition, there is a more recent spelling, which is characterized by the determinative of a "beating man" (A25) and no longer contains the component Nisut : On the Prisse papyrus ( 13th dynasty ) it is used with the characters A25, N35 and Z4 (two slashes ), the character V28 was omitted here. In the King List of Saqqara ( 19th Dynasty ) and in the Turin King List (19th Dynasty), the characters V28, A25, N35, Z4 and D40 (arm with stick) form Huni's name. The King List of Abydos (also 19th Dynasty) does not lead Huni, strangely enough, and called instead a certain Neferkare , the not quite associate the Egyptology white. Ludwig Borchardt already stated that all variants must have the same name. He read the older name nsw Ḥ (w) (Nisut H (u)) ("King Hu") and assumed that the later tradition had taken the Nisut as a title out of the cartouche and placed it in front of it due to a wrong consideration . The abbreviation Hu was understood as "bat" and put the symbol of the hitting man behind it. The Ni (N35 + Z4) is an extension of the spelling of this word that can also be determined in other ways, which was developed from the loop on the back of the sign of the "beating man". Eduard Meyer also suggested a reading as “King Hu” .
Hans Goedicke suggested a reading of the name as Nj- Swt Ni (Ni-Suteh), which is based on the king names Nj-nṯr ( Ninetjer ) and N (.j) -wsr-Rˁ ( Niuserre ), which is also based on Nj (" belonging ”) and appeal to a certain deity. Rainer Stadelmann and Wolfgang Helck contradict this and claim that neither a deity Swtḥ , nor any other word of this consonant sequence in ancient Egyptian is known. Therefore Goedicke's reading is now rejected.
Wolfgang Helck refers to the oldest form of the name of the city of Ehnas from the 6th dynasty. Since the spelling of this city name uses the same characters as the name "Huni", it suggests that an old manor of this king's foundation for the dead is hidden behind it. Thus, the spelling of the city name should contain the king's name Ḥw . Since a cuneiform version of the place name has been handed down as Ḫininsi , Helck concludes that the characters in the king name ḥ + n + nsw are to be interpreted. From this he derives the name Ḥw-nj-nsw (“The 'saying' belongs to the king”), which has not yet been documented, but is formed parallel to K3-nj-nsw (“The Ka belongs to the king”).
In conclusion, Rainer Stadelmann points out that Helck's interpretation is not without problems, especially with regard to the form of the royal names from the 3rd dynasty: During this time (and in the dynasties before) only the name Horus was used in public documents and in publicly accessible places of the king on display, the maiden name was kept secret. As a result, Huni would be the first Egyptian ruler under whom the king's cartouche asserted itself as the official seal of the name presented to the public.
To the possible name of Horus
King Huni cannot be clearly assigned to a Horus name from the 3rd dynasty. There is controversy and alternative proposals in this regard as well .
Toby Wilkinson, Jaromír Málek , Nabil Swelim and Jacques Vandier suggest equating Huni with a king named Horus Qa-hedjet ("Exalted Crown of Horus"), who is only mentioned on a single stele ( Louvre E 25982) and by whom only the name of Horus is known. Stylistically it dates to the time between Djoser and Sneferu. However, there are doubts about the authenticity of the stele.
Peter Kaplony holds the name Neb-hedjetnub ("Lord of the Golden Crown") from the Great Grave Shaft in Saujet el-Arjan for Huni's possible name for Horus. But even this is not uncontested, since in the opinion of Aidan Dodson and Nabil Swelim it is more a gold name that is assigned to King Bicheris ( 4th dynasty ).
Other Egyptologists equate Huni with King Horus Chaba , since Chaba - similar to Qahedjet - is only known by his Horus name, but not by other titles. This equation is based on the fact that Chabas Serech appears on its own on engraved stone vessels, a trend that began with the death of King Chasechemui (late 2nd dynasty ) and was a noticeable fad of the 3rd dynasty. In addition, Rainer Stadelmann throws in that Chaba was able to almost complete the pyramid of Saujet el-Arjan, which was attributed to him , and that the 24 years assigned to Huni in the Turin canon would completely cover the time frame required for its completion. An equation between Horus Chaba and Huni is therefore the most likely so far.
The relationship between the kings at the transition from the 3rd to the 4th dynasty has not been clarified. The king list of Saqqara, the Turin royal papyrus and the doctrine for Kagemni in the Papyrus Prisse always describe Sneferu as the direct successor of Huni. A key figure is Queen Meresanch I. She is almost certainly the mother of Sneferu, but there are no records of any titles that identify her as the daughter or wife of a king. There is no other evidence of a genealogical connection between Sneferu and Huni either. Since a new dynasty begins with Sneferu in Manetho's chronicle of ancient Egyptian history ( Aegyptiaca ) , it is quite possible that another royal family came to power with him.
Among the vessel inscriptions with the year names from Elephantine, a queen named Djefatnebti with the title Weret-hetes appears on a beer mug . Unfortunately, the names of the years cannot be assigned to specific rulers with certainty. According to the stratigraphic findings, individual finds and the spatial proximity to the Elephantine pyramid, they can be dated to the late 3rd dynasty. Djefatnebti is therefore a possible wife of Huni. Another inscription found there is dated to the year of an 11th estimate. These estimates usually took place every two years, so this inscription dates to the 22nd year of the reign of the unnamed ruler. The inscription with the name of the queen probably comes from the years shortly before or shortly after.
Children of Huni cannot be identified with certainty. Hetepheres I , the mother of Cheops and possible (co-) wife of Sneferu , was occasionally viewed as a possible daughter . For example, William Stevenson Smith and George Andrew Reisner first cited the possibility that the title “ Consort of God ”, which is recorded in her grave in Giza , should be interpreted as an indication of seeing her as a daughter of Huni. As the "Hereditary Princess" she would have ensured the continuation of the royal bloodline by marrying Sneferu. Other researchers such as Wolfgang Helck or Wilfried Seipel , on the other hand, raised serious doubts about this interpretation of the title “Wife of God”.
Almost nothing is known about the reign of the Huni. Huni was probably the last king ( pharaoh ) of the 3rd dynasty, according to Thomas Schneider he may have been between 2690 and 2670 BC. Have ruled. The Turin Royal Papyrus attests to him a reign of 24 years, which is considered credible in general research. Conclusions about certain, individual events during the term of office turn out to be difficult and can currently only be inferred from contemporary documents. Egyptologists refer to the grave inscriptions of the high officials Metjen, Chabausokar , Pehernefer and Achtiaa , who held office together towards the end of the 3rd dynasty and the beginning of the 4th dynasty. Their inscriptions allow the conclusion that Egypt experienced a new heyday under Huni and that the administrative system had reached a new high point. For the first time, insights into the power structure of nomarchs and priests are given, and for the first time in the grave of Metjen there is an inscription indicating that offices were hereditary.
There were three labeled vessels on Elephantine. Their ink inscriptions each bear an annual date after an important event (“Year in which XY happened”), as well as administrative notes. According to the location and style of the inscriptions, the vessels probably date to the end of the 3rd Dynasty and thus possibly under Huni. Accordingly, the events in the annual dates likely relate to events in the reign of Huni. The inscriptions are badly damaged today. The first inscription names the year of a “ escort of Horus ” and the “construction of a building”, the name of which, however, has not been preserved. The second inscription names another "Escort of Horus", as well as the "11. Time of the estimate of Heliopolis ”. The third inscription names the year of the " appearance of the king of Lower and Upper Egypt ", the "3rd Mark of Fighting the Robbers ”and it mentions a queen with whom something happened. However, the verb in question in connection with the queen is no longer legible, her name was Djefatnebti .
After his death, Huni seems to have enjoyed a long cult of the dead and obituary. The naming of a foundation for the dead zone of Huni on the Palermostein is an important indication of this, as it was recorded about a hundred years after Huni. The story in the Papyrus Prisse also suggests a long-cherished memory.
To the possible tomb
The actual final resting place of the Huni is unknown, which is why there are several possible tombs in question. In Abusir is the mastaba AS-54 of a high official who may have served Huni or maintained his cult of the dead. Since it was customary in the Old Kingdom for priests of the dead to be buried in the immediate vicinity of the ruler's grave, recent assumptions assume that Huni's grave may be in Abusir.
The Meidum pyramid
Earlier Egyptologists assumed that the pyramid of Meidum von Huni was built as a multi-tiered step pyramid ( construction phase E1 ), similar to the tombs of the kings Djoser , Sechemchet and Chaba , but technically further developed. After King Sneferu had ascended the throne, he is said to have covered Huni's pyramid with limestone prisms and thus transformed it into a "real" pyramid. It was argued that Sneferu already built two pyramids of his own at Dahshur and that it would be impossible for him to have built another during his reign.
But more detailed investigations and excavations at the pyramid and in the immediate vicinity uncovered numerous contemporary grave inscriptions and worker graffiti , as well as visitor inscriptions from the 18th Dynasty ( New Kingdom ), which extol the beauty of the "white pyramid of Sneferu" and pray for Sneferu and Meresanch I call. Even in contemporary mastaba tombs, only Snofru's name appears. The name of the pyramid city near the building is "Djed Sneferu" ("Sneferu is constant"). Huni's name, however, has not been documented in Meidum to this day. It was unusual among rulers of the Old Kingdom to complete the tomb of a predecessor or even to usurp a previous grave .
The mastaba M17
To the northeast of the Meidum pyramid is a huge mastaba called M17. This was built as massive as possible from bricks. The idea that King Huni was buried in her has been expressed on various occasions. However, Rainer Stadelmann assumes that it belonged to an unnamed prince who died during construction phase E2 of the Meidum pyramid . Because of the situation, he even thinks of Snefru's heir to the throne who died unexpectedly.
The Lepsius I pyramid
The Lepsius I pyramid is the ruin of a large adobe monument in Abu Roasch , which so far could not be clearly attributed to any ruler. It is located east of the Radjedef pyramid . The pyramid character of the structure is controversial. In 1842 the pyramid was measured by Karl Richard Lepsius and cataloged as brick pyramid No. I in his list of pyramids . The pyramid had an almost square chamber in which a roughly hewn stone sarcophagus was discovered. In Lepsius' time the structure was 17 m high, today only the rock core remains. He estimated the original height to be around 145 m.
A detailed investigation was not carried out until 1985–1986 by Nabil M. Swelim , who identified the monument as the ruins of a large adobe pyramid, about a quarter of which was a rocky hill at its core. He dates the building to the end of the 3rd Dynasty and considers Huni to be a possible owner. There are, however, some objections to this. The pyramids of the Old Kingdom were typically built on an elevated, dominant location. The choice of location on the outermost edge of the Nile flood zone does not match this. The rock mound that was supposed to form the core is riddled with rock tombs from the 5th and 6th Dynasties. It is difficult to imagine that the building was destroyed on this scale in order to build a necropolis of rock tombs inside .
The Chaba pyramid
Halfway between Giza and Abusir is the Saujet el-Arjan necropolis with two unfinished pyramids. The older and more advanced in construction is also referred to in Egyptology as the “layer pyramid” (“shell pyramid”) and is attributed to a king with the name of Horus Chaba . According to Miroslav Verner, the building can be classified typologically safely between the Sechemchet pyramid and the Meidum pyramid and thus it certainly comes from the middle or second half of the 3rd dynasty.
Since the building was in a restricted military area for a long time, it has not yet been completely excavated or fully examined. Only the Mastaba Z500 to the east has been systematically examined so far. Eight alabaster vessels with the Horus name Chaba were found there. This is seen by some Egyptologists as evidence that this could have been the owner of the "Layer Pyramid".
The “Layer Pyramid” is the only pyramid from this period that has been almost completed. Given the 24 years of reign attributed to Huni, he would certainly have been able to erect a monument of this size. In the 3rd Dynasty, only the name of Horus was found on royal monuments, while later records and monuments used the throne names of kings, as the examples Djoser / Netjeri-chet and Sechemchet / Djoser-Teti show. That is why Rainer Stadelmann identifies Huni with Chaba and ascribes the construction of the "Layer Pyramid" to him.
A palace on Elephantine
The inscription on the granite cone from Elephantine names the name Hunis in a cartouche and mentions a palace of Huni as Ah sesched nisut Huni , written with the hieroglyphic symbol of a palace and not a fortress, as previously assumed.
Difficulty is the word Sesched that with a leather string determined is and is called in its actual meaning "Headband". In a royal context, it can also mean “ diadem ”, as Sesched-en-Wag (sšd-n-w3g) describes the linen diadem of the Wag festival . Dieter Arnold connects the Sesched Palace with this festival. However, there is no mention of such a palace in the Old Kingdom texts. When hearing the word Sesched, Herbert Ricke thought of the Seschedet , which means "(apparition) window" in English , which has only been documented since the New Kingdom . According to Stadelmann, this word may already have had this meaning in the Old Kingdom.
Since royal palaces in the Old Kingdom had quite poetic names, Dreyer, Kaiser and Stadelmann consider an interpretation as "Palace: (forehead) bandage of Huni" to be the most likely.
For Rainer Stadelmann, the name certainly contained a propagandistic statement: Since the ancient Egyptians oriented themselves southwards, the south always meant the front, or the head. The southernmost palace in the country on Elephantine Island could therefore well symbolize the king's headband, with a view of the cataract and the southern borders.
The pyramid of Elephantine and other small step pyramids
The pyramid of Elephantine belongs together with the pyramids in Edfu-Süd , El-Kula , Ombos , Saujet el-Meitin , Seila and Sinki to a group of a total of seven very similar small step pyramids , all of which were built far away from the great centers of Egypt and above which is very little known. Typologically they can all be classified in the second half of the 3rd dynasty, more precisely in the period from Sechemchet to Sneferu. None of them have any chambers or buildings in the immediate vicinity.
The Pyramid of Elephantine is located in the north-west part of the Old Kingdom city in the south of the island of Elephantine. The building was discovered as early as 1907, but it was only possible to identify it as a pyramid after further excavations by the German Archaeological Institute in 1978/79.
Dreyer, Kaiser and Stadelmann assume that the granite cone with the inscription Hunis was originally placed on the outer front of the pyramid and therefore date it to the time of his reign. That is why Dreyer and Kaiser considered all the small step pyramids to be a coherent building project by Huni, which had been built as centers of power or cenotaphs at the royal residences outside the residence. For Miroslav Verner, however, the granite cone has no direct evidential value. Andrzej Ćwiek pointed out that the text refers to a palace and not a pyramid. If the cone was ever part of the pyramid, then in his opinion it would only have been reused as a building material.
In the meantime, at least the pyramid of Seila, which differs significantly in size and height from the other small step pyramids, has been clearly assigned to King Snefru on the basis of two large limestone steles. It is therefore possible that such small step pyramids were created in a much wider period of time than only at the end of the 3rd Dynasty.
A building called "Seschem"
The Turin Royal Papyrus, which is otherwise reserved with additional information, contains the incomplete note p3 qdw sšm […] (pa qedu seschem) for Huni . Hans Goedicke added the entry to sšm-t3wy (seschem taui), "the leader of the country". In fact, the entry probably means “the builder” ( p3 qdw - pa qedu) of sšm (seschem), or “the one who built sšm […]” which is sšm. is an extraordinary building that Huni had built and for which he was revered in the ancient Egyptian tradition. Dreyer and Kaiser see this as a possible connection to the small step pyramids as the implementation of a larger building program throughout the country.
Funeral foundation goods
In addition to the domain of Huni mentioned in the Metjen grave inscription, a funeral foundation is still mentioned about 200 years later under Neferirkare, in the 5th dynasty, which bears the name Hunis and is said to have been in the district of Letopolis . However, the complex has not yet been archaeologically proven. If Wolfgang Helck's derivation of the place name " Ehnas " is correct , this would have been another estate that was intended for supplying Huni's grave. It can therefore be assumed that under Huni one began to lay out manors for the supply of pyramids throughout Egypt, as they are already in large numbers under the successor Snofru.
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- WMF Petrie: Medum. London, 1892, pp. 11-14.
- Stadelmann: The Egyptian pyramids. 2nd Edition. 1991, p. 87 and p. 287, note 285 with reference to Jean-Philippe Lauer: A propos du prétendu désastre de la pyramide de Meïdoum. In: Chronique d'Égypte. (CdE) 51, 1976, p. 76.
- Stadelmann: The Egyptian pyramids. 2nd Edition. 1991, p. 87.
- Karl Richard Lepsius: Monuments from Egypt and Ethiopia. P. 21 f. ( Text archive - Internet Archive ).
- Miroslav Verner: The pyramids. P. 177 f. with reference to Nabil M. Swelim: The brick pyramid at Abu Rawash Number "I" by Lepsius. Publications of the Archeological Society of Alexandria, 1987.
- Verner: The pyramids. P. 178.
- Verner: The pyramids. P. 174 ff.
- Verner: The pyramids. P. 177.
- Stadelmann: King Huni. P. 430.
- On the interpretation as a fortress: Hans Goedicke: The Pharaoh Ny-Swth. In: Journal for Egyptian Language and Antiquity. 81st edition 1956, p. 22 ff .; GE Kadish: An Inscription from an Early Egyptian Fortress. In: Journal of Near Eastern Studies 29th edition 1970, p. 99ff .; In contrast, Herbert Ricke for the first time: The temple of Nektanebos II in Elephantine. 1960, p. 53 note 11.
- Adolf Erman, Hermann Grapow (Ed.): Dictionary of the Egyptian language. 4th volume, Berlin, 1971, p. 301: "as headdress, esp. As a bandage with two feathers" (of the gods and the king)
- Stadelmann: King Huni. P. 426.
- Dieter Arnold: The temple of King Mentuhotep from Deir el-Bahari. Volume 1: Architecture and Interpretation. 1974, p. 78, note 309.
- Erman, Grapow: Dictionary. P. 302. Ricke: The temple of Nectanebo II in Elephantine. Note 51.
- Günter Dreyer, Werner Kaiser: To the small step pyramids of Upper and Middle Egypt. In: Communications from the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo Department. (MDAIK) 36, 1980, p. 57 f.
- Kahl, Kloth, Zimmermann: The inscriptions of the 3rd Dynasty. P. 164f. read "Palace: headband of the In.i-nsw-ḥw ", with another transcription of the name "Huni".
- Stadelmann: King Huni. P. 427.
- Dreyer, Kaiser: To the small step pyramids of Upper and Middle Egypt. Pp. 43-59.
- Verner: The pyramids. P. 200.
- Dreyer, Kaiser: To the small step pyramids of Upper and Middle Egypt. P. 53 f.
- Dreyer, Kaiser: To the small step pyramids of Upper and Middle Egypt. P. 53 f. Rainer Stadelmann: King Huni. P. 426.
- Dreyer, Kaiser: To the small step pyramids of Upper and Middle Egypt. P. 59.
- Verner: “Pyramiden.” P. 201.
- Andrzej Ćwiek: Date and Function of the so-called Minor Step Pyramids. In: Göttinger Miscellen. 162nd edition 1998, p. 42 ff. ( Online ).
- Stadelmann: King Huni. P. 427 with reference to an unpublished manuscript: N. Swelim: The Pyramid of Seila locally called "el-Qalah", season 1987. 1987; Rainer Stadelmann: Snofru - Builder and Unique Creator of the Pyramids of Seila and Meidum. In: Ola El-Aguizy, Mohamed Sherif Ali (Ed.): Echoes of Eternity. Studies presented to Gaballa Aly Gaballa. P. 32 ff.
- Verner: The pyramids. P. 201.
- Gardiner: The royal canon of Turin. Panel 2; For a possible connection between the note and Imhotep and not with Huni, see Dietrich Wildung: Imhotep and Amenhotep. 1977, p. 30ff.
- English "the leader of the country". Hans Goedicke: The Pharaoh Ny-Swth. Pp. 18-24. quoted from Stadelmann: King Huni. P. 425.
- English "the builder of sšm [...]", Stadelmann: King Huni. P. 425.
- Wolfgang Helck: Article Huni. In: Lexicon of Egyptology. Volume III, 1980, p. 85.
- Stadelmann: King Huni. P. 425.
- Dreyer, Kaiser: To the small step pyramids of Upper and Middle Egypt. P. 55 f.
- W. Helck: The name of the last king of the 3rd dynasty. P. 127.
King of Egypt
|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Nisut-Hu; Ni-Suteh; Aches (Manetho africanus)|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||ancient Egyptian king of the 3rd dynasty|
|DATE OF BIRTH||28th century BC BC or 27th century BC Chr.|
|DATE OF DEATH||27th century BC Chr.|