Raneb in hieroglyphs
Reign: ca. 10–14 years
Lord of the sun of Horus
King of Lower- and Upper Egypt, Raneb
Full royal titulature
Raneb (also known as Nebra, Nebre and erroneously as Kakau) is the Horus name of the second early Egyptian king of the 2nd dynasty. The exact length of his reign is unknown since the Turin canon is damaged and the year accounts are lost. The ancient Greek historian Manetho suggests that Raneb's reign lasted 39 years, but Egyptologists question Manetho's view as a misinterpretation or exaggeration of information that was available to him. They credit Raneb with either a 10 or 14 year rule.
Raneb's Serekh name is of great interest to Egyptologists, since it is written with the hieroglyphic sign of the sun, which had not yet become the object of divine adoration during his lifetime. The first definite proof of the existence of the sun-deity Ra occurs at the beginning of the 3rd dynasty during the reign of king Djoser. Therefore the Raneb's serekh name is problematic regarding its translation and meaning. The typical translation of Raneb's name as "The sun is my lord" is therefore questionable, as this would assume that the Sun was already being worshiped as a deity. Therefore, Egyptologists prefer the translation "Lord of the sun (of Horus)", which implies the pharaoh's rule over the Sun (as a celestial body), which was also under Horus's control.
King Raneb is commonly identified with the Ramesside-era cartouche-name Kakau, which can be translated as "The bull of Apis". This links to the anecdote written by Manetho, who said that under king Kêchoós (the Greek version of the name Kakau) the deities Apies, the goat of Mendes and Menevus were "introduced and worshipped as gods". This view is questioned by modern Egyptologists, as there was already a cult of Apis established during the 1st dynasty, if not earlier. The name "Kakau" itself is problematic for this early pharaoh, as there was no name source from Raneb's time that could have been used to form the word.
The birth name of Raneb also remains unclear. A theory by Egyptologist Jochem Kahl says that Raneb was the same person as the mysterious king Weneg-Nebti. He points to a vessel fragment made of volcanic ash, which was found in the tomb of king Peribsen (a later ruler during the 2nd dynasty) at Abydos. On the pot sherd he believes there are traces of the weneg-flower beneath the incised name of king Ninetjer. To the right of Ninetjer's name the depiction of the Ka-house of king Raneb is partially preserved. This arrangement led Kahl to conclude that the weneg-flower and Raneb's name were connected to each other and king Ninetjer replaced the inscription. Kahl also points out that king Ninetjer wrote his name mirrored, so that his name deliberately runs in the opposite direction to Raneb's name. Kahl's theory is the subject of continuing discussion since the vessel inscription is damaged thus leaving plenty of room for varying interpretations.
Egyptologists such as Jürgen von Beckerath and Battiscombe Gunn identify Raneb with another mysterious early pharaoh: Nubnefer. This link is questioned by other scholars, since the rulers of 2nd Dynasty often wrote their birth and Horus names in same way (for example: Hor-Raneb → Nisut-Bity-Nebty-Raneb). Thus the name "Nubnefer" may be the birth name of a different king.
Little is known about Raneb's reign. The pot inscriptions and seal impressions surviving from his time only name cult-related and administrative events, such as the "Erecting of the pillars of Horus". Under Raneb, the first depiction of the goddess Bastet occurs. The exact duration of Raneb's reign is the subject of investigations. Reconstructions of the well known Palermo Stone, a black basalt table presenting the yearly events of the kings from the beginning of the 1st dynasty up to king Neferirkare in the shape of clearly divided charts, leads to the conclusion that Raneb and his predecessor, king Hotepsekhemwy, ruled altogether for 39 years. Since Raneb has fewer records of his rule than Hotepsekhemwy, Raneb is thought to have ruled for a shorter time. The calculations differ from 29 and 10 years to 25 and 14 years.
The location of Raneb's necropolis is unknown. Egyptologists such as Wolfgang Helck and Peter Munro believe that Raneb was buried in the gallery tomb B beneath the cortege passage of the Unas necropolis at Saqqara. Most of the artifacts with Raneb's name were found there.
- ^ Alan H. Gardiner: The royal canon of Turin. Griffith Institute of Oxford, Oxford (UK) 1997, ISBN 0 900416 48 3; page 15 & Table I.
- ^ William Gillian Waddell: Manetho (The Loeb classical Library, Volume 350). Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.) 2004 (Reprint), ISBN 0-674-99385-3, page 37–41.
- ^ Dietrich Wildung: Die Rolle ägyptischer Könige im Bewusstsein ihrer Nachwelt. Teil 1: Posthume Quellen über die Könige der ersten vier Dynastien; Münchener Ägyptologische Studien, Volume 17. Deutscher Kunstverlag, München/Berlin, 1969. page 31-33.
- ^ Jochem Kahl: Ra is my Lord. Searching for the Rise of the Sun God at the Dawn of Egyptian History. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 3-447-05540-5. page 4 & 7.
- ^ Steven Quirke: Ancient Egyptian Religions. Dover Publishing, London 1992, ISBN 0-7141-0966-5, page 22.
- ^ Walter Bryan Emery: Ägypten. Geschichte und Kultur der Frühzeit. Fourier, München 1964, page 103 & 274.
- ^ Jochem Kahl: Ra is my Lord - Searching for the rise of the Sun God at the dawn of Egyptian history. Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2007, ISBN 3-447-05540-5, page 12–14 & 74.
- ^ Battiscombe Gunn in: Annales du service des antiquités de lÉgypte - Súppleménts, Volume 28. Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, Kairo 1938, page 152.
- ^ Jürgen von Beckerath: Handbuch der Ägyptischen Königsnamen. Deutscher Kunstverlag, München Berlin 1884, ISBN 3-422-00832-2, page 48 & 49.
- ^ Wolfgang Helck in: Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Institut Kairo 30. Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Orient-Abteilung(Hg.). de Gruyter, Berlin 1974, ISSN 0342-1279, page 31.
- ^ Werner Kaiser in: Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertum 86. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1961, ISSN 0044-216X, page 39.
- ^ Winfried Barta in: Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertum 108. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1981, ISSN 0044-216X, page 11.
- ^ Wolfgang Helck: Wirtschaftsgeschichte des alten Ägypten im 3. und 2. Jahrtausend vor Chr. Brill, Leiden 1975, ISBN 90-04-04269-5, page 21–32.
- ^ Peter Munro: Der Unas-Friedhof Nordwest I. Von Zabern, Mainz 1993, page 95.
Pharaohs (list) Protodynastic Period
(prior to 3150 BC)
Early Dynastic Period
1st Intermediate Period
(2181–2040 BC)Wadjkare • Qakare IbyMeryibre Khety • Merykare • Kaneferre • Nebkaure Akhtoy
2nd Intermediate Period
(1782–1570 BC)Anather • Yakobaam
3rd Intermediate Period
(525–332 BC)Dynasty 27Dynasty 31
(332–30 BC)♀ indicates female pharaoh
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