King Khasekhem

 

King Khasekhem

 

Khasekhem “the powerful is crowned” who was a native of Hierakonpolis. On the occasion of his coronation, Khasekhem made a temple offering of several objects commemorating his victory over northern Egypt, comprising inscriptions on stone vases and two statues (one of schist and one of limestone) showing him seated on a low-backed chair.

 

At the base of both statues: we find the number of enemies or captives captured in his wars against the Northerns that he led to reunite the country. The number inscribed is 47,209 which may be an exaggeration.

 

No tomb has been found for this king neither at Abydos, nor at Sakkara. Khasekhem was back to follow and support the cult of Horus, and we are not sure about his relation with Peribsen (whether he was his son, or prince or one of his commanders who had to put down the rebellions in the north resulting from Peribsen’s policy).

 

It is thought likely that the victory over the north was the reason why he later changed his name to Khasekhemwy “the two powers are crowned” placing both Horus & Seth over the serekh, to satisfy the northerns and southerns. At the same time, he chose “the two Mistresses are at peace through Him” for his name as king of Upper & Lower Egypt.

 

His establishment of control over Egypt and apparently the reunification of the country were accompanied by an energetic building policy that led to advances in architecture. Khasekhemwy built in stone at El Kab, Hierakonpolis and Abydos, where his tomb is the largest of the second dynasty. He also had a cenotaph at Sakkara to satisfy the Northerns (for the dual nature of the land).

 

There are family links between the second and third dynasties: one of Khasekhemwy’s wives was the princess Ny-Maat-heb (Ny-Maat-Apis) who was eventually to be the mother of Djoser. It is clear however that the late second dynasty was already more of a Memphite than of a Thinite monarchy.

 

The reign of Khasekhemwy simply brought an end to political opposition of the north and south and established the basic economic, religious and political systems of the dynastic period. His reign was the beginning of a great epoch during which Egyptian civilization reached a level of artistic skill and perfection.

 

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