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King Scorpion
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 3:31 pm 
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One of the members on my board posted this, following the TV program, and he agreed to me sharing it with you here.


King Scorpion

In the ancient Upper Egyptian town of Nekhen, The Falcon, (also called Hierakonpolis), where archaeological finds have been made that are significant to the earliest days of the unification of Egypt, a fragmented and incomplete macehead attributed to King Scorpion was found by J.E. Quibell in 1897-98. Maceheads were early considered to be symbolic of Kingly power, and throughout Egypt’s history, were shown in relief carvings as the weapon of the king as he smote his enemies who were the enemies of Egypt.

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This macehead depicts a King or Chieftain wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt in full ritual dress, with the bull’s tail representing power, hanging from the back of his belt. The multi-petalled rosette or star at this time was used to identify Egyptian kings and in fact, in neighboring Sumer, signified divinity itself. It is shown in front of his face, along with a clearly drawn scorpion sign, thereby giving his name as indicated earlier to be Srqt, or Scorpion. In another convention of Egyptian art, this kingly, perhaps quasi-divine, figure is drawn towering over his companions and attendants.

King Scorpion is accompanied by his high officers, who carry standards on which are displayed symbols identified with particular districts into which Egypt was divided. Many of these district symbols are familiar throughout Egypt’s history. Two of these interestingly enough are Set animals, showing that at this very early time Followers of Set supported the royal clan; others represent falcons, a jackal, the god Min, and possibly the mountains. If these are accurately interpreted as regional standards, there are more here shown than on the Narmer palette.

On this macehead, Scorpion is apparently performing a ceremony using a hoe. Perhaps he is opening the irrigation dykes to begin the flooding of the fields, or perhaps he is cutting the first furrow for a temple or even a city to be built, thus beginning a foundation ritual which was a kingly prerogative in Egypt (similar to Roman emperors millennia later, shown on coins ploughing the outline of a city at its foundation).

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The decorative frieze around the remaining top of the macehead has lapwing birds hanging by their necks from vertical standards. In hieroglyphics these rekhyts have been interpreted to represent the common people of Egypt, and their fate seems to indicate that they were conquered by King Scorpion. However, some authorities have interpreted the rekhyt symbol as only later representing the Egyptian population, whereas early in predynastic history they referred to foreigners or non-Egyptians instead. Thus the Scorpion macehead and Narmer palette may represent the respective rulers as having successfully defeated foreigners from the west Delta (something which happened later in history as well.)
Although a four-chambered tomb in Abydos known as B50 has been said to be Scorpion’s burial place, no conclusive evidence of Scorpion’s existence has yet been found at Abydos, where the tombs of several First Dynasty kings and even some preceding Dynasty 0 kings have been found. Some scholars are not even sure Scorpion actually existed (maybe Scorpion was a title; perhaps the Scorpion sign did not signify the person’s name at all).
He may have come from the royal house of Hierakonpolis, rather than from This, the origin city of the Thinite dynasty where his later successor Narmer came from. Perhaps This and Hierakonpolis each were the centers of rival chiefdoms, and when Scorpion’s reign ended, This assumed an uncontested position as sovereign of Egypt. Perhaps Narmer was the first king who actually reigned unchallenged throughout the country. Based upon Scorpion’s apparent connection with Hierakonpolis and from the stylistic similarities between his macehead and the palette and macehead attributed to Narmer, the two rulers may well have been close contemporaries.
The only other evidences to date of the existence of a King Scorpion come from small serekhs found on vases. Serekhs were the enclosing devices within which the early names of Kings were written. A serekh of Scorpion may occur on a wine jar from Minshat Abu Amar, though this inscription has also been read as being that of "Aha," the later First Dynasty King who may have been the same king known by Manetho as Menes. Two serekhs written on pottery vessels from Tarkhan have been read as Scorpion, but that is not yet considered a conclusive reading either. Indeed, it has been proposed that these inscriptions be attributed to a King called "Crocodile", perhaps a king reigning concurrently with the main Thinite royal family.
As more discoveries are made in Abydos, Hierakonpolis and other Predynastic and Early Dynastic sites, it is possible that the gaps in history will be filled, and a clearer picture of these earliest days of Egyptian beginnings will be revealed. Let’s hope so!


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:44 am 
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That was an interesting read Meresankh. Thanks for sharing!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 4:18 pm 
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on the mace head one of the tribal symbols is that funny Set creature


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:18 am 
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To me it looks like 2 of them are set creatures.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 1:41 pm 
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Yes, it certainly looks like it.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 1:44 pm 
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on the square cartouches uaed by the earliest egyptians, some of the pharoahs have the set creature sitting above the name, some have horus. I wonder if represents different families or origins of the ruler?

Whatever it is, its good for a jaffar joke or two


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:27 am 
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One Egyptologist I knew said that looking at the way the holes were bored they were not mace heads as the sticj came out of the top - possibly they were supports for flags, standards or parasols.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:31 am 
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Sorry for the type - stick not sticj.

On the subject of maces - Did you know that on modern cermonial maces the big lump is not the head but the butt - they were carried head down so ornamentation on the butt end increased!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:14 am 
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Image


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:34 am 
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Is there some specific part of the above site you were refering to?


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