Mr Mummific appeared next to me, when I was writing an essay about the famous pharaohs of the New Kingdom.
”Write about us,” he said.
”Us?” I did not get it, ”About whom? Surely not you and me?”
”Famous pharaohs, kings,” he said looking a bit shocked at the idea of writing about me, a mere mortal, and him, the immortal pharaoh.
”Aha, ok, just a minute…”
I wrote a few minutes to get my essay to a point where I could take a break. Then I opened a new word-file and sighed.
”Shoot? Whom? Why? Who is threatening us?” Mr Mummific looked slightly taken aback, as far as one could tell from all those linen bandages covering his face.
”Sorry, it is a manner of speaking. I meant: tell me what I should write about.”
”Ah… I see. What an odd saying…” He climbed on the chair next to mine, with his joints cracking alarmingly. The chair was padded, of course, as he considered it below his status to sit on hard chairs.
”We, the kings of Kemet, were absolute rulers," he began, "At least that’s what everyone thought. The Great Royal Wives – and the lesser ones too - of course had their own opinion of the matter, but we were the official rulers of the land, no matter what the ladies of the keneret thought. We inherited the crown from our fathers, when possible. And if that was not an option, we could inherit it otherwise too, but then it was wise to make clear we had a connection to a respected king of the past. That gave us justification to rule.”
”How was this done?”
”If there was a royal princess ready to be married, that was easy. We married them.”
”So did the right to rule go through the ladies? I mean you could only get the crown if you married a royal lady?”
”No, that was not the case. If there was no such lady available, we had good scribes. They could write history so that the new king seemed to be a legitimate ruler. Or the pharaoh could just decide to give the crown to someone. Like Horemheb. He married Nefertiti's sister Mutnofret, but they did not get any children who could have inherited the crown. So Horemheb gave the crown to his war lord Ramesses. The first Ramesses, I mean. The elite didn’t mind, as long as they got their “beef”. Literally. They loved to eat beef. Later I've heard it was not good for their arteries..." Mr Mummific began to stray from the subject and I coughed to get his attention. "Hm, yes, quite... And the peasants didn’t have a say in the matter of who became the king, so there was no need to take them into account.”
”How about the times of unrest?” I asked
”Like?” Mr Mummific changed position so that his bones crackled. He was clearly not very comfortable at any mention of times when kings’ rule was challenged by outsiders, and lifted his chin defiantly.
”The First, Second and Third Intermediate Periods. Persian Periods. You know – when all was not well in the Two Lands.”
”Well… We did have our kings even then. And we did our best to reclaim our power. Often with quite some success, might I add. We had great warrior pharaohs who took care of that. Kamose, Ahmose... And very valiant ladies as well! They fought for their sons and husbands when the need arose. We have greatest respect for them! Ahmose-Nefertari... Now that is some lady! I have actually been invited to her dinner parties in the Duat… She does have an overbite, that can't be denied, but what a personality… Charming, absolutely charming...”
I sighed. When Mr Mummific got all dreamy-eyed like that, he forgot himself in his memories for a long time.
”Maybe we should write more about the famous pharaohs?” I suggested, ”Make a list of them, when they lived and what were their achievements.”
”Hmm? What? Yes, yes, of course…”
Ta Miu, Mr Mummific’s mummified cat, walked into the room and stiffly hopped into his lap. I returned to my essay, listening to the dry purr of the cat, who had lived over three thousand years ago. It sounded like dry leaves stuck inside a car’s ventilator in the fall. They sat there all cozy - a dry little mummy man and a dry little mummy cat, forgotten in their memories of ancient greatness.
But we did work on the list of the famous pharaohs later – you’ll find them here.
Mr Mummific reminded me that I could not simply pick a few of the pharaohs and claim they are more famous pharaohs than the rest of them (if the word of such a deed would spread in the Duat, the arguments would never end), so we ended up writing about them all. There is the Mummific version of each, and I have then collected the bare facts to another, easy to read page. This may help you, if you for example are writing an essay on the said pharaohs.
According to Manetho, an early historian from ancient Egypt, told that before the unification of Egypt, the country was ruled by gods, who were then succeeded by demi-gods, whom the Egyptians called the Followers of Horus. These were probably pre-dynastic rulers who in later times turned into demi-gods in the mythology of Egypt.
The Early Dynastic period is the time period between 3150 - 2686 BC.
As if out of nowhere kings appeared, and there is still no agreement as to where they came from. Still, they formed the basis of what was to become the kingdom of Kemet - or Egypt, as we call it.
Click on the names below to read more about these pharaohs.