I had to wait for Mummific to reappear before I could write about king Narmer. He had been off for a few days already.
I was just reading the newspaper and having a cup of coffee after breakfast, when Mr Mummific appeared next to my elbow. I almost spilled my coffee on the newspaper.
”Do you mind? I thought we agreed you would make some noise when you appear so you don’t scare me to death!”
”Oh, is that possible? How interesting…” Mr Mummific pondered, ”How is that done?”
Better not let him continue with the thought too long.
”But good you came. We have Narmer to write about next”, I said and decided to take my coffee cup with me to the computer.
Mr Mummific followed. I looked around. No Ta-Miu around.
”Where’s your cat?”
”Oh, she chose to remain mice-hunting for a while… She has caught many, but there is not much meat left in mummified mice, and I think she was still hungry.” Mr Mummific sat on the chair reserved for him by my work desk, ”So, king Narmer…”
I opened a book and showed him the famous Narmer Palette that was found in Hierakonpolis. It was a stone palette of green slate, and was rather big - 65 cm in height. The king was carved on both sides of it. On one side he wore the White Crown of Upper Egypt, and on the other side the Red Crown of Lower Egypt.
”Oh, him, yes. King Narmer was the first to wear both crowns. The first king who ruled whole Kemet. All later kings have the greatest respect for him!”
To my surprise Mr Mummific actually rose from his chair to perform a little respectful bow on the palette.
I looked at the palette a bit closer. One that side where king Narmer wore the White Crown he was filling almost the entire surface, smiting an enemy with a mace.
”Was it really that necessary to show all the kings killing people?” I asked Mr Mummific, ”So brutal…”
”If you were to rule as king, people had to fear you. No one would have respected a king who would have just smiled and hugged everyone. Besides, from what your picture box shows, you still do it.”
The picture box of course was Mr Mummific’s favorite past-time, the TV.
There was no denying his words. I looked at the other side of the palette. There king Narmer was shown as a smaller figure, and there were two very interesting looking creatures in the middle of the space. It seemed like they were lionesses - but with very long necks that bent around each other, leaving a circular space in between.
”They crushed cosmetic powders there,” Mr Mummific’s dry finger reached to touch the circular space. ”For eye paint. Green paint helped to heal eyes and kept flies away. Also it diminished the glare of the sun.”
Mr Mummific did not consider the question worth an answer and I returned to the palette.
There were cow-heads on top of the palette on both sides.
”These are the goddess Bat, are they not? Or did you have Hathor already this early… about 5000 years ago?”
Mr Mummific did not seem to understand.
”What do you mean did we have Hathor already? She is a goddess! Goddesses have always been and will always be! Are you suggesting we somehow invented Hathor?”
Mr Mummific looked almost furious, if that is possible for a wrapped bundle of a mummy. The only things that could show emotions were his eyes and his posture. Which was rather stiff at the moment.
”Oh no, by no means, I simply expressed myself poorly”, I quickly softened my statement so he wouldn’t scoot off, ”I meant to ask if this goddess is Bat or Hathor? Or are they the same?”
”I would say Bat,” Mr Mummific said, ”You see Bat has her horns curving inwards, Hathor’s turned outwards. Bat was the sky goddess of old - the stars were in her belly. Her legs kept the sky up.”
”And king Narmer is without sandals, he is barefoot on both sides,” I observed, ”Yet he has a sandal-bearer next to him, carrying his sandals. Why is that?”
”He must be in a temple or a sacred space. You are to take off your sandals in such places, out of respect for gods. You see the god Horus in front of him, when he is smiting an enemy of Kemet?”
Indeed there was a falcon. He was standing on top of six papyrus plants and held a prisoner by the rope.
”That means he defeated six thousand people from the Delta,” Mr Mummific pointed at the papyrus plants, ”At least so I was told in the Duat, when searching for information about the earliest times. The papyrus plants grew in the Delta area.”
”And his name is written here…” I pointed at the serekh - a simplified front of a palace, inside which the king’s name was written in the earliest times. ”There’s a catfish that reads ’nar’ and a chisel that reads ’mr’. Narmer.”
I had a look at the beheaded enemies and the symbol of the king, a bull, trampling a fallen enemy at the very bottom of the palette.
”He gave that palette to a temple, I think”, Mr Mummific said, ”To show the gods how he had defeated the enemies. That is why there are all those killing scenes. So this is a ritual object. Ordinary people had palettes too for grinding cosmetic powders, but they were in the shape of animals or plants and other peaceful things.”
I had really always wondered why people thought Egypt was a peaceful culture. So much proof of war was there. Like the other object of Narmer’s. The Narmer Macehead. It showed the king sitting up in a dais, probably celebrating some festival. Historians could not say what this festival was - was the king celebrating his rule at a heb-sed festival, was it a wedding, or was the king counting war spoils. Maybe Mr Mummific could shed some light to this.
”This is quite big, this mace-head” I commented to Mr Mummific.
No answer. I turned to looked around, only to realize that he had seen the picture of the macehead - and got all excited. He was just lifting a round vase from the living room table. On his other hand he held a broom stick I used for stretching - clearly he idea was to stick the broom into the vase to make his own make-shift macehead. My only real crystal vase! It had cost a fortune in an antique shop!
”I will show you how a mace was used,” he said joyfully before I could say a word, ”I’ll just make one first…” He lifted the vase and it shook in his hand when he tried to direct the broom-stick into the opening.
And that was the end of writing about Narmer. I had to go and save my vase and living room from total destruction. As a result Mr Mummific disappeared deeply insulted through his ka-door into the afterlife and did not return for a few days. Obviously it was rather embarrassing for a pharaoh to be disarmed by a woman.
If you are interested in seeing the Narmer Palette, it is located at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. A plaster copy of it is at the British Museum.
The photograph of the Narmer Palette (here hijacked by Mr Mummific, for which I apologize and will show the palette without him on the King Narmer Facts page) is from Wikimedia Commons.