Each King created a name
on his ascension to the throne and it was also a 'mandate' for this style of
leadership. The royal name was comprised of 5 separate elements (although earlier
kings used less) we modern writing often used the 'Nomen' or person name, which
preceded his kingship. Many Egyptian names were translated into Greek, for example
Amenhotep (Egyptian) into Amenophis (Greek) -
older books tend to use the Greek names but this is now less common and a translation
from the original hieroglyphs is used.
This name was often written within a rectangular frame, on top
of which perched the falcon-god Horus, which probably represented the king's palace.
This name represented the king as the earthly incarnation of the ancient falcon-god
Horus, who became the first divine patron of royalty.
the 'Two Ladies', and this name emphasises the king's special relationship with
the two great goddesses, Nekhbet, the vulture goddess of Upper Egypt, and Edjo,
the cobra goddess of Lower Egypt . They ruled supreme as the two ancient capitals
of Hieraconpolis and Pe, before Egypt was unified by King Menes in c. 3100 BC.
However, they continued to play an important role as royal protectress even
after unification - hence their inclusion in the royal titulary.
Golden Horus name
The meaning of this name is uncertain. It may signify the
victory of Horus over his enemy Seth (in the myth of Osiris), but it may represent
the reconciled enemies, Horus and Seth, as lords of Egypt .
From the 5th Dynasty onwards, the Prenomen and the Nomen
were both written inside cartouches. The prenomen was adopted as a religious
name by each king when he ascended to the throne, and it was always immediately
preceded (outside the cartouche) by the title n-sw-bit 'he who belongs to the
sedge and the bee'. The sedge represented Upper Egypt, and the bee Lower Egypt,
so the title meant 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt '. The prenomen itself usually
incorporates the name of the god Re (e.g. Neb-maet-re, 'Re is Lord of Truth').
The nomen, again enclosed within a cartouche, was usually
the name of the king before he succeeded to the throne (i.e. almost a family
name) and therefore, it is not uncommon for several kings within a family to
have the same nomen (e.g. Thutmose, Amenhotep, Senusret). The nomen was immediately
preceded (outside the cartouche) by the title s3 R' ('son of Re').
The full titulary was only used in formal inscriptions; otherwise
a king was usually identified by his prenomen which was either written alone
or accompanied by the nomen.
The prenomen and nomen are usually left in their Egyptian
forms (for example, 'Thutmose' rather than translating it into 'Thoth-is-born').
The transliteration of the kings' names vary in modern books on Egyptology.
Some retain the Graecised form of a name, as it occurred in the historical account
of Manetho (e.g., Amenophis, Sesostris, Cheops), whereas others give a translation
based on the Hieroglyphs (e.g., Amenhotep, Senusret, Khufu). Pronunciations
also vary, because of the absence of vowels in the hieroglyphic writings of
the names and our limited knowledge of the pronunciation of Ancient Egyptian.
Egyptology and Archaeology through Images: Last updated on