These figures show two important advances made during the reign of Seth
1) The firstRoyal names written in cartouche are not,as commonly
believed, dated to the third dynasty (Nebka, Huni) but from the middle of
the second dynasty . This piece is unpublished, its origin is unknown, the
material is a kind of limestone (?) brown with white stripes, h 2,04 cm diam.
1,94 cm., diam. of the hole 0,68 cm. These informations are provided by F.
Tiradritti (Egyptologist at 'Civiche Raccolte Archeologiche e Numismatiche'
in Milan - Italy) on the catalog 'KEMET - Alle sorgenti del Tempo' of the
Archaic -Ancient Egypt exhibition in Ravenna (1998). Also Cf. F. Tiradritti, in: P. Minà (ed.), L'Uomo nell'Egitto antico, Palermo 2006, 257-267.
Confront the similar (but without cartouche) seal impression in Kaplony
'Die Rollsiegel des Alten Reichs' II, 1981 tav. I.
In the same plate of the Kaplony' s book there's also a very similar seal
with the cartouche of Neferkaseker: this king should
be placed few years before Peribsen and so, if the seal is of second dynasty
date, this one would be the second cartouche known, dating after that on the
Saqqara brick of Nefersenedjra and before that of Peribsen (For another example
2) The first full sentence of Egyptian history on a seal impression
from Abydos Tomb P at Umm el Qa'ab. This demonstrates the evolution of the
writing from a mere means to record and count some goods, to mark the property
or provenance of these , to propagandate chieftainship (serekhs, names) and
to record the passing of time to an instrument for the expression of thoughts,
ideas, statements and so on.
Before writing began to be adopted as a mirror of the spoken word there's
a period of circa half a millennium during which it was used on little tags
(those from the Abydos cemetery B and exp. U, recording goods' quantities
and provenances) on ivory and wooden labels, stone vessels, seals and monuments,
with an increasing degree of complexity.
In the reigns after Peribsen brief sentences are known on objects of Khasekhemwy
(Nimaathapi seals) and Djoser (especially the Heliopolis temple reliefs);
less than a century later, wider texts make their earliest appearances in
the form of 'biographies' (Metjen, Pehernefer under Huni and Snofru); the
Unas' Pyramid Texts date almost 400 years after Peribsen.
Peribsen is sufficiently well known only for materials found in Abydos :
seal impressions and some fragments of inscribed stone vessels have been found
by Petrie and then Ayrton in the excavations at Umm el Qaab(tomb P) and at
the site of the enclosures where the so called 'Middle Fort' yielded a lot
of impressions the most of which with no royal name but certainly of IInd
half of the II nd Dynasty.
An important inscription has been found at Elephantine (M.D.A.I.K. 43, 1987
p. 107-9 fig. 13a, pl.15a).
There's not yet concordance among the scholars about the relation with the
King Sekhemib Perenmaat: some consider the latter to be a predecessor of Peribsen,
some others a follower of Peribsen and another old hypothesis is that Sekhemib-Perenmaat
would have changed his name when he adopted Seth as his tutelary god thus
becoming Seth Peribsen .
No definite proof has been produced to give undeniable credit to anyone
of these theories . The only one I feel sure to deny is the equivalence Sened
= Peribsen that some scholars have proposed (D.Wildung, W.Barta) .
This sovereign has been connected with a sort of religious revolution, of
the same kind as that of Akhenaton, since an article by P.E. Newberry
[The Set rebellion of the IInd Dynasty, in: A.E. 7, 1922, 40-6] (later
followed by Cerny, Grdseloff and others) made this King's introduction of
the cult of Seth and the substitution of the Horus name with the Seth name,
a very heresy, transforming this ruler in a kind of forerunner of Amenhotep
IV; indeed the documents we have aren't sufficiently explicative for resolving
this question and the period remains outstandingly obscure until the accession
of Khasekhem; but we can tentatively speculate that the whole age from the
death of Ninetjer to Khasekhemwy could have been more pacifical than it has
ever been thought, with a possible agreement on the division of the country
Only the beginning of the reign of Khasekhem(wy) shows in fact some signs
of important bellicose activities made by this king.
Therefore I remain convinced that the royal propaganda transformations evidently
accomplished at the time of Peribsen must be seen as
an effect of some perhaps profound crisis that affected the Egypt in the middle
of the second dynasty, but however not as the cause of that crisis
; troubles did exist and what we see now are probably the means adopted to
defeat those problems.
On the other hand the cited important evidence from Elephantine shows that
that site's development was subject to the central government initiative just
from the second dynasty and this control over such a remote outpost can only
be seen as an index of prosperity and expansion of the Egyptian state (although
it seems that only the Thinite royal family was involved into it).
Furthermore the attestation of Peribsen's mortuary cult during the fourth
dynasty clarifies that this king was worshipped in that period; and probably
he had no contrast with his follower (nor there was any hiatus between the
two kings): in fact another older sign of respect for this king consists in
the very 'acceptance' of his burial place by Khasekhemwy who appears to be
more in line with Peribsen than an opponent of him : in the latter case Khasekhemwy
would have ordered the destruction of Peribsen's Umm el Qa'ab tomb before
building his own tomb there, and he would have never built, for the same reason,
his enclosure near the Middle Fort. We must however notice that, if the enclosures
of these two kings are side by side at North Abydos, the Umm el Qa'ab tombs
V and P are respectively at the opposite southern and northern limits of the
Ist - IInd dynasty royal necropolis.
In conclusion we can say that the possibility of a division of the Egypt
in two reigns during the second dynasty is somewhat high, the motives are
obscure but likely depend on factors of crisis or of difficulty to manage
the whole country, and finally, prior to Khasekhem no sign of 'civil war'
do exist; if this sovereign had to fight to reunite the kingdom it was certainly
not against any of his Abydene immediate predecessors (be them two or one)
but perhaps against the memphite rulers: inscriptions of Khasekhem - Khasekhemwy
show dead bodies and mention a 'victory over the Northeners', without explaining
who these defeated were.
Names, titles, identities and the 'Sethian Period' theory
As it has been written above, there's no piece of evidence to demonstrate
that Sekhemib and Peribsen were two successive names of the same king.
A seal impression published by Petrie (Scrabs and Cylinders pl. VIII ; id.
A History... 7th ed. p. 26) was interpreted as naming Sekhemib - Peribsen
(this latter written Per-en-ib) but it was instead to be read Sekhemib - Perenmaat.
The occurrances of the materials inscribed with the name of Sekhemib always
in contexts dated to Peribsen (Umm el Qaab t. P and 'Middle Fort' enclosure)
leaves room for two hypotheses : either it really happened that Hor Sekhemib/Perenmaat
changed his name and title in Seth Peribsen, or that one of the two kings
was the follower of the other one and reused for his own burial the funerary
monuments built for the predecessor (or simply completed the building).
I give few credit to the attempts made by D.Wildung (followed by W.Barta)
to consider the Horus Sekhemib the same person as Nswt-bity Wng and Seth Peribsen
the same as Sened: for the former two there's no proof pro as none contra,
but for the latter ones there are at least two proofs contra: the Shery
false-doors (from his Saqqara Mastaba B3 dating to half of the IVth dyn.)
have some inscriptions which clearly make a distinction between king Peribsen
and Sened, not an equivalence ; moreover Snd cannot be the Nswt-bity of Peribsen
because 'Peribsen' recurs itself as Neswt-bity on some seals and vessels inscriptions.
We will examine below the archaeological and epigraphical sources to try
to estabilish the relative position of these two reigns.
As for Ninetjer, both the names Sekhemib/Perenmaat and Peribsen are whether
serekh-names or Neswt-bity/Nebty names :
but at least five ephemeral successors of Ninetjer are known only by their
Nswt-bity Nebty name: Weneg, Sened, Nwbnefer, Neferkara and Neferkaseker ('Za'
has been proposed as the Horus name of Weneg, but this is only an attempt);
also for this reason Helck (Z.A.S. 106, 1979) advanced the hypothesis that
Ninetjer might have voluntarily split the country in two for some obscure
motif, placing two sons of his to reign in Upper and Lower Egypt separately.
Thus the memphite rulers would have held the nswt-bity/Nebty title whereas
the Abydene used the name in the serekh; and as a consequence the cited memphite
kings would have reigned contemporarily with the Abydos chiefs Sekhemib and
In support of this theory there's the absolute lack of traces of the memphite
rulers following Ninetjer in Upper Egypt; the Upper Egyptian Peribsen and
Khasekhemwy are only very scantly attested at Saqqara; these facts could also
be the result of a purely fortuitous and unbalanced weight of the archaeological
findings, but there do remain many more chances to find some artefact of the
reigns of Peribsen and especially Khasekhemwy at Saqqara (Gisr el Mudir,Step
Pyramid complex western massif galleries) than to find the names of Wng to
Neferkaseker in Upper Egypt; the same first three kings of the second dynasty,
who reigned together for not less than seventy years, have left very scarce
traces of themselves in Abydos.
The mentioned problem of the 'boundaries' of Saqqara and Abydos cemeteries
of Early Dynastic Period is a very important one: I think that West Saqqara
hides much more materials than West Abydos (around Umm el Qa'ab); but during
a (2001) personal communication with Dr. Nabil Swelim I was made aware of
the similarly outstanding mass of tombs and other structures which also Abydos
could still retain undiscovered, not far from the Umm el Qa'ab site... I couldn't
ask the same question to Dr. Dreyer.
Six principal aspects need to be deepened in order to face the questions
of the "Sethian revolution" of Peribsen and his likely sovereignty
over the only Upper Egypt:
1) the value of the royal titles known as Horus
name and Neswt-bity / Nebty; 2) chronology and annals' and king-lists'
contents and purpose; 3) the epigraphic data; 4) the archaeological
contexts of the Abydos monuments (Umm el Qa'ab tomb P and the 'Middle Fort'
enclosure); 5) the indirect proofs of the division of the 'Two lands';
6) the material concerning the other kings.
This is not the context for an extensive treatise on these arguments so
I' ll try to be as brief as I can; the fields of investigation I have
just pointed out will also help to understand the relation of Horus Sekhemib-Perenmaat
with Seth Peribsen.
1) Horus atop the Serekh is a symbol of the king's palace protected by
the supreme god of the sky: this is identified with the
king himself and therefore, for extension, the god-king protects his own
land, with all the things and the living within it.
The strength and significance of this metaphor have mythical and religious
roots because it implies the concept of the divine kingship as source and
cause of the king's right to reign on the land and peoples as a whole.
The Neswt-bity title is completely untied from any religious belief : it
stresses the geographical aspect by assimilating the king to two natural species
characteristic of the Upper and Lower Egypt environments which form the king's
domain as opposites' union.
The Nebty title has both religious and geographical value : but only later
in the Old Kingdom it will be used independently, while in the Fruhzeit, it
is often coupled with the Neswt-bity so that there is usually the same name
for both these titles (Nswt-bity / Nebty Peribsen).
It seems fairly probable that the Horus name was received by the king at
his accession; it might express the magical or physical power of the sovereign
or evidence other virtues of his, name a tutelary god or animal, be a threat,
a purpose, a will or a wish; or it could transmit (Christine Van Heertum,
pers. comm.) the purpose of the king to highlight a specific aspect of the
god Horus to whom the king was identified.
Until Snofru, the Horus name was the principal one (with the exceptions of
the Seth name of Peribsen, the Nswt-bity of other five obscure rulers of the
Second dynasty cited above, and the IIIrd Dynasty Nebka, Neferka(?) and Huni-Niswteh
cartouche names- cfr N. Swelim 'Some Problems' 1983 p.7).
The Neswt-bity instead, introduced the birth name; Ninetjer was the first
king to adopt his proper name as a Horus name too: therefore,like Peribsen,
he had a single name for the three royal titles (perhaps N. had a fourth 'Golden'
title with Ren as name).
It seems that the Nswt-bity had a more marked political and lay value and
was preferentially used in civil-commercial contexts, while, on the contrary,
the Horus name was a holier one and was to be used with more frequency in
ceremonial,cultual,magical, bellicose,ownership,funerary and religious ambits.(Indeed
this is no rigid rule at all and it's subject to changes in time or context).
There are no known sure evidences of royal name change before Khasekhem;
such a measure can only have been historically handed down to us when we deal
with long or well known reigns (like those of Pepi I, Monthuhotep II, Amenhotep
IV); for a relatively scarcely attested king like the one in question it's
very difficult to interpret the few evidences in our possession as an index
of name change without a document explicitly pairing the two names. (But note
that Qa'a seemed to have two different nswtbity-nbty names: Sen-written in
two ways- and Shotep, plus a probable ...kt-wr (?)).
On the other hand a change like this, of similar matrix as the Akhenaton
one, would imply a reject of the preceding name and titles so that the two
could hardly have been paired, and a writing Horus Sekhemib beside Seth Peribsen
would have had no reason to be just like a hypothetical Neswt-bity / Sa Ra
- *Neferkheprwra Amenhotep / Akhenaton.
The adoption of the god Seth on the serekh should be seen in the light of
the archaic religion and myths, not in that of the later periods during which
Seth became an adverse deity. Also unacceptable for us is the old theory that
Seth gained a negative role in the myth just for having been the tutelary
god of the 'heretic' Peribsen !
The geographical origin of Seth must have been the Ombite (Naqada) Upp.Eg.,
not the Sethroe nome in the Delta.
Now I wonder if the correct order of succession was Horus Sekhemib Perenmaat
> Seth Peribsen > Khasekhem, why after Seth Peribsen there was Horus
Khasekhem > Horus-Seth Khasekhemwy and not Horus-Seth K. > Horus K.
This has been explained as a proof that Khasekhem 'fought' the 'heretic'
Peribsen and, after the victory, incorporated the emblem of the defeated enemy
as sign of reconciliation of the Upp.Eg. with the Low.Eg. in his own person.
I have written, at the end of the introduction of this page,that Khasekhemwy
mustn't have fought against an Abydos king like Peribsen but against a northern
foe be it memphite rulers or Delta rebels; but to further complicate the question,
there's a possible shifting of the whole prospective: there's in fact a possibility
that Khasekhem did fight and defeated Peribsen : but this could have happened
only if : A) a civil-war was fought between ruling families of Naqada (or
Abydos) (Seth=Northeners) and Hierakonpolis (Horus,in the south) ; and B)
the Horus Khasekhem and the Horus-Seth Khasekhemwy were two different rulers,
one of Nekhen and the other of Thinis.
According to these concepts the period would have been a very stormy one,
because there were three powers in Egypt: one in Memphis, one in This and
one in Nekhen; and only after the resolution of the conflict between the two
southern ones would the whole land have been reunited under Khasekhemwy.
Contra this latter theory there's the already quoted apparently painless
succession Peribsen- Khasekhemwy: the seal inscription in the fig. 2 could
also be a statement referred to Khasekhemwy :'Peribsen has passed the two
lands on to his son'; these two rulers buried in Abydos have to be seen as
belonging to the same strain, and they probably strode to the same aims: but
only Khasekhemwy will effectively succeed in reuniting the two lands which
had been separated in the aftermath of a Ninetjer's will.
If it really went this way, why to sever the land in two and returning to
a condition which had been always considered unnatural at least since the
time of Narmer ?
We must look at it in a different manner : if we give for certain the more
or less voluntary intention of Ninetjer to leave the country to two heirs
of his (Helck Z.A.S.106,1979 p.132), it could have been seen in terms of a
scission in two persons of a prerogative that had since been held by a single
person with double power over North and South; this remains a very unusual
and 'unmythical' situation but it's sure that a measure like this had been
taken for there was a serious urge of it. Then the crown princes could have
been both in right to reign (twins ?) or a royal propaganda would have put
the things in this way. Anyhow what was happening was not new at all : for
me it was only a repetition of an old problem, the same one that had brought
some (still chronologically unsure) succession troubles post Qa'a (contra
Dreyer) and, above all, the same one that caused such an apparently too balanced
power between the first dynasty rulers buried at Abydos and their officials
buried at Saqqara:
the Thinite king was perhaps still unable to control such a long stripe
of land alone and therefore his first dignitary in Memphis was endowed with
a power which almost matched that of the King. Although the old question of
the burials and cenotaphs has been resolved by Kemp and later by the D.A.I.K.
excavations, with the assumption that the Thinite tombs were 'bigger' than
the memphite ones because the former comprehended Umm el Qaab burial plus
northern funerary enclosure, there is equally a very evident parity between
the king's tomb of Upper Egypt and the king's conceded tomb for the Lower
These latter were as 'double' of the king, so they had to transmit to their
citizens the same fierce authority as the kings did with his actions and monumental
buildings. This is not the place to investigate why the first dynasty kings
conceded such a power to their northern dignitaries , but I rehearse that
the most probable reason is in the easier way to control the state, or to
face any kind of political or economical trouble; at the beginning of the
second dynasty the situation is upset : the real capital and kings' residence
is at Memphis but a crisis of the monarchy must have forced Ninetjer to transmit
his reign to two equally powerful individuals : the memphite ruler (Neswt-bity)
had perhaps a more relevant political power, the Thinite (Horus- Seth) had
instead prominent religious authority. A succession difficulty could also
have been the cause for this division.
Remember too that the Palermo Stone records its minimal Nile flood height
just in the reign of Ninetjer.
Initially the state of things would have been the only one possible, and
would have been accepted as such;
but later,when the state returned to be prosperous and strong, and a powerful
king wore the white crown,this double and split country sovereignty would
have been seen as a flaw to cure, and that's what Khasekhem did.
2) Chronologically there are two possibilities: the circa 9 kings of the
second dynasty reigned in succession (independently from the place in which
they resided) for a total amount of years which must be 140-150; or there
were contemporary rulers in Memphis and This so that (after Ninetjer) Wng,
Snd, Nwbnefer, Neferkara and Neferkaseker reigned for 10-20 years while Sekhemib
- Peribsen sat on the throne of This. In this case the total duration of the
dynasty could be reduced to 120-130 years.
The New Kingdom king-lists we consider can be divided in two branches (see
figures in the dynasty 2 page) : the Abydos list
contained only five cartouches of second dynasty kings : only Wadjnes (Wng)
and Senedj before Khasekhemwy (Djadjatepy); the Turin Canon and the Saqqara
list are more complete and parallel to each other: after Wadjnes and Senedj
there are 'AaKa (Neferka), Neferkaseker and an indication of a lacuna (hudjefa;
Goedicke J.E.A.42 p.50) followed by Khasekhemwy (Bebty).
The Manetho compilation can be considered as a product tightly related to
sources like the Saqqara list and the Turin Papyrus.
Now, even if (as Wildung proposed) Wng and Snd were Sekhemib and Peribsen
(but I have explained above that it can't be), there would be various rulers
ignored by these documents; we must understand why this happened.
We have paired the Turin Canon with the Saqqara list for their quite identical
report of the second dynasty kings' names; but in searching for the aim of
these documents we must separate the two lists, which have a religious character,
from the Turin pap., which instead is of more practical use.
In the monuments of the nineteenth dynasty king Sethi at Abydos (temple)
and of the few later Director of all the king's works royal scribe Tjwloy
at Saqqara (tomb) (El Alifi D.E. 26 p.11 concluded that the same artist could
have been responsible for the two lists) there is a common intent : that the
kings' names had to convey their magical and positive influence to the subjects
who remembered them by writing their names; and therefore a religious basis
like this would have caused the exclusion of kings or dynasties recognized
or thought to have been usurper, stranger, blaspheme towards the gods or lacking
the right to reign.
That's enough to explain the exclusion of the Hyksos, the Akhenaton's family
and so on.
But in the case of Peribsen, such a remote ruler could have been the object
of a false memory, one transformed in the centuries as to make him become
an heretic only for it was known he chose Seth as tutelary god. We have seen
that in the fourth dynasty (Shery's false door inscriptions) Peribsen was
not a king to erase the memory of.
As far as chronological and numerical presence, the most trustable documents
are the Turin Canon and the Annals : both date long after the end of the second
dynasty (XIX th dyn. the first and V th dyn. the second) but what makes them
more valuable is just their purpose : not a cultual or religious one (although
the Annals could have been placed in a temple) but a merely count of years,
a true calendarical use, particularly for the Annals.
The Hyksos are reported in the Turin Papyrus (unnumbered fragment in R.C.
col. X, discussed by Gardiner 'Egypt of the...' in the appendix of his book
and in the VIIth chapter),thus the compiler had in mind the aim to list all
the sovereigns,for time count use, ignoring (like Manetho) that probably the
sources he copied could display cases of kings who ruled contemporarily with
others even if listed in succession.
From this point of view, the chronology preserved on the Annals (Palermo
Stone, Cairo and other fragments), would have been of immense utility if only
one of these tables had been found intact; but there are only two main fragments
(the Cairo 1, as large as the Palermo's, is almost entirely defaced) and some
minor ones which have all been reconstructed in the original position they
had to occupy in the integral tablet (c. 2m x 1m), by the efforts of W.Kaiser,
W.Helck and W.Barta from 1961 to 1987.
The reconstruction have all a similar character: same basis, similar conclusions
(see the figure of the possible original slab); but
the fact that they are based on year lengths provided not only by the coeval
monuments but also by the later Turin Papyrus must be firmly kept in mind,
because the actual size of the entire slab could also have been totally different
and in this case only few decimeters of difference could mean various years
more or less.
What can be concluded examining these Annals' reconstructions (mainly Helck,
op.cit. p. 125 and Barta Z.A.S. 108, 1981)?
The line IV contained circa 120 years compartments: on the right hand third
there were Hotepsekhemwy+Nebra(unpreserved), the central third was Ninetjer
(6 years on the right of Pal. Stone, 15 years on the Pal. Stone, c. 15 years
left of the Pal. Stone and c. 10 years on the line IV of the Cairo Stone-
unreadable) and the left hand portion (circa 5 years on the Cairo Stone after
Ninetjer, plus c.35 years left of the Cairo Stone) should have contained the
last third with the kings prior to Khasekhemwy (he must have been placed ot
the right at the beginning of the Vth line, just below Hotepsekhemwy; the
mention of a bronze statue of Khasekhemwy -Pal.St.V,4- should have nothing
to do with his reign, being of the end of his successors'-Nebka or Djoser-).
Thus the last forty years on the (left) end of line IV had to be devoted
to all (?) the Ninetjer's followers before Khasekhemwy.
How can we best divide these 40 years ? A speculative attempt can be made
by proposing circa 20 years for about five rulers (Wng,Snd,Nwbnfr,Nfrkara,Nfrkaskr)
with average reign length of 4 years, plus other 16-20 years of Sekhemib -
For the reason that this slab could have been used to calculate past years
in the history of Egypt by the fifth dynasty priests and scribes (like a modern
calendar but with years instead of days),it sounds like a self-contradiction
that there could have been the conscious inclusion of kings whom reigned contemporarily
with others also included; in our case twenty years, during which at Memphis
some Neswt-bity reigned while others did at Abydos-Thinis, would have become
about forty, thus faking the years' count; so it must be acknowledged that
there are only 3 possibilities : either the scribes who were consulted to
compile the annals furnished wrong informations, lacking the knowledge of
a past that was however not more than 250 years from their time (ten generations)
mistaking the sources they availed themselves of; or the aim of that inscribed
wall-stela was not a calendaric one (but I am convinced that this monument
contained history and was no sort of almanac like it has been advanced)
and thence it could have also omitted some rulers for different motives; or
the artefact had to contain a succession of kings and contemplated eventual
reigns' overlappings if they really happened.
I have already quoted as 'immense' the importance that a piece like an integral
annal could have had if it was in our hands for, being of Old Kingdom manufacture,
it would contain informations with very little amount of mystifications or
mistakes caused by the passing of time; this last has certainly affected the
New Kingdom sources at a higher degree.
I think that, unless huge blunders have been made by eminent scholars or
significant particulars have been overlooked, Annals' "anastylosis"
can be considered sure with an approximation of about 10-30 years. (Anyhow
we can't help but keeping in mind that some foundations on which these studies
have been built up- i.e. the Turin Canon reign lengths- might be incorrect
data; and even important is the fact that internal successions of some dynasties-II
and III- is still uncertain so, for example, we could be in error in identifying
Nebka or Sanakht years which could belong to Khasekhemwy or Netjerykhet).
So the forty years in the third third of the line IV had probably the non
overlapped reigns of Egyptian kings of the obscure age in the middle-end of
the second dynasty; a mention of overlapping can be hypothesized but I think
that, on a memphite monument like this one, southern kings would have been
plainly omitted and the reunificator Khasekhemwy would have followed the last
Lower Egyptian ephemeral king, with no mention of Sekhemib- Peribsen (in this
eventuality we can suppose that Peribsen was excluded from the annal without
perforce thinking that he was considered a kind of usurper or heretic): but
in this circumstance we would have 40 years of kings like Nwbnefer and Neferkaseker,
so about ten rulers or more, at least five kings of whom have left no trace
on monuments and lists. It's not a very remote possibility that other yet
unknown kings could have existed in that age, perhaps reigning only few months
each one (and so there could have been more than ten kings),but what doesn't
truly convince me is the time span, fourty years, which would be a mini-intermediate
period, the Egypt in the hands of forgotten sovereigns!
The later lists' "hudjefa" indicates a lacuna in the original
monumental or papyrus inscription used for compiling the lists.
On the Turin Papyrus(as on the Saqqara list) it precedes a maimed version
of Khasekhemwy's name; the papyrus preserves its duration : 11 years; these
appear few (but not impossible) for all the reign of Peribsen. Furthermore
we cannot know whether the lacuna was a real indication of lack or twisted
original document or if the name was readable but it was believed not deserving
to be reported. But somehow the scarcity of remains is a valid indication
of the relative brevity of that critical period.
3) cfr. Kaplony 'Steingefasse' p. 69 ff.
Palaeographic and epigraphic study of Peribsen inscriptions
(compared with those of Ninetjer and Sekhemib)