Khasekhemwy, Pharaoh of Egypt

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Khasekhemwy, Pharaoh of Egypt

Also Known As: "Khasekhem", "Khasekhemwy"
Birthplace: Egypt
Death: Died in Egypt
Immediate Family:

Son of Sekhemib-Perenmaat . ., Pharoah of Egypt and Mother of Khasekhemwy, King of Egypt .
Husband of Nimaethap, Queen of Egypt
Father of Djoser Netjerikhet, Pharaoh of Egypt; Daughter of Khasekhemwy; Khenenre do Egito and Mother of Huni, King of Egypt .

Managed by: Joseph Frederick Woodhull Strausman
Last Updated:

About Khasekhemwy, Pharaoh of Egypt

Khasekhemwy (d. 2686 BC; sometimes spelled Khasekhemui) was the fifth and final king of the Second dynasty of Egypt. Little is known of Khasekhemwy, other than that he led several significant military campaigns and built several monuments, still extant, mentioning war against the Northerners. His name means "The Two Powerful Ones Appear."

Khasekhemwy is normally placed as the successor of Seth-Peribsen, though some Egyptologists believe that another Pharaoh, Khasekhem, ruled between them. Most scholars, however, believe Khasekhem and Khasekhemwy are, in fact, the same person[2]. Khasekhem may have changed his name to Khasekhemwy after he reunited Upper and Lower Egypt after a civil war between the followers of the gods Horus and Set. Others believe he defeated the reigning king, Seth-Peribsen, after returning to Egypt from putting down a revolt in Nubia. Either way he ended the infighting of the Second dynasty and reunited Egypt.

Khasekhemwy is unique in Egyptian history as having both the symbols of Horus and Set on his serekh. Some Egyptologists believe that this was an attempt to unify the two factions; but after his death, Set was dropped from the serekh permanently. Secondly, he was the earliest Egyptian king known to have built statues of himself.

Khasekhemwy apparently undertook considerable building projects upon the reunification of Egypt. He built in stone at el-Kab, Hierakonpolis and Abydos. He apparently built a unique, as well as huge, tomb at Abydos, the last such royal tomb built in that necropolis (Tomb V). The trapezoidal tomb measures some 70 meters (230 ft) in length and is 17 meters (56 ft) wide at its northern end, and 10 meters (33 ft) wide at its southern end. This area was divided into 58 rooms. Prior to some recent discoveries from the 1st Dynasty, its central burial chamber was considered the oldest masonry structure in the world, being built of quarried limestone. Here, the excavators discovered the king's scepter of gold and sard, as well as several beautifully made small stone pots with gold leaf lid coverings, apparently missed by earlier tomb robbers. In fact, Petrie detailed a number of items removed during the excavations of Amélineau. Other items included flint tools, as well as a variety of copper tools and vessels, stone vessels and pottery vessels filled with grain and fruit. There were also small, glazed objects, carnelian beads, model tools, basketwork and a large quantity of seals.

Khasekhemwy built a fort at Nekhen, and at Abydos (now known as Shunet ez Zebib) and was buried there in the necropolis at Umm el-Qa'ab. According to Toby Wilkinson's study of the Palermo Stone in Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt, this near contemporary document assigns Khasekhemwy a reign of 17.5 or nearly 18 full years.