(early third millennium BCE), a queen of the first dynasty, mother of King Den. She was probably the wife of King Wadji and perhaps a daughter of his predecessor King Djer, in whose tomb at Abydos two objects with her name were found. She seems to have reigned for her son Den when he was still a minor, and she was therefore buried like a ruler at Abydos Umm el-Qaab.

In Old Egyptian, she was Mrt-Nt (“beloved of Neith”). She is not mentioned in the king lists, but her special position is indicated by seal impressions from tomb 3503 at Saqqara (Emery 1954, pl. 55), which show her name with a royal serekh, next to the Horus name of Djer and by impressions of the seal of the royal necropolis of Abydos discovered at Den's tomb, where she is listed among the first dynasty kings after Den; her title “King's Mother” is on the same level as the royal Horus-falcons. On the Palermo Stone, her name is partly preserved in the headline of Den's reign.

According to the excavation report of W. M. Flinders Petrie, The Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty (London, 1900), her tomb is one most carefully built. It consists of a central chamber, surrounded by store chambers and forty-one subsidiary burials. Like a king, she had two stelae (one now in Cairo) adorning it, but on them her name was written without the serekh. The authenticity of a baboon statue, of unknown provenance, inscribed with her name (Kaplony 1966, p. 91ff.) has been doubted by Seipel (1980, p. 38f.).

Bibliography

  • Dreyer, Günter. “Ein Siegel der frühzeitlichen Königsnekropole von Abydos.” Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts Kairo 25 (1969), 1–21.
  • Emery, Walter B. Great Tombs of the First Dynasty. Vol. II. London, 1954.
  • Kaplony, Peter. Kleine Beiträge zu den Inschriften der ägyptischen Frühzeit. Wiesbaden, 1966.
  • Seipel, Wilfried. “Untersuchungen zu den ägyptischen Königinnen der Frühzeit und des alten Reiches.” Ph.D. diss., Hamburg, 1980.

Günter Dreyer