There is some debate regarding Sanakhte ("strong protection"). Some sources consider him to be one and the same as Nebka, who is listed as the first Pharaoh of Dynasty Three in the Turin list, the Abydos list and by Manetho. This assumption is based on a seal impression found in Mastaba K2 near Beni Khallaf which records Sanakht's name along with the element "ka" of "Nebka" - which is hardly conclusive evidence but may yet be correct.

Alternative Serekh of Sanakht

Other sources suggest that Sanakhte should be placed later in the dynasty, possibly even after Khaba or Huni. Certainly, the Westcar Papyrus (written during the Middle Kingdom) places Nebka after Djoser, and it is argued that seal impressions bearing Djoser's name which were discovered in the tomb of Khasekhemwy (the last king of the Second Dynasty in the Early Dynastic Period) imply that he had arranged the burial because he was Khasekhemwy´s son and successor. However, it is also suggested that Sanakhte usurped the throne at the beginning of the dynasty. When Djoser took power back, he arranged for the burial of his father, Khasekhemwy. Finally, it is suggested that he may have been Djoser´s brother, but this theory does not seem to have much support.

His name appears on a fragment of sandstone from Wadi Maghara in the Sinai, near to the turquoise and copper mines. The king is shown in the familiar smiting pose wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, but only his Horus name (Sanakht) is recorded.

His name also appears within a small pyramid on the island of Elephantine. As both Huni and Sneferu built small pyramids throughout the country which were not used as tombs, this may support the idea that Sanakht reigned later in Dynasty Three.


Sanakht's Nomen 'Nebka' from the Abydos list
Nomen; Nebka (from the Abydos kings list)
Sanakht's Nomen 'Nebka'
Nomen; Nebka (from the Turin kings list)
copyright J Hill 2010
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