Semerkhet ("thoughtful friend") was the sixth pharaoh of the first dynasty. We know very little about his reign. The Palermo stone only records some religious ceremonies and that his mother was named Batirytes. His name is recorded on an ivory lable (pictured below) with that of one of his officials, Henuka (who also served his successor Qa'a).

According to Manetho Semerkhet had a very difficult reign. Manetho claims that there were numerous disasters, but he alleges that these were due to the fact he was a usurper (which may also be why his name was omitted from the Saqqara kings list). He is also accused of removing Anedjib's name from a number of artifacts altough this was not actually that uncommon and was not necessarily frowned upon.

Ivory label featuring the name of Semerkhet copyright CaptMondo

Manetho states that he reigned for eighteen years, while the Palermo stone only records an eight year reign and the Turin list (on which he is named as Semsem) credits him with an unlikely seventy-two years. Either way, he had time to build a much bigger tomb than his predecessor Anedjib. He was interred in Tomb U of the royal necropolis at Umm el-Qa'ab, near Abydos.


Semerkhet's Nebti-name, iri (unconfirmed)
Semerkhet's Nebti name, Iri (unconfirmed)
Semerkhet's Nebti name, Iri (speculative) 'Semsem' from the Turin list
Nomen; Semsem (from the Turin list)
Semerkhet's Nomen 'Semsu' from the Abydos list (speculative)
Nomen; Semsu (speculative, from the Abydos kings list)

copyright J Hill 2010
Return to Top
Ancient Egypt Online

Predynastic period Early Dynastic Old Kingdom First Intermediate Middle Kingdom Second Intermediate New Kingdom Third Intermediate Graeco-Roman period Late period