Raneb's Serekh

Raneb (or Nebra, “Ra is Lord”) ruled Egypt during the second dynasty of the Early Dynastic Period. Manetho recorded that Raneb reigned for 39 years, but most scholars believe his reign was much shorter, possibly only ten years.

Manetho also claims that he introduced the worship of Mendes (the sacred goat) and began the bull cults of the Mnevis in Heliopolis, and the Apis in Memphis. However, references to the cult of the Apis in Den’s reign prove that the cult predates Raneb.

As far as we know, he was the first pharaoh to include the sun god Ra in his name and his reign marked a swing in power to the cult of Ra. As a result, his name is sometimes given as “Nebra” (meaning “Lord of the Sun”).

Statue of Hotepdief listing the names of Hotepsekhemwy, Raneb and Nynetjer (copyright Juan R. Lazaro)

He is thought to have been the son or brother of his predecessor, Hotepsekhemwy’s, but there is no firm evidence of a family relationship. We do not know the name of Raneb’s wife, but an individual named Perneb is referred to as “son of the king” in a tomb which may belong to him. However, the tomb may in fact be that of Hotepsekhemwy.

A granite statuette of the mortuary priest (Hotepdief) lists the names of Hotepsekhemwy, Raneb, and Nynetjer, suggesting that there were no successional problems at the beginning of the second dynasty. His name also appears on stone vessels (mostly shist, alabaster, and marble) found in Abydos, Giza, and Saqqara. However, rather strangely, his name always appears with that of Hotepsekhemwy or Nynetjer, and never on its own.

His Horus name is recorded in three wadi of the Sinai peninsula (Wadi Abu Madawi, Wadi Abu Koua, and Wadi Ameyra) following a very old route used by expeditions seeking copper and turquoise. Sealings from Raneb’s reign were found near the pyramid of Unas, and a granite stelea with his name in a serekh was discovered in Abydos. His burial place has not been confirmed.

Pharaoh’s Names

Manetho; Kaiechos

Raneb's  Nomen 'Kakau' from the Turin list

Nomen; Kakau (from the Turin list)

Raneb's Nomen 'Kakau' from the Abydos kings list

Nomen; Kakau (from the Abydos kings list)

Raneb's Nomen 'Kakau'

Nomen; Kakau

  • Bard, Kathryn (2008) An introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
  • Clayton, Peter A (1994) Chronicle of the Pharaohs
  • Dodson, A and Hilton, D. (2004) The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt
  • Bard, Kathryn (2000) “The Emergence of the Egyptian State”, in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt Ed I. Shaw
  • Rice, Michael (1999) Who’s Who in Ancient Egypt
  • Van De Mieroop, Marc (1999) A History of Ancient Egypt
  • Wilkinson, Toby A H (1999) Early Dynastic Egypt

Copyright J Hill 2016