Inscription bearing the nebty name Weneg (copyright Eigene Dateien)

Weneg (Ouneg) is a fairly mysterious character who ruled during the Second Dynasty of the Early Dynastic Period. The name Weneg is a Nebty name (Two Ladies Name or Throne Name) found on numerous inscriptions in the underground chambers of Djoser’s step pyramid.

The name of the Nomen associated with this king is not clear. To confuse the issue further, the name Weneg is written with a rather obscure flower glyph (translated as “wng”) which Grdseloff suggests was mistakenly replaced by the papyrus-plant glyph (Wadj) early in Egyptian history, changing his name to wadjnes (e.g. in the Abydos kings list). This resulted in Manetho mistranslating the name as “outgot-las”, which he shortened to “Tlas”.

Inscription suggesting link between Weneg and Raneb (copyright Udimu)

Weneg is sometimes linked to Raneb, the second ruler of the dynasty. Jochem Kahl suggests that a badly damaged fragment (shown) found in the tomb of Sekhemhib (Seth Peribsen) depicts the weneg flower beside elements of Raneb’s name and beneath the inscribed name of Ninetjer. He proposes that the weneg flower was connected to Raneb’s name, and Nynetjer later usurped the inscription.

Other Egyptologists (notably Nicolas Grimal, Wolfgang Helck, and Walter Bryan Emery) propose that Weneg was Sekhemib-Perenmaat who they considered to be a distinct ruler (as opposed to being one and the same as Sekhemhib (Seth Peribsen). This theory is not widely accepted, because clay seals of Sekhemib were found in the tomb of Khasekhemwy (the last ruler of the second dynasty) suggest that Sekemib reigned towards the end of the dynasty while Ramesside references to “Wadjenes” place this ruler near the beginning of the dynasty.

Some scholars suggest that in fact “Weneg” was the same person as Sendji, although both are listed in the Abydos kings list so this would seem less likely.

Finally, some have proposed (e.g. Peter Kaplony, Richard Weill, and Toby Wilkinson) that he was an entirely distinct king who ruled after Nynetjer. The length of his reign is uncertain, and the fact that he is unattested outside of Saqqara may suggest that he only ruled over an area of lower (northern) Egypt. Helck suggests he may have used the Horus name Sa (or Za), although other scholars link this name with either Nubnefer or Senedj.

It is interesting to note that Weneg is also the name of a god referred to in the Pyramid Texts. He supported the sky and was the judge of the other gods (as an aspect of the sun god, Ra).

Pharaoh’s Names

Manetho; Thlas

Weneg's Nebty

Nebty; Wng

Weneg's alternative Nebty

alternative Nebty; Wng

Nynetjer's Nomen 'Wadjnes' from the Abydos kings list

Nomen; Wadjnes (from the Abydos kings list)

Nynetjer's Nomen 'Wadjnes' from the Saqqara list

Nomen; Wadjnes (from the Saqqara List)

  • Bard, Kathryn (2008) An introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
  • Dodson, A and Hilton, D. (2004) The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt
  • Kahl, Jochem (2007) Ra is my Lord – Searching for the rise of the Sun God at the dawn of Egyptian history
  • Malek, J (2000) “The Old Kingdom”, in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt Ed I. Shaw
  • Rice, Michael (1999) Who’s Who in Ancient Egypt
  • Wilkinson, Toby A H (1999) Early Dynastic Egypt

Copyright J Hill 2016