Episode 1: The Two Lands

Narmer and the Birth of Egypt’s Kingdom.

Around 3000 BCE, a King rose to power in the Nile Valley. His name was Nar-mer, and he may be the first king of Egypt. In this episode, we meet the first ruler of the land, get a sense of Egypt and its people, and introduce the podcast as a whole. Welcome!

  • Time period: circa 3050 – 3000 BCE.
  • Kings: Narmer, Scorpion
  • Notable sites: Abydos (Abdju), Memphis (Ineb-Hedj).

The Two Lands

The major divisions and sites of early Egypt (Map: Nasa)



The Narmer Palette, smiting side (Wikimedia).
Narmer Palette, the “Parade” side (Wikimedia).
The possible tomb of Narmer, in the necropolis of Abydos (Touregypt.net)

podcast episode 1 narmer palette 1 (Wilkinson 2000)

Detail of the Narmer palette: the King smites his foe while a sandal-bearer (left) and the falcon Horus (right) watch.

podcast episode 1 narmer palette 2 (Wilkinson 2000)

Detail of the Narmer palette: the King and his followers march in parade, holding the banners of the gods (centre) and counting the dead enemies (right).

A macehead from the reign of Narmer (Wikimedia).


Detail of the Narmer macehead: it shows the King (centre) seated on a plinth, beneath a canopy. A woman (or divine statue) is brought before him, along with bound captives (centre right), the banners of gods (top right) and the animals of the realm (bottom right). The King’s followers gather behind him, and his fortress and shrines are secure.


King Scorpion

A machead of King Scorpion (Wikimedia)


The macehead of King Scorpion, who reigned just before Narmer in Egypt’s southern lands. Scorpion (centre) digs a canal or irrigation, while attendants help. At the top, banners of the gods carry dead birds in his name.


Select Bibliography

Vivienne Gae Callender, In Hathor’s Image: The Wives and Mothers of Egyptian Kings from Dynasties I – VI (Vol. I), 2011.

John Romer, A History of Ancient Egypt from the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid, 2013.

David Wengrow, The Archaeology of Early Egypt, 2006.

Toby Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, 1999.


28 Comments Add yours

  1. Denis Nardin says:

    I cannot seem to download this episode. Please fix it because I really want to listen to this podcast!

    1. DominicPerry says:

      Hi Denis,

      My apologies – when I re-jigged some of the early episodes I plum forgot to update the blog.

      Page should now have the correct link.

      Alternatively, I recommend subscribing via iTunes or a podcast app (Player Fm, Podbay etc) to get new episodes when they are released, and in their most up-to-date form 🙂

      1. elliephoenix says:

        I can’t seem to find a link to play or download either? Shame because I am so interested and you clearly put your work in.

      2. DominicPerry says:

        Hi Elli, beneath the first picture there is a link labelled Download.

  2. dukeofethereal says:

    Thank you very much for this phenomenal podcast series Dominic!

    1. DominicPerry says:

      Thank you for listening 🙂

  3. Elizabeth C says:

    i love your podcast. Thank you so much!!

  4. Jordi says:

    Is it possible to get a written file of the listening?

    1. DominicPerry says:

      Hi Jordi,
      Unfortunately I do not give out the transcripts at this time.

      1. DvnMrtn says:

        Would you be willing to sell some transcripts for the soul purpose of education?

      2. DominicPerry says:

        Hi Jordi,
        Email me at egyptpodcast@gmail.com with more details of your need

      3. oliverlove says:

        Would you be willing to sell them?

      4. DominicPerry says:

        Hi Oliver, transcripts are not for sale. Email me at egyptpodcast@gmail.com with more details of your need and we can see if there are other ways I can help

  5. Caro says:

    Great work, Dominick. Just I was surpris of seeing you jump straight this time from mound primordial to Nagada 3.

    1. DominicPerry says:

      Hi Caro,
      As part of the remaster project I am putting the Mythological tales into their own episodes. The first one is “Infinite Waters,” just after episode 3


  6. Franco says:

    I really admire your work. Congratulations and thanks you

    1. Agata says:

      Thank you for this podcast, it’s super interesting, extremely well made and so on, and so on… sorry, I am not a native speaker, I just lack words to express how much I appreciate your work 🙂 I’ve been into ancient Egypt for many years now, but I couldn’t find the time to really delve into it properly. Some time ago I have made up my mind to study egyptology as soon as I finish studying medicine but untill then I would like to at least try to taste what it feels like. I have been through almost every book about egyptology in my local libraries. Unfortunately, they’re mostly really old Soviet ones, so when I finally got my hands Toby Wilkinson’s “The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt” it felt like I was reading about a completely different country altogether! So, here comes my question: could you recommend some up-to-date exhaustive books about predynastic or early dynastic history of Egypt? I would be really grateful, we don’t have much locally, but when I realized that I can import some English-language books via internet I realized how big the choice is!
      So again, thank you for the podcast! I listen to it every day for a good month now and I already find it hard to survive a day without it 🙂

      1. DominicPerry says:

        Hi Agata,
        Pre-Dynastic specifically: I recommend The Ancient Egyptian State c. 8000 to 2000 BCE by Robert J Wenke (https://amzn.to/2MJyN6g) and A History of Ancient Egypt From the First Farmers to the Great Pyramid by John Romer (https://amzn.to/2WG2VnR). Both will give you a detailed introduction to the current trends, theories and knowledge in Egyptology / archaeology. More detailed material will be intensely academic / expensive 🙂

        Hope this helps!

        Disclaimer: I’ve provided Amazon Affiliate links, which will support the Podcast if you purchase through them.

  7. Franco says:

    I really admire your work. Congratulations and thank you

  8. Rick van der Horst says:

    This is really great. Have you ever thought of uploading this podcast to spotify for easy use and a wider audience?

    1. DominicPerry says:

      Hi Rick 🙂 I’m trying to upload it to Spotify, but they are currently not accepting the platform on which I host (Acast). Unfortunately it is out my control, at the present time; but when that changes, I’ll be first in line.


  9. John R Abele says:

    Thank you, I’ve been looking for, imagining, something that gives a concise history of Ancient Egypt for a long time. Awesome!

  10. Daniel Morlan says:

    This is truly an excellent podcast. Your style and methods are brilliant. Thanks so much for what you do. This is a proverbial gold mine of historical information.

  11. tippitnoodle says:

    I am new to podcasts and this is my first one. I have been interested in ancient Egypt for many years but never managed to get hold of anything gripping. I find the podcasts excellent, as weel as the website content. Very good. Also, thank you for your prompt messaging.

  12. elliephoenix says:

    I can’t seem to find a link for play or download either? A shame because I’m so interested and clearly you put your work into it

  13. Dalibor says:

    Hi! I have just discovered this podcast as a wonderful way of finally getting to know the part of history that I have always loved and in these uncertain times of quarantine I have finally time to dip little deeper into it. 🙂 This first episode was great! I wonder if we know to this day who was a ruler of Lower Egypt, when Narmer as a ruler of Upper Egypt, defeated his foes in Delta? Thank you for answer. 🙂

    1. DominicPerry says:

      Hi Dalibor, unfortunately we have no idea. Lower Egypt may not have had a single “ruler.” It is complicated 😶

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