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!


01. Narmer Victory 1

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podcast episode 1 narmer palette (Wilkinson 2000)

The Narmer Palette.

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).



Decoration of a macehead made for Narmer: 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.


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.