Episode 2: Horus Takes Flight

6a017d3e534403970c017ee60781ac970dThe tomb complex of Kha-sekhem-wy, at Abydos.

NOTE: As we re-write and re-release these early episodes, there may occasionally be some narrative inconsistencies. Check back for updated episodes that’ll bridge the gaps.

Part I

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The first Dynasty (ruling family) has been established. We now enter the period known as the Early Dynastic, in which many of the kingdom’s governing institutions first appear.

Not much is known about many of these rulers, but a conflict in the reign of Kha-sekhem-wy (“The Two Powers Appear in Glory”) possibly hints at the origin for one of Egypt’s most enduring myths: the Contendings of Horus and Seth.


A large statue of Kha-sekhem-wy (Source: Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)

Part II

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Horus Kha-sekhem-wy and Seth Peribsen continue to challenge each other.

The Second Dynasty passes soon after, with a string of kings about whom almost nothing is known. But the ideology of Egypt’s kings is taking shape, with mysticism and divine attributes being wrapped around the king’s person.

6a017d3e534403970c017d3e92d840970c-800wiThe respective serekhs (royal names, enclosed in a palace) of Peribsen (left) and Khasekhemwy (right). The animals atop these names hint at the ideological leanings, or totemic representation of these kings.


Notable sights of Episode II.


Robert J. Wenke – The Ancient Egyptian State, 2009.

Toby H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, 2001.

Kathryn A. Bard, An Introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt, 2007.

Ian Shaw (editor), The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, 2004.