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The names of the Pharaohs – titles and epithets

30 September 2010
Ancient history

SIS member Gary Gilligan sent this link in – www.gks.uk.com/gks18/ which might not be everyone’s cup of tea but is worth taking a look at. I don’t know if the translations, as given, are wholly credible – but take a peek and see what you think. It begins by analysing the name of Naram Sin, the Akkadian king. The last element is that of the god Sin that gave its name to Sinai, as an example. It is usually regarded as the Moon – but this is arguable. It is not the name that is the focii of interest here but the title he adopted, otherwise novel at this point in time, namely he claimed to be King of the Four Quarters of the World. Strangely, this is interpreted as a reference to the Moon and the tidal force it exerts on the Earth. However, the title is completely independant of the name Naram Sin. It meant something else. I might refer to the idea of the sky being supported by four supports (at the cardinal points). In other words, Naram Sin implied he was a custodian of the four supports of the heavens. These effectively stopped the sky from collapsing – not a mean undertaking (but for further information on this aspect see Moe Mandelkehr, The 2300BC Event Outskirts Press, Denver: 2006). Hence, Naram Sin is saying, in effect, that the world may have previously wobbled on its supports but in his reign it had not. He is claiming responsibility for that fact – as the manifestation on Earth of the god Sin. As the Akkadians rose to power in the wake of the 2300BC event we may hazard a guess that he was referring to that particular episode – and it may have involved heavy earthquake activity (which may have been percieved as having a connection in some way with the Moon). It is not necessary to assume the god Sin represented the Moon at this time – but for the moment we may suppose it did. After all, this is game playing which anyone can join in. Now, Claude Schaeffer (1948) and Amos Nur (2008) made a connection between the Early Bronze site destructions in the Near and Middle East with a heavy earthquake storm and there is nothing quite like an earthquake shaking the ground to make it look as if the sky itself was rocking. Mandelkehr also adds a heavy meteoric flux to the equation, a running of stars that made it feel as if the stars were falling out of the sky and the bounds of the Earth had been loosened – the four supports were reeling on their foundations as it were. 

Obviously, I’m playing around with words and meaning but anyone can join in as the web site provides a whole raft of Egyptian throne names and epithets that may have hidden innuendos worth exploration. For example, the average historian would interpret the title of Naram Sin as a reference to his military conquests – to the four directions of the compass. The mythological angle is not necessary – but perhaps they went together. It is closely bound up with the sacred nature of kingship at that point in time. He was a representative of the god – symbolised that god by associating his exploits with the god (pleasing in his eyes). Obviously, we are talking about a destructive god in this instance – not a benign one. His exploits on the battlefield were likened to the actions of the god – and implies that the gods (natural disaster) was responsible for the end of Early Bronze age site destructions. 

This is not exactly the theme of the web site in question – but Pharaohs are identified with features of godhead. For example, looking at the names and titles of pharaohs of the early Old Kingdom we might suppose the god Horus was closely associated with the upheavals that occurred around 3200BC. It begins of course with Menes, or the bull god Min, but is closely followed by Har-aha (the fighting hawk like god Horus) Djer (Horus who strikes), Qa’a (his arm is raised), Huni (the smiter) and Khafare (appearing and/or shining like the Sun) and so on, epithets that could be applied to cometary phenomena. I liked the translation of Mentuhotep, a pharaoh that ruled shortly after the turmoil of the First Intermediate Period, as ‘the war god Mentu is content’ (or satiated). Namely, he had paused after a phase of activity in the natural world attributed to the god in question, coinciding with another bout of site destructions at the end of EBIVA and coinciding with a long period of abandonment of sites as we might expect after two episodes of earthquake storms in the region. The successors of Naram Sin were unable to prevent another rattling at the supports of the sky.    

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