This chapter first briefly discusses Egypt's Predynastic Period before discussing its early rulers up until the Second Dynasty. Using archaeological evidence primarily found in these kings' tombs, the chapter charts the beginnings of Egypt's unification and statehood and the evolution of its highest office—that of the pharaoh. Later Egyptian tradition, from at least the New Kingdom onwards, attributed the unification to one “Menes,” the founder of the First Dynasty, inaugurating what is referred to by modern historians as the Early Dynastic (formerly Archaic) Period. There has been much discussion as to which early king should be seen as the prototype of this heroic figure, the candidates being Narmer, his successor Aha, or a conflation of them and perhaps other early monarchs, such as “Scorpion.” From here the discussion turns to the succeeding monarchs after Aha—Djer, Djet, and Den; and finally, Khasekehmwy.
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