First Egyptian female ruler, Merneith – Photo Courtesy of PINTEREST
CAIRO – 10 January 2018: Ancient Egyptians are still captivating the minds of people around the world because of their extraordinary contribution to civilization. Egypt Today presents in a series of articles a glimpse on Ancient Egypt’s greatest queens.
In the last article, Egypt Today shed light on Tutankhamen’s wife and half-sister’s, Ankhesenamun, life. The chosen queen for today, however, is the first Egyptian female ruler, Queen Merneith, also known as Meritneith and Meryt-Neith.
Most archaeologists think Merneith is the first Egyptian woman to ascend Egypt’s throne. Besides, her name is on the list of Egyptian rulers on the Palermo Stone, according to researcher and author Islam Mohamed Abdel Moneim.
Being the wife and sister of King Djet, the fourth king of the First Dynasty, Merneith managed to ascend the throne after his death, while other researchers believe she ascended the throne after the death of her father king Djer, according to author Ismail Hamed.
Carrying northern Egypt’s characteristics, "Her name means Goddess Beloved,” Hamed explained. He added that the name “Neith” was accompanied by early Ancient Egyptian dynasties’ queens. Moreover, many Egyptologists compare her with Queen Neithhotep, King Narmer’s wife.
Although her royal reign is still debated, evidence confirms Merneith ascended Egypt’s throne and had independent autonomy. For example, she is the only First Dynasty queen to have two tombs, in Saqqara and Abydos. Her Saqqara tomb still carries magnificent inscriptions and artistic details and was surrounded with smaller tombs of her era’s artists, maids and workers to serve her after death.
Her royal name was written down on a stele found at her son’s King Den’s tomb.
The stele includes the name of Merneith as one of first dynasty rulers, according to archaeologist Hussein Abdel Basir.