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Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Sanakht


Relics have revealed that Sanakht was a Pharaoh of Egypt during the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. His name is also written in the Egyptian language as Hor-Sanakht or Nakht-Sa. His exact position in the chronological order of the dynasty is yet to be ascertained, as no such evidence has been discovered. Nothing was written about Sanakht's parentage, even in the 'History of Egypt' by the ancient Egyptian historian Manetho. Some recent Egyptologists believe that Sanakht is the other name of 'Nebka,' the ancient Egyptian ruler whose name was enlisted in a Ramesside list of the kings of that era. However, no proof has been found yet to support this theory. The only two pieces of evidence about Sanakht's existence are in two sealed fragments excavated from Wadi Maghareh in the Sinai Peninsula region.

Sanakht's Personal Life

Since little information can be derived from only two seals where Sanakht is depicted, any concrete fact about his ancestry or childhood remains unknown. Manetho claimed that Sanakht was the founding king of the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, but a few recent discoveries from Abydos contradict this theory. Because of them, Khasekhemwy is suspected to be the founder ruler of the Third Dynasty and the predecessor of Djoser, the second ruler of this dynasty. Hence, many historians now assume that Sanakht became the Pharaoh in the later part of the Third Dynasty, sometime after the reign of Djoser, rather than being the founder.
Some historians believe that Sanakht married Queen Nimaethap, who might have been the daughter of Pharaoh Khasekhemwy. Without concrete proof, some scholars suggest that Djoser was the son of Sanakht and Nimaethap, while others presume that Djoser might be the younger brother of Sanakht. As you can see, there is a lack of clarity even today about the lineage and succession of pharaohs around Sanakht.

Details About Sanakht's Reign

According to the records of the Egyptian historian Manetho and the Turin King List, Sanakht ruled Egypt for 18 years, although no further information has yet to be found on his reign. Hence, the details of his activities as a ruler are still unknown despite several excavations launched in Sinai. Some reliefs found from the Sinai show that a few expeditions were carried out during Sanakht's reign. They were done to extract the mineral resources of the neighboring lands, mainly turquoise, considered an extremely precious stone at that time.

The Tomb Of Sanakht

The exact location of the tomb of Sanakht cannot be ascertained due to a lack of evidence. But many historians believe Mastaba K2 is his tomb, as only relics bearing his name have been found here. However, some Egyptologists believe this mastaba was used as the burial place of any senior court official or a prince. This huge mastaba is situated in Beit Khallaf, a small village in Middle Egypt. It contains the skeletal remains of a huge man from prehistoric Egypt, which is thought to be of Sanakht himself. An unfinished tomb structure to the west of the pyramid of Djoser is also considered to be the tomb of Sanakht by some modern scholars.

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