The lists of the Pharaohs of the Memphite period appear to have been drawn up in much the same order as we now possess them, as early as the XIIth dynasty: it is certain that the sequence was definitely fixed about the time of the XXth dynasty, since it was under this that the Canon of Turin was copied. The lists which have come down to us appear to follow two traditions, which differ completely in certain cases: one has been preserved for us by the abbreviators of Manetho, while the other was the authority followed by the compilers of the tables of Abydos and Saqqara, as well as by the author of the Turin Papyrus.
There appear to have been in the first five dynasties a certain number of kings whose exact order and filiation were supposed to be well known to the compilers; but, at the same time, there were others whose names were found on the monuments, but whose position with regard to their predecessors was indicated neither by historical documents nor by popular romance. We find, therefore, in these two traditional lists a series of sovereigns always occupying the same position, and others hovering around them, who have no decided place. The hieroglyphic lists and the Royal Canon appear to have been chiefly concerned with the former; but the authorities followed by Manetho have studiously collected the names of the latter, and have intercalated them in different places, sometimes in the middle, but mostly at the end of the dynasty, where they form a kind of caput mortuum. The most striking example of this arrangement is afforded us in the IVth dynasty. The contemporary monuments show that its kings formed a compact group, to which are appended the first three sovereigns of the Vth dynasty, always in the same order: Menkauri succeeded Khafri, Shopsiskaf followed Menkauri, Usirkaf followed Shopsiskaf, and so on to the end. The lists of Manetho suppress Shopsiskaf, and substitute four other individuals in his place, namely, Katoises, Bikheris, Seberkheres, Thamphthis, whose reigns must have occupied more than half a century; these four were doubtless aspirants to the throne, or local kings belonging to the time between the IVth and Vth dynasties, whom Manetho's authorities inserted between the compact groups made up of Kheops and his sons on the one hand, and of Usirkaf and his two real of supposed brothers on the other, omitting Shopsiskaf, and having no idea that Usirkaf was his immediate successor, with or without rivals to the throne.
In a course of lectures given at the College de France (1893-95), I have examined at length the questions raised by a study of the various lists, and I may be able, perhaps, some day to publish the result of my researches: for the present I must confine myself merely to what is necessary to the elucidation of the present work, namely, the Manethonian tradition on the one hand, and the tradition of the monumental tables on the other. The text which I propose to follow for the latter, during the first five dynasties, is that of the second table of Abydos; the names placed between brackets [ ] are taken either from the table of Saqqara or from the Royal Canon of Turin. The numbers of the years, months, and days are those furnished by the last-mentioned document.
[Illustration: 357.jpg LISTS OF THE PHARAOHS OF THE ANCIENT EMPIRE]
[Illustration: 358.jpg LISTS ON THE MONUMENTS]
From the VIth to the XIIth dynasty, the lists of Manetho are at fault: they give the origin and duration of the dynasties, without furnishing us with the names of the kings.
[Illustration: 359.jpg LISTS ON THE MONUMENTS]
This blank is partially filled by the table of Abydos, by the fragments of the Turin Papyrus, and by information supplied by the monuments. No such definitely established sequence appears to have existed for this period, as for the preceding ones. The Heracleopolitan dynasties figure, perhaps, in the Canon of Turin only; as for the later Memphite dynasties, the table of Abydos gives one series of Pharaohs, while the Canon adopts a different one. After the close of the VIth dynasty, and before the accession of the IXth, there was, doubtless, a period when several branches of the royal family claimed the supremacy and ruled in different parts of Egypt: this is what we know to have taken place later between the XXIInd and the XXIVth dynasties. The tradition of Abydos had, perhaps, adopted one of these contemporaneous dynasties, while the Turin Papyrus had chosen another: Manetho, on the other hand, had selected from among them, as representatives of the legitimate succession, the line reigning at Memphis which immediately followed the sovereigns of the VIth dynasty. The following table gives both the series known, as far as it is possible for the present to re-establish the order: --
[Illustration: 360.jpg LISTS ON THE MONUMENTS]
The XIth (Theban) dynasty contains but a small number of kings according to the official lists. The tables on the monuments recognize only two, Nibkhrouri and Sonkhkari, but the Turin Canon admits at least half a dozen. These differences probably arose from the fact that, the second Heracleopolitan dynasty having reigned at the same time as the earlier Theban princes, the tables on the monuments, while rejecting the Heracleopolitans, recognized as legitimate Pharaohs only those of the Theban kings who had ruled over the whole of Egypt, namely, the first and last of the series; the Canon, on the contrary, replaced the later Heracleopolitans by those among the contemporary Thebans who had assumed the royal titles. Whatever may have been the cause of these combinations, we find the lists again harmonizing with the accession of the XIIth (Theban) dynasty.
For the succeeding dynasties we possess merely the names enumerated on the fragments of the Turin Papyrus, several of which, however, are also found either in the royal chamber at Karnak, or on contemporary monuments. The order of the names is not always certain: it is, perhaps, best to transcribe the sequence as we are able to gather it from the fragments of the Royal Papyrus, without attempting to distinguish between those which belong to the XIIIth and those which must be. relegated to the following dynasties.
[Illustration: 361.jpg LISTS ON THE MONUMENTS]
About fifty names still remain, but so mutilated and scattered over such small fragments of papyrus, that their order is most uncertain. We possess monuments of about one-fifth of these kings, and the lengths of their reigns, as far as we know them, all appear to have been short: we have no reason to doubt that they did really govern, and we can only hope that in time the progress of excavation will yield us records of them one after another. They bring us down to the period of the invasion of the Shepherds, and it is possible that some among them may be found to be contemporaries of the XVth and XVIth dynasties.
[Illustration: 362.jpg Tailpiece]