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Second Dynasty of Egypt

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Title: Second Dynasty of Egypt  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Nebra (Pharaoh), Neferkara I, Sekhemib-Perenmaat, Senedj, Hotepsekhemwy
Collection: 3Rd Millennium Bc in Egypt, Dynasties of Ancient Egypt, Second Dynasty of Egypt
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Second Dynasty of Egypt

The Second Dynasty of ancient Egypt (or Dynasty II, c. 2890 – c. 2686 BC[1]) is the latter of the two dynasties of the Egyptian Archaic Period, when the seat of government was centred at Thinis. Save for the time of its last ruler Khasekhemwy, it marks one of the most obscure periods in ancient Egyptian history.

Though archaeological evidence of the time is very scant, contrast of data from the First and Third Dynasties indicates important institutional and economic developments during the Second Dynasty.[2][3]


The names of the actual rulers of the Second Dynasty are in dispute. For the first five pharaohs, the sources are fairly close in agreement. Known rulers, in the History of Egypt, for this dynasty are as follows:

Name Years Reigned
Hotepsekhemwy 38
Nebra (maybe identifiable with Weneg)[4] 10–14
Nynetjer 40
Senedj (maybe identifiable with Horus Sa[5]) 20

However, the identity of the next two or three rulers is unclear: we may have both the Horus-name or Nebty (meaning two ladies) name and their birth names for these rulers; they may be entirely different individuals; or they may be legendary names. On the left are the rulers most Egyptologists place here; on the right are the names that ultimately come from Manetho's Aegyptica:

Proposed Ruler Manetho's List
Seth-Peribsen Kaires
Sekhemib-Perenmaat Sesokhris

With the last ruler, we return to an agreement:

Name Years Reigned
Khasekhemwy 17–18

Although Manetho states the capital was at Thinis, the same as during the First Dynasty, at least the first three kings were buried at Saqqara, suggesting the center of power had moved to Memphis. Beyond this, little can be said about the events during this period; the annual records on the Palermo stone only survive for the end of the reign of Nebra and for parts of Nynetjer's. One important event possibly happened during the reign of Khasekhemwy: many Egyptologists read his name ("the Two Powers arise") as commemorating the union of the Upper and Lower Egypts.


  1. ^ Shaw, Ian, ed. (2000). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press. p. 480.  
  2. ^  
  3. ^ Bard, Kathryn A. (2002) [2000]. "Chapter 4 — The Emergence of the Egyptian State". In  
  4. ^ Kahl, Jochem (2007), "Ra is my Lord", Searching for the Rise of the Sun God at the Dawn of Egyptian History, Wiesbaden .
  5. ^ Von der Way, Thomas (1997), "Zur Datierung des "Labyrinth-Gebäudes" auf dem Tell el-Fara'in (Buto)", Göttinger Miszellen 157: 107–11 .
Preceded by
First dynasty
Dynasty of Egypt
c. 28902686 BC
Succeeded by
Third dynasty
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