Ancient Egypt
Elements of its Cultural History

  by Sjef Willockx







The Texts with the Name of King Ka  (Abstract)


This paper deals with those protodynastic texts that (possibly) contain the name of king Ka, dynasty 0.  

In all cases where the name of king Ka is identifiable, it stands in some sort of frame. In most cases, this frame resembles a serekh, or in any event brings the image of a serekh to mind. 

In most cases, the name of Ka is accompanied by some additional signs, most of which can be identified as hieroglyphs.

The following objectives are with this study pursued:

  • to compile a list of protodynastic texts with the name of king Ka which can simply be augmented whenever this proves necessary;

  • to identify relevant characteristics of the various types of frame around the royal name, and of the accompanying signs and texts;

  • to devise a meaningful classification, based on these characteristics;

  • to present a full catalog of all items, based on that classification;

  • and to formulate a theory about the development of the serekh during the reign of Ka.

Kaiser’s suggestion that the serekhs of Ka, incised on ceramic vessels,  which show vertical lines above the name, may represent the façade of a castle or palace with battlements, is accepted. It is shown that the serekhs in ink, found on unguent jars, represent a further development of this type, in which a horizontal top line is added to the design to serve as a roost for a falcon. The former type is labeled an open battlement serekh, the latter a closed battlement serekh. In addition to this, three specimen are identified in which the royal name is enclosed in a simple rectangle, a phenomenon also known from king Narmer. This form is labeled a box serekh. It is furthermore suggested that the writing of Ka’s name, with only one unobtrusive sign, may have prompted the development of the serekh in the first place (at least as far as southern Egypt is concerned), as a means of highlighting it in texts.

A total of 56 texts are examined. Of these, 13 are found to be problematic: either not a serekh at all, or not a serekh of Ka, or ancient imitations of Ka-serekhs.

The geographical distribution of the non-problematic serekhs is found not to support claims for dominion of Ka over the Delta.






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