the Cairo Museum
|Pharaoh of Egypt|
|Predecessor||Sekhemib-Perenmaat? or Seth-Peribsen|
|Successor||Sanakhte? or Djoser|
|Burial||Tomb V at Umm el-Qa'ab|
|Monuments||Shunet ez Zebib, "Fort at Nekhen"|
Khasekhemwy (d. 2686 BC; sometimes spelled Khasekhemui) was the fifth and final king of the Second dynasty of Egypt. Little is known of Khasekhemwy, other than that he led several significant military campaigns and built several monuments, still extant, mentioning war against the Northerners. His name means "The Two Powerful Ones Appear."
Khasekhemwy is normally placed as the successor of Seth-Peribsen, though some Egyptologists believe that another Pharaoh, Khasekhem, ruled between them. Most scholars, however, believe Khasekhem and Khasekhemwy are, in fact, the same person. Khasekhem may have changed his name to Khasekhemwy after he reunited Upper and Lower Egypt after a civil war between the followers of the gods Horus and Set. Others believe he defeated the reigning king, Seth-Peribsen, after returning to Egypt from putting down a revolt in Nubia. Either way he ended the infighting of the Second dynasty and reunited Egypt.
Since Nimaethap held the title mother of the Kings Children, there is reason to consider her to have been his wife. Together they might have been the parents of Djoser. It is possible that Djoser's wife Hetephernebti was his daughter since she is called a King's Daughter on monuments.
Khasekhemwy is unique in Egyptian history as having both the symbols of Horus and Set on his serekh. Some Egyptologists believe that this was an attempt to unify the two factions; but after his death, Set was dropped from the serekh permanently. Secondly, he was the earliest Egyptian king known to have built statues of himself.
Khasekhemwy apparently undertook considerable building projects upon the reunification of Egypt. He built in stone at el-Kab, Hierakonpolis and Abydos. He apparently built a unique, as well as huge, tomb at Abydos, the last such royal tomb built in that necropolis (Tomb V). The trapezoidal tomb measures some 70 meters (230 ft) in length and is 17 meters (56 ft) wide at its northern end, and 10 meters (33 ft) wide at its southern end. This area was divided into 58 rooms. Prior to some recent discoveries from the 1st Dynasty, its central burial chamber was considered the oldest masonry structure in the world, being built of quarried limestone. Here, the excavators discovered the king's scepter of gold and sard, as well as several beautifully made small stone pots with gold leaf lid coverings, apparently missed by earlier tomb robbers. In fact, Petrie detailed a number of items removed during the excavations of Amelineau. Other items included flint tools, as well as a variety of copper tools and vessels, stone vessels and pottery vessels filled with grain and fruit. There were also small, glazed objects, carnelian beads, model tools, basketwork and a large quantity of seals.
Khasekhemwy built a 'fort' at Nekhen, and at Abydos (now known as Shunet ez Zebib) and was buried there in the necropolis at Umm el-Qa'ab. According to Toby Wilkinson's study of the Palermo Stone in Royal Annals of Ancient Egypt, this near contemporary document assigns Khasekhemwy a reign of 17.5 or nearly 18 full years. (see pp. 78 & 80)