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The Pschent

The Pschent, pronounced /pskεnt/ (from the Greek transliteration ψχεντ), was the name of the Double Crown of Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians generally referred to it as sekhemti, the Two Powerful Ones.[1] It combined the Red Deshret Crown of Lower Egypt and the White Hedjet Crown of Upper Egypt.

The Pschent represented the pharaoh's power over all of unified Egypt.[2] It bore two animal emblems: An Egyptian cobra, known as the uraeus, ready to strike, which symbolized the Lower Egyptian goddess Wadjet, and an Egyptian vulture representing the Upper Egyptian tutelary goddess Nekhbet. These were fastened to the front of the Pschent and referred to as the Two Ladies. Later, the vulture head sometimes was replaced by a second cobra.



The invention of the Pschent is generally attributed to the First Dynasty pharaoh Den, but the first one to wear a Double Crown may have been Djet: a rock inscription shows his Horus wearing it.[3]

Ring of Ptolemy VI Philometor wearing the Pschent-Double Crown, 3rd to 2nd Century BC.

The king list on the Palermo stone, which begins with the names of Lower Egyptian pharaohs (nowadays thought to have been mythological demi-gods), shown wearing the Red Crown, marks the unification of the country by giving the Pschent to all First Dynasty and later pharaohs.[4] The Cairo fragment, on the other hand, shows these prehistoric rulers wearing the Pschent.[5]


As is the case with the Deshret and the Hedjet Crowns, no Pschent has survived. It is known only from statuary, depictions, and inscriptions.


Among the deities sometimes depicted wearing the Double Crown are Horus[6] and Atum, both representing the pharaoh or having a special relationship to the pharaoh.[7]


  1. ^ Griffith, Francis Llewellyn, A Collection of Hieroglyphs: A Contribution to the History of Egyptian Writing, the Egypt Exploration Fund 1898, p.56
  2. ^ Dunand, Françoise; Christiane Zivie-Coche, Gods and Men in Egypt: 3000 BCE to 395 CE, Cornell University Press 2004, pp.32f.
  3. ^ Wilkinson, Toby A. H., Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge 1999, p.196
  4. ^ Fage, John Donnelly; Desmond J. Clark, Roland Anthony Oliver, A. D. Roberts, The Cambridge History of Africa, Cambridge University Press 1975, p.521
  5. ^ Kemp, Barry John, Ancient Egypt: Anatomy Of A Civilization, Routledge 2006, p.92
  6. ^ Zandee, Jan, Studies in Egyptian Religion: Dedicated to Professor Jan Zandee, Brill 1982, p.74
  7. ^ The New Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 2005, p. 689

See also



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