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ab. 3008 B.C.(?) till ab. 3008 B.C.(?)
5. Pharaoh of the 1. Dynasty
Pharaonic names:
Nesw-bity: early pharaohs had none
Horus: Merneith (Serekh name and not a Horus name)
Nebty: Meritneith?
Golden Horus unknown

Maybe the first woman on the throne

There is some discussion, whether Merneith or Meritneith actually ruled as a "pharaoh" in her own rights. She was the daughter of Pharaoh Djer ans she was the senior-wife of Pharaoh Djet (and probably at least his half-sister as well). She was also the mother of Pharaoh Den.
There are two possible scenarios. One says, the crown went from Djet to Den, the other one says, when Djet, her husband, died, Merneith ruled till Den took over.
Now, there are no signs of a civil war or extended riots in that time. Which was the way, all throne struggles tended to end up in Egypt. The Egyptian Spring is not even in the first twenty of such a little violent spring there. So, the one thing, we can rely on is, if the circumstances of rulership would have been unclear, there would have been riot plus a degree of throne intrigue. We have no evidence of the one or the other. That indicates, whether Merneith ruled between Djet and Den or not, the succession was peaceful, in agreement. That supports, that, if Merneith ruled for some years while Den was not old enough, she handed over the power voluntarily. We know, she was still alive when Den ruled, we have a seal, now bearing the title of "The King's Mother". So, by pure functionality, she had been a regent, not a pharaoh in her own rights. But, even that sounds boring, what was her actual formal status?
Two things make me wonder. First, we have a seal with a Serekh name based on the goddess Neith, not the god Horus. This is the only actually female adaption of the king's titulary into a female form during those early times of Egypt. However, we find similar adaptions later, for example in connection with Hatshepsut. Or with Nitocris. Or with Cleopatra. Well, basically always when a woman was on the throne. So a Serekh-name, regardless whether based on Horus or on Neith (who was back then a hunting and war deity as much as Horus was) indicates always a ruler. Those serekh-names were invented to clearly show off this was a ruler's name in the first place.
But if that isn't enough, take a look at her tomb (usually referred to as Tomb Y in the Abydos necropolis). It's the only tomb for a female between all the male rulers. It's the same size as those of the male rulers and it is right next to the tombs of Djet and Den. However, the Stelae discovered near to her tomb are not surrounded by a serekh, which indicates, she wasn't ruler anymore at the time of her death. Which is consitent with seals, she used later, titling her as "Mother of the King", not as "King" and not as "Queen". Egyptologists tend to consider a serekh as a must for a ruler in this period, but then, all indicates, Merneith was in more than one aspect a special case. Not so much because she was a woman, but because she gave over power to her son instead of clinging to it till the last breat. So, what would be the correct way to write a "retired female king" in that period. I seriously doubt, there was a formal titulary for that. So, she got a king's tomb, even it was after she had retired as "king" already years earlier. She wore, for a time a sereck-name. Ergo: For some time in her life, she was a ruling queen, not just a good looking accessoire to her husband.
Of course, later king lists exclude her. They also excluded Hatshepsut and we know, she was a pharaoh. But king lists nearer to her lifetime include her. One was found in her sons's tomb and it lists all kings of the first dynasty - including as if it would be self-understanding, Merneith. But also there, as addition, she has the secondary title of "The Mother of the King". And the Palermo Stone, much later than some lists who exclude her, shows a gap where she would have been. So in the end, it appears, there is more evidence that she ruled for a time than there is evidence against it and on a behavioral level, the determination, with which later kings tried not to say anything about her is similar to the much later attempts to erase Hatshepsut from the annals. There is no need to explicitly not to speak abpout someone if she didn't even exist or didn't even rule.


The tomb is, as mentioned, the same size as those of the male rulers around it. The architecture is basically the same. The identification is clear due to two stelae found next to the tomb. As the grves of her husband, her son and her father in law, also hers is connected to a line of satellite burials or retainer sacrifices. The number of "at least" forty appears modest, compared to 300 near the tomb of Djer and about 80-100 near Djet's tomb, or 136 near her son's tomb, but it is still a number much higher than connected to any other female burial of the time (most females had none at all). And one of the findings in her tomb was a solar-boat! Who had the job in the afterlife, to sail every day with the sun god? Well, kings, nobody else! So in a lot of ways, this is definitively the tomb of a ruler, a king, a pharaoh ... only this one was a woman.

What else?

Over all the discussions whether she may have ruled or not, egyptologists forgot to figure out other important details. We know, trade was well, the kingdom appeared to prosper. Craftmanship was still improving, indicating, there was money and interest not only in better products but also in better art.
It appears, that, either during Merneith's or Den'S rulership, stone made a first appearance in Egyptian architecture. Till then, all they used had been mud-brick construction. The tomb of Den, tomb T, is already a first peak of techniques, Egyptian craftsmen had learned in the decades before and it adds some new details to Egyptian architecture, that would imprint, what we would later understand as "typical Egyptian".
So Merneiths time had to be something like an economic good time. A time of craftsmen and artists. There is no record that she would have much use for soldiers in her days, but maybe, she had so many of them, that others beyond the borders didn't try anything stupid. In a way, Egypt at the middle of the first dynasty shows us already the picture of a superpower in it's own time. Too strong to be attacked, flourishing, but also about to produce it's own problems as we will see with the next few kings and even more the second dynasty.

... back
Tue, May 17, 2016
12:00 AM CT

Daniel Lee Siebert
Daniel Lee Siebert is now also in our serial killer collection. A more or less garden variety strangler type who got away longer than necessary bacause some big PDs dropped the ball ... and left it to smaller ones, to get the job done.

Fri, Dec 18, 2015
12:00 AM CT

Christman Genipperteinga
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Thu, Oct 22, 2015
12:00 AM CT

Gerard John Schaefer
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Thu, Sep 24, 2015
12:00 AM CT

Royal Russel Long
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Mon, Aug 17, 2015
12:00 AM CT

The Wyoming Rodeo Murders
A story of misperceptions and midnless cabinet cleaning by police authorities that ended up with someone getting away with at least two murders on young women. Now in our collection.

Wed, Jul 15, 2015
12:00 AM CT

Joseph Vacher, the French Ripper
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Sat, Jun 20, 2015
12:00 AM CST

No new addition in June
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Sat, May 16, 2015
12:00 AM CT

The Beauty Queen Killer
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Thu, Apr 16, 2015
12:00 AM CT

Burton W. Abbott
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Mon, Mar 16, 2015
12:00 AM CT

Darren Deon Vann
Ha is basically the usual garden variety strangler case if it wouldn't be for the early warnings statistical data cretated about serial killer activity in Gary/Indiana. Now he is in our collection.

Wed, Mar 4, 2015
12:00 AM CT

Due to technical problems, the March article was up late. Take my apologies for this glitch.

Mon, Feb 16, 2015
12:00 AM CT

Affaire of the Poisons
We have added the infamous Affaire of the Poisons to our collection. With more than 80 offenders, it breaks a little the format, but well, it's one of the biggest cases of "organized" crime ever, so how can we let it out?

Mon, Dec 8, 2014
12:00 AM CT

Joseph Bryan
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Fri, Nov 7, 2014
12:00 AM CT

The Trailside Killer
David Joseph Carpenter has now become also part of the Serial Killer Collection ... complete with profile.

Tue, Oct 7, 2014
12:00 AM CT

The Vampire of Duesseldorf
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Fri, Sep 12, 2014
12:00 AM CT

The Grim Sleeper
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Thu, Aug 14, 2014
12:00 AM CT

Michael Lee Lockhart
... and with a little delay, another serial made it into the serial killer collection. Michael Lee Lockhart, not so much interesting for his "achievements" but because his case appears as if he became a psychopath only after a serious head injury.

Tue, Aug 12, 2014
12:00 AM CT

A Game of Daggers
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Pope Urban II has called for a crusade, but this news has yet to reach Cornwall. And people there have anyway to deal with other problems from storms to wreckers on their coast and when some murdered men are discovered on the beach, nobody guesses, this is only the prelude to much greater events coming to the so remote shores ...

Sat, Jul 5, 2014
12:00 AM CT

Ivan Hill
Ivan Hill, as the first of the many serial killers, who haunted Los Angeles in the 80s and 90s, is now added to our serial killer collection.

Sun, Jun 8, 2014
12:00 AM CT

Raya and Sakina
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Thu, May 1, 2014
12:00 AM CT

Dagmar Overbye
The infamous Danish baby farmer has been added to our Serial Killer Collection.

Thu, May 1, 2014
12:00 AM CT

Pharaoh Djoser added to the Egyptian Collection
I finally came around to add a new pharaoh to our collection: Djoser, 1st Pharoh of the 3rd Dynasty.

Fri, Apr 4, 2014
12:00 AM CT

The Green River Killer
This month, we added Gary Ridgway to our serial killer collection, a case, not so much interesting for the profiling but for the lessons about case organization to be learned from it.

Tue, Mar 4, 2014
12:00 AM CT

Manson Family
The "Manson Family&quo; has been added to our serial killer collection. Especially interesting for those who think, brain washing isn't possible.

Fri, Feb 7, 2014
12:00 AM CT

Hans van Zon
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Mon, Jan 6, 2014
12:00 AM CT

The Syracuse Dungeon Master
John T. Jamelske aka the Syracuse Dungeon Master has been added to our Serial Killer Collection. While not a seria killer but a serial rapist, Jamelske represents a similar psychopathology as some OCD type serial killers, for example Dahmer and therefore is some valuable object for studies.

Thu, Jan 2, 2014
12:00 AM CT

The last of the 2nd dynasty pharaohs, the man who re-united Egypt, is now also in the Egyptian collection.

Thu, Dec 12, 2013
12:00 AM CT

Pharaoh Sekhemib added to the Egyptian Collection
I finally came around to add Pharaoh Sekhemib to the collection, the sixth of the 2nd Dynasty. So, with some luck, I can finish this year the 2nd dynsty, only one, Khasekhemwy is left.

Tue, Dec 10, 2013
12:00 AM CT

The Riha disappearance
In 1969, Dr. Thomas Riha disappeared and in the subconsequent series of events, Gloria Tannenbaum was arrested for forgery and under suspicion of two other homicides. She plead not guilty by reason of insanity and got away with it. The case has now been added to our serial killer collection.

Mon, Nov 4, 2013
12:00 AM CT

Richard N. Clarey jr.
Clarey is one of the lesser known serial killers, skirting the definition a little. Still, for some reasons an interesting case.

Wed, Oct 2, 2013
12:00 AM CT

Now in the collection: William E. Cosden
A garden variety sexual predator, notable only because his existence shows, how wrong the idea of 1 monster at 1 time in 1 area is.

Copyright if not otherwise mentioned Peter and Diane Brendt 2010-. All copies, also in parts, demand the written consent of the copyright holders