Ancient Egypt Wiki
Preceded by:
Pharaoh of Egypt
1st Dynasty
Succeeded by:
c. 3050 BC
Nomen Teti
Horus name Aha
Father Narmer (?)
Mother Neithhotep (?)
Consort(s) Benerib, Kenthap
Issue Djer
Burial Tomb B10 at Umm el-Qa'ab

Hor-Aha or Aha for short is known to have been the successor to Narmer the first Pharaoh of the First Dynasty. His name is thought to mean 'The Fighter'[1]. This Pharaoh is likely to have led to the legendary Pharaoh named Menes as Aha was the first Pharaoh to take the Nebti Name of 'Men' found on a ebony label from Neithhotep A's tomb[2] [3]. The 'Men' title is shown next to the 'Aha' name in a serekh, the 'Men' name in a tent like structure[1]. His is said by Manetho to have reigned for 62 years and was killed by a hippo[3].

His name is attested as far as Abu Rawash, Zawyet el-Aryan, Saqqara, Helwan, Abydos and Naqada, though he is not yet attested out side Nile valley, his reign may also have begun the keeping of annals and like Namer he talks about the separate collection of produce between Upper and Lower Egypt [1].

His mother is thought to have been Neithhotep and that he oversaw her funeral due to a label bearing his name from her tomb[1], however a label naming Neithhotep was also found in the tomb of Djer and so she could also have been the wife of Aha and Djer there son. However Djer's and Aha's tombs are close together and so the label may have strayed[4]. His primary wife is thought to have been a lady by the name of Benerib as her name has been found alongside Aha's several times[5] including objects from his subsidiary tombs and an ivory box bearing both of their names together[1]. He is also thought to have had a second wife by the name Kenthap named on the Cairo Annal Stone who is known to have been the mother of Djer and so he may be the Pharaoh's son.[4][5].

During his reign within Egypt he is known to have founded the royal city of Memphis (like Menes is thought to have), including a Royal Palace[2] with Herodotus claiming Menes dammed the Nile south of the city to divert the river so he could build on reclaimed land[3], the earliest elite mastabas here date to his reign[1]. In addition, Manetho also states he built a temple to Neith at Sais[2]. This expedition and building at Sais is also mentioned from an ivory label from Aha's tomb showing a shrine in front of which two crossing bows and a shield are shown which are Neith's symbol[6], found by Flinders Petrie the shrine is also surrounded by a fence, with two mast surmounted by flags in front [7]. A wooden label shows in its first register this temple to Neith, with the second register showing they stopped at Buto (the shrine of ḏbˤwt is shown) as well as a bull in an enclosure which may be an early depiction of Apis or could be a bull cult at Buto. This label may be more truthful than an event the king is thought he should have done as substantial shrine from Buto has uncovered an official sealing of Aha[1]. Other visits around Egypt are attested on 2 ebony labels showing he undertook royal visits to the delta on the Royal Bark[1]. He is also known to have lived long enough to celebrate a festival called the 'Receiving the South and the North' from an ivory label from Neithhotep's tomb[3]. The South Town at Naqada may already have been established by his reign as a year label shows a row of animals upon it which are characteristic to his reign[1].


Aha with his 'Men' name

Architectural innovation seem to happen in his reign due to the changing architecture of his mortuary complex as well as at Naqada and North Saqqara tombs, in addition there were numerous craftsmanship innovations. He also constructed tombs for high officials including on at Saqqara Tomb S3357 including a model estate and a Boat Grave[1].

His burial was undertaken at Umm el-Qa'ab Tomb B10 where he reverts to early burial customs, not joining his room like Narmer had. His mortuary complex comprises three chambers (B10, B15 and B19). B10 was built first as it is at a slightly different alignment. Two small pits (B13 an 14) also formed part of his burial complex with B14 being attributed to Benerib as well as 34 other subsidiary burials (B16) in rows or blocks adjacent to the tomb. B 13 and 14 possibly form part of the earlier stage of the mortuary complex, modeled on Narmer's. The northern one is smaller than southern, containing two post holes. No separate funerary enclosure has been found for him, which seems to appear from Djer onwards[1].

Outside of Egypt it is known he turned his attention towards Nubia, mentioned on a label[2] from Abydos where the are mentioned as the 'T3-sety'perhaps aiming to conquer their lands. Trade as well may have begun though there is scant evidence of reciprocal trade with its neighbors[1]. The Pharaoh may have set up the exploitation of En-Besor as pottery from here is stylistic to his reign, though this may be proven wrong. Like Narmer fragments of pottery showing Palestinian items have been found, a fragment from Aha's mortuary complex shows a bearded man carrying a loop-handled jar of Palestinian form. Trade of coniferous woods and associated products, oils and resin are known to have been imported from his reign. Mrw-tree (cedar) is mentioned on alabaster vessel and label of Aha, though probably was connected to the transport of the oil than actual wood[1].

Human Sacrifice also seems to have been carried out during his reign with a label from Abydos label showing this which has been associated with the fashioning of the imi-wt fetish. A kneeling figure is shown, with a figure of authority behind him. A prisoner is in front of the kneeling figure, a knife being plunged into him while his hands are tied. A bowl is between them to collect the blood[1].

Associated Finds[]

  • Large faience vessel with his serekh inlaid in darker glaze[1].
  • Inscribed white marbles[1].
  • Label from Naqada shows the Henu-bark of Sokar though it is pulled on water instead of land. The Kings name is shown in a device holding a hoe and so may show an agricultural rite[1].

See also[]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 Wilkinson, T, A, H. (2001) Early Dynastic Egypt London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-26011-6.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Adams, B and Cialowicz, K.M. (1988) Protodynastic Egypt Buckinghamshire: Shire Publications.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Clayton, P.A (2001) Chronicles of the Pharaohs London: Thames & Hudson.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Dodson, A & Hilton, D. (2005) The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt London: Thames & Hudson. ISBN 9774249577
  5. 5.0 5.1 Tyldesley, J. (2006) The Complete Queens of Egypt Cairo: American University Press.
  6. Tyldesley, J. (2011) Myths & Legends of Ancient Egypt Glasgow: Ellipsis Books Limited.
  7. Watterson, B. (2003) Gods of Ancient Egypt Sparkford:Sutton Publishing
Pharaoh of Egypt
1st Dynasty