For the early dynastic period, the archaeological record refers to the pharaohs by their Horus-names, while the historical record, as evidenced in the Turin and Abydos king lists, uses an alternative royal titulary, the nebty-name. The different titular elements of a pharaoh's name were often used in isolation, for brevity's sake, although the choice varied according to circumstance and period.
The same process has led to the identification of the historical Menes (a nebty-name) with the Narmer (a Horus-name) evidenced in the archaeological record (both figures are credited with the unification of Egypt and as the first pharaoh of Dynasty I) as the predecessor of Hor-Aha (the second pharaoh).
Around the thirty-second century BCE, his father, Narmer, had united Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Hor-Aha became pharaoh at about the age of thirty and ruled until he was about sixty-two years old. Legend had it that he was carried away by a hippopotamus, the embodiment of the deity Seth. Provided that Hor-Aha was the legendary Menes, another story has it that Hor-Aha was killed by a hippopotamus while hunting.
There has been some controversy about Hor-Aha. Some believe him to be the same individual as the legendary Menes and that he was the one to unify all of Egypt. Others claim he was the son of Narmer, the pharaoh who unified Egypt. Narmer and Menes may have been one pharaoh, referred to with more than one name. Regardless, considerable historical evidence from the period points to Narmer as the pharaoh who first unified Egypt and to Hor-Aha as his son and heir.
Hor-Aha's chief wife was Benerib, whose name was "written alongside his on a number of [historical] pieces, in particular, from tomb B14 at Abydos, Egypt". Tomb B14 is located directly adjacent to Hor-Aha's sepulchre. Hor-Aha also had another wife, Khenthap, with whom he became father of Djer. She is mentioned as Djer's mother on the Cairo Annals Stone.
- Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge, London/New York 1999, ISBN 0-415-18633-1, 70-71
- Cervelló-Autuori, Josep (2003), "Narmer, Menes and the seals from Abydos", Egyptology at the dawn of the twenty-first century: proceedings of the Eighth International Congress of Egyptologists, Cairo, 2000, 2, Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=pJ48YP14qZQC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_v2_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false .
- Edwards, I. E. S. (1971), "The early dynastic period in Egypt", The Cambridge Ancient History, 1, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press .
- Lloyd, Alan B. ( 1994). Herodotus: Book II. Leiden: E. J. Brill. ISBN 9004041796. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=GQ7e1nuD9tcC&source=gbs_navlinks_s.
- Corpus of Wooden and Ivory Labels - Aha by Francesco Raffaele
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