Pschent

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Pschent, the double crown of Egypt

The Pschent was the name of the Double Crown of Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians called it sekhemti meaning the Two Powerful Ones.[1] The Pschent was made from the Red Deshret Crown of Lower Egypt and the White Hedjet Crown of Upper Egypt.

The Pschent was a symbol of the pharaoh's power over all Egypt.[2] The design used two animals, a cobra and a vulture. The Egyptian cobra, known as the uraeus, ready to strike, was a symbol for the Lower Egyptian goddess Wadjet. The Egyptian vulture was a symbol for the Upper Egyptian goddess Nekhbet. These were placed on the front of the Pschent and called the Two Ladies.

History[change | change source]

S5
 
S6
Pschent
"Double Crown"
in hieroglyphs

The First Dynasty pharaoh Menes is said to have invented the Pschent. The first pharoah to be shown wearing the Double Crown was Djet, in a rock inscription showing his Horus wearing it.[3]

Ring of Ptolemy VI Philometor wearing the Pschent-Double Crown, 3rd to 2nd Century BC. Ptolemaic rulers only wore the Pschent in Egypt. They wore the diadem in the other territories

The list of kings on the Palermo Stone shows the Lower Egyptian pharaohs wearing the Red Crown. After Egypt is unified, the list shows all First Dynasty and later pharaohs wearing the Pschent.[4] But the Cairo fragment, shows Lower Egyptian rulers wearing the Pschent.[5]

Archaeology[change | change source]

None of the Egyptian crowns have survived (or been found yet). Like the Deshret and the Hedjet Crowns, the Pschent is known only from statues, paintings, inscriptions, and ancient stories.

Mythology[change | change source]

Among the gods shown wearing the Double Crown are Horus[6] and Atum. These both represented the pharaoh or had a special relationship to the pharaoh.[7]

References[change | change source]

  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 1974, 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