Egypt: Anedjib, the 5th Ruler of Egypt's 1st Dynasty

Anedjib, the 5th Ruler of Egypt's 1st Dynasty

By Jimmy Dunn

Horus Anedjib

Today, we lament the lack of information on some of Egypt's earliest dynastic kings, but in reality, we are perhaps lucky to have as much information as we do on these kings who's lives were lived, and than past almost 5,000 years ago. As excavations continue in Egypt, always providing us with more and more evidence of these kings, though sometimes raising more questions than answers, we will probably learn even more about these kings.

We believe Anedjib (Andjyeb, Enezib), who seems to have been from the area around Abydos known as This, and is recorded as a Thinite king on the Saqqara King List from the tomb of Thunery, was the 5th ruler of Egypt's 1st Dynasty. Anedjib was this king's Horus name, which means "Safe is His Heart". If he is to be identified with Manetho's Miebidos (Miebis, Merpubia), then he may have ruled Egypt for about 26 years. However, most Egyptologists seem to give him a somewhat shorter reign, though he may have served as a co-regent with his father, who was probably Den, for some time. In his A History of Ancient Egypt, Nicolas Grimal tells us that Anedjib did in fact celebrate a Sed-festival, though it seemingly took place only shortly after the death of Den, suggesting that he came to the throne as sole ruler of Egypt only late in life. Vases discovered at Abydos in the area of Umm el-Qa'ab record this jubilee, along with the addition to his name, "protection surrounds Horus".

Anedjib, the 5th Ruler of Egypt's 1st Dynasty

Anedjib was probably the first king to have a nebty (Two Ladies) title and the news-bit (He of the sedge and bee) name in his royal titulary, although the nesw-bit title (without a name) had already been introduced in the reign of Den. This title reunited the two divine antagonists of the north and south in the person of the king. There were apparently problems during Anedjib's rule, as well as that of the next king, Semerkhet. It is very possible that the long reign of Den was responsible for the succession difficulties related to these two kings. It would seem that he experienced considerable problems with Northern, or Lower Egypt and apparently had to put down several revolts in that region. His successor, Semerkhet, was probably responsible for erasing Anedjib's name from a number of inscriptions on stone vases and other objects. However, Semerkhet's name was omitted from the Saqqara King List, so it is sometimes thought that Semerkhet may have usurped the throne of Egypt after Anedjib.

Layout of Anedjib's tomb at Abydos

Anedjib built a tomb (Tomb X) at Abydos, but it is one of the worst built and smallest of the Abydos royal tombs, measuring a mere 16.4 x 9 meters (53 3.4 x 29 1/2 feet). Interestingly, the burial chamber was constructed entirely of wood, and there were 64 graves of retainers within the area, also of low grade construction.

Another tomb which was apparently built during the reign of Anedjib is that of an official named Nebitka (tomb 3038 at Saqqara). This tomb is interesting in that it contained a mudbrick stepped structure inside the Mastaba like structure, that some Egyptologists see as a forerunner of Djoser's Step Pyramid.

Other than his tomb at Abydos, Anedjib is also attested to by seal impressions in tomb 3038 (the tomb of Nebetka) at Saqqara, in a tomb at Helwan, and also in a tomb at Abu Rawash.


Title Author Date Publisher Reference Number
Chronicle of the Pharaohs (The Reign-By-Reign Record of the Rulers and Dynasties of Ancient Egypt) Clayton, Peter A. 1994 Thames and Hudson Ltd ISBN 0-500-05074-0
History of Ancient Egypt, A Grimal, Nicolas 1988 Blackwell None Stated
History of Egyptian Architecture, A (The Empire (the New Kingdom) From the Eighteenth Dynasty to the End of the Twentieth Dynasty 1580-1085 B.C. Badawy, Alexander 1968 University of California Press LCCC A5-4746
Monarchs of the Nile Dodson, Aidan 1995 Rubicon Press ISBN 0-948695-20-x
Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, The Shaw, Ian 2000 Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-815034-2