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Dynasty ‘0’ – Lower Egypt – Kha’iw

Attested ruler of Dynasty ‘0’ of Lower Egypt, Naqada IIIb-c1, c. 3200-3150 b.c.e. The only archaeological evidence is his listing from the Palermo Stone fragment of possible 5th dynasty construction as the third ruler of Lower Egypt of the era. His common name in Egyptology is ‘Khayu.’

 Kha’iw’s hieroglyphs are etched on a slab of stone resembling black basalt. Three single hieroglyphs written in the old kingdom style, in a single column, right-left, top-bottom.

Hieroglyphic Analysis

Oxyrhynchus fish

The Mormyrus kannume or Elephant-snout fish is a freshwater species indigenous to several lakes and rivers in East, North and Northeast Africa, including the entire Nile river system. It is carnivorous, and feeds on animals in bottoms or benthos of their habitats.

Though the Oxyrhynchus or kha’ fish was held sacred in Egypt especially in the later periods when it was considered the fish to eat the phallus of Osiris. There is even bare ruins of a once flourishing Ptolemaic era fishing city known as Par Madjat in Upper Egypt. Also, the Oxyrhynchus papyri are a 1st-6th centuries CE Judeo-Christian texts found in a rubbish heap in the ruins of Oxyrhynchus. Both of the below are of later period examples of the fish, The first a Ptolemaic Era bronze votive and the second a steatite amulet from an unknown but presumably contemporary period.

Given the legendary source of the Palermo Stone, and the distance from the Ptolemaic city, as well as the Osirian city Abydos, it is doubtful the Lower Egyptian ruler is connected with the cult of Osiris.

Reclining Bubalus

The Bubalus is a genus of wild or semi-domesticated bovines that include buffalo and bison from both old and new world continents. The horns were omitted in the hieroglyph sometime in Old Kingdom Giza.

Seated king holding the flail and wearing the crown of Lower Egypt.

Morphological Analysis

The exact meaning of Kha’iw is uncertain, but through morphological analysis and examination of homophones, more understanding in the meaning of His name is possibly discerned.

n. Sack, leather bag.

n. Curl on the red crown

n. Widow

n. Crookedness

n. Sickle. Also without stick determinative, n. Clavicle

adj. Resolute

v. Bend down (in respect).

n. Storm

tr. v. To thwart (someone).

n. Pile of corpses.

adj. Glad?

n. Wrongdoing.

v. lament, cry out.

n. Dog

adj. Be boatless. v. Strand, leave boatless, helpless, deprive.
n. Jar

Unlike Saka’, little is revealed by Morphology. The closest relation with words beginning with XA is the curl of the DSrt red crown. The other word that is a possibility XAm – bend down in respect. However, XAiw may be the name of a settlement or region, as there is a type of beer named the same with only the beer jar and plural lines added

For the seated calf, additional search for homophones resulted to add words that not only ended in the seated calf but also where the word is made from the seated calf, spelling, and determinative. This was the case of iw – wrongdoing and iw -lament, cry out. It is doubtful that a ruler would use the word ‘wrongdoing’ in his name, but ‘lament, cry out’ is a possibility if he was more warlike than his predecessors.

Published inRoyal Annals of Ancient Egypt

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