Ancient Man and His First Civilizations


The Narmer Palette




The top of the back side of the palette is the same.

The first scene shows a king, undoubtedly Narmer, ready to strike down a foe whom he has taken by the hair. This pose is typical in Ancient Egyptian art. The king wears a kilt, a bull's tail and the White Crown of Upper Egypt.

Above the victim's head and facing the king, a depiction of a marshland is represented: the left side of this piece of land or swamp is decorated with the head of a man, reminiscent of Narmer's victim. Out of that land, six papyrus plants are growing, indicating that this land was a marshland.

A falcon, the symbol of the king, is perched on top of the papyrus plants and appears to have hold of the nostrils of the marshland's face.The depiction of a marshland on the palette has very often been seen as a reference to the marshy lands of the Nile Delta in Lower Egypt.

Bottom scene

Underneath the king's feet, at the bottom of the palette's back, lie two naked enemies. One of their arms is raised up, the other is drawn behind their backs. Their legs are sprawling. In fact, their entire posture indicates that they are fallen enemies. To the left of each victim, a hieroglyphic sign is drawn, the left, representing a wall and the other, some sort of knot. Both signs are usually interpreted as names of places that have been conquered by Narmer.