Characteristics of a pharaoh/definition/symbols/powers

Egyptian pharaoh

Although history leaves us with many important figures, few have aroused as much interest and passion as the pharaoh, kings of Egypt . This important figure managed to concentrate a mixture of magic, mystique and power that made her a phenomenon that is worthy of study. Characteristics of a pharaoh

What is a Pharaoh?

It was the title given to the kings of Egypt , which derives from an Egyptian word that means great house and is a name whose origin is from the Hebrews . In the oldest documents of Egypt, the word appears to designate the royal palace and over time it came to apply to the king or head of government. For the Egyptians the reigning Pharaoh was a God, the son of the God Ra.

It was believed that he was the incarnation of the god Horus (with the head of a falcon), successor of Osiris . Because he was considered a God, the Egyptians prostrated themselves in his path and could not look at his face or touch him. Also, they thought that the pharaoh had magical powers.

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Characteristics of a Pharaoh

It is very easy to identify a pharaoh by his striking appearance. However, this is not the only thing that characterized a pharaoh. Among other things are:

  • It displayed numerous symbols of power .
  • He wore flashy outfits that reflected his power and lined his eyes.
  • He had absolute power .
  • He was considered a god .
  • He was the owner of most of the land.
  • It was law and justice.
  • He lived surrounded by wealth , in a great palace and with a large number of slaves and servants.
  • He was the supreme commander of the army .

Symbols of power of a Pharaoh

Each symbol used by the pharaoh had a specific function and highlighted the great power he possessed. Among the symbols used by a pharaoh were:

  • Crowns : At the front of his crown was the image of the sacred ureus, or cobra, which was believed to spit fire and destruction on his enemies. There were different types of crown and each had a meaning. Among the best known are:
  • White Crown or Hedjet symbolized Upper Egypt .
  • Red Crown or Desheret symbolized Lower Egypt.
  • Double Crown or Sechemty symbolized the unification of Egypt.
  • Feathered Crown or Shuty was worn by the great royal wives.
  • Crown Osiriaca or Atef was used in certain funeral rituals. Characteristics of a pharaoh
  • Triple Crown Atef or Hemrem was composed of 3 Atef crowns and is said to have a solar function.
  • Scepters: Their function was to emphasize the authority of the pharaoh. The scepters used by a pharaoh were:
  • The Nejej was shaped like a flail or scourge and was used in ceremonies. He was very often associated with the god Osiris.
  • The crook-shaped Heka was the eternal companion of the Nejej scepter. Just as a shepherd leads his flock with a crook, the pharaoh was the shepherd of his people and led it with the Heka. He was also associated with the god Osiris and magical powers were attributed to him.
  • The beard: This was false and he used it only when he appeared in public to identify himself with Osiris.

Clothing of a Pharaoh

The clothing that a pharaoh wore was made of linen and stood out because it was practically transparent, which represented his wealth. On her head she wore the menes, a striped linen headdress. This totally covered his head and fell perpendicularly behind the ears. At his waist a cloth (shendyt) was tied that was wrapped around the body, from back to front, putting on a tunic.

In addition, she wore accessories such as necklaces, rings, earrings and others. Although these were only decorative objects, the intention was to exalt his figure and power over the people. Also, he used to wear a makeup called khol , which was applied around the eyes .

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Powers of a Pharaoh Characteristics of a pharaoh

He was the maximum ruler of Egypt and reigned until his death, being his lifelong and hereditary power, since after his death the firstborn became the new pharaoh . All the powers were concentrated in the pharaoh. Although he had great power and wealth, he also had numerous responsibilities. He was the head of the government, head of the army, and religious chief .

No Egyptian law code is known as the laws were promulgated by the pharaoh. He held together the lands of Egypt, for this reason he was called Lord of the two lands , which included Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Being the head of the army, he was prepared as a warrior and was the one who led the army in battles . Characteristics of a pharaoh

Since he was a child he was trained in the handling of weapons and practiced archery in lion hunts. Being a religious chief, his duty was to build temples to make offerings to the gods. He requested the help of the gods by performing numerous ceremonies. In these he asked, for example, that the rising of the Nile benefit them and make their lands more fertile.

The pharaoh had at his disposal a large number of officials and ministers to rule the country. He had a vizier, who was like a president of the government who was always by his side. The other assistants were scribes, councilors and monarchs. He was worshiped as a living god, he was identified with the god Horus and after his death with Osiris, achieving immortality.


The Pharaoh had to always live alongside his Great Royal Wife. This was the queen and the transmitter of the royal dynasty . He was very powerful and indispensable in the system, since no man could become pharaoh without first having married a royal woman. However, below this, if the pharaoh wanted, he could have many women.

During the Ancient Egyptian period , after the death of their husbands, some queens took absolute power. The title that these prominent figures who came to power received was not Pharaohs but Queen-Pharaoh. Characteristics of a pharaoh

Most prominent pharaohs Characteristics of a pharaoh

There were many pharaohs and queen-pharaohs who ruled in Ancient Egypt, forming more than 30 dynasties . Its beginning was around the year 3000 BC with the I dynasty until the year 30 BC with the Ptolemeic dynasty . However, not all pharaohs were so relevant and well known today. Among the most outstanding are:

  • Narmer or Menes: He  was the first pharaoh and the founder of the I dynasty . He founded Memphis and managed to conquer the lands of the Nile Delta. In addition, he built the temple of Ptah.
  • Cheops:  Second pharaoh of Dynasty IV who ruled for 23 years. He had the Great Pyramid of Giza built and years after his death, he came to be venerated as a true god.
  • Tutankhamun: He  belonged to the 18th dynasty and was the last pharaoh of the royal lineage, which achieved the return to the religious and social normality of Ancient Egypt.
  • Ramses II : He  is known as one of the most prominent pharaohs. He reigned for 66 years and was a great warrior. He built great works such as the temples of Osireion, Ramesseum, Abydos, among others.
  • Cleopatra VII : She  was the last queen of Ancient Egypt. He began his reign when he was 18 years old and is attributed an extraordinary beauty, although many writings attribute his charm rather to his personality. Characteristics of a pharaoh

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