Alternate History

Hor-Aha (Grand Union)

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Horus Aha
Timeline: Grand Union

OTL equivalent: Hor-Aha

Faience vessel fragment inscribed with the Horus-name Aha, on display at the Egyptian Ruler's Hall

3070 – 3037 BCE

Predecessor: Narmer
Successor: Djer
Born: 3100 BCE
Died: 3037 BCE (63 Years Old)
Umm el-Qa'ab
Hor-Aha (or Aha or Horus Aha) is considered the second pharaoh of the First Dynasty of the Egyptian Empire. He lived from exactly 3100 BCE to 3037 BCE. He ruled Egypt for 40 years after the death of his father former Pharaoh Narmer.

Early Life

Hor-Aha, full name Horus Aha, was born 3100 BCE as the son of the First Pharaoh of Egypt, Narmer and his former consort and then wife, Neithhotep. He was born in Memphis and the only child of his family. At birth he was blessed by high Egyptian priests as "First Born Unifier". As he was the first born child of the newly unified kingdom of Upper and Lower Egypt. The convention for giving him the name Horus was made by his mother, as he would be the first full king of Egypt. From an early age Hor-Aha was educated by the best tutors the then Pharaoh could afford to help prepare him to rule when he would eventually pass on.

At the age of 16 Hor-Aha would marry his main wife Benerib, who would later turn out to be infertile, but that did not stop Hor-Aha from keeping his marriage with his wife intact. At the age of 20 he would marry his second wife Khenthap, who would later give birth to his first and only son Djer, who would later rule Egypt after his death.


Interior Policy

Hor-Aha conducted many religious activities. A visit to a shrine of the goddess Neith is recorded on several tablets from his reign. The sanctuary of Neith he visited was located in the north-east of the Nile Delta at Sais. Furthermore, the first known representation of the sacred Henu-bark of the god Seker was found engraved on a year tablet dating from his reign.

Vessel inscriptions, labels and sealings from the graves of Hor-Aha and Queen Neithhotep suggest that this queen died during the reign of Aha. He arranged for her burial in a magnificent mastaba. The selection of the cemetery of Naqada as the resting place of Neithhotep is a strong indication that she came from this province. This, in turn, supports the view that Narmer married a member of the ancient royal line of Naqada to strengthen the domination of the Thinite kings over the region.

Most importantly, the oldest mastaba at the North Saqqara necropolis of Memphis dates to his reign. The mastaba belongs to an elite member of the administration who may have been a relative of Hor-Aha, as was customary at the time. This is a strong indication of the growing importance of Memphis during Aha's reign.

Economic Policy

Few artifacts remain of Hor-Aha's reign. However, the finely executed copper-axe heads, faience vessel fragments, ivory box and inscribed white marbles all testify to the flourishing of craftsmanship during Aha's time in power. Aha was also most known for promoting the artisans and craftsmen of these products.

Activities Outside of Egypt

Inscription on an ivory tablet from Abydos suggests that Hor-Aha led an expedition against the Nubians. On a year tablet, a year is explicitly called 'Year of smiting of Ta-Sety' (i.e. Nubia).

During Hor-Aha's reign, trade with the Southern Levant seemed to have increased. Contrary to his predecessor Narmer, Hor-Aha is not attested outside of the Nile Valley. This may point to a gradual replacement of long-distance trade between Egypt and its eastern neighbors by a more direct exploitation of the local resources by the Egyptians. Vessel fragment analysis from an Egyptian outpost at En Besor suggests that it was active during Hor-Aha's reign. Other Egyptian settlements are known to have been active at the time as well (Byblos and along the Lebanese coast). Finally, Hor-Aha's tomb yielded vessel fragments from the Southern Levant. 

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