The figure holding a mace on this hippopotamus ivory label is King Den. He was a member of the first dynasty of rulers that united Egypt into a single state. This label was attached to one of Den's sandals and placed in his tomb when he died. In front of Den a much smaller enemy cowers. Hieroglyphs on the label celebrate, 'the first occasion of smiting the east'. They refer to King Den's military conquests in Sinai, eastern Egypt.
Why did civilisation develop in Egypt?
The world's first states and cities developed in river valleys. Along the Nile in Egypt the annual flooding created a fertile valley and delta ideal for growing crops. Egypt's individual towns were unified and governed by a single king, described in later times by the title 'pharaoh'. The pharaoh, however, was more than just a leader; he was also a representative of the gods and the focus for the state's religion.
Egypt would be ruled by pharaohs for the next 3000 years.Listen to podcast 011 King Den's Sandal Label