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Deshret was the name for the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. When joined with the Hedjet, the White Crown of Upper Egypt, it forms the Pschent. This double crown was called the sekhemti in ancient Egyptian. Deshret was also the name for the desert Red Land on either side of the Nile river.
In mythology, the earth god Geb, the first ruler of Egypt, gave Horus the power to rule over Lower Egypt. The Egyptian pharaohs, who saw themselves as successors of Horus, wore the deshret to show their authority over Lower Egypt.
Other gods wore the deshret too, such as the protective serpent goddess Wadjet and the creator-goddess of Sais, Neith, who often is shown wearing the Red Crown.
Records of the Red Crown
The Red Crown is often shown in texts, wall carvings and statues. An early example shows a victorious pharaoh wearing the deshret on the Narmer Palette. A text from the reign of Djer records a royal visit to the shrine of the Deshret which may have been at Buto in the Nile delta.
No crown has ever been found buried with any of the pharaohs, even in tombs that have not been robbed. This suggests that the deshret was passed from one king to the next, much as in present day monarchies.
The Narmer Palette
Deshret (vertical letter N) in hieroglyphic writing
Apep being slain
- Ewa Wasilewska, Creation Stories of the Middle East, Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2000, p.128
- Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge 1999, p.194
- George Hart, The Routledge Dictionary Of Egyptian Gods And Goddesses, p.100
- Ana Ruiz, The Spirit of Ancient Egypt, Algora Publishing 2001, p.8
- John D. Baines, Byron Esely Shafer, Leonard H. Lesko, David P. Silverman, Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods, Myths, and Personal Practice, Cornell University Press 1991, p.93
- Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge 1999, p.284