Royal Names and Titles

The king in ancient Egypt had an elaborate titulary made up of his names, titles and epithets. From the Old Kingdom onwards, each king had five names, of which  two of them did not appear frequently on monuments, and they are:

1)  Hr nbw

It is commonly translated as “golden Horus”. However, recently it is considered to mean “Horus who defeated Seth”. In that case, the nbw-sign is considered to be an abbreviation of the word nwbt “Nubet'”, the center of the god Seth (Toukh, Naqada district, Qena Governorate). The iconographic representation of Horus standing above the center of worship of his enemy Seth is transcribed as something like Hr Xry nwbt“Horus who is above Nubet", meaning the triumphant Horus.

2) nbty “The one who belongs to the two ladies”

Implying the deep-rooted association of the king with the southern goddess Nxbt (worshipped in El-Kab) and the northern goddess wADt (worshipped in Puto) the capitals of the two Kingdoms before unifying Upper and Lower Egypt.

As for the titles that appeared more often on monuments, they were:

3)  Hr “The Horus name”

It designates the king as the god Horus, the son and successor of Osiris. The name is introduced by the falcon  Hr. As an example the Horus name of Senusret is: 

 Hr anx-mswt The Horus Ankhmseut.

4) nsw-bity “King of Upper and Lower Egypt”

This title preceded the coronation name (cartouche) of the king, and literally it means (who belong to the “sw plant” symbol of Upper Egypt, and the “bee” symbol of Lower Egypt).

The coronation name of Senusret I is:

 nsw-bity xpr-kA-ra king of Upper and Lower Egypt Kheperkare.

5) sA ra “Son of Re”

This is the king's own birth name and might be common to other members of the Dynasty. It is also the name by which scholars nowadays refer to the kings: hence we have Senusret I, II, and III in the Twelfth Dynasty. The numbers are a modern convention and do not occur in the ancient names. The sA ra  emphasizes the king as the heir of the sun-god Re on Earth.

The birth name of Senusret I is:

 sA ra s-n-wsrt son of Re, Senusret.

A couple of other titles of the king (typically accompanying  the coronation name) are:

 nTr nfr the perfect god.

 nb tAwy the lord of the two lands.

The king’s name and titles are usually associated with a number of epithets.

Among the most common are epithets connected with life:

living enduringly

anx Dt

given life

di anx

given life enduringly

di anx Dt

often extended:

Like Re

mi Ra

forever and eternity

Dt r nHH

Another frequent formula is:

 anx wDA(w) snb(w) so he might have life, prosperity and health.

Those three signs stand for the following words

                                 anx       life

                        wDA      prosperity

                                     snb       health

Clearly, the Egyptian chooses the first sign of the first and third words, and the second letter of the second word, so all signs are upright and look similar.

In some cases, names of high officials were followed by this formula, as a sign of their power. This mainly happened during the First Intermediate Period and the Middle Kingdom. It also became a preferred formula to be used in correspondences during the New Kingdom and it follows the preposition  to give the meaning “with life, prosperity and health”.

Names of the most famous Egyptian kings

Who beautifies me

Snfr w(i)

(Who protects me)


(Shines like Ra)

Xa.f ra

(May the kas of Ra remain)




(Montu is satisfied)


(Amun is in the front)


(a fellow of goddess Wsrt)


(Son of the moon)


(Amen is satisfied)


(born of the god Thot)


(joined with Amun,  foremost of Noble Ladies)


(Living spirit of the Aten)


(The living image of Amen, Ruler of the southern Heliopolis)


(The one, who Ra created)