Unusual History

Oldest Known Names in the World

Oldest Known Names in the World

Names are one of the ways to distinguish or identify a person from another person. Imagine the difficulty of calling someone or something by a long list of an adjective. It wouldn’t sound pleasant and concise if you ever call someone like ‘the girl in blue,’ or perhaps something like ‘hey,’ all the time. Names are the connections that connect to their individuality. Names make everything specific and respectful. Without names, were just pronouns. 

In the army, soldiers wear dog tags to identify their bodies if they were killed or wounded in a battle. That’s how important names are. That’s why babies are given names as soon as they were born, or why we give names to the things valuable for us. To be identified and specified.

Origin of Names

Names written in color papers

Names probably dated back where the first human –Adam, was made. According to the Christian’s Bible, it was God who named Adam –a Hebrew word meaning “man”; Adam, who give names to all the animals created, was probably the first pet names given that dated back a very long years ago. When Adam and Eve got their sons and daughters, they started naming them following their characteristics. Abel, for instance, means “breath” in Hebrew, and Cain means “acquired.” Other names that were used in the earlier era were either a patronym and matronyms or names based on the father or mother’s names. 

But if you are ever wondering about Og and Thak –the cavemen characters in Garry Larson’s comic strips, you are probably asking what cavemen call each other, or do they already have names or an endearment perhaps? 

Cave dwellers are more like a romanticized picture of the early historic hunters. Early homo-sapiens, according to the history of where language started, people adapted to the sounds they were hearing and eventually makes a word out of the sounds they make. When communities have begun to double up their numbers, that’s where they probably started making names to distinguish themselves from another.    

Here are the lists of where the most known names in the world were found:

Jiahu Symbol in Shards of Pots

The Jiahu symbol

In the early times in China, traditional Chinese characters were found on shards of the broken pots that were excavated in 1999 in Henan, China. The pottery shards were dated back from 6600-6200 BC. The symbols on the fragments of jars were not the Chinese characters used in that time being. It was a personal mark that was probably derived from the first Chinese character called the ‘Oracle Bone Script.’ Those symbols that were invented personally was somewhat closer to a Chinese character deciphered as ‘eye’ and ‘sun or day.’ 

Ancient Sumerian Clay Tablet

A Sumerian Clay tablet

On a Sumerian cuneiform found from the period of Jemdet Nasr dated back from 3200-3101 BC, names such as ‘Kushim,’ ‘Gal-san,’ and the slaves: ‘Sukkalgir and Enpap-x’, were found. These were one of the oldest names in the history written on a tablet. 

Although the name ‘Kushim’ was still debated if it were to consider a name or as a profession –an accountant of barley, seeing that most of the eighteen cuneiforms where the name ‘Kushim’ was written were mainly about reports about barleys. 

However, the names of Gal-san, a slave owner, along with the reported two slaves –Sukkalgir and Enpap-x, came from the same date where the Kushim’s tablets where found. Sukkalgir and Enpap-x were known as slaves for their names were written beside the symbols that were used for slaves back in the Sumerian period. 

Egyptian Hieroglyphics 

Hieroglyphics

Most of the historical and known names in history were found on the Egyptian’s Hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics or the Egyptian’s Sacred Writings, were formal writings used in the early Egyptian periods. It contains about 1,000 characters that only those of the higher hierarchy like Pharaoh, Priests, and noble can read and write. 

Egyptian Pharaoh: ‘Iry-Hor’  

Iry-Hor’s name inscribed in his tomb (32nd Century BC)

On a tomb dated back from the early Egyptian period, a symbol close to ‘r-Hr’ or ‘Iry Hor’ was found by an Egyptologist –who excavated and discovered the tomb, named Flinders Petrie. 

Though the existence of this pre-dynastic Pharaoh was contested by another Egyptologist named Toby Wilkinson, the further excavation of the grave at Abydos of a German Egyptologist –Gunter Dreyer,  proved ‘Iry-Hor’s’ existence.  

Egyptian Pharaoh: ‘Ka’

Egyptian Pharaoh: ‘Ka’

The vessel where the name of Ka, the Pharaoh, was discovered

Ka or Sekhen was another Egyptian Pharaoh and was the successor of Iry-Hor. In the year 1902, when Ka’s tomb was found, along with the other artifacts bearing his name, it dated back around 3200 BC.  

Although the real pronunciation of Ka’s name remains uncertain, the other name of him that was read as ‘Sekhen,’ was found around the vessels with Ka’s serekh –an important crest that bears a royal title.  

Egyptian Pharaoh: ‘Scorpion II’ 

King Scorpion inscribed on the Scorpion Macehead

Although many Egyptian artifacts that dated around 3200-3000 BC that were found bears King Scorpion Or Scorpion II of Nekhen, Egypt, the tomb where he was buried was still unknown.

King Scorpion, was the ruler that came after Ka, who causes dispute in the modern Egyptology. Some Egyptologists believe that this was another name of Narmer –a Pharaoh that rules around 3100 BC, while others believe that Narmer and King Scorpion were two different Pharaohs. 

Egyptian Pharaoh: ‘Narmer’

Vessel of the Egyptian Pharaoh –Narmer

Narmer was the Pharaoh that reigned around 3150 to 3100 BCE. 

His name, like any other Pharaoh, was found on various Egyptian artifacts, especially on the Narmer Palette or also ‘Great Hierakonpolis Palette.” The Palette depicted that Narmer was the King that unified the Lower and Upper Egypt. 

Queen of Egypt: Neithhotep

Queen of Egypt: Neithhotep

Queen Neithhotep’s name written on a piece of alabaster

The artifacts with Neithhotep or Neith-Hotep’s names were dated back from 3150-3125 BCE. Her enormous Mastaba or Ancient Egyptian Tomb, tells that she’s one of the first Egyptian females of a higher rank or importance.

Many Egyptologists previously thought that Neithhotep was an unknown King of Ancient Egypt. Still, through the development of the study of the Ancient Egyptian writings, they have found out that Neithhotep was a woman of high rank. 

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