According to Dynastic Race Theory,

[T]he earliest roots of the ancient Egyptian dynastic civilisation were imported by invaders from Mesopotamia who then founded the First Dynasty and brought culture to the indigenous population.

Arguments in favor of this theory are the architectural element of niche-façade or palace-façade that is found in the 1st dynasty mastabas at Saqqara; cylinder seals; rock and tomb paintings depicting Mesopotamian style boats, symbols, and figures.

Proponents also point out similarities in the names of divinities and places in the religious beliefs of the two cultures.

For instance, for ancient Egyptians primeval mound of the creation was called the Island of Nun which was surrounded by the waters of Nun. The Sumerian name for the great temple in the city of Eridu was calles Nun.ki (the mighty place) which was built on an island in the reed swamps.

Moreover, the name of the god...

Osiris is a Greek pronunciation, and that the god would have been called Asar in Egyptian, while the Sumerian god of the Eridu area was also called Asar.

These parallels make me wonder if there is truth to this theory, whether the first dynasty was indeed built by Mesopotamian invaders. Is there really a truth to this theory?

  • 1
    Related question: Did Egyptian civilization start from North to South or vice versa?. My answer there contains: "The first pharaohs of the dynastic period in Egypt appear to have hailed from upper Egypt (roughly the smack dab in the middle of what is modern Egypt). " Does that answer this question?
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 17, 2023 at 22:27
  • Admittedly, that was just a paragraph, and this question might be an opportunity to go more into how we know this.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 17, 2023 at 22:29
  • The god of Eridu was Enki (Akkadian Ea) and the temple was E-Abzu.
    – Spencer
    Jan 18, 2023 at 0:09
  • @T.E.D. how does the answer account for the nonnegligible influence of Mesopotamians on the ancient Egyptians?
    – november
    Jan 18, 2023 at 11:01
  • 3
    Well, you could go read the answer to see. ;-) But I believe when I looked into it last the only proven contact with SW Asia was agricultural. Pretty much every other angle you look at the ties for the formation of the 1st Dynasty tend to point to the (lower) upper Nile, and before that ultimately over from the Horn of Africa.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 18, 2023 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


As Wikipedia says, the idea was popular in the first half of the twentieth century, but is no longer supported by mainstream Egyptologists. The changes that led to the First Dynasty seem to have occurred gradually, over a considerable period of time.

While some people have been trying to revive the idea, one of them is David Rohl, who has a rather different model of Egyptian chronology to mainstream scholarship. He's not a crank on the Fomenko level, but his keenness on biblical correlations does not help his case.

As far as current scholarship can tell, the Dynastic Race Theory isn't true.

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