Rekhyt-bird “Symbol of Common People” referred to a people living in the northern Nile Delta in the Early Dynastic Period of Ancient Egypt, as well as the deity Rekhyt from the Middle Kingdom onwards. The Rekhyt people’s origins are unclear, as they were not yet considered Egyptians at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. Their settlement area extended to the border of Retjenu. Early inscriptions and monuments speak of the Rekhyt as mythological inhabitants of the Nile Delta, as all “northern enemies of Upper Egypt” were also among the “inhabitants of Qebehu”. After the collapse of the Old Kingdom and the associated upheaval and religious reorientation, the meaning of the term “Rekhyt” changed. At the beginning of the Middle Kingdom, the name “Rekhyt” was transferred to a new deity. The Rekhyt no longer appeared as a separate people; instead, the Egyptians saw a connection with Horus in the earlier Rekhyt people, especially from the New Kingdom onwards. The popular name Rekhyt and its associated meaning was subject to change, and the word Rekhyt came to mean “the common people” as a generic term.

Etymology the lapwing is a migratory bird that overwinters from late October to late March in Siwa, Alexandria, Faiyum, Bubastis, Pithom and North Sinai. Their wings are distinctively wide and rounded, and they fly with relaxed, leisurely wing beats. The black upper side and white underside, which flash in flight, allows them to be easily identified from a great distance. It is understood that the name of the bird was first applied to the Rekhyt people as a nickname.

Northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

The ancient Egyptians saw the lapwing as a “clumsy mourning bird in the mud” due to its “slowly staggering-fluttering herd flight behavior” and its typical long drawn-out cry “pliit”. The assumption was often made earlier in Egyptology that the name Rekhyt written with the single hieroglyph G23.

Origin The appearance of the lapwing was unknown to the inhabitants of Upper Egypt, as the lapwing did not migrate to the regions around Abydos. In the sun temple of Niuserre, the lapwing is therefore described as the “bird from Qebehu”. In the early days, the people of Rekhyt were mostly opposed to the Upper Egyptian people of the Pat , who saw themselves as the “people of Seth and Kenmet”. In armed conflicts, the defeated also carried the designation “Rekhyt”, which is why they were also regarded as legitimate subjects. For example, in the story of the Henmemet of the Old Kingdom, the sun god Ra was victorious against the people of Rekhyt.