Userkaf

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Userkaf

The downfall of the 4th dynasty and the start of the 5th dynasty is one of the most complicated historical problem of the Old Kingdom. Queen Khentkaus I - a daughter of the Pharaoh Menkaure played a significant role at that time. When the mail royal stem died off in male tail, she was the one who became a royal mother and a connecting link between the 4th dynasty and solar kings. Rulers of the 5th dynasty are sometimes called with this name.

Her son Userkaf was the first Pharaoh of the 5th dynasty. He usurped the throne of the king Shepseskaf. The title "son of Ra" was on its top under his rule, this title became a part and parcel of king's titling.

Userkaf founded the first sun temple right in Memphis' necropolis. Its name was Nekhen of Ra and it was placed at recent village Abusir on a pretty distant place then. It is one of two discovered sun temples.

Userkaf

Userkaf

Pharaohs 5th dynasty, 2563 - 2423 BC

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

During the rule of the pharaohs fifth dynasty was at an increased rate worshiped the sun god Re. God chose Rea perhaps because faaraoni this dynasty originated from Heliopolis.

Title king "Son Ra" that the king identified with the solar deity, and was first used by in the previous dynasty importance. Rea Name of God becomes part of the native names of the rulers of this dynasty. A number of pharaohs took the Sinai campaign. It seems, therefore, that focused on Asia, but without neglecting Nubia. At the end of the reign of the dynasty of the Old Kingdom was in its heyday.

As well pharaohs fifth dynasty went on in the construction pyramid, but something of this dynasty pyramids were still special. The last pharaoh of the fifth dynasty Venis let decorate the walls burial chamber of the Pyramid Texts.

Pharaoh Reign Significant events
5th dynasty (2,563 - 2,423 BC)
Userkaf 7 years cult of the sun
Sahure 14 years the top of relief art and sculpture in funereal complexes
Neferirkare Kakai 10 years using of "Pyramids texts" (texts collection and magic spells)
Shepseskare Isi 7 years  
Raneferef 7 years  
Nyuserre Ini 31 years  
Menkauhor Kaiu 8 years  
Djedkare Isesi 39 years  
Unas 30 years  

5th and 6th dynasty

Shepseskaf

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

ShepseskafA crisis of the 4th dynasty came after Menkaure's death, which could be related to the death of crown prince and the eldest son of Menkaure - Khuenre. The crisis was over, when Shepseskaf came to the throne, who was likely a son of Menkaure and one of his minor wives.

Mastaba of Shepseskaf

Shepseskaf let build himself a huge mastaba instead of a pyramid in Saqqara (so-called Mastabat Fara'un, which belongs to the most mysterious buildings from Old Kingdom up to the present day). It was already descripted by Perring for the first time. Lepsius put his mind to it only briefly. However, he noticed, that the tomb reminded a big sarcophagus with its shape. But it was Mariette, who began the exploration of the building's underground in 1858. His notes were lost except for several drawings, which were published by Maspero later. He did a systematic exploration of the tomb in 1924 - 1925. It was only him, who set Shepseskaf as the owner of the tomb.

Mastaba of Shepseskaf doesn't stand on a ledge rock, but on a foundation platform. The mastaba has a rectangular plan oriented to the north-south as usual. The core of it is created by two levels of big gray-yellow limestone blocks, which came from the quarries located to the west of the pyramids in Dahshur. Perring, Lepsius and de Morgan as well found the rests of paths the stone was transported on to the site. The facing was from fine white limestone, only the lowermost layer was incased with red granite.

Mastaba structure

The entrace into the underground reminds more a pyramid than a mastaba. It lays in the line of northern wall approximately 2,5 meters above the base. A descending corridor from red granite verges into a horizontal one behind a small hall. There is a granite block from 3 falling boards right at the beginning of this part of the corridor. This corridor leads into the ruler's postmortal dwelling, that is created by a vestibule, funereal chamber and stores. The vestibule and funereal chamber had an gabled ceiling from red granite. The bottom part of the gabled ceiling of the chamber was picked a little to look like a dome. Remains of a sarcophagus were found in the funereal chamber.

Shepseskaf decided to leave the necropolis in Giza a build himself a mastaba in Saqqara. This decision could be partly made because of religious reasons (as a protest against growing influence of the sun god Ra priesthood from Heliopolis), but there could be other reasons as well. There wasn't a suitable place for construction of another royal complex in Giza and the situation was also complicated because of the responsibility for finishing of the complex of his predecessor. The construction in Saqqara could also be taken in as a demonstration of parentage unity, which was founded by Sneferu, whose pyramids were build in nearby Dahshur.

Shepseskaf

Shepseskaf

Menkaure

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Menkaure

Menkaure came to the throne in 2490 BC after a short rule of the Pharaoh Baka (the last legitimate successor of Sneferu). Menkaure inherited a kingdom weaken from the inside and drained because of expensive monumental tombs of his predeccessors, but also because of folk uprising and religious and dynasty fights. Also the royal power lost its status, therefore he had to renew the previous position of the Pharaoh - God after his coming to the throne.

Menkaure's pyramid

Pyramid of Menkaure "Divine is Menkaure" far smaller than his predeccessors. It is of less quality, but according to some reports it was the most beautiful pyramid in the whole necropolis. It consisted of 2 types of facing, the first 15 meters were made of red Aswan granite and the upper portion was cased with white limestone. The original facing was preserved till 16th century.

The pyramid of Menkaure occupied the area of scant ¼ of Khafre's pyramid in comparison with previous pyramids, it means 1.179 ha. Menkaure's pyramid is situated to the north-south,  the lenght of original sides is 108.61 meters and doesn't vary much from recent 104.6 meters. Its original height wasn't far higher neither - original height was 66.45 meters against recent 62.18 meters. The top of the pyramid seems to be cut off, analogous to the neighbouring pyramids. Its angle of wall incline is 51º 20".

The mortuary temple pyramids Menkaurea

The complex in the pyramid's surroundings was built in 2 phases. Limestone was used in the first phase (Menkaure was still alive at that time) and dried bricks were used in the second one (finished by Shepseskaf). The chantry temple didn't adjoin to the pyramid and was finished hurriedly. Remains of a chapel built under Shepseskaf rule are situated between it and the pyramid. He also let build a covered ramp, which didn't go out of the chantry temple interior as usual. The temple was settled in the past and under the 5th dynasty rule it was damaged seriously with stormwater.

Menkaure and his wife

Menkaure and his wife

Message from the Nile

  • History of Czech institution of egyptology

    The Czech egyptology founder is Frantisek Lexa, the author of up to now evaluated work about ancient Egypt magic and Demotic grammar. Seminar for egyptology started thanks to him in Faculty of Philosophy and Arts of Charles University in Prague in 1925. Two years later Lexa became the first regular professor of egyptology in then Czechoslovakia.

  • Abusir - outstation of Czech egyptology expedition

    Abusir is an archaeological locality in Egypt named after nearby recent village Abusir. It is situated on western Nile bank on the edge of Libyan tableland approximately 20 kilometers to the south-west of Cairo. The name of this locality is derived from ancient Egypt god Osiris, from Per Usir (Busiris), "(cult) place of Osiris" (Busiris in Greek).

  • Researches in Western desert

    Czech egyptology is successful in researching not only on pyramidal fields in Abusir recently, but also in supporting and organizing smaller expeditions into egyptian Western desert. Czech expedition has been working even in slowly evanescent oasis El-Hajez since 2003, which is situated about 400 km to the south-west from Cairo.

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