Sneferu

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Sneferu

Only few Pharaohs went down indelible in Egypt history. Sneferuwas undoubtedly one of them - he was the first Pharaoh of the 4th dynasty. He is the only Pharaoh, whom minimally 3 pyramids are credited to.

We can suppose Sneferu was a son of Huni, the last Pharaoh of the 3rd dynasty, but we can't say it for sure. His mother Meresankh I. was Huni's wife. To becameutíka a legitimate successor he married his half-sister Hetepheres I. - Huni's daughter and future mother of Khufu.

Sneferu loved education and rejoicings. He took boat trips in pleasant company in youth and ran away from his teachers. Egyptians loved him. He didn't take due note of the royal protocol too much and he called people from his surrounding "my friend". So he wasn't traditional Pharaoh in this sense, but he was very intelligent, educated and he loved luxuriant speeches.

Sneferu supported agriculture and stud development, he founded and maintained several agricultural homesteads and increased the mining in Egyptian and also foreign mines. That's why he strengthened the Egyptian presence on Sinai Peninsula, because he needed to protect the malachite, turquoise and cuppreous mines from bedouins attacks. So Sneferu let build approximately 60 big ships (one of them was over 50 meters long), which served for crusades to the Lebanon, from where he imported especially cedarwood for his fortress.

His business sense made him to make also war expeditions sometimes to enlarge his power in other rich areas, e.g. Nubia. Sneferu also organized a big crusade to Nubia to suppress an uprising in Dodekaschoin (Greek name of a part in Nubia, which extended along the Nile from Elephantine to Takomps), from where he brought almost 7,000 captives and also 20,0000 pieces of livestock. As well as the other Pharaons Sneferu knew, that Nubia is a country Egyptian economy couldn't get along without.

If the caravans from this area were under his control and he regulated them, he could supply big Egyptian cities with ebony, ivory, gold, diorite, olibanum, very fashionable wild animals and also manpower important for large buildings ensuring. He also made incursions into Libya, from where he brought 13,000 pieces of livestock and 11,000 captives. The land has never prospered so well as under his rule.

Builder Sneferu

Sneferu was a great builder as well. Thanks to the manpower of the slaves from military expeditions he could let build fortresses, ships, palaces, temples, houses and pyramids - one of them was located in Meidum, in southern part of Memphis plain, two others in Dahshur and maybe the fourth in Sile in Faiyum near Meidum, which was discovered not long ago. He let build his residence near Meidum and he maybe wanted to differentiate from his predecessors, so he let build his first pyramid there (its eldest phase was level, as well as the Djoser's pyramid).

His other choice was Dahshur. We don't know why he let build two "real" pyramids right there. These pyramids were a kind of prologue of the pyramids built later in Giza. Sneferu left its mark on the history of his land more than any other Pharaoh. You can find other detailed information about pyramids construction - especially about the origin of the Bent pyramid - on a site dedicated to descriptions of this pyramid.

Pharaohs 4th dynasty, 2723 - 2563 BC

Written by Felgr Pavel on .

Best known dynasties of the Old Kingdom is undoubtedly the fourth dynasty. It was a great dynasty pyramid builders. The first pharaoh of this dynasty was Sneferu, who had built pyramids at Dahshur pyramid and completed his father Huni.

His son Khufu (Cheops in Greek) is known for the extensive and beautiful Great pyramid with smooth walls, which had over twenty years to build on a rocky plateau of Giza, Cairo suburb today. A succession to after Chufevovi by the now outdated view vied various branches of the royal family.

This fight should take the form of assassination of the heir Kuab his brother, the late king Djedefre. He was later also killed Khafre, builder of the Great Sphinx Giza. Chafre avenge his brother, became pharaoh and builder of the second pyramid at Giza. According to current theories, however Radžedefův brother died prematurely while, but a natural death.

Dynasty rich in magnificent architectural work ends the reign of Menkaurea, builder of the third Giza pyramids and Shepseskaf.

Pharaoh Reign Significant events
4th dynasty (2,723 - 2,563 BC)
Sneferu 24 years "real" pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure in Giza
Khufu 23 years crusades to Sinai, Nubia ane Libya
Djedefre 8 years  
Khafre 25 years  
Nebka (Sanakht) (?)    
Menkaure 28 years  
Shepseskaf 4 years  
Thamphthis (?) 2 years  

3th and 4th dynasty

Huni

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Huni (King Hu) is considered the last king of the 3rd dynasty. He is placed right in front of Sneferu on Turin King List, who was the founder of the 4th dynasty. He might rule for 24 years according to this list, but there's no evidence for it today.

Huni (King Hu) was apparently the first Pharaoh, who began with writing his name in cartouche - an oval, that symbolized an endless rule of a Pharaoh and Gods. It became a tradition later, till the Roman period, so it had lasted for almost 3,000 years.

We have most information about the end of the 3rd period from the tomb of Huni's state official. In this period a big economical advance in property relations is visible compared with the traditions of the first three dynasties. Till the period of Huni, the Pharaoh was the only owner of the land and everything in it, but it turns out, that even common people (even if in high positions) could own large legal-acquired property at the end of the 3rd dynasty.

Král Hu   Hunej   Huni
nsw Hw
Král Hu
  Hwnj
Hunej
  Hwni
Huni
         

Hunejova pyramida Hunejova pyramida

Two pyramids of the pharaohs.

Sekhemkhet

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Sekhemkhet

Sekhemkhet was likely son of Pharaoh Djoser, however, he was his successor. Sekhemkhet is also known as Djosertety. His name wasn't mentioned in any list of Pharaohs, but a sign with his name was discovered in Wadi Maghareh in the Sinai Peninsula. His name wasn't translated correctly, so it is possible, that his name was mistakenly associated with a Pharaoh of Archaic period Semerkhet.

Sekhemkhet ruled for 6 years in Egypt

According to the Turin King List Sekhemkhet ruled for 6 years. There is Sekhemkhet's pyramid in Saqqara (it is a step pyramid as well as the Djoser's). Unfortunately there isn't more preserved information about this Pharaoh, except two rock inscriptions in Wadi Maghareh in the Sinai peninsula.

Considering tha fact, that a period of decline of absolutist power followed after Sekhemkhet and following Pharaohs were insignificant and weak, Sekhemkhet was probably murdered.

Sekhemkhet

  Sekhemkhet - a detail from Wadi Magrareh in the Sinai peninsula

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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