Fifth Dynasty of Egypt

Last updated
Ancient Egypt
Capital Memphis
Common languages Egyptian language
Religion
ancient Egyptian religion
Government Absolute monarchy
Pharaoh  
 7–8 years (first)
Userkaf
 13 years
Sahure
 c. 10 years
Neferirkare Kakai
 c. 2 years
Neferefre
 Few months
Shepseskare
 24–35 years
Nyuserre Ini
 8–9 years
Menkauhor Kaiu
 33 up to over 44 years
Djedkare Isesi
 15–30 years (last)
Unas
Historical era Old Kingdom of Egypt
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Fourth Dynasty of Egypt
Sixth Dynasty of Egypt Blank.png

The Fifth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty V) is often combined with Dynasties III, IV and VI under the group title the Old Kingdom . The Fifth Dynasty pharaohs reigned for approximately 150 years, from the early 25th century BC until the mid 24th century BC.

Contents

Chronology

The Fifth Dynasty of Egypt is a group of nine kings ruling Egypt for circa 150 years in the 25th and 24th centuries BC. [note 1] The relative succession of kings is not entirely secured as there are contradictions between historical sources and archaeological evidences regarding the reign of the shadowy Shepseskare.

Rulers

Known rulers in the Fifth Dynasty are listed below. [7] Manetho assigns 248 years of rule to the Fifth Dynasty; however, the pharaohs of this dynasty more probably ruled for an approximate 150 years. [19] This estimate varies between both scholar and source. The Horus names [18] and most names of the queens [20] are taken from Dodson and Hilton. [21]

Dynasty V pharaohs
Name of KingHorus (throne) NameEstimated reign durationPyramidQueen(s)
Userkaf Irimaat7 years Pyramid in Saqqara Khentkaus I ?
Neferhetepes
Sahure Nebkhau13 years, 5 months and 12 days Pyramid in Abusir Neferetnebty
Neferirkare Kakai Neferirkare20 years Pyramid in Abusir Khentkaus II
Neferefre Neferkhau2 to 3 years Unfinished Pyramid of Neferefre in Abusir Khentakawess III ?
Shepseskare ShepseskareLikely a few monthsPossibly in Abusir
Nyuserre Ini Nyuserre24 to 35 years Pyramid in Abusir Reptynub
Menkauhor Kaiu Menkauhor8 or 9 years"Headless Pyramid" in Saqqara Meresankh IV?
Djedkare Isesi Djedkare33 to more than 44 years Pyramid in Saqqara Setibhor
Unas Wadjtawy15 to 30 years Pyramid in Saqqara Nebet
Khenut

Manetho writes that the Dynasty V kings ruled from Elephantine, but archeologists have found evidence clearly showing that their palaces were still located at Ineb-hedj ("White Walls").

As before, expeditions were sent to Wadi Maghareh and Wadi Kharit in the Sinai to mine for turquoise and copper, and to quarries northwest of Abu Simbel for gneiss. Trade expeditions were sent south to Punt to obtain malachite, myrrh, and electrum, and archeological finds at Byblos attest to diplomatic expeditions sent to that Phoenician city. Finds bearing the names of several Dynasty V kings at the site of Dorak, near the Sea of Marmara, may be evidence of trade but remain a mystery.

Userkaf

How Pharaoh Userkaf founded this dynasty is not known for certain. The Papyrus Westcar , which was written during the Middle Kingdom, tells a story of how king Khufu of Dynasty IV was given a prophecy that triplets born to the wife of the priest of Ra in Sakhbu would overthrow him and his heirs, and how he attempted to put these children – named Userkaf, Sahure, and Neferirkare – to death; however in recent years, scholars have recognized this story to be at best a legend and admit their ignorance over how the transition from one dynasty to another transpired.

During this dynasty, Egyptian religion made several important changes. The earliest known copies of funerary prayers inscribed on royal tombs (known as the Pyramid Texts) appear. The cult of the god Ra gains added importance, and kings from Userkaf through Menkauhor Kaiu built temples dedicated to Ra at or near Abusir. Then late in this dynasty, the cult of the deity Osiris assumes importance, most notably in the inscriptions found in the tomb of Unas.

Djedkare Isesi

Amongst non-royal Egyptians of this time, Ptahhotep, vizier to Djedkare Isesi, won fame for his wisdom; The Maxims of Ptahhotep was ascribed to him by its later copyists. Non-royal tombs were also decorated with inscriptions, like the royal ones, but instead of prayers or incantations, biographies of the deceased were written on the walls.

Notes

  1. Several dates have been proposed by the scholars for the Fifth Dynasty: 2513–2374, [1] [2] 2510–2370, [3] 2510–2460, [4] 2504–2345, [5] 2498–2345, [6] 2494–2345, [7] [8] [9] [10] 2465–2323, [11] [12] 2454–2297, [5] 2450–2335, [13] [14] 2450–2325, [15] 2435–2306, [16] [17] 2392–2282 [18]

Related Research Articles

Unas Egyptian pharaoh

Unas or Wenis, also spelled Unis, was a pharaoh, the ninth and last ruler of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt during the Old Kingdom. Unas reigned for 15 to 30 years in the mid-24th century BC, succeeding Djedkare Isesi, who might have been his father.

Sahure Egyptian pharaoh, second ruler of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt in the 25th century BC

Sahure was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh and second ruler of the Fifth Dynasty. He reigned for about 12 years in the early 25th century BC during the Old Kingdom Period. Sahure's reign is considered to mark the political and cultural high point of the Fifth Dynasty. He was probably the son of his predecessor Userkaf with Queen Neferhetepes II, and was in turn succeeded by his son Neferirkare Kakai.

Userkare Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh

Userkare was the second pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty, reigning briefly, 1 to 5 years, in the late 24th to early 23rd century BC. Userkare's relation to his predecessor Teti and successor Pepi I is unknown and his reign remains enigmatic. Although he is attested in historical sources, Userkare is completely absent from the tomb of the Egyptian officials who lived during his reign. In addition, the Egyptian priest Manetho reports that Userkare's predecessor Teti was murdered. Userkare is often considered to have been a short-lived usurper. Alternatively, he may have been a regent who ruled during Teti's son's childhood who later ascended the throne as Pepi I.

The Sixth Dynasty of ancient Egypt along with Dynasties III, IV and V constitute the Old Kingdom of Dynastic Egypt.

Userkaf Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh

Userkaf was an Egyptian pharaoh and the founder of the Fifth Dynasty. He reigned for seven to eight years in the early 25th century BC, during the Old Kingdom Period. He probably belonged to a branch of the Fourth Dynasty royal family, although his parentage is uncertain; he could have been the son of queen Khentkaus I. He had at least one daughter and very probably a son with his consort Neferhetepes. This son succeeded him as pharaoh Sahure.

Neferirkare Kakai Egyptian pharaoh

Neferirkare Kakai was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, the third king of the Fifth Dynasty. Neferirkare, the eldest son of Sahure with his consort Meretnebty, was known as Ranefer A before he came to the throne. He acceded the day after his father's death and reigned for eight to eleven years, sometime in the early to mid-25th century BCE. He was himself very likely succeeded by his eldest son, born of his queen Khentkaus II, the prince Ranefer B who would take the throne as king Neferefre. Neferirkare fathered another pharaoh, Nyuserre Ini, who took the throne after Neferefre's short reign and the brief rule of the poorly known Shepseskare.

Menkauhor Kaiu Pharaoh of Egypt

Menkauhor Kaiu was an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Old Kingdom period. He was the seventh ruler of the Fifth Dynasty at the end of the 25th century BC or early in the 24th century BC.

Djedkare Isesi Ancient Egyptian pharaoh

Djedkare Isesi was a pharaoh, the eighth and penultimate ruler of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt in the late 25th century to mid-24th century BC, during the Old Kingdom. Djedkare succeeded Menkauhor Kaiu and was in turn succeeded by Unas. His relations to both of these pharaohs remain uncertain, although it is often conjectured that Unas was Djedkare's son, owing to the smooth transition between the two.

Senusret II pharaoh of Egypt

Khakheperre Senusret II was the fourth pharaoh of the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt. He ruled from 1897 BC to 1878 BC. His pyramid was constructed at El-Lahun. Senusret II took a great deal of interest in the Faiyum oasis region and began work on an extensive irrigation system from Bahr Yussef through to Lake Moeris through the construction of a dike at El-Lahun and the addition of a network of drainage canals. The purpose of his project was to increase the amount of cultivable land in that area. The importance of this project is emphasized by Senusret II's decision to move the royal necropolis from Dahshur to El-Lahun where he built his pyramid. This location would remain the political capital for the 12th and 13th Dynasties of Egypt. The king also established the first known workers' quarter in the nearby town of Senusrethotep (Kahun).

Neferefre Pharaoh of Egypt

Neferefre Isi was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, likely the fourth but also possibly the fifth ruler of the Fifth Dynasty during the Old Kingdom period. He was very probably the eldest son of pharaoh Neferirkare Kakai and queen Khentkaus II, known as prince Ranefer before he ascended the throne.

Nyuserre Ini Ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty

Nyuserre Ini was an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, the sixth ruler of the Fifth Dynasty during the Old Kingdom period. He is credited with a reign of 24 to 35 years depending on the scholar, and likely lived in the second half of the 25th century BCE. Nyuserre was the younger son of Neferirkare Kakai and queen Khentkaus II, and the brother of the short-lived king Neferefre. He may have succeeded his brother directly, as indicated by much later historical sources. Alternatively, Shepseskare may have reigned between the two as advocated by Miroslav Verner, albeit only for a few weeks or months at the most. The relation of Shepseskare with Neferefre and Nyuserre remains highly uncertain. Nyuserre was in turn succeeded by Menkauhor Kaiu, who could have been his nephew and a son of Neferefre.

Shepseskare Egyptian pharaoh

Shepseskare or Shepseskara was an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, the fourth or fifth ruler of the Fifth Dynasty during the Old Kingdom period. Shepseskare lived in the mid-25th century BC and was probably the owner of an unfinished pyramid in Abusir, which was abandoned after a few weeks of work in the earliest stages of its construction.

Pyramid of Unas Pyramid complex of the last pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt built at Saqqara

The Pyramid of Unas is a smooth-sided pyramid built in the 24th century BC for the Egyptian pharaoh Unas, the ninth and final king of the Fifth Dynasty. It is the smallest Old Kingdom pyramid, but significant due to the discovery of Pyramid Texts, spells for the king's afterlife incised into the walls of its subterranean chambers. Inscribed for the first time in Unas's pyramid, the tradition of funerary texts carried on in the pyramids of subsequent rulers, through to the end of the Old Kingdom, and into the Middle Kingdom through the Coffin Texts that form the basis of the Book of the Dead.

Pyramid of Neferirkare Second pyramid to be built at the necropolis site of Abusir

The Pyramid of Neferirkare was built for the Fifth Dynasty pharaoh Neferirkare Kakai – referred to as Neferirkare – in the 25th century BC. It was the tallest structure located on the highest site at the necropolis of Abusir – found between Giza and Saqqara – and still towers over the necropolis today. The pyramid is also significant because its evacuation led to the discovery of the Abusir papyri.

Pyramid of Sahure Pyramid complex of the second pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty of Egypt, inaugural pyramid at Abusir

The Pyramid of Sahure is a late 26th century BC to early 25th century BC pyramid complex built for the Egyptian pharaoh Sahure of the Fifth Dynasty. Sahure built the inaugural pyramid in Abusir after his direct predecessor, Userkaf, built his sun temple in the same area. Sahure's successors, Neferirkare Kakai, Neferefre, and Nyuserre Ini all built their monuments in the general vicinity. The complex's early visitors, John Shae Perring, Karl Richard Lepsius and Jacques de Morgan, did not conduct a thorough investigation, perhaps they were discouraged by its ruined state. It was first properly excavated by Ludwig Borchardt between March 1907 and 1908, who penned the seminal work on the topic Das Grabdenkmal des Königs Sahu-Re between 1910 and 1913.

Pyramid of Neferefre Unfinished pyramid

The Pyramid of Neferefre, also known as the Pyramid of Raneferef, is a 25th century BC unfinished pyramid complex built for the Egyptian pharaoh Neferefre of the Fifth Dynasty. Neferefre's unfinished pyramid is the third and final one built on the Abusir diagonal – a figurative line connecting the Abusir pyramids with Heliopolis – of the necropolis, sited south-west of Neferirkare's pyramid.

Pyramid of Djedkare Isesi Ruined pyramid complex of Djedkare Isesi in South Saqqara

The Pyramid of Djedkare Isesi is a late 25th to mid 24th century BC pyramid complex built for the Fifth Dynasty pharaoh Djedkare Isesi. The pyramid is referred to as Haram el-Shawwâf, by locals. It was the first pyramid to be built in South Saqqara.

Khentkaus I Queen of Ancient Egypt during the 4th dynasty

Khentkaus I, also referred to as Khentkawes, was a royal woman who lived in ancient Egypt during the Fourth and the Fifth Dynasties. She may have been a daughter of king Menkaure, the wife of both king Shepseskaf and king Userkaf, the mother of king Sahure, and perhaps, in her own right, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt. Her mastaba at Giza – tomb LG100 – is located very close to Menkaure's pyramid complex. This close connection may point to a family relationship. Although the relationship is not clear, the proximity of the pyramid complex of Khentkaus to that of king Menkaure has led to the conjecture that she may have been his daughter.

Pyramid of Nyuserre Pyramid complex of the last pharaoh to be buried at Abusir

The Pyramid of Nyuserre is a mid 25th century BC pyramid complex built for the Egyptian pharaoh Nyuserre Ini of the Fifth Dynasty. During his reign, Nyuserre had the unfinished monuments of his father, Neferirkare Kakai, mother, Khentkaus II, and brother, Neferefre, completed, before commencing work on his personal pyramid complex. He chose a site in the Abusir necropolis between the complexes of Neferirkare and Sahure, which, restrictive in area and terrain, economized the costs of labour and material. Nyuserre was the last king to be entombed in the necropolis, whilst his successors chose to be buried elsewhere.

Pyramid of Senusret II building in Egypt

The Pyramid of Senusret II,, is the pyramid complex constructed for the pharaoh Senusret II in the Twelfth Dynasty.

References

  1. Verner 2001b, pp. 588–590.
  2. Altenmüller 2001, pp. 597–600.
  3. Verner 2001d, p. 473.
  4. Grimal 1992, p. 390.
  5. 1 2 von Beckerath 1997, p. 188.
  6. Clayton 1994, p. 60.
  7. 1 2 Shaw 2000, p. 482.
  8. Bard 1999, p. xlv, Chronology of Ancient Egypt.
  9. Málek 2000, pp. 98 & 100.
  10. Rice 1999, p. xlix, Chronoloy.
  11. Lehner 2008, p. 8.
  12. Allen et al. 1999, p. xx.
  13. Verner 2001a, p. 418.
  14. Krauss 1998, p. 56.
  15. Arnold 2003, p. 267.
  16. Hornung 2012, p. 491.
  17. Bárta 2017, p. 3.
  18. 1 2 Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 288.
  19. Altenmüller 2001, p. 597.
  20. Dodson & Hilton 2004, p. 65.
  21. Dodson & Hilton 2004, pp. 65 & 288.

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Preceded by
Fourth Dynasty
Dynasty of Egypt
c. 24942345 BC
Succeeded by
Sixth Dynasty