Menkauhor Kaiu

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Menkauhor Kaiu (also known as Ikauhor and in Greek as Mencherês, Μεγχερῆς) [16] 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 ( circa 2399-2390 BC ).

Ancient Greek Version of the Greek language used from roughly the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD

The ancient Greek language includes the forms of Greek used in Ancient Greece and the ancient world from around the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD. It is often roughly divided into the Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period. It is antedated in the second millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek and succeeded by Medieval Greek.

Ancient Egypt ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa

Ancient Egypt was a civilization of ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egyptian civilization followed prehistoric Egypt and coalesced around 3100 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under Menes. The history of ancient Egypt occurred as a series of stable kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods: the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age.

Pharaoh Title of Ancient Egyptian rulers

Pharaoh is the common title of the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the actual term "Pharaoh" was not used contemporaneously for a ruler until Merneptah, c. 1200 BCE. In the early dynasty, ancient Egyptian kings used to have up to three titles, the Horus, the Sedge and Bee (nswt-bjtj) name, and the Two Ladies (nbtj) name. The Golden Horus and nomen and prenomen titles were later added.


Menkauhor ruled for possibly eight or nine years, following king Nyuserre Ini, and was succeeded in turn by Djedkare Isesi. Although Menkauhor is well attested by historical sources, few artifacts from his reign have survived. Consequently, his familial relation to his predecessor and successor is unclear, and no offspring of his have been identified. Khentkaus III may have been Menkauhor's mother, as indicated by evidence discovered in her tomb in 2015.

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.

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.

Khentkaus III, often called Khentakawess III by news media, was an ancient Egyptian queen who lived during the Fifth Dynasty, around 2450 BC.

Beyond the construction of monuments, the only known activity dated to Menkauhor's reign is an expedition to the copper and turquoise mines in Sinai. Menkauhor ordered the construction of a sun temple, called the "Akhet-Ra", meaning "The Horizon of Ra". The last ever to be built, this sun temple, known from inscriptions found in the tombs of its priests, is yet to be located. Menkauhor was buried in a small pyramid in Saqqara, which the Ancient Egyptians named Netjer-Isut Menkauhor, "The Divine Places of Menkauhor". Known today as the Headless Pyramid, the ruin had been lost under shifting sands until its rediscovery in 2008.

Copper Chemical element with atomic number 29

Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

Turquoise opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminium

Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium, with the chemical formula CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·4H2O. It is rare and valuable in finer grades and has been prized as a gemstone and ornamental stone for thousands of years owing to its unique hue. In recent times, turquoise has been devalued, like most other opaque gems, by the introduction onto the market of treatments, imitations and synthetics.

Sinai Peninsula peninsula in the Red Sea

The Sinai Peninsula or simply Sinai is a peninsula in Egypt, and the only part of the country located in Asia. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the south, and is a land bridge between Asia and Africa. Sinai has a land area of about 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi) and a population of approximately 600,000 people. Administratively, the vast majority of the area of the Sinai Peninsula is divided into two governorates: the South Sinai Governorate and the North Sinai Governorate. Three other governorates span the Suez Canal, crossing into African Egypt: Suez Governorate on the southern end of the Suez Canal, Ismailia Governorate in the center, and Port Said Governorate in the north.

The figure of Menkauhor was at the centre of a long lasting funerary cult until the end of the Old Kingdom period, with at least seven agricultural domains producing goods for the necessary offerings. The cult of a deified Menkauhor, then known by the titles "Strong Lord of the Two Lands, Menkauhor the Justified" reappeared during the New Kingdom period (c. 1550 – c. 1077 BC), and lasted until at least the Nineteenth Dynasty (c. 1292 – c. 1077 BC), some 1200 years after his death.

New Kingdom of Egypt period 1550 to 1070 BC in ancient Egypt

The New Kingdom, also referred to as the Egyptian Empire, is the period in ancient Egyptian history between the 16th century BC and the 11th century BC, covering the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties of Egypt. Radiocarbon dating places the exact beginning of the New Kingdom between 1570 BC and 1544 BC. The New Kingdom followed the Second Intermediate Period and was succeeded by the Third Intermediate Period. It was Egypt's most prosperous time and marked the peak of its power.

Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt Egyptian dynasty from -1295 to -1186

The Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt is classified as the second Dynasty of the Ancient Egyptian New Kingdom period, lasting from 1292 BC to 1189 BC. The 19th Dynasty and the 20th Dynasty furthermore together constitute an era known as the Ramesside period. This Dynasty was founded by Vizier Ramesses I, whom Pharaoh Horemheb chose as his successor to the throne.



Menkauhor is attested by three hieroglyphic sources, all from the much later New Kingdom period. His name is given on the 31st entry of the Abydos King List, which was inscribed on the walls of a temple during the reign of Seti I (1290–1279 BC). He is also mentioned on the Saqqara Tablet (30th entry) [17] and on the Turin canon (third column, 23rd row), [18] both of which were written during the reign of Ramesses II (1279–1213 BC). [19] The Turin canon credits Menkauhor with a reign of eight years. [1] These sources indicate that Menkauhor succeeded Nyuserre Ini and preceded Djedkare Isesi on the throne, making him the seventh pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty. [20]

Abydos King List

The Abydos King List, also known as the Abydos Table, is a list of the names of seventy-six kings of Ancient Egypt, found on a wall of the Temple of Seti I at Abydos, Egypt. It consists of three rows of thirty-eight cartouches in each row. The upper two rows contain names of the kings, while the third row merely repeats Seti I's throne name and nomen.

Seti I second pharaoh of the 19th dynasty in ancient egypt

Menmaatre Seti I was a pharaoh of the New Kingdom Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt, the son of Ramesses I and Sitre, and the father of Ramesses II. As with all dates in Ancient Egypt, the actual dates of his reign are unclear, and various historians claim different dates, with 1294 BC to 1279 BC and 1290 BC to 1279 BC being the most commonly used by scholars today.

The Saqqara Tablet, now in the Egyptian Museum, is an ancient stone engraving surviving from the Ramesside Period of Egypt which features a list of pharaohs. It was found in 1861 in Saqqara, in the tomb of Tjenry, an official of the pharaoh Ramesses II.

Menkauhor was likely mentioned in the Aegyptiaca , a history of Egypt written in the 3rd century BC during the reign of Ptolemy II (283–246 BC) by the Egyptian priest Manetho, but no copies of the text survive, and it is known only through later writings by Sextus Julius Africanus and Eusebius. Africanus relates that the Aegyptiaca mentioned a pharaoh "Mencherês" reigning for nine years as the seventh king of the Fifth Dynasty. [21] Mencherês is believed to be a Hellenized form of Menkauhor, and Africanus' nine-year figure fits well with the eight years of reign given to Menkauhor on the Turin canon, [19] the latter figure being considered by some Egyptologists, including Hartwig Altenmüller, as more likely than the former. [22]

Manetho Egyptian historian and priest from Ancient Egypt

Manetho is believed to have been an Egyptian priest from Sebennytos who lived in the Ptolemaic Kingdom in the early third century BC, during the Hellenistic period. He authored the Aegyptiaca in Greek, a major chronological source for the reigns of the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It is unclear if he wrote his work during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter or Ptolemy II Philadelphos, but no later than that of Ptolemy III Euergetes.

Sextus Julius Africanus was a Christian traveler and historian of the late second and early third centuries. He is important chiefly because of his influence on Eusebius, on all the later writers of Church history among the Church Fathers, and on the whole Greek school of chroniclers.

Eusebius Greek church historian

Eusebius of Caesarea, also known as Eusebius Pamphili, was a historian of Christianity, exegete, and Christian polemicist. He became the bishop of Caesarea Maritima about 314 AD. Together with Pamphilus, he was a scholar of the Biblical canon and is regarded as an extremely learned Christian of his time. He wrote Demonstrations of the Gospel, Preparations for the Gospel, and On Discrepancies between the Gospels, studies of the Biblical text. As "Father of Church History", he produced the Ecclesiastical History, On the Life of Pamphilus, the Chronicle and On the Martyrs. He also produced a biographical work on the first Christian Emperor, Constantine the Great, who ruled between 306 and 337 AD.


Personified agricultural estate of Menkauhor, tomb of Ptahhotep, Saqqara Menkauhor agricultural estate.png
Personified agricultural estate of Menkauhor, tomb of Ptahhotep, Saqqara

Relatively few attestations dating to Menkauhor's reign have survived compared to the other kings of the Fifth Dynasty. [19] Nonetheless, Menkauhor's name is well attested in the names and titles of priests and officials of the Fifth Dynasty as well as in the names of the agricultural estates associated with his funerary cult. [24] Surviving artefacts contemporaneous with Menkauhor's reign include two stone vessels inscribed with his name from the mortuary temple of Neferefre  – possibly gifts from Menkauhor for the funerary cult of Neferefre [25] – as well as a few sealings from the same temple [26] [27] and from an area known as "Djedkare's Family Cemetery" in Abusir. [28] Cylinder seal impressions showing Menkauhor's Horus name or the name of his pyramid have also been unearthed in the mortuary complex of Nyuserre Ini, [29] and in the necropolises of Giza and Gebelein. [1]

A gold cylinder seal bearing Menkauhor's cartouche as part of the name of his pyramid together with the serekh of Djedkare Isesi is now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. [note 3] [30] The seal, purportedly discovered near the Pactolus river valley in western Anatolia, [31] could attest to wide-ranging trade-contacts during the Fifth Dynasty, [22] but its provenance remains unverifiable. [note 4] [33]

The only secure depiction of the king dating to the Old Kingdom that has survived to this day is a rough, possibly unfinished, alabaster statuette showing Menkauhor enthroned and wearing the tight-fitting ceremonial robe of the Heb-sed . [note 5] [2] [27] The statue was discovered in a cachette built during the late New Kingdom beneath the floor of a room to the west of the sacred lake at the temple of Ptah in Memphis. [34] The Egyptologist Jocelyn Berlandini proposed that another statuette, [note 6] usually attributed to Teti, belongs instead to Menkauhor Kaiu. Berlandini bases her hypothesis on stylistic grounds, noting the resemblance with Menkauhor's seated statue, as well as the location of the second statue, which was uncovered east of Teti's pyramid, in close proximity to Menkauhor's pyramid. [36]

Monumental attestations of Menkauhor are limited to a rock inscription at the Wadi Maghareh in Sinai, showing his titulary and a rough stele inscribed with his cartouche from Mastaba 904 at Saqqara. [19] [37]


Drawing of a serpentine cylinder seal of Menkauhor Kaiu Menkauhor Seal.png
Drawing of a serpentine cylinder seal of Menkauhor Kaiu


The name of Menkauhor is a departure from those of other kings of the Fifth Dynasty. Menkauhor, whose name means "Eternal are the Kas of Horus", is the first pharaoh in 80 years whose name does not refer to the sun god Ra. [39] The name of Menkauhor instead finds its peers among the princes of the Fifth Dynasty with, for example, prince Khentykauhor "The forces of Horus are at the fore", [39] a son of Nyuserre Ini, [39] and prince Neserkauhor, a son of Djedkare Isesi. [40]


Owing to the paucity of contemporaneous sources for Menkauhor, his relation to his predecessor, Nyuserre Ini, and to his successor, Djedkare Isesi, cannot be ascertained beyond doubt. [39] [41] Menkauhor may have been a son of Nyuserre Ini; indeed Nyuserre Ini is known to have fathered a prince Khentykauhor as shown by a relief mentioning the prince from the mortuary complex of queen Khentkaus II, the mother of Nyuserre Ini. [42] The similarity of Khentykauhor's name to that of Menkauhor led the Egyptologists Miroslav Verner and Vivienne Callender to propose that the two are the same person, with Khentykauhor taking the name "Menkauhor" upon ascending the throne. [41] This hypothesis is possibly contradicted by an inscription discovered in 2008 in the mastaba of Werkaure, the eldest son of an unnamed king. The inscription mentions a "Menkauhor", but does not ascribe any royal attributes to him. [43] The Egyptologists Hana Vymazalová and Filip Coppens suggest this might refer to the future pharaoh Menkauhor Kaiu at a time when he was still a prince. They note that Menkauhor might have offered high-quality stone blocks for the construction of the tomb of his (possible) relative, which would explain the inscription. [43] This contradicts the identification of Menkauhor with Khentykauhor; Vymazalová and Coppens theorize that Khentykauhor and Menkauhor were brothers and sons of Nyuserre Ini. [44]

The identity of Menkauhor's mother is equally uncertain. In January 2015 the tomb of the "King's wife" and "King's mother", Khentkaus III, was discovered by a team of Czech archaeologists in the necropolis surrounding the pyramid of Neferefre in Abusir. [15] Mud seals in the tomb indicate that Khentkaus III was buried during Nyuserre Ini's reign. [15] Since Nyuserre Ini's own mother is known to have been Khentkaus II, [45] the discovery suggests that she was Menkauhor Kaiu's mother. [15] The position of her tomb close to the pyramid of Neferefre could indicate that she was this king's consort and thus that Neferefre was Menkauhor's father. [46]


No queen consort of Menkauhor has been identified for certain. The Egyptologist Wilfried Seipel has proposed that Khuit I was a queen of Menkauhor. [12] Based on the dating of the tombs surrounding Khuit's burial, Seipel argues that she lived during the mid-Fifth Dynasty. By the process of elimination, he attributes known queens to each king of the period, which leaves only Menkauhor as a candidate for her king. [12] These arguments are criticized by the Egyptologist Michel Baud, who observes that pharaohs could have had more than one queen. [47]

Queen Meresankh IV has also been suggested as a consort for Menkauhor based on the dating and location of her tomb in Saqqara. [note 7] [48] It is possible however that she was a wife of Djedkare Isesi. [48]


There is no evidence either for or against the hypothesis that Menkauhor's successor Djedkare Isesi was his son. Two sons have been suggested for Menkauhor based on the dating and general location of their tombs in Saqqara: princes Raemka [note 8] and Kaemtjenent, [note 9] both believed to be children of Meresankh IV. By the same reasoning, they could instead be sons of Djedkare Isesi. [49]



Relief of Menkauhor Kaiu from the Wadi Maghareh Menkauhor Wadi Maghara.png
Relief of Menkauhor Kaiu from the Wadi Maghareh

Given the scarcity of contemporaneous attestations for Menkauhor, modern Egyptologists consider his reign to have been perhaps eight or nine years long, as indicated by the much later historical sources. [19] [53] [54] [55] The small seated statue of Menkauhor wearing the robe of the Sed festival [19] might suggest a longer reign, since this festival was typically celebrated only after a ruler had spent 30 years on the throne. However, Egyptologist Hartwig Altenmüller deems this hypothesis unlikely. [22] Mere depictions of the festival do not necessarily imply a long reign; for example, a relief showing pharaoh Sahure in the tunic of the Sed festival was found in his mortuary temple, [56] [57] although both historical sources and archaeological evidence suggest Sahure ruled Egypt for less than 14 full years. [10] [58] [59]


Owing to the scarcity of artefacts and inscriptions relating to Menkauhor's reign, few of his activities are known. Menkauhor sent an expedition to Sinai to exploit the mines of turquoise and copper in the Wadi Maghareh. [19] The expedition is evidenced by a damaged rock inscription showing Menkauhor's titulary which is one of the few attestations dating to his lifetime. [51] [52] The mines of Sinai had been exploited since the Third Dynasty (2686 BC–2613 BC), and both Menkauhor's predecessor Nyuserre Ini and successor Djedkare Isesi sent expeditions to the Wadi Maghareh. [60]

Construction activities

Menkauhor Kaiu is known to have ordered the construction of two major monuments during his reign: a sun temple for the veneration of Ra and a pyramid for his burial, known today as the "Headless Pyramid". [61]

Sun temple

Sun temple of Menkauhor in hieroglyphs
Menkauhor KaiuMenkauhor KaiuMenkauhor KaiuMenkauhor Kaiu
Menkauhor Kaiu
Menkauhor Kaiu
[note 11]


Following a tradition which started with Userkaf, the founder of the Fifth Dynasty, Menkauhor built a temple to the sun god Ra. He was the last pharaoh to do so. [63] His successors, Djedkare Isesi and Unas, abandoned [64] [65] this practice as the cult of Ra declined [66] at the expense of that of Osiris. [65] Given the paucity of documents relating to Menkauhor's sun temple, it probably functioned for only a short time or was never completed. [64] [67]

Menkauhor's sun temple was called Akhet-Ra, which is variously translated as "The Horizon of Ra" or "The Place where Ra Issues Forth". [64] [68] The temple has yet to be located and could be lying under the sands of Saqqara or Abusir. [69] Its existence is known thanks to inscriptions found in the tombs of Fifth and Sixth Dynasties officials who served as priests of Ra in the temple. [70] [71] These include Hemu, [72] buried in Giza, and Neferiretptah [72] and Raemankh, [73] who were both buried in Saqqara-north. [63] In addition to his service in the Akhet-Ra, Neferiretptah was a priest in Menkauhor's pyramid and held the office of "royal ornament", making him responsible for the precious items in the palace of the king. [74]

Besides these inscriptions, a single seal [note 12] [29] bearing the name of the Akhet-Ra is known from the tomb of princess Khamerernebti, located near the mortuary temple of Niuserre in Abusir. [70] The seal was placed on a large vessel indicating that provisions for the tombs of members of the royal family were dispatched from Menkauhor's temple to Niuserre's pyramid complex. [70]


The pyramid of Menkauhor (Lepsius XXIX) was constructed on a south-west north-east axis linking the pyramids of Djoser and Userkaf and, after Menkauhor's death, those of Unas and Teti as well. Map pyramid Lepsius XXIX.jpg
The pyramid of Menkauhor (Lepsius XXIX) was constructed on a south-west north-east axis linking the pyramids of Djoser and Userkaf and, after Menkauhor's death, those of Unas and Teti as well.

Menkauhor Kaiu built a pyramid in North-Saqqara, thereby abandoning the royal necropolis of Abusir, where kings of the Fifth Dynasty had been buried since the reign of Sahure, some 80 years earlier. [77] The reason for this choice may be that the Abusir plateau had become overcrowded by the beginning of Menkauhor's reign. [78]

Originally named Netjer-isut-Menkauhor by the Ancient Egyptians, meaning "The divine places of Menkauhor", the pyramid is known today as Lepsius XXIX [79] after the number given to it by the archaeologist Karl Richard Lepsius who discovered the pyramid in 1843. Owing to the ruined state of the structure, it is known in Arabic as the "Headless Pyramid", a name that has been retained. [80] [81] The pyramid was lost under shifting sands in the early 20th century and its attribution to Menkauhor was consequently debated. [82] Instead, it was proposed that the Headless Pyramid was that of Merikare, a structure dating to the First Intermediate Period and which has yet to be found. [83] In 2008, the structure identified by Lepsius was rediscovered by a team of archaeologists under the direction of Zahi Hawass, and excavations at the site quickly established a Fifth Dynasty date as indicated by the construction techniques used in its making. Although the excavations failed to yield the name of the king who built the pyramid, Menkauhor was the last pharaoh of the dynasty whose pyramid remained undiscovered. Thus, proceeding by elimination, archeologists and egyptologists have formally recognized the Headless Pyramid as that of Menkauhor. [84]

The pyramid is estimated to have been around 50–60 m (160–200 ft) at the base, [80] [85] so that the edifice would have stood 40–50 m (130–160 ft) high at the time of its construction, making it one of the smallest royal pyramids of the Old Kingdom. [note 13] There is evidence that Menkauhor had the time to complete his pyramid, whose small dimensions are thus consistent with his short eight to nine years of reign. [27]

On the north side lies the entrance to the underground chamber system, which was sealed by two granite portcullises indicating that a burial took place. A broken sarcophagus lid of blue-grey basalt [87] was found in the burial chamber by Cecil Mallaby Firth during his brief excavations of the pyramid in 1930. [88] [89]

Funerary cult

Personified Hwt domain of Menkauhor called "Menkauhor is perfect of appearances", tomb of Ptahhotep. Menkauhor Estate.png
Personified Ḥwt domain of Menkauhor called "Menkauhor is perfect of appearances", tomb of Ptahhotep.

Old Kingdom

After his death Menkauhor enjoyed a funerary cult centered on his pyramid complex. The cult lasted at least until the second half of the Sixth Dynasty, nearly 150 years later. Provisions for this cult were produced in dedicated agricultural domains that were established during Menkauhor's lifetime. [63] Products of these domains were delivered to Menkauhor's sun and mortuary temples and distributed to the priests of the cult, who could use them for their sustenance or their own funerary cults. [63] Personified representations of Menkauhor's agricultural domains are depicted bringing offerings on the walls of the mastabas of these priests. Most of the depictions are located in Saqqara North, [54] near the pyramid complex of Djoser. [63] This area comprises the tombs of Neferiretptah, [90] Raemankh, Duare, Iti, Sekhemnefer, Snofrunefer, Akhethotep, Ptahhotep and Qednes, [63] all priests of the funerary cult of Menkauhor. Further tombs of priests of this cult are found to the north, in Abusir South, with the mastaba of Isesiseneb and Rahotep [91] and in Giza. [63]

The complete names of at least seven domains of Menkauhor are known: [92] "Ikauhor is perfect in favor" [note 14] and "the favor of Ikauhor", [note 15] both mentioned in the tombs of Ptahhotep and Akhethotep; "Ikauhor is perfect of life", [note 16] from the tomb of Ptahhotep II; "Horus Qemaa causes Ikauhor to live"; [note 17] "Ikauhor is strong"; [note 18] "Seshat loves Ikauhor" [note 19] and "Matyt loves Ikauhor" [note 20] from the tombs of viziers Senedjemib Inti, [96] Senedjemib Mehi and Hemu in Giza. In addition the Ḥwt domain of the king, which comprises the land holdings [97] of the mortuary temple of Menkauhor, was named "Menkauhor is perfect of appearances". [note 21] [63] [93]

New Kingdom

Menkauhor represented on a stele from the tomb of Ameneminet, Louvre Menkauhor on a stele, Louvre.jpg
Menkauhor represented on a stele from the tomb of Ameneminet, Louvre

The cult of Menkauhor enjoyed a revival during the New Kingdom period (1550–1077 BC). [98] [99] At this point Menkauhor had been deified as a local god of the Saqqara necropolis acting as a divine intercessor, [100] and qualified of "Strong Lord of the Two Lands, Menkauhor the Justified". [note 22] [101] This cult is evidenced by reliefs showing Menkauhor in the tombs of the "Chief of the artisans and jewelers" Ameneminet and of the physician Thuthu in Saqqara-North, both of whom lived at the time of the late Eighteenth Dynasty (1550–1292 BC), [102] during the reigns of Tutankhamun, Ay and Horemheb. [103]

An inscribed block dating to the later Ramesside period (1292–1077 BC) and now in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin, [note 23] was uncovered by Lepsius in a house in Abusir [104] and shows Menkauhor enthroned beside four other deified kings of the Old Kingdom: the name of the first, partially lost, but probably Sneferu is then followed by Djedefre, Menkaure, Menkauhor and finally Neferkare. The owner of the tomb stands before the kings, in worship. [105] Another relief dating to the same period shows a similar scene. It was inscribed on the lintel of the tomb chapel of Mahy buried in Saqqara North. Four deified kings of the Old Kingdom are shown, all of whom built their pyramids at Saqqara: Djoser, Teti, Userkaf and Menkauhor. [104]

The persistence of the cult of Menkauhor during the late Eighteenth to Nineteenth Dynasty possibly results from the location of his pyramid, which stood on the way to the necropolis of the Apis bulls, which later became the Serapeum. [104]


  1. The statue is now in the Egyptian Museum and has the catalog numbers CG40 and JdE 28579. [1]
  2. Proposed dates for Menkauhor's reign: 2444–2436 BC, [3] 2422–2414 BC, [4] 2421–2414 BC, [5] [6] [7] 2414–2405 BC, [8] 2389–2380 BC, [9] 2373–2366 BC [10]
  3. The golden seal has the catalog number 68.115. [30]
  4. The archaeologist Karin Sowada has even doubted the authenticity of the seal. [32]
  5. Measuring 47.5 cm (18.7 in) in height, the statue shows the king wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt, his eyes adorned with Kohl and with a now damaged false beard. Menkauhor is identified by an inscription at the right of the feet giving his name. [2]
  6. The statuette is now in the Egyptian Museum of Cairo, under the catalog number JE 39013. [35]
  7. Meresankh IV is buried in the tomb S82. [48]
  8. Prince Raemka was buried in the tomb S80. [40]
  9. Prince Kaemtjenent was buried in the tomb S84. [40]
  10. The inscription reads "Horus Menkhau, king of Upper and Lower Egypt Menkauhor, given life, stability, and [dominion for ever]. A commission carried out by ...". The inscription is now housed in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo, under the catalog number JE 38566. [50]
  11. The last hieroglyph shown here is an approximation of the correct one which shows a squat obelisk on a flat base called a ben-ben. [62]
  12. The seal is now in the Egyptian Museum of Berlin with catalog number 16760
  13. As compared to the dimensions of the other royal pyramids of the Old Kingdom as given by Grimal. [86]
  14. In Egyptian Nfr-ḥswt Ik3w-Ḥr reading "Neferhesut Ikauhor". [93]
  15. In Egyptian Ḥswt Ik3w-Ḥr reading "Hesut Ikauhor". [93]
  16. Nfr-ˁnḫ Ik3w-Ḥr Neferankh Ikauhor. [93]
  17. Sˁnḫ Ḥr-ḳm3ˁ Ik3w-Ḥr reading "Sankh Hor-Qemaa Ikauhor". [93]
  18. W3ḥ Ik3w-Ḥr that is "Wah Ikauhor" [93] also translated "Ikauhor flourishes". [94]
  19. Mr-Sš3t Ik3w-Ḥr reading "Mer Sheshat Ikauhor". [93]
  20. Mr-M3tjt Ik3w-Ḥr for "Mer Matyt Ikauhor", [93] Matyt is possibly a variant for "Matit", a lioness goddess worshipped during the Old Kingdom period in Deir el-Gabrawi. [95]
  21. Ḥwt nfr-ḫ3w Mn-k3w-Ḥr reading "Hewet neferkhau Menkauhor". [93]
  22. Title found in the tomb of Thuthu, in Egyptian wsir nb t3wy Mn-k3w-Ḥr m3ˁ ḫrw. [101]
  23. The relief has the catalog number Berlin NI 1116. [104]

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Preceded by
Nyuserre Ini
Pharaoh of Egypt
Fifth Dynasty
Succeeded by
Djedkare Isesi