Menkaure

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Menkaure (also Menkaura, Egyptian transliteration mn-k3w-Rˁ), was an ancient Egyptian king (pharaoh) of the 4th dynasty during the Old Kingdom, who is well known under his Hellenized names Mykerinos (Greek : Μυκερίνος) (by Herodotus) and Menkheres (by Manetho). According to Manetho, he was the throne successor of king Bikheris, but according to archaeological evidence he rather was the successor of king Khafre. Menkaure became famous for his tomb, the Pyramid of Menkaure, at Giza and his beautiful statue triads, showing the king together with his wives Rekhetre and Khamerernebty.

Egyptian language Language spoken in ancient Egypt, branch of the Afro-Asiatic languages

The Egyptian language was spoken in ancient Egypt and was a branch of the Afro-Asiatic languages. Its attestation stretches over an extraordinarily long time, from the Old Egyptian stage. Its earliest known complete written sentence has been dated to about 2690 BC, which makes it one of the oldest recorded languages known, along with Sumerian.

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.

Contents

Family

Menkaure was the son of Khafra and the grandson of Khufu. A flint knife found in the mortuary temple of Menkaure mentioned a king's mother Khamerernebty I, suggesting that Khafra and this queen were the parents of Menkaure. Menkaure is thought to have had at least two wives.

Khafra ancient Egyptian pharaoh of 4th dynasty

Khafra was an ancient Egyptian king (pharaoh) of the 4th Dynasty during the Old Kingdom. He was the son of Khufu and the throne successor of Djedefre. According to the ancient historian Manetho, Khafra was followed by king Bikheris, but according to archaeological evidence he was instead followed by king Menkaure. Khafra was the builder of the second largest pyramid of Giza. The view held by modern Egyptology at large continues to be that the Great Sphinx was built in approximately 2500 BC for Khafra. Not much is known about Khafra, except from the historical reports of Herodotus, writing 2,000 years after his life, who describes him as a cruel and heretical ruler who kept the Egyptian temples closed after Khufu had sealed them.

Khufu Fourth Dynasty ancient Egyptian pharaoh

Khufu, known to the Greeks as Cheops, was an ancient Egyptian monarch who was the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty, in the first half of the Old Kingdom period. Khufu succeeded his father Sneferu as king. He is generally accepted as having commissioned the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but many other aspects of his reign are poorly documented.

Khamerernebty I was an ancient Egyptian queen of the 4th dynasty. She was probably a wife of King Khafre and the mother of King Menkaure and Queen Khamerernebty II. It is possible that she was a daughter of Khufu, based on the fact that inscriptions identify her as a King's daughter.

Khamerernebty II was an ancient Egyptian queen of the 4th dynasty. She was a daughter of Pharaoh Khafra and Queen Khamerernebty I. She married her brother Menkaure and she was the mother of Prince Khuenre.

Rekhetre was an ancient Egyptian queen from the late 4th dynasty or early 5th dynasty. She was a daughter of Pharaoh Khafra. Her husband is never mentioned, but Rekhetre would have been the wife of one of Khafre's successors, possibly Menkaure.

Not many children are attested for Menkaure:

Khuenre Prince of Egypt

Khuenre (Khuenra) was a Prince of ancient Egypt of the 4th dynasty, named after the Sun god Ra.

Shepseskaf Egyptian pharaoh

Shepseskaf was the sixth and last pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of Egypt during the Old Kingdom. He reigned 6 to 8 years starting circa 2510 BC. The only activities firmly datable to his reign are the completion of the temple complex of the Pyramid of Menkaure and the construction of its own mastaba tomb at South Saqqara, the Mastabat al-Fir’aun, "stone bench of the pharaoh".

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.

The royal court included several of Menkaure's half brothers. His brothers Nebemakhet, Duaenre, Nikaure and Iunmin served as vizier during the reign of their brother. His brother Sekhemkare may have been younger and became vizier after the death of Menkaure. [7]

Nebemakhet was a king's son and a vizier during the 4th Dynasty. Nebemakhet was the son of King Khafre and Queen Meresankh III. He is shown in his mother's tomb and in his own tomb at Giza.

Duaenre was a vizier under Menkaure during the Fourth dynasty of Egypt. His titles include those of king's son of his body, hereditary prince (jrj-pat), count (HAtj-a), vizier (tAjtj), scribe of the divine book, mouth of Nekhen, and mouth of every Butite.

Nikaure was an ancient Egyptian prince and vizier during the 4th dynasty. His titles include king's eldest son of his body, as well as chief justice and vizier.

Reign

The length of Menkaure's reign is uncertain. The ancient historian Manetho credits him with rulership of 63  years, but this is surely an exaggeration. The Turin Canon is damaged at the spot where it should present the full sum of years, but the remains allow a reconstruction of "..?.. + 8  years of rulership". Egyptologists think that 18-year rulership was meant to be written, which is generally accepted. A contemporary workmen's graffito reports about the "year after the 11th cattle count". If the cattle count was held every second year (as was tradition at least up to king Sneferu), Menkaure might have ruled for 22 years. [8]

Historian person who studies and writes about the past

A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past, and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is concerned with events preceding written history, the individual is a historian of prehistory. Some historians are recognized by publications or training and experience. "Historian" became a professional occupation in the late nineteenth century as research universities were emerging in Germany and elsewhere.

Turin King List ancient Egyptian manuscript

The Turin King List, also known as the Turin Royal Canon, is an ancient Egyptian hieratic papyrus thought to date from the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II, now in the Museo Egizio in Turin. The papyrus is the most extensive list available of kings compiled by the ancient Egyptians, and is the basis for most chronology before the reign of Ramesses II.

Tradition belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past

A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes, but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings. Traditions can persist and evolve for thousands of years—the word tradition itself derives from the Latin tradere literally meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. While it is commonly assumed that traditions have ancient history, many traditions have been invented on purpose, whether that be political or cultural, over short periods of time. Various academic disciplines also use the word in a variety of ways.

In 2013, a fragment of the sphinx of Menkaure was discovered at Tel Hazor at the entrance to the city palace. [9]

Pyramid complex

Menkaure's pyramid at Giza was called Netjer-er-Menkaure which means "Menkaure is Divine". This pyramid is the smallest of the three main pyramids at Giza. This pyramid measures 103.4 m (339 ft) at the base and 65.5 m (215 ft) in height. [10] There are three subsidiary pyramids associated with Menkaure's pyramid. These pyramids are sometimes labeled G-IIIa (East subsidiary pyramid), G-IIIb (Middle subsidiary pyramid) and G-IIIc (West subsidiary pyramid). In the chapel associated with G-IIIa a statue of a queen was found. It is possible that these pyramids were meant for the queens of Khafra. It may be that Khamerernebti II was buried in one of the pyramids. [3] [7]

Valley Temple

The Valley temple was a mainly brick built structure which was enlarged in the 5th or 6th Dynasty. From this temple come the famous statues of Menkaure with his Queen and Menkaure with several deities. A partial list includes: [7]

Mortuary Temple

At this temple more statues and statue fragments were found. An interesting find is a fragment of a wand from Queen Khamerernebty I. The piece is now in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Khamerernebti is given the title King's Mother on the fragment. [7]

Sarcophagus

17 menkaure burial chamber.jpg
Sepulchral Chamber of Men-ka-ra (1878) - TIMEA.jpg
Burial chamber of Menkaure, today, and as discovered with now lost sarcophagus

In 1837, English army officer Richard William Howard Vyse, and engineer John Shae Perring began excavations within the pyramid of Menkaure. In the main burial chamber of the pyramid they found a large stone sarcophagus 8 feet 0 inches (244 cm) long, 3 feet 0 inches (91 cm) in width, and 2 feet 11 inches (89 cm) in height, made of basalt. The sarcophagus was not inscribed with hieroglyphs although it was decorated in the style of palace facade. Adjacent to the burial chamber were found wooden fragments of a coffin bearing the name of Menkaure and a partial skeleton wrapped in a coarse cloth. The sarcophagus was removed from the pyramid and was sent by ship to the British Museum in London, but the merchant ship Beatrice carrying it was lost after leaving port at Malta on October 13, 1838. The other materials were sent by a separate ship, and the materials now reside at the museum, with the remains of the wooden coffin case on display.

It is now thought that the coffin was a replacement made during the much later Saite period, nearly two millennia after the pharaoh's original interment. Radio carbon dating of the bone fragments that were found place them at an even later date, from the Coptic period in the first centuries AD. [11]

Records from later periods

According to Herodotus, Menkaure was the son of Khufu (Greek Cheops), and alleviated the suffering his father's reign had caused the inhabitants of ancient Egypt. Herodotus adds that he suffered much misfortune: his only daughter, whose corpse was interred in a wooden bull (which Herodotus claims survived to his lifetime), died before him; additionally, the oracle at Buto predicted he would only rule six years, but through his shrewdness, Menkaure was able to rule a total of 12 years and foil the prophecy (Herodotus, Histories , 2.129-133).

Trivia

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References

  1. 1 2 Thomas Schneider: Lexikon der Pharaonen. Albatros, Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN   3-491-96053-3, page 163–164.
  2. 1 2 Grajetzki, Ancient Egyptian Queens: A Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Golden House Publications, London, 2005, p13-14 ISBN   978-0-9547218-9-3
  3. 1 2 Tyldesley, Joyce. Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt. Thames & Hudson. 2006. ISBN   0-500-05145-3
  4. Clayton, pp.57-58
  5. Herodotus, Historia, B:129-132
  6. Hassan, Selim: Excavations at Gîza IV. 1932–1933. Cairo: Government Press, Bulâq, 1930. pp 18-62
  7. 1 2 3 4 Porter, Bertha and Moss, Rosalind, Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Statues, Reliefs and Paintings Volume III: Memphis, Part I Abu Rawash to Abusir. 2nd edition (revised and augmented by Dr Jaromir Malek, 1974). Retrieved from gizapyramids.org
  8. Miroslav Verner: Archaeological Remarks on the 4th and 5th Dynasty Chronology. In: Archiv Orientální, Vol. 69. Prague 2001, page 363–418.
  9. Ancient Egyptian leader makes a surprise appearance at an archaeological dig in Israel July 9, 2013, sciencedaily.com
  10. Guinness Book of World Records 2012. 2011. p. 194. ISBN   978-1-904994-68-8.
  11. Boughton, Paul "Menkaura's Anthropoid Coffin: A Case of Mistaken Identity?" Ancient Egypt. August/September 2006. p.30-32.