Djedkare Izezi in Tour Egypt
DJEDKARE, 8TH RULER OF THE 5TH DYNASTY - BY JIMMY DUNN.
Djedkare was the eighth ruler of Egypt's 5th Dynasty. The relationship of Djedkare with his predecessors or successors is not entirely known,
but he was probably the son of Menkauhor, his predecessor. If not, then he may have been Menkauhor's brother by Niuserre, or even Menkauhor's
cousin by Neferfre, though that seems unlikely. It is possible that his principle queen was Meresankh IV, but her tomb is located in the main
Saqqara necropolis. A pyramid believed to be that of a queen or consort of Djedkare just next to that of his in South Saqqara has no
inscriptions to provide us with evidence of her name. According to an Abusir Papyrus, Djedkare perhaps lived in South Saqqara near his pyramid.
According to the Turin King List he ruled for 28 years, but records found in the mortuary temple of Neferefre at Abusir indicate that he ruled
for at least 30 years. Actually, the dates on the Turin King List have been read by some Egyptologists as giving him a reign of 38 years.
Manetho records 44 years for this king, but the mummy found in his pyramid at South Saqqara and believed to be Djedkare is thought to be that
of about a 50 year old man. Given this king's apparently long reign, it is surprising we have so little information about him.
Egyptologists give us some variations of possible dates for his rule. Peter A. Clayton in "Chronicle of the Pharaohs" gives his reign as 2414-
2375 BC. While Aidan Dodson's "Monarchs of the Nile" provides dates from 2413-2385. The "Oxford History of Ancient Egypt" agrees with Peter A.
Djed-ka-re was the king's throne name, meaning "Soul of Re Endureth". His birth name was Isesi (Asosi). He distanced himself somewhat from the
earlier rulers of this dynasty by not building a sun temple and having himself buried at Saqqara rather then Abusir.
Djedkare's name has been found in the Sinai at Maghara, demonstrating a continued Egyptian interest in this rich region. Two expeditions at
ten year intervals are recorded there. We also find him mentioned at the quarries northwest of Aswan, and at Abydos and in Nubia. In Nubia, we
find his expedition to Punt mentioned in a graffito found at the site of Tomas. He apparently also maintained commercial and diplomatic
contacts with Byblos.
He is further attested to in the biographies of Itush at and also Gemni at Saqqara. He his mentioned in a number of letters including one from
Pepy II. We find references on vessels mentioning his first Sed Festival and he is also referenced on a dedication inscription to Niuserre
found at Abusir.
We know of a few officials of his reign, including Ptahhotep, one of his viziers. However, this is probably not the famous author of the
Maxims, but either his father or grandfather.
His reign is marked by some important changes. For example, the solar cult, although not abandoned, loses some of its importance and
predominance, and the power of the central government is weakened to the advantage of the provincial administration. Another important change
that occurred during Djedkare's reign is the return to Saqqara as a burial place. This does not mean, however, that the funerary temples of
Abusir were abandoned. The larger part of the papyri found in the funerary temple of Neferirkare are dated to Djedkare, and it is clear that he
did much work maintaining the Abusir area.
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