Sahure in Tour Egypt
SAHURE, SECOND PHARAOH OF THE 5TH DYNASTY
BY JIMMY DUNN.
Sahure was the second ruler of ancient Egypt's 5th Dynasty.
His birth name means "He who is Close to Re". His Horus name
was Nebkhau, and we believed he ruled Egypt from around 2487
to 2475 BC. The Turin King List gives him a reign of twelve
His pyramid complex was the first built at Abusir (though
Userkaf had probably already built his solar temple there)
and marks the decline of pyramid building, both in the size
and quality, though many of the reliefs are very well done.
It provides us most of the information we know of this king.
We believer that he was the first of two sons of queen
Khentkaues I to hold the throne, and that his father was
probably Userkaf. It is probable that Khentkaues I was the
character of Redjedet in the Papyrus Westcar, who according
to the magician Djedi, was destined to give birth to the
children of Ra and the first kings of the 5th Dynasty. But
if Khentkaues I was his mother, a scene in her tomb at Giza
showing her with the royal uraeus and beard might indicate
that she may have acted as a regent for Sahure.
Most foreign relations during the reign of Sahure were
economic, rather then combative. In one scene, we find great
ships with Egyptians and Asiatics on board. They are
returning, we believe, from the port of Byblos in Lebanon
with huge cedar trees. For this, we have collaborating
evidence in the form of his name on a piece of thin, gold
stamped to a chair, as well as other evidence of 5th Dynasty
king's cartouches found in Lebanon on stone vessels. Other
scenes in his temple depict what we are told are Syrian
bears. We also have the first documented expedition to the
land of Punt, which apparently yielded a quantity of myrrh,
along with malachite and electrum, and because of this,
Sahure is often credited with establishing an Egyptian navy.
There is also scenes of a raid into Libya which yielded
various livestock and showed the king smiting the local
chieftains. The Palermo Stone also collaborates some of
However, this same scene of the Libya attack was used two
thousand years later in the mortuary temple of Pepy II and
in a Kawa temple of Taharqa. The same names are quoted for
the local chieftain. Therefore, we become somewhat
suspicious of the possibility that Sahure was also copying
an even earlier representation of this scene.
He apparently built a sun temple, as did most of the 5th
Dynasty kings. Its name was Sekhet-re, meaning "the Field of
Re", but so far its location is unknown. We know of his
palace, called Uetjesneferusahure "Sahure's splendor sours
up to heaven", from an inscription on ordinary tallow
containers recently found in Neferefre's mortuary temple.
It may have been located at Abusir as well. We also know
that under Sahure, the turquoise quarries in the Sinai were
worked (Probably at Wadi Maghara and Wadi Kharit, along with
the diorite quarries in Nubia.
Sahure was further attested to by a statue now located in
New York's Museum of Modern Art, in a biography found in the
tombs of Perisen at Saqqara and on a false door of
Niankhsakhment at Saqqara, and is also mentioned in the
tombs of Sekhemkare and Nisutpunetjer at their tombs in
Giza. Sahure was succeeded by his brother, Neferirkare, the
first king known to have used a separate prenomen and nomen