KHAFRE, THE 4TH KING OF EGYPT'S 4TH DYNASTY
BY JIMMY DUNN.
As with many of the very earliest Pharaoh's, even though
they may have left some of the grandest of all monuments in
Egypt, they left little in the way of inscriptions, and so
we know very little about them. Khafre (Chephren), the
builder of the second pyramid on the famous Giza Plateau
near Cairo is a fine example. His birth name was Khafre,
which means "Appearing like Re". He is also sometimes
refereed to as Khafra, Rakhaef, Khephren or Chephren by the
Greeks, and Suphis II by Manetho. He was possibly a younger
son of Khufu (Cheops) by his consort, Henutsen, so he was
required to wait out the reign of Djedefre, his older
brother, prior to ascending to the throne of Egypt as the
fourth ruler of the fourth Dynasty. However, there is
disagreement on this matter.
There are rumors of a problem with the succession of Khafre.
Some authorities maintain that Djedefre may have even stole
the throne, perhaps as a younger brother of Khafre, and that
Khafre may have even murdered him. Much of this speculation
originates from the fact that Djedefre broke with the Giza
burial tradition, electing instead to locate his tomb
(pyramid) at Abu Rawash. However, there is little real
evidence to support such a conclusion, and in fact, Khafre
continued Djedefre’s promotion of the cult of the sun god Re
by using the title " the Son of the Sun" for himself and by
incorporating the name of the god in his own.
We know of several of Khafre's wives, including Meresankh II
(the daughter of his brother, Kawab) and his chief wife,
Khameremebty I. His sons include Nekure (Nikaure),
Sekhemkare and Menkaure, who succeeded him and married
Khameremebty II, Khafre's daughter and Menkaure's sister.
Identifying him with Suphis II, Manetho gives his reign as
lasting 66 years, but this certainly cannot be
substantiated. Modern Egyptologists believe he may have
ruled Egypt for a relatively long period, however, of
between the 24 years ascribed to him by the Turin Royal
Cannon papyrus (which was apparently confirmed by an
inscription in the mastaba tomb of Prince Nekure), and 26
years. He is thought to have ruled Egypt from about 2520 to
It is clearly evident from the fine mastaba tombs of the
nobles in his court that Egypt was prosperous while Khafre
held the throne. Carved on the walls of the tomb of Prince
Nekure, a "king's son", was a will to his heirs. It is the
only one of its kind known from this period, and in it he
leaves 14 towns to his heirs, of which at least eleven are
named after his father, Khafre. Though his legacy was
divided up among his five heirs, 12 of the towns were
earmarked to endow the prince's mortuary cult.
We do know that Khafre participated in some foreign trade,
or at least diplomacy, for objects dating from his reign
have been found at Byblos, north of Beirut, as well as at
Tell Mardikh (Ebla) in Syria. He apparently also had diorite
quarried at Tashka in Nubia and probably sent expeditions
into the Sinai.
Though there are few inscriptions left for us to completely
understand the era of Khafre's rule, he did leave behind
some of the most important treasures ancient Egypt has to
offer. Besides his pyramid complex at Giza, most
Egyptologists believe he also built the Great Sphinx and
that it is his face that adorns this huge statue, which sits
just beside his valley temple. In addition, the life size
diorite statue of Khafre found in his valley temple and now
located in the Egyptian Antiquities Museum is one of the
most magnificent artifacts ever discovered.
Like his father Khufu, Khafre was depicted in fold tradition
as a harsh, despotic ruler. Though as late as the New
Kingdom, Ramesses II seems to have had no qualms about
taking some of the casing from his pyramid at Giza for use
in a temple at Heliopolis, by Egypt's Late Period, the cults
of the fourth dynasty kings had been revived, and Giza
became a focus of pilgrimage.
Khafra (Greek, Χεφρήν; Chephren) - also Khafre - was an Egyptian
pharaoh of the Fourth dynasty, who had his capital at Memphis.
According to some authors he was the son and successor of Khufu, but it
is more commonly accepted that Djedefre was Khufu's successor and
Khafra was Djedefre's. Khafra's two chief wives were Queen Meresankh
III whose mastaba tomb is located at Giza and Queen Khamaerernebty I
who was the mother of his successor, Menkaura. Khafre was the builder
of the second largest pyramid in the Giza Necropolis complex (his is 3
metres shorter than Khufu's). Most modern egyptologists also credit him
with the building of the Great Sphinx.
Khafre was a son of king Khufu and the brother and successor of
Djedefre. Khafre is thought by some to be the son of Queen Meritites
I due to an inscription where he is said to honor her memory
Kings-wife, his beloved, devoted to Horus, Mertitytes.
King's-wife, his beloved, Mertitytes; beloved of the Favorite of
the Two Goddesses; she who says anything whatsoever and it is done
for her. Great in the favor of Snefr[u] ; great in the favor
of Khuf[u] , devoted to Horus, honored under Khafre.
Merti[tyt]es.[Breasted; Ancient Records]
Others argue that the inscription just suggests that this queen died
during the reign of Khafre. Khafre may be a son of Queen Henutsen
Khafre had several wives and he has at least 12 sons and 3 or 4
Queen Meresankh III was the daughter of Kawab and Hetepheres II and
thus a niece of Khafre. She was the mother of Khafre's sons Nebemakhet,
Duaenre, Niuserre and Khenterka, and a daughter named Shepsetkau.
Queen Khamerernebty I was the mother of Menkaure and his principal
queen Khamerernebty II.
Hekenuhedjet was a wife of Khafre. She is mentioned in the tomb of her
Persenet may have been a wife of Khafre based on the location of her
tomb. She was the mother of Nikaure. 
Other children of Khafre are known, but no mothers have been
identified. Further sons include Ankhmare, Akhre, Iunmin, and Iunre.
Two more daughters named Rekhetre and Hemetre are known as well.
There is no agreement on the date of his reign. Some authors say it was
between 2558 BC and 2532 BC; this dynasty is commonly dated ca. 2650
BC–2480 BC. While the Turin King List length for his reign is blank,
and Manetho's exaggerates his reign as 66 years, most scholars believe
it was between 24 to 26 years, based upon the date of the Will of
Prince Nekure which was carved on the walls of this Prince's mastaba
tomb. The will is dated anonymously to the Year of the 12th Count and
is assumed to belong to Khufu since Nekure was his son. Khafra's
highest year date is the "Year of the 13th occurrence" which is a
painted date on the back of a casing stone belonging to mastaba G
7650. This would imply a reign of 24–25 years for this king if the
cattle count was biannual during the Fourth Dynasty.
Main article: Pyramid of Khafre
Khafra built the second largest pyramid at Giza.  The Egyptian name
of the pyramid was Wer(en)-Khafre which means "Khafre is Great".
The pyramid has a subsidiary pyramid, labeled GII a. It is not clear
who was buried there. Sealings have been found of a King's eldest son
of his body etc and the Horus name of Khafre. 
The valley temple of Khafre was located closer to the Nile and would
have stood right next to the Sphinx temple. Inscriptions from the
entrance way have been found which mention Hathor and Bubastis. Blocks
have been found showing the partial remains of an inscription with the
Horus name of Khafre (Weser-ib).Mariette discovered statues of Khafre
in 1860. Several were found in a well in the floor and were headless.
But other complete statues were found as well. 
The mortuary temple was located very close to the pyramid. From the
mortuary temple come fragments of maceheads inscribed with Khafre's
name as well as some stone vessels.
Great Sphinx and Sphinx temple
The sphinx is said to date to the time of Khafre. A temple dedicated to
Haremakhet was erected by Khafre. It was located right in front of the
paws of the Sphinx.