Userkaf in Tour Egypt

USERKAF, FIRST RULER OF THE 5TH DYNASTY BY JIMMY DUNN. Userkaf, traditionally the first ruler of the 5th Dynasty is, like most of the other kings of the dynasty, not well attested. We are even uncertain of his father, though he may have been a priest. His mother was probably Neferhetep, making him the grandson of Djedefre who succeeded Khufu. We believe he was married to Khentkaues I, who is buried at Giza. This marriage may have legitimized his claim to the throne. We believe that Khentkaues I was probably Menkaure's daughter and perhaps a half sister of Shepseskaf. Oddly, nowhere in her tomb is Userkaf mentioned. There was apparently another queen (possibly), who's pyramid lies close to the pyramid of Userkaf's at Saqqara. It should be noted that resources on Userkaf are rather confusing. Some allow Neferhetep to be his wife, rather then mother, while others even ascribe to Khentkaues I being his mother, rather then his wife. However, the majority seem to suggest the relationships as first set out above. Userkaf was the kings birth name, meaning "His Soul is Powerful. He was also known as Weserkaf and may possibly be known in some literature as Ouserkaf, or Oeserkaf.. His Horus name was Iry-maat, meaning "He who puts Maat into Practice". It is interesting to note that having chose this Horus name, he was burdening himself with the maintenance of the whole of creation. He may have come to the throne as an older man, for we are told his reign only lasted seven years, though as usual, the actual dates of his reign very from Egyptologist to Egyptologist. His seven year reign is attested to in the Turin King list and seems to be confirmed on the Palermo Stone. As the 4th Dynasty progressed into the 5th Dynasty and the rule of Userkaf, there seems to have been no major changes in the country or much in its administration. Several high officials of the 4th Dynasty continued in their positions after Userkaf took the throne. He is given credit for establishing Egypt's first contact with the Aegean world. An inscribed stone vessel from his mortuary temple was found on Kythera. Apparently later kings of this dynasty would continue the Aegean relationship. Perhaps Userkaf is best known for building the first of the 5th Dynasties solar temples at Abusir. It was named Nekhen- Re, meaning "Stonghold of Re". Eventually, this line of rulers would build four other solar temples, of which all but two have not been discovered, or perhaps, no longer exist. Here, he built a platform of mudbrick and limestone with a smaller podium on its west end where a short obelisk (benben) stood. It was probably a forerunner of the tall obelisks of the New Kingdom. In front of the obelisk was a sun alter, a feature that would later be incorporated into the sun temple of Akhenaten. But then again, it is said that Userkaf's solar temple was a replica of an earlier temple at Heliopolis. There was a causeway leading from the solar temple to a valley temple where a statue of Userkaf wearing the Red Crown was discovered. He is also credited with enlarging the temple of Monthu at Tod, but little else is known, other then perhaps the arrival of 70 foreign women during his reign and some cult activity that seems to indicate he had an active interest in the Delta. He is attested to (mentioned) in the tombs of Sekhemkare and Nisutpunetjer, both at Giza, and his name is found on a weight currently at the Museum of Modern Art. There also blocks from a chapel built during Userkaf's reign near the temple of Montu in el Tod (ancient Djerty). It is interesting to note that Userkaf's funerary cult apparently collapsed at the end of the 5th Dynasty, never to be renewed. Userkaf was succeeded by his son (possibly by Khentkaues I), Sahure.

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Userkaf in Wikipedia

Userkaf was the founder of the Fifth dynasty of Egypt and the first pharaoh to start the tradition of building sun temples at Abusir.[2]. Userkaf's name means "his Ka (or soul) is powerful."[3] He ruled from 2494-2487 BC[1] and constructed the Pyramid of Userkaf complex at Saqqara. Userkaf's mother was thought by some to have been queen Neferhetepes. Recent discoveries at Sahure's causeway in Abusir show however that Neferhetepes was the mother of Sahure and hence a wife of Userkaf.[4]. It is possible that queen Khentkaues I was Userkaf's mother.[5] His father is unknown, although Userkaf was a grandson of Djedefra, the immediate successor of Khufu.[6] A bust of Userkaf is displayed in the Egyptian Museum. The head was found in the first (of five) sun temples at Abu Ghurob built by the rulers of the fifth dynasty. The head of Userkaf is 45 cm high and carved from greywacke stone. The sculpture is considered particularly important as it is among the very few sculptures in the round from the Old Kingdom that show the monarch wearing the Deshret (Red Crown) of Lower Egypt. The head was uncovered in 1957 during the joint excavation expedition of the German and Swiss Institutes of Cairo. It is believed that he was father of two pharaohs: Sahure and Neferirkare Kakai. Another less common view, in concordance with a story of the Westcar Papyrus, is that the first three rulers of the fifth dynasty were all brothers- the sons of queen Khentkaus I. He is given a reign of 7 years by both the Turin Royal Canon and Manetho's Epitome. Contemporary adaptions Egyptian Nobel Prize for Literature-winner Naguib Mahfouz published a short story in 1938 about Userkaf entitled Afw al-malik Usirkaf: uqsusa misriya. This short story was translated by Raymond Stock as King Userkaf's Forgiveness in the collection of short stories Voices From the Other World

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