Nyuserre Ini

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Nyuserre Ini[pronunciation?] (also spelt as Neuserre Izi or Niuserre Isi, and sometimes Nyuserra; in Greek known as Rathoris), was a Pharaoh of Egypt during the Fifth dynasty. He is frequently given a reign of 24 or 25 years[1] and is dated from ca. 2445 BC to 2421 BC.[2] His prenomen, Nyuserre, means "Possessed of Re's Power". Nyuserre was the younger son of pharaoh Neferirkare Kakai by Queen Khentkaus II, and the brother of the short-lived king Neferefre.[3]

He is often thought to have succeeded his brother directly, but there is some evidence to suggest that Shepseskare reigned between the two, albeit only for a few weeks. Possibly, the latter had attempted to restore the lineage of Sahure who might have been his father, deposing the lineage of Neferirkare Kakai in the process, but was unsuccessful.

Family[edit]

Nyuserre's only known wife was Reptynub. A King's Daughter by the name of Khamerernebty was the daughter of Nyuserre. The identity of her mother is not known. Khamerernebty was married to the vizier Ptahshepses.[4]

A limestone fragment was found in the pyramid complex of Nyuserre's mother Khentkaus mentioning a King's Daughter Reputnebty, who is followed by a King's Son Khentykauhor. From context, Reputnebty was a daughter of Nyuserre and Khentykauhor a son.[5]

The famous Double Statue in the Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich, portraying Nyuserre as both a young man and an old man

Reign length[edit]

In Manetho's Epitome, Nyuserre is assigned a reign of 44 years but this data is considered suspect. The Turin King List data for his reign is badly damaged although scholars have usually assumed that it was 24 years. The Danish Egyptologist Kim Ryholt who twice analysed the Turin King-list papyrus in the 1990s, however, notes that "Niuserre's reign is damaged. There is a distinct trace of a 10, 20 or 30, followed by a stroke after which the papyrus breaks off. Accordingly, the possibilities are 11-14, 21-24, and 31-34 years [for Nyuserre], and not just 24 years" as is conventionally assumed.[6] However, since a Sed Feast scene is noted for Nyuserre from his solar temple at Abu Gurab, a reign of more than 30 years can be suggested for this Pharaoh.

The Czech Egyptologist Miroslav Verner who has been excavating the Old Kingdom pyramids on behalf of the University of Prague in Egypt since 1976 concurs with the view that Nyuserre had a reign in excess of 30 years. He bases his opinion here on this king's numerous building activities in Abusir which included the "construction of his own pyramid complex and two small complexes Lepsius no.XXIV and no.XXV for his wives,... the completion of the unfinished funerary monuments of his direct relatives Neferirkara, Khentkhaus II and Neferefra" as well as the completion of this king's substantial sun temple building complex at Abu Gurab. "Beautiful reliefs with the scenes of the sed-festival from this sun temple are occasionally considered as indirect evidence of a long reign for this king. Generally, the historical authenticity... of such reliefs is doubted since the sed-festival scenes very probably belonged in the Old Kingdom to the standard 'Bildprogram' of the royal funerary monuments. However, in Niuserre's case, the sed-festival scenes from Abu Ghurob [most probably reflect] the 30th jubilee of the king's ascension to the throne".[7]

Nyuserre's burial place is a pyramid at Abusir located between those of pharaohs Sahure and Neferirkare Kakai. Its initial height was around 52 meters, with a base of about 79 meters along each side, and a slope of 52 degrees. The volume of stone was a total of about 112,000 cubic meters. It was originally covered with fine limestone as shown by some remaining casing stones. The burial chamber and antechamber were both lined with fine limestone as well and roofed with 3 tiers of megalithic limestone beams 10 meters long weighing 90 tons each.[8] His queen, Reptynub, was also buried nearby. His magnificent sun temple at Abusir is called the Joy of Re. While military campaigns to Libya and Asia are mentioned in documents of this period, we have no specific evidence regarding the military activities of this ruler.

The pyramid complex is unusual as the outer sections of the mortuary temple are offest to the south of the eastern side of the complex so that Nyuserre cound intercept and complete his father's causeway. Another unusual aspect is the use of two rectangular structures on the eastern corners. Both Lehner and Verner think these may be the precursor of the pylon. [9] [10]


Isometric views of the pyramids of Neferirkare and Niuserre taken from 3d models
Isometric image of the pyramid complexes of Nerferirakre Kakai and Nyuserre Ini taken from 3d models
Image of the sun Temple of Nyuserre Ini taken from a 3d model

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, (Blackwell: 1992), p.77
  2. ^ Shaw, Ian, ed. (2000). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press. p. 480. ISBN 0-19-815034-2. 
  3. ^ Dodson, Hilton, The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, 2004
  4. ^ Dodson, Hilton, 2004
  5. ^ M. Verner, Abusir III: The Pyramid Complex of Khentkaus, Czech Institute of Egyptology, Praha, 1995
  6. ^ Kim SB Ryholt, "The Turin King-list" in The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. CNI Publications, (Museum Tusculanum Press: 1997), p.13
  7. ^ Miroslav Verner, Archaeological Remarks on the 4th and 5th Dynasty Chronology, Archiv Orientální, Volume 69: 2001, p.404
  8. ^ Lehner, Mark The Complete Pyramids, London: Thames and Hudson (1997)p. 148-9 ISBN 0-500-05084-8
  9. ^ Lehner, Mark The Complete Pyramids, London: Thames and Hudson (1997)p. 148-9 ISBN 0-500-05084-8
  10. ^ Verner, Miroslav The Pyramids, New York: Grove Press (1997) p.316 ISBN 0-8021-3935-3

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Neferefre
Pharaoh of Egypt
Fifth dynasty
Succeeded by
Menkauhor Kaiu