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Userkare ("The Soul of Ra is Strong") was the second pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty, reigning briefly, 1 to 5 years, starting c. 2333 BC. He may have been an usurper to the throne.

An usurper to the throne[edit]

Userkare's relation to his predecessor is uncertain: according to Peter Jánosi and Gae Callender, Userkare may be a son of Teti and Queen Khuit.[1] The dominant hypothesis however is that Userkare was a descendant of Unas, the last pharaoh of the 5th dynasty.[2] Finally, it has been proposed that Userkare was simply an older brother of Pepi I and who held the throne as a regent until Pepi was old enough to assume the throne.[3]

Regardless of his relation to Teti, it is generally believed that Userkare was a rival to Teti and that he usurped the throne following Teti's assassination. Indeed, since Manetho claims that Teti was killed by his bodyguards, theories of conspiracy have been put forward that Userkare was the leader of this conspiracy who then proceeded to seize the throne.[3]


The recently discovered South Saqqara Stone, a document from Pepi II's reign which served as a royal anal, confirms Userkare's existence and assigns him a reign of at least two to four complete years. Teti's son, Pepi I, eventually succeeded Userkare, perhaps ousting him to succeed his murdered father.[3] In the Turin King List, there is a lacuna between Teti and Pepi I Meryre, large enough to have fit an entry for Userkare. Userkare is also mentioned on the Abydos King List, redacted during the reign of Seti I. Contemporary attestations of Userkare are limited to two cylinder seals and an inscribed copper knife blade bearing his name. Userkare started work on some larger building projects, as shown by an inscription mentioning his workforce. However, no pyramid-complex has been identified for him presumably because of the brevity of his reign.[3]


  1. ^ Miroslav Verner: The Pyramids, 1994
  2. ^ Nicolas Grimal, A History of Ancient Egypt, (Blackwell Books; 1992), p.81
  3. ^ a b c d Darrell D. Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I - Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty 3300–1069 BC, Stacey International, ISBN 978-1-905299-37-9, 2008, p. 487

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