Fifth Dynasty of Egypt
|Dynasties of Ancient Egypt|
All years are BC
The Fifth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty V) is often combined with Dynasties III, IV and VI under the group title the Old Kingdom. The Fifth Dynasty pharaohs reigned from approximately 2494 to 2345 BC.
Known rulers in the Fifth Dynasty are listed below. The pharaohs of this dynasty ruled for approximately 150 years. The Horus names and most names of the Queens are taken from Dodson and Hilton.
|Name of King||Horus (throne) Name||Date||Pyramid||Queen(s)|
|Userkaf||Irimaat||2494 – 2487 BC||Pyramid in Saqqara||Khentkaus I ?
|Sahure||Nebkhau||2487 – 2475 BC||Pyramid in Abusir||Neferetnebty|
|Neferirkare Kakai||Neferirkare||2475 – 2455 BC||Pyramid in Abusir||Khentkaus II|
|Neferefre||Neferkhau||2 to 3 years||Unfinished Pyramid of Neferefre in Abusir||Khentakawess III ?|
|Shepseskare||Shepseskare||Likely ephemeral||Possibly in Abusir|
|Nyuserre Ini||Nyuserre||2445 – 2421 BC||Pyramid in Abusir||Reptynub|
|Menkauhor Kaiu||Menkauhor||2421 – 2414 BC||"Headless Pyramid" in Saqqara||Meresankh IV?|
|Djedkare Isesi||Djedkare||2414 – 2375 BC||Pyramid in Saqqara|
|Unas||Wadjtawy||2375 – 2345 BC||Pyramid in Saqqara||Nebet
As before, expeditions were sent to Wadi Maghareh and Wadi Kharit in the Sinai to mine for turquoise and copper, and to quarries northwest of Abu Simbel for gneiss. Trade expeditions were sent south to Punt to obtain malachite, myrrh, and electrum, and archeological finds at Byblos attest to diplomatic expeditions sent to that Phoenician city. Finds bearing the names of several Dynasty V kings at the site of Dorak, near the Sea of Marmara, may be evidence of trade but remain a mystery.
How Pharaoh Userkaf founded this dynasty is not known for certain. The Papyrus Westcar, which was written during the Middle Kingdom, tells a story of how king Khufu of Dynasty IV was given a prophecy that triplets born to the wife of the priest of Ra in Sakhbu would overthrow him and his heirs, and how he attempted to put these children - named Userkaf, Sahure, and Neferirkare - to death; however in recent years, scholars have recognized this story to be at best a legend, and admit their ignorance over how the transition from one dynasty to another transpired.
During this dynasty, Egyptian religion made several important changes. The earliest known copies of funerary prayers inscribed on royal tombs (known as the Pyramid Texts) appear. The cult of the god Ra gains added importance, and kings from Userkaf through Menkauhor Kaiu built temples dedicated to Ra at or near Abusir. Then late in this dynasty, the cult of the deity Osiris assumes importance, most notably in the inscriptions found in the tomb of Unas.
Amongst non-royal Egyptians of this time, Ptahhotep, vizier to Djedkare Isesi, won fame for his wisdom; The Maxims of Ptahhotep was ascribed to him by its later copyists. Non-royal tombs were also decorated with inscriptions, like the royal ones, but instead of prayers or incantations, biographies of the deceased were written on the walls.
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|Dynasty of Egypt
c. 2494 – 2345 BC