Meritites I

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Meritites in hieroglyphs

Meritites (Merit ites)
Mrj.t jt=s
Beloved of her father[1]

Meritites I was an ancient Egyptian queen of the 4th dynasty. Her name means "Beloved of her Father". Several of her titles are known from a stela found at Giza. She was buried in the middle Queen’s Pyramid in Giza (Pyramid G 1b).

Meritites was a daughter of King Sneferu and his consort of unknown name. Meritites married her (half?-)brother, King Khufu.[2] With Khufu, she was the mother of the Crown Prince Kawab, and possibly Djedefre.[3] Both Queen Hetepheres II and Pharaoh Khafra have been suggested as children of Meretites I and Khufu as well,[4] and it is possible that Meritites II was a daughter of Meritites I as well.[5]

Auguste Mariette recorded a stela at Giza in which Meritites is said to be a favorite of both Sneferu and Khufu:

King’s 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][6]

Meritites held the titles: "great one of the hetes-sceptre of Khufu" (wrt-hetes-nt-khwfw), great one of the hetes-sceptre of Snofru (wrt-hetes-nt-snfrw), king’s wife, his beloved (hmt-nisw meryt.f), attendant of Horus (kht-hrw) and consort and beloved of the Two Ladies (sm3yt-mry-nbty).[7]


Queen's pyramid G I-b

Pyramid G 1b is thought to be the tomb of Meritites. The queen's pyramids were often constructed to the south of the king's pyramid, but a quarry located to the south of Khufu's pyramid caused the location of the smaller pyramids to shift to the east. Reisner placed the construction of the pyramid of Meritites in circa year 15 of the reign of Khufu. The construction of her pyramid would have started very soon after the construction of pyramid G 1a. The queen's pyramids are part of the East Field at Giza, which also includes some royal mastabas.[8]

Pyramid G 1a (the northernmost of three small pyramids east of the Great Pyramid of Giza) was at first thought to belong to Meritites, but it is now thought to belong to Khufu’s mother, Hetepheres I. More recently Pyramid G 1b is thought to be the tomb of Meritites. It had a small mortuary temple and a boat pit associated with it. No boat was found in the rock-cut boat pit however.[9] The mortuary temple was decorated with scenes. Relief fragments from a false-door and walls were recovered during excavations. The title of queen was preserved in a fragment now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (27.1321). Further fragments include parts of an offering list, men bringing offerings and animals, and a boat being paddled.[10]


  1. ^ Silke Roth: Die Königsmütter des Alten Ägypten von der Frühzeit bis zum Ende der 12. Dynastie (= Ägypten und Altes Testament 46). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2001, ISBN 3-447-04368-7, page 354 - 358 & 388.
  2. ^ Dodson, Aidan and Hilton, Dyan. The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. Thames & Hudson. 2004. ISBN 0-500-05128-3
  3. ^ Joyce Tyldesley. Chronicle of the Queens of Egypt. Thames & Hudson. 2006. ISBN 0-500-05145-3
  4. ^ Gundacker: Genealogie. S. 24–26
  5. ^ Gizapyramids website Archived 2008-10-11 at the Wayback Machine, page for G 7650
  6. ^ James Henry Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Vol. 1: The First through the Seventeenth Dynasties, 2001, ISBN 978-0-252-06990-1
  7. ^ Grajetzki, Ancient Egyptian Queens: A Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Golden House Publications, London, 2005, ISBN 978-0-9547218-9-3
  8. ^ George Andrew Reisner, A History of the Giza Necropolis I, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1942, pp 70–74, retrieved from Giza Digital Library: History of the Giza Necropolis Series Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Miroslav Verner. The Pyramids: The Mystery, Culture, and Science of Egypt's Great Monuments. Grove Press. 2001 (1997). ISBN 0-8021-3935-3
  10. ^ Porter, Bertha and Moss, Rosalind, Topographical Bibliography of Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphic Texts, Statues, Reliefs and Paintings, Volume III: Memphis, Part I Abu Rawash to Abusir. 2nd edition; revised and augmented by Dr Jaromir Malek, 1974. p. 16. Retrieved from