Khentkaues


Khentkaues
Queen c.2494-2487 BC.
    According to the legend in the Westcar Papyrus, the first three kings of the Fifth Dynasty were triplets fathered by the sun-god Re and born to a commoner, the wife of a priest of Re at the town of Sakhebu. This folk-tale preserves the historical fact that the Heliopolitan priests of Re exerted an unprecedented influence on the rulers of this dynasty, although in fact these kings were probably descended from a secondary line of *Cheops' family. *Userkaf, the founder of the Fifth Dynasty, probably married Khentkaues to strengthen his claim to the throne, for she was not only a descendant of the main branch of the royal family but also probably the daughter of King *Mycerinus.
    She appears to have provided an important link between the Fourth and Fifth Dynasties, and her divine cult was maintained throughout the Fifth Dynasty. From her titles it can be inferred that she was the mother of two kings, *Sahure and *Neferirkare, and since she was the wife of *Userkaf, it is evident that these three early rulers of the Fifth Dynasty were father and sons and not in fact triplets as claimed in the Westcar Papyrus.
    Khentkaues had a distinctive tomb at Giza, which is sometimes called the Unfinished or Fourth Pyramid, although it was actually a sarcophagus-shaped construction which imitated the tomb (Mastabat Fara'un) of *Shepseskaf. This monument was constructed on a base of natural rock faced with limestone, and was probably completed in the reign of the queen's son, *Neferirkare.
BIBL. Jequier, G. Le Mastabat Faraoun. Cairo: 1928; Hassan, S. Excavations at Giza. (eight vols) Oxford and Cairo: 1932-53; AEL i. pp. 215-22.
Biographical Dictionary of Ancient Egypt by Rosalie and Antony E. David
* * *
   The name of two queen mothers of Dynasty 5. Khentkaues I was buried at Giza, where her tomb was excavated in 1932, while the tomb of Khentkaues II was excavated at Abusirfrom 1978–1981. The theory that Khentkaues I was a princess of Dynasty 4 who linked the two dynasties has been abandoned since she is nowhere styled the daughter of a king. She was the mother or wife of Userkaf or Sahure, while Khentkaues II was the wife of Neferirkare and mother of Raneferef and Niuserre. It seems that both may have been mothers of two kings and played important political roles, possibly as regents for a minor king or during a disputed succession.
   See also Abusir Papyri.
Historical Dictionary Of Ancient Egypt by Morris L. Bierbrier

Ancient Egypt. A Reference Guide. . 2011.

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