Monday 16 October 2023

King Sahure and His Beautiful Pyramid

A Rare Peaceful Pharaoh?

Sahure was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh who lived during the Old Kingdom period. He was a ruler of the 5th Dynasty, and his reign was marked by peace and prosperity. Amongst other things, Sahure traded with foreign lands, developed a navy, and opened up mines.

Sahure (also Sahura, meaning "He who is close to Re") was a pharaoh of ancient Kemet and the second ruler of the Fifth Dynasty (c. 2465 – c. 2325 BC). He reigned for about 13 years in the early 25th century BC during the Old Kingdom Period. Sahure's reign marks the political and cultural high point of the Fifth Dynasty. He was probably the son of his predecessor Userkaf with Queen Neferhetepes II, and was in turn succeeded by his son Neferirkare Kakai.

During Sahure's rule, Kemet had important trade relations with the Levantine coast. Sahure launched several naval expeditions to modern-day Lebanon to procure cedar trees, slaves and exotic items. His reign may have witnessed the flourishing of the Kemetic navy, which included a high-seas fleet as well as specialized racing boats. Relying on this, Sahure ordered the earliest attested expedition to the land of Punt, which brought back large quantities of myrrh, malachite and electrum. Sahure is shown celebrating the success of this venture in a relief from his mortuary temple which shows him tending a myrrh tree in the garden of his palace named "Sahure's splendor soars up to heaven". This relief is the only one in Egyptian art depicting a king gardening. Sahure sent further expeditions to the turquoise and copper mines in Sinai. He also ordered military campaigns against Libyan chieftains in the Western Desert, bringing back livestock to Egypt.

Sahure had a pyramid built for himself in Abusir, thereby abandoning the royal necropolises of Saqqara and Giza, where his predecessors had built their monuments. This decision was possibly motivated by the presence of the sun temple of Userkaf in Abusir, the first such temple of the Fifth Dynasty. The Pyramid of Sahure is much smaller than the pyramids of the preceding Fourth Dynasty but the decoration and architecture of his mortuary temple is more elaborate.

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