Sneferu (2613-2589 B.C.)

King Sneferu, the strength and the founder of the Fourth Dynasty. Sneferu calls himself Neter aa, "the Great God," and Neb mat, "the Lord of Justice." He is also "the Golden Horus," or "the Conqueror." Neb mat is not a usual title with Egyptian monarchs; and its assumption by Sneferu would seem to mark, at any rate, his appreciation of the excellence of justice, and his desire to have the reputation of a just ruler. Later ages give him the title of "the beneficent king," so that he would seem to have been a really unselfish and kindly sovereign. His form, however, only just emerges from the mists of the period to be again concealed from our view, and we vainly ask ourselves what exactly were the benefits that he conferred on Egypt, so as to attain his high reputation.

Monuments of his time:

Still, the monuments of his time are sufficient to tell us something of the Egypt of his day, and of the amount and character of the civilization so early attained by the Egyptian people. Besides his own tablet in the Wady Magharah, there are in the neighborhood of the pyramids of Giza a number of tombs which belong to the officials of his court and the members of his family. These tombs contain both sculptures and inscriptions, and throw considerable light on the condition of the country.

Meidum pyramid:

Sneferu known to us today for his prodigious building program. The so-called “Collapsed Pyramid” or “Ruined Pyramid” at Meidum is thought by many Egyptologists to be his first building project. Originally, the Meidum pyramid was a step pyramid, but it appears that Sneferu later ordered the steps to be “filled”, an attempt at building a true pyramid.

Cartouche of King Sneferu

A somewhat disputed theory is that the pyramid actually collapsed catastrophically and the mound of rubble around the base is what remains, but no bodies, scaffolding, tools, or the like have ever been found in the mound. The more widely accepted theory is that the pyramid was “quarried” for stone in later times; indeed, the Arabic writers of the 1100s CE report that the pyramid had five steps, while today it has only three.

Other buildings of Sneferu:

King Sneferu also built two pyramids at Dahshur, not far from Meidum, and these were planned as true pyramids from the start. The first is known as the “Bent Pyramid” owing to the way its slope angle changes partway up from 55 to about 43 This change is believed to be due to subsidence that was noticed while the pyramid was still being built; the accurate cutting and laying of the blocks was not yet what would be seen at Giza. The second, and the first successful true pyramid, is the North Dahshur Pyramid or “Red Pyramid”, so called for the red color of its sandstone blocks in the sun, and built entirely at the “safer” reduced slope.

Sneferu’s son king Khufu is even more famous; the Pyramid of Giza was built for him. The largest pyramid ever built, it contains millions blocks of sandstone,7 most of them weighing more than two tons apiece. Several smaller “satellite” pyramids were built in its shadow, most likely for king Khufu’s wives. Two large boats were also buried in pits adjacent to the pyramid, and were discovered in the 20th Century. The boats are believed to have been used to transport the royal mummy and funeral goods up the Nile at the time of the burial. After Sneferu died queen Hetepheres II was the new heiress-queen for him.

Please see also:

King Tut

The Great King Ramses II