King Merenre II



Merenra II reigned for only one year and was succeeded by his stepbrother, Pepi II. The new king had to still be a boy at the time of ascending the throne because the canon of Turin and Manetone agree in attributing to him a kingdom of over ninety years, dying over a hundred years after a fairly serene existence after all lively, casual and generous, according to a literary source.


It seems that he was initially under the tutelage of his mother, named with him in the document that recalls an expedition to Sinai which took place in the fourth year of his reign. Fragments of papyrus of a much later date tell that he was discovered while making long and secret visits to one of his generals in the middle of the night, a story entirely in the spirit of Herodotus.

He was a good ruler, energetic when necessary, but it is during the last period of his reign, perhaps too long, that the collapse of the monarchy was prepared, even if in that period there seems to have been no attempts by the nòmarchi to accentuate or accelerate the autonomist movement. Some of the Nubian adventures mentioned on rock inscriptions also date back to his reign, but little else is known about him, despite long years of government.

However, he had plenty of time to devote himself to building his own pyramid south of Saqqara, larger than those of his immediate predecessors. Beyond that, all that remains is to remember some decrees of immunity and the "autobiography" of a prince, governor of the twelfth nome of Upper Egypt. This prince, named Djau, boasts of having obtained from the king the material to erect a splendid tomb to his father. Little to satisfy the historian's appetite, but reading between the lines of inscriptions of this kind we cannot help but notice the gradual weakening of the monarchy, undoubtedly due to the decline of the sovereign's power.

According to one of the most accredited historical reconstructions, the second Merenra of the 6th dynasty was a sovereign without energy or a clear political vision, unable to exercise the authority with which he was invested and who tolerated the decline of institutions and unrest; this weak and idealistic king was willing to forgive other people's mistakes and tolerant of the violent. It also appears that his mummy was desecrated not long after his death.

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