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King Shepseskaf

  • 05 16, 2023

King Shepseskaf

Menkaura, also known as Mycerinus (a name translated from the Greek Μυκερινoς, as recorded by Herodotus), was a pharaoh of the IV dynasty in the Ancient Egyptian Empire.

The third pyramid was hastily completed and furnished inside by Shepseskaf, the only other king of the fourth dynasty recognized legitimately by contemporaries and by the Table of Abido, although the royal list of Saqqara adds three more whose names have been lost making it impossible for the comparison with those given by Maneth.

That something serious happened around this time can be deduced from the fact that Shepseskaf chose the area south of Saqqara for his last home and had a pyramid built, but a tomb that, apart from the inclined walls, has the typical shape of the sarcophagi of that period with a sloping roof and vertical terminations. This tomb is called by the locals Mastabat el-Faran.

The fact can be considered proof that Shepseskaf was not of royal lineage, but had acquired the right to the throne by marrying Micerino's daughter, Khantkawes.


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In ancient Egypt, the process of choosing a pharaoh, or the king of Egypt, was complex and influenced by a combination of hereditary succession, divine selection, and political considerations. Here are the main ways in which pharaohs were chosen:

   Hereditary Succession: In many cases, the pharaoh's successor was their direct descendant, typically a son or sometimes a close male relative. This hereditary principle was common in Egyptian dynasties, where the ruling family maintained power within the royal bloodline.

   Divine Right: Pharaohs were often regarded as divine rulers, believed to be gods or god-like beings on Earth. Their legitimacy was often based on the idea that they were chosen by the gods themselves to rule. This divine right to rule was used to justify their authority.

   Coronation Rituals: Pharaohs underwent elaborate coronation rituals and ceremonies that symbolized their divine selection and invested them with the authority to rule. These rituals often included the pharaoh's crowning, anointing, and other religious ceremonies.

   Political Influence: In some cases, powerful officials or influential individuals in the government could play a role in the selection of the pharaoh. They might support and advocate for a particular candidate based on political, military, or administrative considerations.

   Succession Conflicts: Succession to the throne was not always smooth, and disputes over the rightful heir could lead to conflicts and even civil wars. The outcome often depended on which claimant had the support of the military, priesthood, and other key power centers.

   Co-Regency: In certain instances, a new pharaoh would rule alongside a living predecessor or co-regent, such as a father-son duo. This allowed for a smoother transition of power and ensured stability during the succession.

   Adoption: In rare cases, a pharaoh might adopt a non-royal successor if there were no suitable heirs within the royal family. This practice aimed to ensure a stable transition of power.


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