Biography of Sahure

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Sahure was a son of Khentkaus I, who, in her tomb at Giza, is said to have been the "mother of two kings". His father probably was Userkaf. There are no wives or children known to him and at least no children of his seem to have outlived him, since he was succeeded by his brother.

According to the Turin King-list, Sahure ruled for 12 years. The Palermo-stone notes 7 cattle counts, which indicates a reign of at least 13 years provided the cattle counts were consistently held every two years.

Like Userkaf, Sahure built a solar-temple, named Sekhet-Re, which has not yet been located. It is sometimes assumed that instead of building his own solar-temple, he in fact modified his father's and gave it another name. The textual evidence however, shows that Sekhet-Re was a different temple that was in use at the same time as Userkaf’s.

Syrian bears, from Sahure’s funerary complex at Abusir.

Syrian bears, from Sahure’s funerary complex at Abusir 

He was the first king to build his pyramid complex at Abusir, a few kilometres north of Saqqara. This move to Abusir had already been initiated by Userkaf, who built his solar-temple there.
The reliefs in his mortuary and valley temple depict a counting of foreigners by or in front of the goddess Seshat and the return of a fleet from Asia, perhaps Byblos. This may indicate a military interest in the Near East, but the contacts may have been diplomatic and commercial as well.
As part of the contacts with the Near-East, the reliefs from his funerary monuments also hold the oldest known representation of Syrian bears.

A relief showing a war against Libya is believed by some to be historical and by others to be merely ritual. The Palermo-stone also mentions expeditions the Sinai and to the exotic land of Punt, as well as to the diorite quarries North-West of Abu Simbel, far into Nubia.


© Jacques Kinnaer 1997 - 2017