Egyptian Dynasties > Fourth Dynasty of Egypt

Fourth Dynasty of Egypt

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The Fourth Dynasty of Egypt is one of the most iconic periods in ancient Egyptian history, renowned for its monumental architecture, including the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. This dynasty, which lasted from around 2613 to 2498 BCE, is marked by the reign of several powerful pharaohs who left a lasting legacy on Egyptian civilization. Here are some key aspects of the Fourth Dynasty:

  1. Great Pyramid Builders: The Fourth Dynasty is best known for the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This colossal monument was built as a tomb for Pharaoh Khufu (also known as Cheops). The pyramid, along with the pyramids of Khafre (Chephren) and Menkaure (Mycerinus), and the Great Sphinx, form the iconic Giza pyramid complex, which continues to captivate the world with its engineering marvels.

  2. Monumental Architecture: In addition to the pyramids at Giza, the Fourth Dynasty witnessed the construction of numerous other monumental structures, including temples, mastabas (rectangular tombs), and funerary complexes. These architectural achievements reflected the pharaohs' desire for eternal glory and their belief in the afterlife.

  3. Centralized Administration: The Fourth Dynasty saw the development of a highly centralized administrative system that enabled the pharaohs to mobilize vast resources for their building projects. Bureaucrats, overseers, and skilled laborers were organized to carry out the construction and maintenance of royal monuments and infrastructure.

  4. Royal Power and Divine Kingship: The pharaohs of the Fourth Dynasty were considered divine rulers, believed to be the earthly incarnation of the gods Horus and Ra. They wielded absolute authority over Egypt and its people, commanding both religious and secular affairs. The construction of monumental pyramids served to reinforce their divine status and ensure their eternal reign in the afterlife.

  5. Trade and Diplomacy: While the Fourth Dynasty is often associated with grandiose building projects, it also engaged in trade and diplomatic relations with neighboring regions. Egypt maintained contact with civilizations in the Levant, Nubia, and the Sinai Peninsula, exchanging goods such as copper, timber, precious stones, and luxury items.

  6. Art and Culture: The Fourth Dynasty witnessed the flourishing of Egyptian art and culture, with skilled artisans producing exquisite sculptures, reliefs, and decorative objects. These artistic achievements adorned royal tombs, temples, and palaces, reflecting the beliefs, values, and daily life of ancient Egyptian society.

  7. Legacy: The Fourth Dynasty left an indelible mark on Egyptian history and culture. The pyramids of Giza stand as enduring symbols of ancient Egypt's grandeur and engineering prowess, attracting millions of visitors from around the world. The dynasty's architectural achievements, religious beliefs, and political organization laid the foundation for the prosperity and stability of subsequent dynasties.

Dynasty IV Kings

Sneferu ??2613-2589 BCRed PyramidQueen Hetepheres IKhufuMedjedu2589–2566 BCGreat Pyramid of GizaQueen Meritites IQueen HenutsenDjedefreKheper2566–2558 BC ?Pyramid of DjedefreQueen Hetepheres IIQueen KhentetkaKhafreUserib2558–2532 BCPyramid of KhafraQueen Meresankh IIIQueen Khamerernebty IQueen HekenuhedjetQueen PersenetBaka ??2532 BC ? ?? ??MenkaureKakhet2532–2503 BC ?Pyramid of MenkaureQueen Khamerernebty IIShepseskafShepseskhet2503–2499 BC ?Mastabet el-Fara'unQueen Bunefer?Djedefptah ??2499–2494 BC ? ?? ??
King NameHorus (Throne) NameDates of RulePyramidQueen/Consorts

Old Kingdom of Egypt



Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Jump up ^ Shaw, Ian, ed. (2000). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press. p. 480. ISBN 0-19-815034-2.^ Jump up to: a b c d Egypt: Land and Lives of the Pharaohs Revealed, (2005), pp. 80-90, Global Book Publishing: AustraliaJump up ^ Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, London 2004Jump up ^ Wolfgang Helck: Untersuchungen zu Manetho und den ägyptischen Königslisten, (= Untersuchungen zur Geschichte und Altertumskunde Ägyptens, Bd. 18), Leipzig/ Berlin 1956, page 52Jump up ^ Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, The American University in Cairo Press, London 2004, ISBN 977-424-878-3, page 61Jump up ^ Peter Jánosi: Giza in der 4. Dynastie. Die Baugeschichte und Belegung einer Nekropole des Alten Reiches. vol. I: Die Mastabas der Kernfriedhöfe und die Felsgräber, Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien 2005, ISBN 3-7001-3244-1, page 64–65.
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