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Episode 1080             Episode 1082
Episode 1081

Userkaf
Mon, 2020-Apr-20 00:53 UTC
Length - 3:08

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Monday, 20 April 2020 is Userkaf.

Userkaf (known in ancient Greek as Ούσερχέρης, Usercherês) was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt and the founder of the Fifth Dynasty. He reigned for seven to eight years in the early 25th century BC, during the Old Kingdom period. He probably belonged to a branch of the Fourth Dynasty royal family, although his parentage is uncertain; he could have been the son of queen Khentkaus I. He had at least one daughter and very probably a son with his consort Neferhetepes. This son succeeded him as pharaoh Sahure.

His reign heralded the ascendancy of the cult of Ra, who effectively became Egypt's state god during the Fifth Dynasty. Userkaf may have been a high-priest of Ra before ascending the throne, and built a sun temple, known as the Nekhenre, between Abusir and Abu Gurab. In doing so, he instituted a tradition followed by his successors over a period of 80 years. The Nekhenre mainly functioned as a mortuary temple for the setting sun. Rites performed in the temple were primarily concerned with Ra's creator function and his role as father of the king. Taken with the reduction in the size of the royal mortuary complex, this suggests a more concrete separation between the sun god and the king than in the preceding dynasties. After Userkaf's death, his temple was the subject of four building phases, during which it acquired a large obelisk.

Userkaf built a pyramid in Saqqara close to that of Djoser, a location that forced architects to put the associated mortuary temple in an unusual position, to the south of the pyramid. The latter was much smaller than those built during the Fourth Dynasty but the mortuary complex was lavishly and extensively decorated with fine painted reliefs. In addition to his own pyramid and temple, Userkaf built a smaller pyramid close to his for one of his queens, likely Neferhetepes. Although Userkaf was the object of a funerary cult after his death like the other Fifth Dynasty kings, his was relatively unimportant, and was abandoned after the end of the dynasty. Little is known of his activities beyond the construction of his pyramid and sun temple. The Old Kingdom royal annals record offerings of beer, bread and lands to various gods, some of which may correspond to building projects on Userkaf's behalf, including the temple of Montu in El-Tod where he is the earliest attested pharaoh. Beyond the borders of Egypt, a military expedition to Canaan or the Eastern Desert may have taken place, and trade contacts with the Aegean seem to have existed at the time.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:53 UTC on Monday, 20 April 2020.

For the full current version of the article, see Userkaf on Wikipedia.

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