Ancient Mediterranean + Europe
- Predynastic and Early Dynastic, an introduction
- Old Kingdom and First Intermediate Period, an introduction
- Palette of King Narmer
- Palette of Narmer
- Step Pyramid complex at Saqqara
- The Great Pyramids of Giza
- Pyramid of Khufu
- Pyramid of Khafre and the Great Sphinx
- Pyramid of Menkaure
- King Menkaure (Mycerinus) and queen
- The Great Pyramids at Giza
- Seated Scribe
by Dr. Amy Calvert
Pyramid of Menkaure (photo: future15pic, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The third of the major pyramids at Giza belongs to Menkaure. This is the smallest of the three, rising to a height of 65 meters (213 feet), but the complex preserved some of the most stunning examples of sculpture to survive from all of Egyptian history.
Pyramid of Menkaure, chamber with niches (photo: Jon Bodsworth, by permission)
Menkaure’s pyramid chambers are more complicated than those of Khafre and include a chamber carved with decorative panels and another chamber with six large niches. The burial chamber is lined with massive granite blocks. His black stone sarcophagus, also carved with niched panels, was discovered inside, but was lost at sea in 1838 as it was being transported to England.
King Menkaure (Mycerinus) and queen, 2490–2472 B.C.E., Greywacke, overall: 142.2 x 57.1 x 55.2 cm, 676.8 kg / 56 x 22 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches, 1492.1 pounds (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, photo: Steven Zucker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Within Menkaure’s mortuary and valley temples, neither of which were completed before his death, excavation revealed a series of statues of the king. The stunning diad of the king with a queen (now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), as well as a number of triads showing the king being embraced by various deities, were discovered in the valley temple and were originally set up surrounding the open court.
This temple was still an active place of cult late in the Old Kingdom and was almost entirely rebuilt at the end of the 6th dynasty after it was heavily damaged by a flood.
Want to join the conversation?
- This says the sarcophagus was lost at sea. I'm assuming the ship sunk?(11 votes)
- When, and where, was the sarcophagus lost at sea?(8 votes)
- That´s more a linguistic question...Why the names of the pharaos are writen (and spoken) differently on a different language? In portuguese, for example, Kulthu is "Queops", Khafre is "Quéfren" and Menkaure is (Miquerinos).(8 votes)
- Is there more information that can be found regarding all these "cults" that we are reading about?(6 votes)
- What does Egyptian writing mean.(1 vote)
- Not sure of your question. Egyptian hieroglyphic writing is a language unto itself. https://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/online_tours/britain/enlightenment_ancient_scripts/hieroglyphs.aspx(4 votes)
- Was the picture of the statue before it was lost or was it lost then re-found?(2 votes)
- probably not. It was most likely before you had cameras, maybe Egypt didn't have any, it took to long, or they didn't want to damage it.(1 vote)
- who built the pyramid of menkaure?(1 vote)
- If he was upper class, you can be sure that Menkaure didn't lift a finger. As in the case of mose giant public works, including the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System in America, the pyramid was built by engineers and laborers. (Eisenhower didn't build even a foot of interstate road).(3 votes)
- What kind of decorative panels are inside Menkuare's Pyramid?(2 votes)
- You are thinking of Khafre's pyramid, which is indeed smaller than Khufu's but appears taller for this very reason. Menkaure's is significantly smaller than the other two.(1 vote)
- Are there any theories about what was the original purpose of the six niches?(2 votes)