Neferirkare (Kakai)

Neferirkare's Horus Name: Userkhau

Neferirkare ("beautiful is the Soul of Re") ruled during the fifth dynasty (Old Kingdom) of Ancient Egypt. He was the first king to have his birth-name (Kakai) made part of the official titulary adding a second cartouche, a custom maintained by later Pharaohs.

He may have been the son of Userkaf and Khentkaus I and the brother of his predecessor, Sahure. However, some exoerts have suggested that he was not related to Sahure and usurped the throne after his death. He married his mother's namesake, Khentkaus II (who probably fathered the future Pharaohs Neferefre and Niuserre). Despite his long reign (estimated at about fifty years) we know little about him, partly because the Palermo Stone cuts off at year five and the relevant section of the Turin list has been destroyed.

vase featuring the titles of Neferirkare copyright neithsabes

titles of Neferirkare copyright neithsabes

We know that he completed (or modified) Userkaf's solar-temple at Abusir and constructed his own solar-temple (called Set-ib-Re) but it has never been found. His pyramid complex remained unfinished, and his son Niuserre later incorporated the valley temple and causeway into his own pyramid complex.

A limestone block was found in the village of Abusir but thought to have originally come from Neferirkare's mortuary temple depicts Neferirkare with his wife Khentkaus II and his eldest son, Neferre. It is generally agreed that Neferre ("Re is beautiful") changed his name and is one and the same as the pharaoh Neferefre ("Re is his beauty").

Over three hundred scraps of papyrus (the "Abusir Papyrus") were discovered in Neferirkare's pyramid complex at Abusir. The ink written documents are the earliest known examples of hieratic script, a cursive form of hieroglyphics.The archive details the complex administration of the temple, including rotas for all temple duties, records of monthly inspections and audits, and maintenance records.


  • Manetho; Nefercheres
  • Horus Name; Userkhau (above)
Nebty: Userkhau
Nebty: Userkhau (the strong one who appears)
Nebty: khaem
Nebty: khaem (the one who appears)
Golden Horus: Sekhemw - The golden powers
Golden Horus: sekhemw (The golden powers)
Prenomen: Neferirkare
Prenomen: Neferirkare
Prenomen: Neferirkare
Prenomen: Neferirkare
Nomen: Kakai, Abydos Kings List
Nomen: Kakai (Abydos Kings List)
copyright J Hill 2010
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