Huni (copyright Keith Schengili-Roberts)

Huni (“the smiter”) was the last pharaoh of the third dynasty. We do not know whether he was the son of Khaba, his most likely predecessor. There was an official in the court of Djoser named Huni who may have been promoted to the position of pharaoh. Huni was the father of Queen Hetepheres I, the wife of Sneferu who was his successor and the first king of the fourth dynasty. It is also possible that he and his wife, queen Meresankh I, were the parents of Sneferu.

Huni built a fortress on the island of Elephantine to protect the border of Egypt at the First Cataract. He broke with tradition and built pyramids in the provinces, instead of Saqqara. He is thought to have built small step pyramids at Sinki, Ombos, Abu Rawash, Nagada, El-Kula, Edfu, and Elephantine, and may also have built a small pyramid at Zawiyet El-Meitin. The structures may mark the location of nearby royal residences, or may indicate that the pyramid was more than a tomb.

It is sometimes suggested that the first true pyramid (at Meidum) was built by Huni. However, there is no record of his name in the monument (only in nearby mastabas), while Sneferu is mentioned in texts at the site and the site is named after him (Djed Sneferu – Sneferu endures) so it is quite possible that he is responsible for that monument.

His vizier was Kagemni, who wrote “the instructions of Kagemni” which are recorded on the Prisse Papyrus.

His Horus name has not been confirmed (which is one reason why some have suggested that he and Khaba are the same person). However, a relief in the Louvre depicts an otherwise unattested pharaoh named Horus Qahedjet and this may well be Huni. He may have had the Nomen Neferkare, as this is the name given to the last pharaoh of the third dynasty in the Abydos Kings list.

Pharaoh’s Names

Manetho; Aches

Nomen; Neferkare (Abydos kings list)

Nomen; Neferkare (Abydos Kings List)

Nomen; Huni (Turin kings list)

Nomen; Huni (Turin Kings List)

Nomen; Huni (Saqqara kings list)

Nomen; Huni (Saqqara Kings List)

Copyright J Hill 2010