Menkauhor (“eternal are the souls of Horus”) ruled during the fifth dynasty of Ancient Egypt (Old Kingdom). His name marks a departure from the norm being the first time in almost a century that the sun god Ra was not mentioned in the prenomen of the king. His reign is attested by references to his funerary cult, an inscription in the Sinai, and a seal from Abusir, but little else.


Only one image of the king has survived, a small alabaster statuette depicting him in his heb sed robes. Yet, the Turin list only ascribes him an eight year reign which would be too short to celebrate a sed festival. It would, however, explain the lack of artefacts.

We know little about his family life. He may have been the brother or son of Niuserre, but there is no firm evidence of a family connection. His mother may have been Khentkaus III, but there is no firm evidence one way or the other. Some scholars have suggested he may be one and the same person as the son of Niussere, named Khentykauhor, although an inscription in the mastaba, Werkaure (the son of an unnamed king), may contradict this notion. There are two possible candidates for the identity of his queen or queens, Khuit I and Meresankh IV, but again no firm evidence to confirm or deny. His successor (Djedkare Isesi) may have been his son, but we cannot be sure.

His solar-temple, called Akhet-Re, may have been the last of the dynasty as his successor turned away from the solar cult of the fifth dynasty. Unfortunately, the building has not been identified. His pyramid, Netjer-isut-Menkauhor (“The divine places of Menkauhor”) is mentioned in texts from private tombs which suggest it was not built in Abusir, like those of his predecessors.

It is possible that the so called “headless pyramid” (Lepsius XXIX) was his. It is located at the north east of Teti’s complex in Saqqara and we know that a cult to Menkauhor operated from there during the Eighteenth Dynasty.

Pharaoh’s Names

Manetho; Mencheres

Horus Name

Hr mn haw (Horus Menkhaw) – Horus enduring Of Apparition

Golden Horus Name

bik nbw HD (Bik-Nebw Hedj) – The Golden Horus Shines


mn kAw Hr (Menkauhor) – Eternal Like The Souls Of Horus (Abydos kings list, Turin canon and Saqqara kings list)


ikAw Hr (Ikauhor), kAiw (Kaiu)

  • Kathryn Bard (2008) An introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
  • Peter A Clayton (1994) Chronicle of the Pharaohs
  • E Hornung (1999) History of Ancient Egypt
  • M Van de Mieroop (2010) A History of Ancient Egypt

Copyright J Hill 2015