Niuserre Ini

Niuserre: Setibtawy

Niuserre (“possessed of Ra’s power”, also known as Nyuserre, Neuserre, or Nyuserra) ruled during the fifth dynasty (Old Kingdom) of Ancient Egypt. His predecessor Neferefre was probably his brother making him the second son of Neferirkare and Khentkaus II to become pharaoh. His throne name was Ini (In or Iny and occasionally given as Isi) and his Horus name was probably Setibtawy (He whose favourite place is the two lands).

It is sometimes suggested that he ruled immediately after his brother, Neferefre. However, it is also likely that Shepseskare ruled for a brief period between the two brothers. Some commentators have suggested that Shepseskare was the son of Sahure who tried unsuccessfully to depose the descendants of Neferirkare. There is no firm evidence to confirm the position one way or the other.

A beautiful statue of his wife, Reputneb (or Reptynub), was discovered in the valley temple connected to his and Neferirkare’s pyramid complex. They had at least one daughter, Khamerernebty (A), who was married to Ptashepses (a high official in his court).

Brooklyn Museum, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons
Double Statue of Niuserre
Niuserre Double Statue, Munich, Einsamer Sch├╝tze, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Turin Kings List is damaged and so does not confirm the length of his reign. Manetho suggests that he reigned for a massive forty-four years, but this is considered excessive by most experts. The representation of a Sed-festival found in his solar-temple implies that he ruled for at least thirty years.

Evidence suggests that Niuserre continued the trade with Punt for incense and electrum (a gold and silver alloy) and that he mined copper and turquoise in the Sinai. An inscription found in the Sinai shows Niuserre triumphant over his enemies. However, it is suggested the scene is merely symbolic and we have no further information on any military conquest.

From the tombs of his officials at Saqqara (e.g. the tomb of Ty) and Abusir necropolis (e.g. the tomb of Ptahshepses), his reign seems to have been both peaceful and prosperous.

Niuserre smiting an Asiatic, Wadi Maghara
Niuserre smiting an Asiatic, Wadi Maghara, Juan R. Lazaro, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Niuserre built his own pyramid complex at Abusir and built two further small pyramids (Lepsius Twenty Four and Twenty Five) for his wives. He also completed the pyramid complex of Neferirkare and the pyramid complex of Neferefre and adapted the satellite pyramid of Neferirkare into the burial pyramid of Khenkhaus II.

Niuserre also rebuilt the Sun Temple of Userkhaf and built his Sun Temple (named “Shesepu-ib-re” – “Delight of Ra“) at Abu Gurab, which was the largest and most complete fifth dynasty solar-temple and the only one to be constructed completely of stone. Finely carved reliefs depict the pharaoh during his Heb Sed festival and underline the importance of the Sun god Ra to the fifth dynasty kings.

Pharaoh’s Names

Manetho; Rathures

Nebty: Setib

Nebty: Setib (Favourite)

Golden Horus: bik nebw netjer - The golden falcon is divine

Golden Horus: Bik nebw netjer (The golden falcon is divine)

Prenomen: Niuserre Abydos Kings List

Prenomen: Niuserre (Abydos Kings List)

Nomen: Iny

Nomen: Iny

Nomen: Ini

Nomen: Ini

Nomen: In

Nomen: In

  • Bard, Kathryn (2008) An introduction to the Archaeology of Ancient Egypt
  • Hornung E (1999) History of Ancient Egypt
  • Kemp, Barry J (1991) Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilisation
  • Malek, Jaromir (2000) “The Old Kingdom”, in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt Ed I. Shaw
  • Rice, Michael (1999) Who’s Who in Ancient Egypt
  • Van De Mieroop, Marc (1999) A History of Ancient Egypt
  • Wilkinson, Toby (2010) The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt

Copyright J Hill 2010