Unas, or Unis, was the last ruler of the 5th dynasty. Under his rule, Unas introduced several pyramid innovations that his successors followed.
Some historians believe that the reign of Unas marked the end of the golden age of the Old Kingdom. The advent of the 6th dynasty was the end of the grand beginning of Egypt. The country then slipped into the disappointments of the first intermediate period. The king ruled for a long time, but there are no actual reports of Unas's ruling span. His funerary complex is wonderfully preserved, but despite this very little is known about the king.
The Pyramid Unas Built
The king built a pyramid in Saqqara, and this was the smallest of all the royal pyramids built during the Old Kingdom. It was accompanied by a mortuary complex with different valley temples. These temples were linked by a causeway, and it was beautifully decorated with some of the best-painted reliefs ever discovered. These were the best evidence of the royal iconography. Unas was also the first of all pharaohs that carved and painted the pyramid texts on the walls of the pyramid chambers themselves. In fact, this was undoubtedly a major innovation followed by his successors.
Magic Spells on the Walls
It was Unas who created the practice of listing some magic spells on the walls of the tomb. The burial chamber contained the remains of a mummy. These included the skull, shin, and the right arm. However, whether these belonged to the king is not known. Near the pyramid, some mastabas contained the burials of the consorts of the king. The pyramid was undoubtedly a rich source of inspiration to many.
About the Funerary Cult
The funerary cult of the king was established at Unas's death and continued until the end of the Old Kingdom. It is also said that the cult might have survived even the chaotic Intermediate period, and it was still in existence in the age of the Middle Kingdom. Some historians believe that the cult was revived in this age. On the other hand, rulers of the Middle Ages dismantled the mortuary partially for the high-quality materials. It is believed that the King was worshipped as the local god of Saqqara until the end of the Late Period, which was almost 2,000 years after his death.
A Period of Political Instability After The Death Of Unas
There are doubts regarding whether Unas left behind an heir. Some believe that he had a son, but in any case, there was a period of political instability after his reign. Teti was the first ruler of the 6th dynasty. His wife was possibly a daughter of the king. The mortuary temple of the king contains an inscription with the name and titles of Teti, which indicates that the temple was completed after the death of the king. Some pieces of evidence also suggest that there was not any real gap between the 5th and 6th dynasties.