Ancient Egyptian King Unas
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 no reports of Unas's ruling span exist. 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, the most miniature royal pyramids constructed during the Old Kingdom. A mortuary complex with different valley temples accompanied it. A causeway linked these temples, 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 who carved and painted the pyramid texts on the walls of the pyramid chambers. This was undoubtedly a significant 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 has yet to be discovered. Near the pyramid, some mastabas contained the burials of the king's consorts. 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 high-quality materials. It is believed that the King was worshipped as the local god of Saqqara until the end of the Late Period, 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 the daughter of the king. The king's mortuary temple contains an inscription with the name and title of Teti, which indicates that the temple was completed after the king's death. Some evidence also suggests no discernible gap between the 5th and 6th dynasties.