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Egyptian pharaoh Merenre II


Merenre II was the second-to-last Pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom. He was the son of Pepi II and Queen Neith. His name before he took the throne was Nemtyemsaf. He ruled for just over one year, according to the Turin Canon King List.

About Merenre II

Proof of Merenre II's reign can be deduced from a number of sources - based on research of artifacts from that period of Ancient Egypt. In the Turin Canon, his name is mentioned on the 4th line, 6th column. Although the specific reign of this Pharaoh is lost in the canon, the duration of his reign can be estimated as 1 year and 1 month following the reign of Pepi II, Neferkare. He's mentioned in the Abydos King List in the 39th entry. This King List is the best-preserved documentation of the interim period of the ending of the Old Kingdom and the beginning of the First Intermediate Period. This document also conferred him the throne name of Merenre.

The existence of a Nemtyemsaf II was also found in a later historical source, the Manetho’s Aegyptiaca, where Nemtyemsaf II had been mentioned as Menthesouphis. Here it is mentioned that Merenre II's reign was one year. This document of Manetho is a historical record of Ancient Egypt and was written in the 3rd century BC.


A damaged false door discovered near the site of the pyramid of Neith had also mentioned this Pharaoh. There it was inscribed “Sa-nesu semsu Nemtyemsaf,” meaning “the elder king’s son Nemtyemsaf”. Neith, as history suggests, was Pep II’s half-sister and, at the same time, his Queen and most likely mother of Merenre II. This contemporary artifact proves the fact that he was the apparent successor of Pepi II and also proves the fact that he bore the name Nemtyemsaf before accessing the throne.

There’s also an artifact, a decree, that most likely belonged to this Pharaoh. This decree was discovered in the mortuary temple of Neith. It was there to protect the funeral cults of Ankhesenpepi I and Neith. The decree was apparently issued by Nemtyemsaf II, declaring his Horus name being Stawy meaning "He who causes the two lands to unite ... "

The Reign of Merenre II

Nothing much is known of the reign of this Pharaoh except that Merenre II succeeded the throne after the long reign of his father and predecessor, Pepi II, believed to be of sixty-four years to ninety-four years old. 

As has already been mentioned in the beginning, Merenre II was the penultimate king of the Sixth Dynasty. He had to face the collapse of the royal power along with the rise of the provincial monarchs. The Old Kingdom Period ended within three years of his assassination, leading directly to the chaos of the First Intermediate Period.

Merenre II According To Herodotus's History

According to Herodotus, Merenre II was murdered. This Greek historian had recorded a legend where an Egyptian Queen named Nitocris avenged her brother's as well as her husband's murder by drowning all the murderers in a pre-arranged banquet. The name of the brother and husband was allegedly Nemtyemsaf II (Merenre II). 

Current researchers have a different conclusion on the revenge banquet. It is said that “Nitocris” is not a Queen but a King, the successor of Nemtyemsaf II. The name of this Pharaoh was Neitigerty Siptah. The name “Nitocris” was a result of the conflation and distortion of the original name, according to these historians.

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