Neferirkare Kakai was the third Pharaoh of the Fifth Dynasty. He is known to have succeeded Pharaoh Sahure, his father. His prenomen or throne name was Neferirkare, which meant ‘Beautiful is the soul of Ra’, owing to his faith in Sun-God Ra, following the tradition of his father Sahure. But his Horus name or the royal crest was ‘Userkhau,’ and his Golden Horus name was ‘Sekhemunebu’. His Nebti name, as per the ancient Egyptian culture, was ‘Khaiemnebty’. He was most likely succeeded by either Shepseskare, who might have been his brother, or by his son Neferefre, but both these rulers were known to live for a short period after being crowned. He built his own burial tomb at Abusir in the form of the Pyramid of Neferirkare Kakai, which was a 72-meter-high structure. But for an unknown reason, his mortuary temple was left incomplete; only a part of the lower mortuary temple could be completed.
Some information about the reign of Neferirkare Kakai
According to the record of Egyptian historian Manetho, his reign lasted for 20 years, most likely from 2475 – 2455 B.C. But some other scholars, like Miroslav Verner, believe that Neferirkare Kakai did not rule for many years, as he could not finish his own pyramid complex in Abusir. Not much information has been obtained about his reign, except for an important document of the old Kingdom, now named the Abusir Papyri, where it was stated that tax was imposed on all categories of people of the country, as per the state rule of that time. But as a person, Neferirkare had been mentioned as a kind-hearted and generous king, as per official records of that period. In these records, it was revealed that this Pharaoh did not like to punish people for minor grievances, unlike many other Egyptian rulers. Moreover, he was known to take care of his officials and even honor them after their death, as he did for his Vizier Weshptah. All the details about his sympathetic deeds for Weshptah, before and after his death, are inscribed on the tomb of this vizier or minister of Neferirkare. A priest of that time, Rawer, also mentioned the kindness of this Pharaoh in an inscription over his own tomb in Giza, where Neferirkare forgave a mistake of this priest while conducting a prayer service in the temple.
The family details of Neferirkare Kakai
Though earlier, the parentage of Neferirkare Kakai was quite uncertain due to the lack of information, it's now known that his father was Sahure and his mother was Meretnebty, the queen of Sahure. It is widely assumed that he was originally named Ranefer and had a twin brother called Netjerirenre, probably who later came to be known as Shepseskare. His wife was Queen Khentkaus II, and this royal couple had two sons, who were named Ranefer and Niuserre, both of whom became the Pharaohs of Egypt in the later course of time, with the throne names of ‘Nefrefekare’ and Nyuserre Ini, that they adopted while being crowned.