Sahure was the second king of the Fifth Dynasty during the Old Kingdom in ancient Egypt. He ascended the throne after Pharaoh Userkaf, most probably for being his son. Sahure's reign lasted only 12 years during the early phase of the 25th century B.C., but this short period significantly impacted Egypt's political, cultural, and financial developments. Sahure was succeeded by his son Neferirkare Kakai, as per the records of the Turin Canon or King List of ancient Egypt. The name of Sahure literally means ‘He who is close by Ra’, indicating his faith in the Egyptian Sun God Ra. Sahure's burial tomb is in the Pyramid of Sahure, which he built himself, which is in Abusir. He was also known to have constructed a Sun Temple called “The Field of Ra," but this building has not yet been located.
According to the Turin King List, Sahure succeeded Userkaf. Moreover, the Pyramid of Userkaf at Saqqara was probably finished by Sahure, which is proven by the discovery of Sahure’s cartouche inside the mortuary temple of this pyramid.
These two facts prove that Userkaf was indeed the father of Sahure. His mother was Queen Neferhetepes II, whose pyramid was found next to that of Userkaf, indicating that she was his wife. His mother was also featured in the picture of the royal family of Sahure, found in the causeway of the Pyramid of Sahure. In this same picture, Queen Meretnebty was depicted as Sahure’s wife, and she was definitely the mother of their possible twin sons, Ranefer and Netjerirenre. Ranefer succeeded his father, Sahure, adopting the name of Neferikare Kakai. According to some historians, Netjerirenre took the throne, with the name of Shepseskare, after his brother. According to the relief picture on the wall of the mortuary temple of Sahure, the four other sons of Sahure were Horemsaf, Raemsaf, Khakare, and Nebankhre. However, the name of their mother is not mentioned there.
The Pyramid of Sahure
Sahure built his own pyramid in Abusir, rather than the royal necropolis of Giza or Saqqara, a decision that was probably inspired by the urge to be closer to the temple of the Sun God Ra. This pyramid was smaller and simpler than all the pyramids built by Sahure's predecessors. However, the mortuary temple of this pyramid was built in a much-advanced manner compared to the archaeology of that era. The palm-form columns were first introduced in this pyramid, an archaeological style that was followed while building other pyramids of later periods too. Moreover, all the walls of the whole mortuary temple were decorated with extensive reliefs depicting his family members, various royal ceremonies, funeral processions, and the return of the Egyptian fleet from other countries.
These reliefs were mostly made of red granite, and many of them were superimposed by thin copper plates. The pyramid structure was only 47 meters, spread over a base of 78.75 meters. It was made of limestone blocks in 6 tiers, and these blocks were sealed only with debris and mortar. There are also reliefs all over the walls of the 235-meter-long causeway, but the valley temple and the pyramid temple of this complex are mostly ruined now.