Userkare was the second pharaoh of ancient Egypt's 6th dynasty. His name means "powerful soul." He reigned in the late 24th century to early 23rd century BC for 1 to 5 years. Userkare's relationship with his predecessor Teti and his successor is still being determined. He had an enigmatic reign, and references to him in the historical sources need to be more detailed. However, it is surprising that Userkare is absent from the tomb complex where other Egyptian pharaohs from his reign were buried. He may have even been a short-lived usurper because his predecessor, Teti, was murdered. This could explain why he was not buried with the other leaders.
Presence In The Historical Sources
Userkare's name was mentioned in the list of kings written over 1,000 years later. He occupies the 35th entry in the list of kings between Teti and Pepi. This implies that he was the second pharaoh of his dynasty. Apart from that, he was also listed in the Turin canon. Very few artifacts containing his name survive today. Two cylinder seals include an inscription of his name and title, considered one of the most secure proofs of Userkare's reign. Historians have also discovered a copper ax head in Syria that might have belonged to Userkare.
Disappearance From History
When Pepi took control over the reins of the 6th dynasty, King Userkare completely disappeared from history. Finding his tomb was one of the significant aims of modern archaeologists and historians. Moreover, they believed that the walls of his burial might contain some copies of the texts of pyramids. The missing pyramid of the obscure pharaoh could now lie in a hidden area of Saqqara, according to the latest discovery of the tomb. All the monuments are connected through a pattern of diagonally invisible lines.
The Stone At South Saqqara
Some essential details about the kingdom of Userkare are written on the stone found at South Saqqara. This is a royal annal of the sixth dynasty, and it continues to list information up until the reign of Pepi II. However, it is estimated that more than 92% of the original text was lost when the stone was polished roughly and reused in the First Intermediate period.
What Was The Nature Of Userkare's Reign?
Egyptians and historians believe that Userkare ruled as one of the legitimate stopgaps or a regent with the queen.
Some sources reveal that Userkare was very young when his father died. Because of this, he was too young to ascend the throne immediately. Evidence is that Userkare is well-attested in different historical sources, including on the Saqqara stone. Therefore, it cannot be said that he was illegitimate and the murder of Teti was his plan. Apart from that, there is no direct evidence of the nature or cause of Userkare's difficulties with Pepi.