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The Mortuary Temple Of Menkaure

The Pyramid of Menkaure was built in Giza Necropolis next to the huge pyramids of his ancestors, Khufu and Khafre. This pyramid is visibly the smallest among the three notable pyramids of this necropolis, with a height of only 65.5 meters. It was constructed over a large base of 108.5 meters made of limestone. The lower sixteen layers of the exterior part of this pyramid were made of red granite, while its upper part was made of white Tura limestone. There are three smaller satellite pyramids south of the main pyramid of Menksure, but only the largest of these three was completed, while the rest were left incomplete due to unknown reasons. In the Egyptian language, this pyramid was called ‘Netjer-er-Menkaure’, which meant ‘Menkaure Is Divine.’ The pyramid was completed by Menkaure's son Shepseskaf, as Menkaure probably died before completing the structure.


A Brief History Of Pharaoh Menkaure

Menkaure was the son and successor of Pharaoh Khafre, and his mother was Khamerernebty I, as per the inscriptions in his mortuary temple. He had quite a number of half-brothers who served as viziers or ministers in his royal court. He was the fifth Pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom in Egypt. Though the duration of his reign could not be ascertained due to the vagueness of the inscriptions, he was known to be a kind and generous king, as per the records of the Greek historian Herodotus. Per the inscriptions, he married his sister Khamerernebty II and a half-sister Rekhetre but not much could be known about his children; only the names of Khuenre, Shepseskaf, and Khentkaus I were linked to Menkaure as his sons and daughter. He was succeeded by his younger son Shepseskaf, as his eldest son, Crown Prince Khuenre, died before him.  Scholars hold the general opinion that he reigned for 18 to 22 years in Egypt.

Menkaure's Mortuary Temple

Although the foundation of the total pyramid complex was made of limestone, the floor and some walls of the mortuary temple of this pyramid were made of red granite.
The open courtyard of this temple was connected to the causeway of the complex, with a long entrance corridor. Most probably, there were many pillars in this courtyard, though very few remnants of these pillars are left now. A small shrine with plastered and whitewashed walls located in the courtyard was probably built by Shepseskaf as well.
Along the offering hall towards the west of this temple, there is a courtyard with a pillared portico. The storerooms of this mortuary temple housed several statues of the Pharaoh, most of which are now in broken condition. A large statue of pink granite has been found in pieces, which might have been the main statue of this pyramid, probably placed at the altar of the mortuary temple. The main burial chamber of the pyramid was built next to the west wall of this temple. But the false door was made on the wall of the burial chamber, instead of the mortuary temple, unlike other pyramids. The valley temple of this pyramid complex was made of limestone and mudbricks, though some structures were probably built of alabaster. The storehouses of this valley temple contained most of the intact statues of Menkaure, and this temple might have been rebuilt by the Pharaohs of later dynasties, too, as per the inscriptions found here.

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