Merenre I was the fourth ruler of the Sixth Dynasty of Old Kingdom. His name was originally believed to be Antyemsaf but that proved to be incorrect. His birth name is now known as Nemty-em-sa-f meaning Nemty is his Protection, while his Horus name was Ankh-khau. Merenre was his throne-name which means Beloved of Ra.
The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt proposed that he reigned between 2287 BC and 2278 BC, while Chronicle of Pharaohs proposed 2283 BC to 2278 BC. But it’s proven that he succeeded Pepi I and is the oldest son of the Pharaoh and rule for a brisk period and died at a young age.
It was once believed, based on research at the time, that before ruling independently, Merenre I served as co-regent to Pepi I, his father and predecessor. But, in 1995, after the publication of South Saqqara Stone Annal Document, this believe proved to be wrong. This much-damaged document records the 25th Count of Pepi I, his final year, and immediately proceeds to Merenre.
Whatever the matter is, one thing is clear: the similarity between Merenre I and his predecessor, his father, Pepi I. Merenre I shared his father’s ideas and policies for Nubia; he continued to explore deep in this region.
Uni or Weni, Pepi I’s trusted minister, was elevated to the post of governor of Upper Egypt. This title granted an unprecedented honor in placing Upper Egypt under him in a single authority. Merenre I also undid a diffusion of the government authority, which began in Fifth Dynasty (2465 BC-2325 BC), by expanding the authority of the son of Pepi I’s vizier over two Nomes.
Merenre I paid a visit to Aswan during his ninth year as Pharaoh. This visit is a significant one because this period saw a migration of a new group of people, Nubian C Group as archaeologists refer them, into Nubia from the south. The Pharaoh use this growing relationship Merenre I for his advantage and dug out five canals in Upper Egypt to procure stones and timbers for his pyramid. Uni confirmed this in his autobiographical inscription: “… in order to build 3 barges and 4 tow-boats of acacia wood of Wawat, the rulers of the Medja hills Irtjet, Wawat, Yam, Medja were cutting the wood for them. (I) did it entirely in one year, floated and loaded with very large granite (blocks) for the pyramid 'Merenre -appears-in-splendor…”
As there was no wood in Lower Nubia, it would have to be procured from sources much farther south, and it is believed the Nubian rulers had helped by supplying the wood needed to construct the barges. Meanwhile, another thing to be considered is that the Lower Nubian rulers also profited much by sending their fighting men to Egypt for hire. By the end of Old Kingdom (ca. 2150 BC), the Egyptian armies mainly consisted of the Nubian mercenaries.
His pyramid was never completed due to his untimely death. It is still not confirmed whether the incomplete-planned pyramid in Saqqara was for him, but, it is sure that his mummy was the first one that was found belonging to the Old Kingdom.