sneferu

The burial chamber of King Sneferu’s Meidum Pyramid. c 2600 BC.

This was the first time a corbelled ceiling was used inside a pyramid – designed to spread the immense weight of the stone above it and ensure that the immense bulk of the pyramid would not flatten the king.

The stone was left undressed and the burial chamber never used. Sneferu had his sights set on a new location and a new pyramid: Dahshur.

Ancient Egyptian names for the pyramids...

So I was reading The Cult of Ra by Stephen Quirke and he lists the names the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs of the Old Kingdom gave their pyramid complexes. And it is the best shit ever.

Sneferu's complex at Meydum was called Sneferu Is Firm and the two complexes at Dahshur were known Sneferu Rises. Which, you know, could be construed as being references to his penis since I can be incredibly childish.

And then you have the three pyramids at Giza. Khufu’s, the Great Pyramid, is called Horizon of Khufu, which might seem a bit egoistical but is nothing next to Khafra naming his pyramid Khafra Is Great and Menkaura naming his complex Menkarura Is Divine. The egos on these guys, wow.

The Fifth and Sixth Dynasty tends to follow a trend of “the places/power of [pharaoh] are divine/pure/enduring/rising/perfect/firm”. But, in case you were worrying wondering if they suddenly had an ego check of some sort,  we have the fine tradition of “raging egomaniacs” continued with: 

  • Djedkara and his Djedkara Is Perfect complex
  • Pepi I and the Pepi is Enduring and Perfect pyramid
  • Merenra and the little place he likes to call Arisen And Perfect Is Merenra

Finally we have Pepi II who names his complex Enduring And Alive Is Neferkara [throne name, = Pepi II]. Which is actually pretty accurate since he came to the throne as a child and lived into his 90s.

I mean, the egos on these guys. God bless them. Or Gods. Ra. Whatever.

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The pyramid at Meidum is thought to originally have been built for Huni, the last pharaoh of the Third Dynasty, and was continued by Sneferu.

The architect was a successor to the famous Imhotep, the inventor of the stone built pyramid.

The collapse of the pyramid is likely due to the modifications made to Imhotep’s pyramid design as well as the decisions taken twice during construction to extend the pyramid. 

Some believe the pyramid not to have collapsed until the New Kingdom, but there are a number of facts contradicting this theory. The Meidum Pyramid seems never to have been completed.