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 The END of the OLD EMPIRE

 

 

Names of the Pharaohs
of the Vth Dynasty

Names of the kings
according to Manéthon

Approximate dates
of the reigns (B.C.)

Ouserkaf.................

Ousercheres

2563  to  2555

Sahou-Re................

Sephres

2555  to  2541

Neferirkja-Re Kakaï

Nephercheres

2541  to  2521

Shepseska-Re.........

Sisires

2521  to  2514

Neferef-Re..............

Cheres

2514  to  2494

Niouser-Re Ini.........

Rathoures

2494  to  2450

Menkaouhor(us)......
Akaouhor(us)

Mencheres

2450  to  2441

Djedka-Re Isesi.......

Tancheres

2441  to  2397

OUNAS..................

OUNOS

2397  to  2364

 

When the clergy of Heliopolis ordained the solar cult of Atoum-Re as the State religion during the IIIrd dynasty, solar temples sprang up at the entrances of the necropoles of Saqqarah and Abydos.

OUSERKAF,
the nephew of Mykerinos, constructed at Saqqarah a magnificent temple consecrated to ATOUM-Re, and it had a large inclined ramp leading from the reception area up to a great central court, where there was the sacrificial altar and a massive obelisk.

SAHOU-RE,
his successor, dug the channel which joins the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.With his powerful army he led the 1st expedition to the country of Pount, today non-existent on the map.

NIOUSER-RE,
the sixth Pharaoh of the fifth dynasty of Memphis, interrupted the building of the six solar temples, of which five had been erected at ABOUSIR, and started to construct some pyramids at Saqqarah.

OUNAS,
the ninth and last Pharaoh of the Vth dynasty, constructed a pyramid containing with the writings entitled " the wisdom of Ptahotep " and the most ancient version of the " Texts of the Pyramids ".

 

" The wisdom of Ptahotep " is a compilation of the counsels of an aged man concerning honesty, justice, obedience to the laws, marital love, respect to one’s neighbor. We mention some excerpts :

Ah! Osiris, it is You in me that sustains me. Your majesty said to me " Instruct the people in the history of the past, because it is nourishment for the children and adults. Those who understand it, will walk in great happiness.

Don't inspire fear in men, because God will fight you over that. Man must not live in fear, but must live a restful life so that he will give gladly (with a good heart) that which one wanted to take by fear.

When a man clings to justice and walks in those ways, he makes it his home and does not have room for wickedness. If you are wise man, watch over your house, love your wife completely, caress her, open your arms so that she can embrace you, show her your love, because if you reject her, it is for her (like) a terrible abyss!

Remember that " your neighbour is your equal."

Say only good things.

Loving God is to obey Him; the heart is the absolute master of the man; if you listen to these things that I say to you, all your acts will be according to the "divine principle".

 

These are amazing words of wisdom, written on the walls of a pyramid 4400 years ago!

These TEXTS of the PYRAMIDS confirm the great spiritual role of Osiris, who welcomed the Pharaoh into the celestial spheres. It is to be regretted that only nine pyramid texts have been recovered, the last being the one of king Qaka-Re Aba, who reigned during the 7th dynasty, from 2167 to 2163BC.

 

Names of the Pharaohs
of the VIth Dynasty

Names of the kings
according to Manethon

Approximate Dates
of the reigns (B.C.)

Teti

Othoes

2364  to  2334

Ouserka-Re

....

?

Pepi Ist

Phios I

reigned ~ 35 years

Meren-Re

Methousophis

reigned  7 years

Neferka-Re / Pepi II

Phios II

reigned ~ 64 years

Menka-Re

Nitocris

died ~2181BC.

 

The sixth dynasty began with a climate of dissent in several nomes, so to re-establish his authority the Pharaoh Teti hired Nubian mercenaries. He entrusted to his architect Mineptah Ank-Merire the mission of constructing a double royal palace and a "small" pyramid for his tomb, 80 m long and 45 m. high. Fortunately, Teti was assisted by two good Prime ministers (or viziers), Kagemmi and Meri, who re-established order during his reign, reorganizing the nomes who had wanted to revolt.

Pepi Ist -
A long reign with several uprisings by the chiefs of the Nomes, who formed an alliance against the royal power.
In spite of some good campaigns led into the Sinai and into Canaan by the vizier Ouni, Pepi 1st appeared not to see in his country this prevailing wind which would explode into a storm in the VIIth dynasty; the governors rose up against their king.
Pepi II -
who following the short reign of his brother Meren-Re 1st, reigned for more than 60 years in Egypt. But he did not take position a strong position against the conspiring princes, and some years after his death anarchy took over in Egypt, which sounded the knell of the so-called Old Kingdom.

 

The popular revolt against the construction of the pyramids

 

We have stated that many of the writings about the religious reforms of Imhotep have completely disappeared. It was not entirely so as they found the first texts from the 5th dynasty in the pyramids, but the clergy of Heliopolis (led by such an extraordinary High Priest as Imhotep) waited two centuries to establish the doctrine of resurrection as symbolized by Osiris!

To the Egyptians THE NAME of the Almighty God was important. He could take on many aspects, and "HE IS the CREATOR" of everything. One can say that from then on the pursuit of the supernatural integrated with actions and thoughts of the individual. It was precisely this spirit which has come down through the ages from generation to generation, despite the movement of people and changes in governments.

If one is to believe Herodotus, there was a popular revolt in the 7th dynasty that marked the end of the Old Kingdom and the separation of the kingdoms, this being called : "the first Intermediate Period".

This explains in part our lack of written information about the different royal architects of the 4th dynasty (who also built pyramids) and the destruction of the statues of Cheops (after his death).

The only image of Cheops remaining is a small statuette damaged but restored and now shown in the Cairo Museum.

Several provincial governors allied themselves against the royal power to their own good. The country was weakened by this civil war, and the Bedouin nomads living on the frontiers of the country organized raids into the towns and villages of the Nile Delta where they killed and ransacked with complete impunity.

As the melancholy song of the harpist shows even the treasures of the pyramids were not spared :

" The gods (the kings) wee once entombed in the pyramids but where are they now? The walls are in ruins, their tombs are no longer there. It is as if they never existed."

From his lips flows a philosophy explaining to future generations the vanity of material things and the inevitability of death.

" People come and go, whereas others have lived since the time of our ancestors. Complaining never saved anyone from death and no one can take with him his worldly goods. Everyone who leaves never returns!

If you want something that can be never lost, give bread to those who are hungry and have no fields, and be assured that your name will live forever. "  

One senses that despite all the misfortunes which had overtaken Egypt , the faith of the singer was not shaken as he believed still in being charitable and in the words of his ancestors such as Imhotep..

 

The First Intermediate Period

 

This was a very troubled time during the 7th and 8th dynasties when two cities vied for the title of capital city : Memphis and Abydos. Heracleopolis remained faithful to the authority of the king in Memphis whereas IDI, the prince of Coptos and SHEMA, prince of Abydos, governed Upper Egypt and became independent once more.

Beside the Bedouin raids there were also attacks from the Libyans in the west, and the Syrians joined with the Canaanites (Asiatic peoples) to attack the Egyptians.

During the 9th and 10th dynasties several princes tried in vain to establish a royal capital in middle Egypt at Heracleopolis. Nefekare (2130 to2120 BC) tried to impose his jurisdiction without success. He could not unite his people.

 

The 10th DYNASTY : this was at the dawn of the MIDDLE KINGDOM

 

King Ouakha-Re KHETY III (2110to 2075 BC) taught his son, the future king MERIKARE of the 10th dynasty (2075 to 2060BC), thus : (Papyrus of the Hermitage Museum - N0. 1115 at Copenhagen.)

"Life on earth passes quickly, and happy are those without sin, because a million men will serve as nothing to the king of heaven and earth when they appear as sinners in the next life. The memory of the good man will live for ever. The essence of life is in the word of the ancestors; it is contained in books. Open and read them.

Practice justice as long as you are on earth,
Comfort those that cry, do not oppress the widow and the orphan.
(sentences that the Bible repeats often.)

God knows the treacherous and paid for their sins in His blood...
Go down the difficult path, because the soul of the man is drawn to the place that it knows,
does not depart from the way of truth; and no-one can prevent it!

Know that the judges in the courthouse of the next world will examine a life as if it were only an hour.
Happy is the one that reaches the next life : he will be like a god, he will move
freely like the masters of eternity, because there is no-one who can oppose
the CREATOR, who is omnipresent and omniscient. Honor your invisible God on your way, practice truth and justice,

Act for God so that he can do the same for you. After having punished men (in the deluge?), his light (Re) again shines in the sky, so that men may see it.

These sublime words were written toward 2080BC, within one or two hundred years of the birth in UR in the Chaldees of a young man called Abraham! .

 

THE WARNINGS OF IOUPER

 

In some papyrus rolls discovered at Memphis, is a text that has been ascribed to a SCRIBE of the MIDDLE KINGDOM, called IOUPER. This scribe tries to explain the reasons for the events of the first intermediate period. This document is currently preserved in the museum of Leyde,  (Netherlands) under the No. 1344.

Hostile tribes are settled everywhere in the country, and soft and humble men sigh saying that these men are so different! Whereas one taught before that "fate" would always be hopeful in the times of Horus (son of Osiris), and in the eternal age of the Enneade, (the college of the gods of Heliopolis).

See the river (Nile) carrying blood and yet men quench their thirst there and are still thirsty! The cities of Upper and Lower Egypt are destroyed and burned. The palace of the kings has been plundered, even the dead have become strangers.

Contemplate that this occurs when men risk rebelling against the divine Uraeus, with which the god Re pacifies the two countries. The snake of knowledge has been seized, and pillagers are everywhere.

Remember when the perfume of the offerings floated in the air, the holy days were respected, incense burned and the priests were pure because corruption of the heart did not exist.

Remember that God, who produces hot and cold weather, is also the shepherd of men, and his heart is unaware of their wickedness. If his herd goes astray, he spends the day finding them again.
(Strange language which resembles that of the prophets and of Christ!)

Yes! truly, he finds the hearts of men by the means of his love for them, and he sees their nature from the first generation. He also may think of destroying the bad men by his own arm. Know that it is well that men construct pyramids, dig ponds and plants trees for the pleasure of the gods and the happiness of people.

Let every man love his neighbor, let integrity be respected in all speech. Future generations, I speak to you from my heart, and I wait for your answer in the same way. No heart must remain silent, because we know how much is weighed in the balance of the beyond...

 

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