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Fifth Dynasty of Egypt

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Title: Fifth Dynasty of Egypt  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Djedkare Isesi, Nyuserre Ini, Shepseskare, Sahure, Pyramid of Djedkare-Isesi
Collection: 3Rd Millennium Bc in Egypt, Dynasties of Ancient Egypt, Fifth Dynasty of Egypt
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Fifth Dynasty of Egypt

The Fifth Dynasty of ancient Egypt (notated Dynasty V) is often combined with Dynasties III, IV and VI under the group title the Old Kingdom. The Fifth Dynasty dates approximately from 2494 to 2345 BC.


  • Rulers 1
    • Userkaf 1.1
    • Djedkare Isesi 1.2
  • References 2


Known rulers in the Fifth Dynasty are listed below.[1] The pharaohs of this dynasty ruled for approximately 150 years. The Horus names and most names of the Queens are taken from Dodson and Hilton.[2]

Dynasty V pharaohs
Name of King Horus (throne) Name Date Pyramid Queen(s)
Userkaf Irimaat 2494 – 2487 BC Pyramid in Saqqara Khentkaus I ?
Sahure Nebkhau 2487 – 2475 BC Pyramid in Abusir Neferetnebty
Neferirkare Kakai Neferirkare 2475 – 2455 BC Pyramid in Abusir Khentkaus II
Neferefre Neferkhau 2 to 3 years Unfinished Pyramid of Neferefre in Abusir Khentakawess III ?
Shepseskare Shepseskare Likely ephemeral Possibly in Abusir
Nyuserre Ini Nyuserre 2445 – 2421 BC Pyramid in Abusir Reptynub
Menkauhor Kaiu Menkauhor 2421 – 2414 BC "Headless Pyramid" in Saqqara Meresankh IV?
Djedkare Isesi Djedkare 2414 – 2375 BC Pyramid in Saqqara
Unas Wadjtawy 2375 – 2345 BC Pyramid in Saqqara Nebet (queen)

Manetho writes that the Dynasty V kings ruled from Elephantine, but archeologists have found evidence clearly showing that their palaces were still located at Ineb-hedj ("White Walls").

As before, expeditions were sent to Wadi Maghareh and Wadi Kharit in the Sinai to mine for turquoise and copper, and to quarries northwest of Abu Simbel for gneiss. Trade expeditions were sent south to Punt to obtain malachite, myrrh, and electrum, and archeological finds at Byblos attest to diplomatic expeditions sent to that Phoenician city. Finds bearing the names of a several Dynasty V kings at the site of Dorak, near the Sea of Marmara, may be evidence of trade but remain a mystery.


How Pharaoh Userkaf founded this dynasty is not known for certain. The Papyrus Westcar, which was written during the Middle Kingdom, tells a story of how king Khufu of Dynasty IV was given a prophecy that triplets born to the wife of the priest of Ra in Sakhbu would overthrow him and his heirs, and how he attempted to put these children - named Userkaf, Sahure, and Neferirkare - to death; however in recent years, scholars have recognized this story to be at best a legend, and admit their ignorance over how the transition from one dynasty to another transpired.

During this dynasty, Egyptian religion made several important changes. The earliest known copies of funerary prayers inscribed on royal tombs (known as the Pyramid Texts) appear. The cult of the god Ra gains added importance, and kings from Userkaf through Menkauhor Kaiu built temples dedicated to Ra at or near Abusir. Then late in this dynasty, the cult of Osiris assumes importance, most notably in the inscriptions found in the tomb of Unas.

Djedkare Isesi

Amongst non-royal Egyptians of this time, Ptahhotep, vizier to Djedkare Isesi, won fame for his wisdom; The Maxims of Ptahhotep was ascribed to him by its later copyists. Non-royal tombs were also decorated with inscriptions, like the royal ones, but instead of prayers or incantations, biographies of the deceased were written on the walls.


  1. ^ Shaw, Ian, ed. (2000). The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Oxford University Press. p. 480.  
  2. ^ Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, London 2004
Preceded by
Fourth dynasty
Dynasty of Egypt
c. 24942345 BC
Succeeded by
Sixth dynasty
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