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Friday, March 1, 2024

Khentkaus I, the first Egyptian Queen to rule independently

Queen Khenthaus I Life: 

One of Egypt ancient sites is the tomb of Queen Khentkaus I, who ruled towards the end of the fourth dynasty of the Old Kingdom and also lived through the fifth dynasty. Although she was a queen, Queen Khentkaus remains were not buried with the other queens of the Kingdom; instead, she was laid in a separate tomb at Giza. Her unique position is evidenced by her remains being buried in a separate tomb. 

Queen Khentkaus was King Menkaure’s daughter; she inherited the throne from her husband and half-brother King Shepseskaf; thus, making her the king of the upper and lower Kingdom. 

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Queen Khentkaus was married to her half-brother, King Shepseskaf, until his death. She was said to have married a priest called Userkaf to secure her son’s kingdom. Khentkaus and Userkaf have two children, Sahure and Neferirkare. 

Userkaf was the first king of the fifth dynasty, and Sahure and Neferirkare were his immediate successors, hence Khentkaus was also known as the Mother of Two Kingdoms; Upper and Lower kingdom. 

Following the tradition of Fourth Dynasty kings, Queen Khentkaus built herself a 35-meter-high pyramid in Giza. She did, however, change the architectural style of the pyramid. 

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Manetho’s King List has Menkaure and her son Thampthis reigning in the Fourth Dynasty; this ties Khentkaus to the end of the Fourth Dynasty. Her marriage to Userkaf and having been the mother of Sahure ties her to the Fifth Dynasty as well. 

What is the relationship between Khentkaus I and Queen Khenthaus II? 

Is the speculation of Khentkaus I and Khentkaus II being the same person true? Or were there two queens with the same name, separated by one or two generations, who both claimed this disputed title and governed Egypt?  

The finding of the pyramids and enclosures at Abusir and Giza strongly suggests that there were two queens called Khentkaus; further investigation on the familial links will leave you with no doubt. 

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In the case of Khentkaus II, it is reasonably certain that she was the wife of  Neferirkare and the mother of two kings, Neferefre and Niuserre; and there you have your answer. 

Theories regarding Khentkaus I 

There are about Eight or more several known theories by historian like Ventikiev, Hermann Junker, Ludwig Borchardt, Bernhard Grdseloff, Hartwig Altenmüller, Arielle Kozloff, Salim Hassan, Vivienne Callender. 

To date, Khentkaus’ name is still not included among Egypt’s kings, despite the fact that her Mastaba at her Gaza tomb engraving suggests she was. 



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