Djedkare Isesi, Pharaoh of Egypt

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Records for Djedkare Isesi

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About Djedkare Isesi, Pharaoh of Egypt

Djedkare Isesi in Greek known as Tancheres[1] from Manetho's Aegyptiaca, was a Pharaoh of Egypt during the Fifth dynasty. He is assigned a reign of twenty-eight years by the Turin Canon although some Egyptologists believe this is an error and should rather be thirty-eight years. Manetho ascribes to him a reign of forty-four years while the archaeological evidence suggests that his reign is likely to have exceeded thirty-two years. Djedkare's prenomen or royal name means "The Soul of Ra Endureth."

Djedkare Isesi did not, as was customary for his dynasty, build his own sun temple, but did build his pyramid at Saqqara instead of Abusir. This is believed to be a sign that Osiris had now replaced the sun-god Ra as the most popular god. Titles were now thought to hold magical power; their growing importance believed to be a sign of a gradual decentralization of power.

Several people from the reign of Djedkare Isesi are known through their tombs in Giza. Cemetery 2000 contains several tombs of overseers and inspectors of the Palace attendants.[12] These people are thought to have held functions in the royal palace. The inspectors of the palace attendants include Redi (G 2086), Kapi (G 2091), and Pehenptah (G 2088). Some of these individuals attested in Giza held further position within the royal court.

A courtier named Saib (G 2092+2093) was also a companion and held the positions of director of the palace. Saib was also secretary of the House of Morning. Saib was buried ina double mastaba. He may have shared this tomb with his wife Tjentet, who was a priestess of Neith. Nimaatre (G 2097) was another palace attendant of the Great House. Nimaatre may have been related to Saib, but this is not certain. Nimaatre also served as secretary of the Great House (i.e. the Palace).

A man named Nefermesdjerkhufu (G 2240) was companion of the house, overseer of the department of palace attendants of the Great House, he who is in the heart of his lord, and secretary. He also held the positions of overseer of the two canals of the Great House, and he held a porition related to the royal documents.[13]

A nobleman by the name of Kaemankh (G 4561) was royal acquaintance and was associated with the royal treasury. Kaemwankh was an inspector of administrators of the treasury, and secretary of the king's treasure.[14][15]

Possibly one of the best known nobles from the time of Djedkare is his vizier Ptahhotep who was buried in Saqqara.

Djedkare had another vizier by the name of Rashepses. A letter directed to Rashepses has been preserved. This decree is inscribed in his tomb in Saqqara.

Another well attested vizier was Senedjemib Inti. Senedjemib Inti was buried in Giza; in mastaba G 2370. He is described as true count Inti, chief justice and vizier Senedjemib, and the royal chamberlain Inti. Letters from Djedkare to his Vizier have been preserved because Senedjemib Inti had them inscribed in his tomb. One royal decree is addressed to the chief justice overseer of all works of the king and overseer of scribes of royal documents, Senedjemib. This decree mentions the planning of a court in the pool area(?) of the jubilee palace called "Lotus-of-Isesi". This decree is dated to either the 6th or 16th count, 4th month of the 3rd season, day 28. A second letter concerns a draft of the inscriptions of a structure called the "Sacred Marriage Chapel of Isesi". The third decree recorded in Inti's tomb mentions the construction of a lake.[16]

Senedjemib Inti died during the reign of Djedkare Isesi. Inscriptions in the tomb of Inti describe how his son, Senedjemib Mehi, asks and receives permission to bring a sarcophagus from Tura. Senedjemib Mehi would later follow in his father's footsteps and become vizier during the reign of one of Djedkare's successors.

Inscriptions in the Sinai - in Wadi Maghareh - shows a continued presence during the reign of Djedkare Isesi. Expeditions were sent to find and bring back semi-precious stones such as turqoise. Inscriptions can be dated to the 3rd (or 4th) and 9th cattle count.[18]

Djedkare is known to have had expeditions to Byblos and Punt.[19] The expedition to punt is referred to in the letter from Pepi II to Harkuf some 100 years later. Harkuf had reported that he would bring back a "dwarf of the god's dancers from the land of the horizon dwellers". Pepi mentions that the god's sealbearer Werdjededkhnum had returned from Punt with a dwarf during the reign of Djedkare Isesi and had been richly rewarded. The decree mentions that "My Majesty will do for you something greater then what was done for the god's sealbearer Werdjededkhnum in the reign of Isesi, reflecting my majesty's yearning to see this dwarf".

An entire series of dated administrative papyri from Djedkare's reign was discovered in king Neferirkare's mortuary temple. According to Miroslav Verner, Djedkare Isesi's highest known date is a Year 22 IV Akhet day 12 papyrus,[21] which would belong anywhere from Year 32 to Year 44 of his reign depending on whether the Cattle Count was Bi-annual (2 times) or semi-annual (1.5 times). Djedkare Isesi's reign is well documented by the Abusir Papyri,numerous royal seals and contemporary inscriptions; taken together, they indicate a fairly long reign for this king.

Djedkare moved from Abusir to South Saqqara to construct his pyramid complex. His pyramid was called "Beautiful is Djedkare". Today it is called Haram el-Shawaf which means "the Sentinel pyramid". The pyramid tomb at Saqqara was constructed with six steps, which were then covered with white limestone. The top three levels of the pyramid are now missing and most of the limestone casing has been removed.[23]

In the interior of the pyramid three rooms would have contained Djedkare's burial. The burial chamber contained the dark grey basalt sarcophagus which held the body of the king. The canopic jars were buried in the floor of the burial chamber, to the north-east of the sarcophagus. An antechamber and a storage chamber completed the set of interior rooms. Djedkare's almost complete mummy, along with a badly broken basalt sarcophagus and a niche for the canopic chest, was discovered in the pyramid.[24] Djedkare died at ca 50–60 years of age.[25]

To the east of the pyramid Djedkare's mortuary temple was laid out. The east facade of the mortuary temple featured to massive stone structures which resemble the later pylons. The motruary temple is connected via a causeway to a valley temple. An interesting structure associated with Djedkare's pyramid is the so-called "Pyramid of the Unknown Queen". This pyramid complex lies at the south-east corner of Djedkare's complex.