Khufu

Khufu was a pharaoh from the 4th Dynasty. You might recognize his name as being the pharaoh who built the Great Pyramid of Giza. Not much is known about this king, but what we do know it pretty interesting. First of all, the only representation of Khufu existing is actually a small nine centimeter statue of him on his throne – which was strangely found in Abydos, not Giza where he ruled. Actually, he was widely known as Cheops, not Khufu, which is the Greek version of his name. However, his actual name was discovered in a cartouche where he was buried.
This pharaoh ruled for 24 exciting years. From what little is known about his rule, researchers believe that he lead a military force into the Sinai peninsula as well as into Nubia and Libya. He was the son of another pyramid builder – King Sneferu. Following the family tradition, two of his sons, Khafre and Djedefre, also built slightly smaller pyramids as well.
While Khufu’s father was known as a kind ruler, Khufu has been portrayed as an unpleasant and ruthless pharaoh with an interest in the mystical. Whether or not he was actually as terrible as portrayed, he obviously possessed the will of his people for the Great Pyramid was not something easy to build and would have required enormous amounts of manpower. The organization needed to control and organize that many people had to have some cooperation from the people – as researchers now believe that the pyramid was not built through slave labor, but actually through paid workers.
The pyramid itself actually possesses some interesting qualities. First of all, it is the largest pyramid in all of Egypt, standing at 481 feet tall, which is an impressive feat in itself. Strangely enough, though his father was buried in Dahshur, Khufu decided to erect his pyramid in the Giza Plateau, away from his father’s. Also odd is that he did not pick the highest spot on the plateau (that would later go to his son, Khafre’s, pyramid), but built it slightly lower. No one really knows the reason for this because, while smaller, Khafre’s pyramid appears bigger because of its’ placement on the higher bank of the plateau. Curiously, an ancient wooden boat (in pieces) was also placed within the pyramid inside of a pit. (This is now preserved and placed in a museum right above the original pit.)
All in all, Khufu was an intriguing individual. The most interesting thing about him perhaps is that we don’t know much about him. While written about by a few authors (like Manetho), they placed a negative view on him and also were very vague. Hopefully, in the future, more can be unveiled about this mysterious pharaoh.

2 thoughts on “Khufu

  1. This may come as a surprise, but I did not know Khufur was responsible for the construction of the Great Pyramid at Giza. It surprises me that more isn’t known about him, especially since he reigned for 24 years! It makes me wonder where objects possessing information about him are located and whether or not they were destroyed and by whom. With the little information we do know about him being an unpleasant ruler, we can stipulate that this has something to do with the few artifacts that still remain. What also interested me is that his pyramid was created with paid labor…making me wonder if he really was as awful as he is portrayed, especially since the little amount if info we do have on him is vague.

  2. I did know that Khufu built the largest pyramid at Giza. It really does not suprise me at he did not build his pyramid at Dahshur, according to archaeological digs, there were five pyramids built there (only two are still standing – one of them is his fathers). There are also a large number of mastabas and even a coptic cemetery. I think it might have felt a little overcrowded! He also might not have wanted to offend his father if he built a bigger pyramid next to that of his father. If people liked his dad better, they might have rebelled about that. That might also be a reason that his pyramid is not on the higher ground – his workers might have wanted his pyramid to look smaller than others because they did not like him. They probably liked his son better so thats why he is at a higher spot. I wonder if people hated Khufu so much that they demanded pay to build his pyramid. I also wonder how much the great pyramid cost to build because he had to pay all of the workers? I have always wondered how long people waited before stealing things out of the pyramids.

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