Khufu

Monarch

– 1969

13

Who was Khufu?

Khufu, originally Khnum-Khufu, is the birth name of a Fourth Dynasty ancient Egyptian pharaoh, who ruled in the first half of the Old Kingdom period. Khufu was the second pharaoh of the 4th dynasty; he followed his possible father, king Sneferu, on the throne. He is generally accepted as having built the Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but many other aspects of his reign are rather poorly documented.

Khufu is well known under his Hellenized name Khêops or Cheops and less well known under another Hellenized name, Súphis. A rare version of the name of Khufu, used by Josephus, is Sofe. Arab historians, who wrote mystic stories about Khufu and the Giza pyramids, called him Saurid or Salhuk.

The only completely preserved portrait of the king is a three-inch high ivory figurine found in a temple ruin of later period at Abydos in 1903. All other reliefs and statues were found in fragments and many buildings of Khufu are lost. Everything known about Khufu comes from inscriptions in his necropolis at Giza and later documents. For example, Khufu is the main actor of the famous Papyrus Westcar from 13th dynasty.

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