© 1996 by Kevin Fleury unless otherwise noted. No unauthorized use permitted. Contact us at neferchichi@comcast.net

The Pharaohs

Djoser
Horus name: Netjerikhet ("Divine of the Body")
Rule: 2668 - 2649 BC (2nd king of the 3rd dynasty, Old Kingdom)

 

Djoser will always be best remembered for his tomb rather than any noteworthy accomplishments. Kings before him were typically buried in plain-looking, flat-roofed tombs called mastabas. These were positioned near each other like houses in a neighborhood. This arrangement was a "city of the dead," or necropolis. But Djoser's vizier, a genius named Imhotep, designed a tomb for Djoser that was much more impressive. Six levels of stacked mastabas, each one smaller than the one below it, became not only the very first pyramid but also the first totally stone building in the world. Located at Saqqara, Djoser's "Step Pyramid" rose over 200 feet high and was decorated on the inside with carved reliefs and inlaid blue faience tiles. Although Djoser's mummy was not found inside the Step Pyramid, a mummified left foot was discovered... maybe it was his? Other members of the royal family were also buried inside, including a child who was found in an alabaster sarcophagus.

Statue of Djoser. By Jon Bodsworth [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons

Step Pyramid of Djoser. By Arian Zwegers from Brussels, Belgium (Saqqara, step pyramid of Djoser) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons