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

The Pharaohs

Unas
Birth name: Unas
Rule: 2375 - 2345 BC (9th king of the 5th dynasty, Old Kingdom)
Noteworthy relatives: Iput (daughter), Teti (son-in-law)

 

The pyramid of Unas lies in ruins to the south of Djoser's pyramid at Saqqara. Nonetheless, it is worth mentioning because it was the first pyramid to be decorated on the inside. In the burial chamber and antechamber, row after row of hieroglyphs spell out magical incantations that will supposedly help the deceased make it safely to the afterlife. After Unas, it became traditional to have these "Pyramid Texts" inscribed inside. Later on, in the Middle Kingdom, the spells were written on the coffins themselves. By the New Kingdom, it was all written on a large papyrus scroll ("The Book of the Dead") which was placed in the tomb with the mummy.

When Unas died, he had no male heir to take his place, ending the 5th dynasty. His daughter Iput married Teti, and the two of them became the first royal couple of the 6th dynasty.

Ruins of the Pyramid of Unas. By Olaf Tausch (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Black basalt sarcophagus of Unas in burial chamber, decorated with "Pyramid Texts." By Jon Bodsworth [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons