Userkare Khendjer was a minor king of the early Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt during the Middle Kingdom.[2] Khendjer possibly reigned for four to five years, archaeological attestations show that he was on the throne for at least three or four years three months and five days. Khendjer had a small pyramid built for himself in Saqqara and it is therefore likely that his capital was in Memphis.


The highest attested date for Khendjer's reign is Year 5 IV Akhet day 15 (season of the Inundation). Kim Ryholt notes that two dated control notes on stone blocks from his unfinished pyramid complex give him a minimum reign of 3 or 4 years 3 months and 5 days.[3] The aforementioned control notes are dated to Year 1 I Akhet day 10 and Year 5 IV Akhet day 15 of his reign.[4] In these control notes, the names of three officials involved in building the pyramid are also identified. They are the Interior Overseer of the Inner Palace, Senebtyfy {jmj-rꜣ ꜥẖnwtj (n) kꜣp⸗fj}, the Interior Overseer Ameny {jmj-rꜣ ꜥẖnwtj jmnjj} and the Interior Overseer, Craftsman, Shebenu {jmj-rꜣ ꜥẖnwtj; ḫrp ḥmww šbnw}.[5] The latter is also attested by other sources.[6]


Main article: Pyramid of Khendjer

At Saqqara South, the Pyramid of Khendjer may have been completed as it was found with a pyramidion during excavations by G. Jequier.[7] There was found a fragment of a canopic jar, which offers a partial name for his queen, Seneb ... "which may be restored as Sonb[henas]."[8] There are also some notes and marks of people working at the pyramid.[9]

At Abydos, a stela, beloning to a Controller of the Phyle Amenyseneb, record a building project by the king at the Temple of Osiris.[10][11][12] On this stela the name Khendjer also appear along with the prenomen Nimaatre. Some have speculated that Khendjer had a second prenomen.[13] However, it was also the prenomen of Amenemhat III. Amenyseneb is also associated by another stela with vizier Ankhu.[14] See also a double-sided stela of Amenyseneb.[15]

Another stela once in Liverpool (destroyed in World War II), provides the name of the king's son "Khedjer". He might be a son of the king.[16] Other objects with his name, according to the list provided by Ryholt, include three cylinder-seals from Athribis, a tile found near el-Lisht, scarab seals and an axe blade.

Non-contemporary attestations

The Turin King List column 7:20 mentions "Dual King Userkare Khendjer, x years ...".[17] In this list Khendjer is between Sekhemre Khutawy Sobekhotep (7:19) and Imyremeshaw (7:21).


The name Khendjer is poorly attested in Egyptian.[18] Khendjer "has been interpreted as a foreign name hnzr and equated with the Semitic personal name h(n)zr, [for] "boar" according to the Danish Egyptologist Kim Ryholt.[1] He notes that this identification is confirmed by the fact that the name h(n)zr is written as hzr in a variant spelling of this king's name on a seal from this king's reign.[19] Ryholt states that the word 'boar' is:

attested as huzīru in Akkadian, hinzīr in Arabic, hazīrā in Aramaic, hazīr in Hebrew (the name is attested as hēzīr in I Chron. 24:15, Neh. 10:20) hu-zi-ri in the Nuzi texts, hnzr in Ugarit, and perhaps hi-zi-ri in Amorite.[1]

Khendjer could be, according to this theory, the earliest known Semitic king of a native Egyptian dynasty. Khendjer's prenomen or throne name, Userkare, translates as "The Soul of Re is Powerful."[20]

Chronological position

Khendjer making offerings on the pyramidion from his pyramid.
The pyramidion from Khendjer's pyramid.

The exact chronological position of Khendjer in the Thirteenth Dynasty is not known for certain owing to uncertainties affecting earlier kings of the dynasty.

Egyptologist Darrell Baker makes him the twenty-first king of the dynasty, Ryholt sees him as the twenty-second king and Jürgen von Beckerath places him as the seventeenth pharaoh of the dynasty. Furthermore, the identity of his predecessor is still debated: Baker and Ryholt believe it was Wegaf, but that pharaoh is confused with Khaankhre Sobekhotep, so that it is not known which one of the two founded the Thirteenth Dynasty and which one was Khendjer's predecessor.[1][2]

Several absolute dates have been proposed for his reign, depending on the scholar: 1764—1759 BC as proposed by Ryholt and Baker,[1] 1756—1751 BC as reported by Redford,[21] and 1718—1712 BC as per Schneider.[22]


Media related to Khendjer at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ a b c d e K.S.B. Ryholt: The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period, c.1800–1550 BC, Carsten Niebuhr Institute Publications, vol. 20. Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 1997
  2. ^ a b Darrell D. Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I - Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty 3300–1069 BC, Stacey International, ISBN 978-1-905299-37-9, 2008, p. 181
  3. ^ Ryholt, p.193
  4. ^ Ryholt, pp.193-195
  5. ^ Felix Arnold: The Control Notes and Team Marks, The South Cemeteries of Lisht, Volume II, New York 1990, ISBN 0-87099-551-0, pp.176-183
  6. ^ "Marks and notes in the Pyramid Complex of Khendjer | Persons and Names of the Middle Kingdom".
  7. ^ G. Jequier: Deux pyramides du Moyen Empire, Cairo 1933, S. 3-35
  8. ^ Ryholt, op. cit., p.221 The object is Cairo JE 54498
  9. ^ "Marks and notes in the Pyramid Complex of Khendjer | Persons and Names of the Middle Kingdom".
  10. ^ Paris, Louvre Museum C11
  11. ^ Stèle de Iményséneb, 1753, retrieved 2023-12-27
  12. ^ "Stele C11".
  13. ^ Jürgen von Beckerath: Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der zweiten Zwischenzeit in Ägypten, Glückstadt 1964, 238
  14. ^ Paris, Louvre Museum C12
  15. ^ "Double-Sided Stela of the Priest Amenyseneb | Middle Kingdom". The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 2023-12-27.
  16. ^ W. Grajetzki: Two Treasurers of the Late Middle Kingdom, Oxford 2001, p. 28, pl. 2
  17. ^ "Turin king list: Column 7".
  18. ^ The name Khedjer for private individuals appears on only two monuments: Stela Marischal Museum, University of Aberdeen ABDUA 21642 and on stela Liverpool M13635, see Iain Ralston: The Stela of Ibi son of Iiqi in the Marischal Museum, University of Aberdeen, In Discovering Egypt from the Neva, The Egyptologcial Legacy of Oleg D Berlev, edited by S. Quirke, Berlin 2003, pp.107-110, pl. 6 and W. Grajetzki: Two Treasurers of the Late Middle Kingdom, Oxford 2001, p. 28, pl. 2. Both monuments date to around the time of king Khendjer and the individuals there might have called themselves after the king.
  19. ^ Ryholt, p.220 and footnote 763
  20. ^ Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, Thames and Hudson Ltd, 2006 paperback, p.91
  21. ^ Redford, Donald B., ed. (2001). "Egyptian King List". The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, Volume 2. Oxford University Press. pp. 626–628. ISBN 978-0-19-510234-5.
  22. ^ Thomas Schneider following Detlef Franke: Lexikon der Pharaonen