Neferkasokar (Ancient Egyptian Nefer-Ka-Seker; which means “beautiful soul of Sokar” or “the soul of Sokar is complete”) was an Ancient Egyptian king (pharaoh) who may have ruled in Egypt during the 2nd Dynasty. Very little is known about him, since no contemporary records about him have been found. Rather his name has been found in later sources.[1]

Name sources

Neferkasokar appears in the Saqqara king list from the tomb of the high priest Tjuneroy, where he is recorded as succeeding king Neferkare I and precedes king Hudjefa I in the ninth cartouche.[2]

He also appears in the Royal Canon of Turin as the successor of a king Neferkara I and as the predecessor of king Hudjefa I. His cartouche can be found in column III, line 1. The Turin papyrus records him having a reign of 8 years and 3 months.[3]

Furthermore, Neferkasokar's name appears on a steatite cylinder seal of unknown provenance. The inscription bears the king's name twice within royal cartouches. The first cartouche shows the name of the god Sokar on top, whilst the second cartouche places the syllable Neferka above the god's name. A guiding inscription says Meri-netjeru, which means "beloved one of the gods". This titulary was common from the Middle Kingdom onwards, thus the cylinder seal is not likely to originate from the 2nd Dynasty. Most Egyptologists date the object to the 13th Dynasty. Some Egyptologists also question the authenticity of the seal.[4]

Neferkasokar also plays an important role in a papyrus originating from the Middle Kingdom. The text was translated around 237 BC into the demotic language and is preserved in papyrus p. Wien D6319. The papyrus gives instructions on how to build temples and how the temple priests should perform their tasks.

The papyrus also includes a story that royal scribes under the supervision of prince Djedefhor had discovered an old document in a forgotten chamber, which was sealed by king Neferkasokar. The discovered papyrus contained a report of a famine that affected Egypt for seven years and king Neferkasokar was instructed by a celestial oracle through a dream to restore all Egyptian temples. When the king finished his mission successfully, the Nile started flowing normally again. As a result, Neferkasokar issues a decree which is rediscovered by prince Djedefhor.[5]

Egyptologist and linguist Joachim Friedrich Quack later gave this treatise the name "Book of the Temple".[6]


Very little is known about Neferkasokar's reign. Egyptologists such as Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards and Walter Bryan Emery think that Neferkasokar ruled only in Lower Egypt, since his name appeared in the Sakkara king list, but is missing from the Abydos king list while the Sakkara king lists reflect Memphite traditions. Neferkasokar is also thought to have ruled in Lower Egypt around the same time that kings such as Peribsen and Sekhemib-Perenmaat ruled in Upper Egypt. This assumption would be consistent with the view of a number of Egyptologists that at that time Egypt was divided into two parts. The theory of a divided realm since the end of king Nynetjer's reign is based on a study of the name of king Peribsen, whose name is connected to the Ombite deity Seth to show that he came from Ombos and ruled an area that included Ombos. Peribsen himself is contemporaneously documented in materials found in the Thinite region, but was excluded from documentation associated with the Memphites. His case therefore corresponds to Neferkasokar's case, but for Lower Egypt. Neferkasokar's predecessors may have been king Senedj and king Neferkara I; his successor may have been king Hudjefa I.[7][8][9][10]


  1. ^ Thomas Schneider: Lexikon der Pharaonen. Albatros, Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN 3-491-96053-3, page 175.
  2. ^ Jan Assmann, Elke Blumenthal, Georges Posener: Literatur und Politik im pharaonischen und ptolemäischen Ägypten. Institut français d'archéologie orientale, Paris/Kairo 1999, ISBN 2-7247-0251-4, page 277.
  3. ^ Alan H. Gardiner: The Royal Canon of Turin. Griffith Institute of Oxford, Oxford (UK) 1997, ISBN 0-900416-48-3; page 15 & Table I.
  4. ^ Jürgen von Beckerath: Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen. Deutscher Kunstverlag, München-Berlin 1984, ISBN 3-422-00832-2; page 29.
  5. ^ Martin A. Stadler: Weiser und Wesir: Studien zu Vorkommen, Rolle und Wesen des Gottes Thot im ägyptischen Totenbuch. Mohr Siebeck, 2009, ISBN 3-16-149854-2; page 84 & 85.
  6. ^ Joachim Friedrich Quack: Ein ägyptisches Handbuch des Tempels und seine griechische Übersetzung. Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 119, 1997, S. 297–300.
  7. ^ Iorwerth Eiddon Stephen Edwards: The Cambridge ancient history Vol. 1, Pt. 2: Early history of the Middle East, 3. Ausgabe (Reprint). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2006, ISBN 0-521-07791-5; page 35.
  8. ^ Wolfgang Helck: Untersuchungen zur Thinitenzeit. Otto Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN 3-447-02677-4 page 35.
  9. ^ Walter Bryan Emery: Ägypten, Geschichte und Kultur der Frühzeit, 3200-2800 v. Chr. Fourier, Munic 1964; page 19.
  10. ^ Herman Alexander Schlögl: Das Alte Ägypten. Beck, Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-406-54988-8; page 77 - 78.
Preceded byNeferkara I Pharaoh of Egypt Succeeded byHudjefa I