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The Djoser statue in the Eygptian Museum

Djoser (other names include Netjerikhet, Tosorthos, and Sesorthos) was the first Pharaoh, or king of the Third Dynasty of Egypt, c. 2670 BCE.[1] He is known for the building of the first pyramid built in Egypt, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. The Third Dynasty, based in Memphis, was the beginning of the Old Kingdom, a period of stability, achievement and unity.

There have been claims that he was not the first king, as the Abydos King List and the Turin King List give a king by the name of Sanakht.[1] There is no archaeological evidence to support this, and most experts agree that Djoser was the first. He ruled for at least 20 years, but he had so many temples, tombs and monuments built that some experts say he may have ruled for up to 30 years.[1]

There is a painted limestone statue of Djoser, which is the oldest discovered life sized Egyptian statue.[2] It was found in Saqqara during archaeological digging in 1924-1925. The statue is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The Step Pyramid[change | change source]

The building of the Step Pyramid was quite an achievement. It is the first massive monument built in stone, about 62 meters in height. It is surrounded by a 10 meter high wall, which encloses an area of about 16 hectares.[3] It shows that the kingdom must have been stable and wealthy to have spent so much time and money to build it.[4] The man who designed it and supervised the building was Imhotep, the oldest named architect known to us.[4] Thousands of years later, Djoser was known to Egyptians as the "opener of stone", recognising his legacy of using stone for buildings.[1]

The Famine[change | change source]

The Egyptians believed in a story of how Djoser was able to end a famine. There is no evidence from the time of his rule, but an engraved stone, a stele, was made 2000 years later giving the details.[1] Even if the story is a legend, it does show that Djoser was remembered as a great pharaoh. Egypt had been suffering from a famine for seven years, when the god of the Nile, Khnum, spoke to Djoser in a dream. Djoser rebuilt Khnum's temple on Elephantine, an island near modern Aswan. This pleased the god, and the famine ended. The ruins of the temple are still visible today.

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Ancient History Encyclopedia: Djoser - Ancient History Encyclopedia, accessdate: January 5, 2017
  2. King Djoser: The Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt - King Djoser, accessdate: January 5, 2017
  3. National Geographic: Egypt--Step Pyramid of Djoser, Saqqara: National Geographic: Egypt--Step Pyramid of Djoser, Saqqara Archived 2017-02-16 at the Wayback Machine, accessdate: January 5, 2017
  4. 4.0 4.1 Djoser: BBC - History - Djoser, accessdate: January 5, 2017