Djoser was the name of the second ancient Egyptian King (Pharaoh) of the 3rd Dynasty (Old Kingdom), which ruled from around 2720 to 2700 BC. It can be positively identified with the contemporary occupied Horus name Netjeri - chet. As the first builder of a step pyramid of Djoser is one of the most famous kings of ancient Egypt.

Name and identity

As noted in the introduction, the name " Djoser " can be unequivocally identified with the well-documented archaeological Horus name " Netjeri - chet ". A sound evidence is a seated statue of Pharaoh Sesostris II ( 12th Dynasty ), whose base inscription contains the signature " Hor - Netjeri - chet - djeser ". Thus, under Sesostris II is detected the earliest use of the name " Djeser ".

The second- most recent evidence of the use of the name provides the famous Westcar Papyrus ( 13th Dynasty ), who also used the name cartridges " Djeser " for Djoser.

However, the subject of today's research is the question of where the name " Djeser " comes. A possible clue deliver fragments of steles of polished sandstone, probably added from the Djoser complex at Saqqara. Their inscriptions usually give the names of Djoser and his wives and daughters, but always start with the words " Chenti -ta- djeser - nisut " ( blessed be the land of sublime king ). The " djeser - nisut " was probably misinterpreted as the birth name of Djoser in later times and adopted as the cartridge name.

Separate attention is also the name cartridges No.16 in the King List of Abydos of Seti I.. Upon closer inspection it is clear that the local name version had not been originally introduced with " Djeser " but with a different word. However, this was gouged later. It is uncertain how this word had gelautet and there are numerous interpretations.

Origin and family

Djoser's mother was Queen Nimaat - Hapi, the wife of Khasekhemwy, the last ruler of the 2nd dynasty. It can therefore be assumed with high probability that Khasekhemwy was Djoser's father. The only known wife of Zoser was Hetephernebti. As an only child, a daughter named Djoser Inetkaes is handed down. Whether she was the daughter of Hetephernebti or came from another marriage, can not be determined from the existing source material with safety.

A possible new family member of Djoser is on a relief fragment from Heliopolis, which now in the Museo Egizio in Turin ( Inv. No. 2671/211 ) is depicted. The fragment shows the enthroned King, before Him, a much smaller degree, are his daughter and his wife Inetkaes Hetephernebti. Another person covers from behind the foot of the king. To whom it is doing this is not safe, as the inscription is very poorly preserved. Ann Macy Roth reads the name Nianch - Hathor and keeps the person represented for another daughter. This reading, however, is highly uncertain and has not been enforced in Egyptological research.

You may also see the remains have been preserved by one of the female relatives of Zoser. James Edward Quibell was the beginning of the 20th century in the pyramid complex of Djoser several bones of a young woman he thought was a princess. 1989 dating of the bones was performed by means of radiocarbon dating. Although the results were quite inaccurate, but did not exclude a dating of about 16 to 17 -year-old woman in the time of Djoser.

As the successor of Djoser Pharaoh Sekhemkhet is considered generally.


Longevity and events

The duration of Djoser's reign was, according to the Turin Royal Canon 19 years and 1 month. In an inscription his government takeover of 26 Achet III in the Egyptian year " flood " the Egyptian calendar is busy.

About other events during Djoser's reign, little is known. The Palermostein describes the first five years are as follows:

The fold of Palermosteins runs exactly diagonally through the fifth window, which is why the rest of the entry is missing, making it uncertain which party was described in detail.

Under Djoser several officials and viziers reached a high reputation, especially Imhotep, Hesire, ankh -en- iti Nedjem - ankh and Chai neferu. While obviously Djoser Imhotep enjoyed special favor and was even deified in later times, impressive panels are obtained from valuable cedar trees from officials Hesire. Chai neferu however, occurs only on stone vessels and Tonsiegeln.

Introduction of the gold name

Under Djoser of the sun cult underwent a further upswing, which was connected simultaneously with increasing importance of the king. At least since the first dynasty, the compound exhibited by the king as a living Horus the sun in the nickname Nebu, but only the king Djoser elevated status as a living Horus on earth passu with the sun. These parallels were also evident in the pyramid, the ever assumed greater extent on Djoser. Its new design of the Step Pyramid makes the new king philosophy clearly, as with the new design an optical appearance should be set for eternity, and the king was built as a sign of equal ruler together with the sun an imperishable monument. In addition Djoser left his grave build directly into his pyramid and moved supplement his appearance grave of Abydos to Saqqara.

Another clue for the extended solar cult is the first stone-built appearance grave ( southern tomb ), which replaced the usual mat construction of wood and metal. Overall, the grave complex learned by the changes over the traditional design a much greater extent. The Egyptologist Jochem Kahl, Steven Quirke and Wolfgang Helck have a direct connection, to Djoser's introduction of the Golden Horus - name, which did not provide the sun over the King and raised to an independent God, but especially the new and stronger fusion of the king with the sun made clear.

Kahl and Quirke assume that also the spiritual and religious thought to Djoser times future generations must have influenced during the introduction of the Golden Horus name experienced a strong change and, as a descendant ruler of the Golden Horus name immediately took over (see Chaba ).


→ Main article: Pyramid of Djoser

The Pyramid of Djoser is the second oldest surviving, built of hewn stone monumental Egypt. It consists of five slightly splayed steps and remembers at first glance to a wedding cake. Under the Step Pyramid lies the complex and maze- like grave -scale plant. In their storerooms were found stone vessels from the tombs of almost all the kings of the 1st and 2nd dynasty. With its Djoser Step Pyramid heralded the era of the pyramids.

From Heliopolis, the remains of a small structure are obtained. Although the fragments of the " Djoser Chapel " occupy an older temple, but it is the remains of a small shrine or box for the purpose of worship of a cult statue of Djoser. You are now in the Museo de Egizzio Turin.

In Bait Challaf (north of Abydos ) is a large mastaba ( mastaba K2), the seal of the ruler and his mother Nimaat -hapi contained.

Djoser is also mentioned on an inscription from the Wadi Maghara ( Sinai ). There he appears, as he slays a prisoner. Next to him stands a goddess. Behind this in turn is a figure shown, the administrator of the desert ankh -en -iti shows after the inscription, so who led this expedition. In the vicinity are namely turquoise mines, which were the target.

Special finds

Undoubtedly the most famous work of art from Djoser's era is its life-size seated statue of limestone, which dates from the Serdab of Djoser complex at Saqqara. Was discovered the masterpiece around 1924 by Cecil Mallaby Firth. The statue ( see title picture ) is made of polished limestone. The Pharaoh is wearing a skintight Hebsed - robe and a pleated Nemes kerchief over a long wig levels. In addition, his chin is adorned with a powerful Pharaohs beard. Hands and face were originally painted brown - red, the upper and lower eye areas were decorated with dark color. The eye sockets were formerly painted on its inside and overlaid with crystal stones - at locating the statue of the crystals, however, were robbed and the statue severely damaged.

The original statue is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, while a replica is placed in Serdab. One side of the stone Serdab was in the reconstruction replaced by a disc to allow visitors a look inside the Serdabs. Statue fragments, similar to the Serdabstatue, were found in the area of ​​the mortuary temple, which could indicate that there may be second Serdab.

In addition, there are several stelae and relief fragments of Djoser, which were found in Horbeit, Heliopolis and Tanis. Some of them are according to recent findings from a later period, the presentation style of the reliefs is merely an homage to Djoser's era.

Djoser in the late period

Djoser and his favorite Imhotep were both revered in later times alike, and even deified. Djoser's name appears on countless objects and legends from later eras.

He is one of the main characters in the famous Westcar Papyrus ( 13th Dynasty ), in which miracles and legends are told from the reigns of the Pharaohs Djoser, Nebka, Sneferu and Cheops. The story of Djoser is only obtained as the final movement, the name of the hero figure (probably Imhotep ) is lost.

In the Late period dates the statue of a Persian priest, is to be read at their base, that the priest the dead service for the rulers Djeser ( Zoser ), Djeser - teti ( Sekhemkhet ) and Teti had entertained.

The so-called Famine Stele at Sehel ( Elephantine ), a rock relief from the Ptolemaic period, tells of a legend of Djoser, after Pharaoh ended a seven -year drought in which he sacrificed to the god Khnum and these agreed mildly.