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Name of Bicheris
Limestone block with worker graffiti from Saujet el-Arjan. It shows the cartouche name of a king, which is difficult to assign
Gold name
Lord of the golden crown
Proper name
Hiero Ca1.svg
G29 D28 Z1
Hiero Ca2.svg
B3 k3
soul ( Ba ) and Ka
Hiero Ca1.svg
E10 D28 Z1
Hiero Ca2.svg
B3 k3
soul (Ba) and Ka
Hiero Ca1.svg
E20 D28 Z1
Hiero Ca2.svg
St. k3
Seth is his Ka
Royal Papyrus Turin (No. III./13)

Only the name ideogram for a king, which represents the Horus falcon, has survived .
Manetho variants:

in Eratosthenes :

Africanus : Bicheris
Eusebius : missing
Eusebius, AV : missing


Bicheris is the Greek form of the name of the allegedly fifth ancient Egyptian king ( Pharaoh ) of the 4th dynasty in the Old Kingdom . A reliable equation of the name with contemporary and / or archaeologically proven Horus and cartouche names proves to be difficult, as it is unknown on which original spelling "Bicheris" is based. According to the majority of Egyptologists , it may have been Baka , but this too is not uncontested.

Name and identity

The only possible contemporary names come from the unfinished pyramid complex in Saujet el-Arjan, which is ascribed to him . In the excavation there, several workers' graffiti were discovered, most of which contain a royal cartridge. These cartouches are the subject of lively controversy , since the excavator of the pyramid complex, Alessandro Barsanti , did not reproduce the graffiti in his excavation publication as a facsimile , but only as a rough sketch. Thus, although the second character in the cartridges can be clearly recognized as the Ka symbol, the first character, however, is so indistinctly reproduced that it has not yet been clearly identified.

The most widespread reading now is that of Baka , the first character being a stork with the sound value Ba (or Bi). The equation of Bicheris with a son of Pharaoh Radjedef , who is named on a statue of this king found in Abu Roasch , is based on this reading . This king's son was called Baka , but his name was not written with a stork, but with a ram, which also has the sound value Ba (or Bi). The name Baka could then have been distorted to Ba-ka-Re in the further course of Egyptian history , from which the Greek form of the name Bicheris was derived. George Andrew Reisner made a similar proposal . He assumed that Bicheris himself changed his maiden name Baka to Ba-ka-Re after his accession to the throne.

Aidan Dodson suggested a reading of the king's name as Sethka in 1985 . Accordingly, the controversial hieroglyph would represent a Seth animal. According to Dodson, it is possible that the name Sethka is just a modification of the similar sounding Setka . Another son of Radjedef is known by this name.

Wolfgang Helck tried to identify Bicheris with Prince Horbaef (Baefhor), probably a son of Cheops . This is said to have changed his name to Rabauef (Bauefre) after the accession to the throne. Under this name he would have been known in the Middle Kingdom , as is evidenced by a rock inscription in Wadi Hammamat on which the names of Cheops, Chephren , Radjedef, Bauefre and Hordjedef are written in cartouches. However, Helck's proposal is largely rejected in research.

In addition, there are a number of other name readings, which, however, do not allow a clear classification of Bicheris in the royal family of the 4th dynasty. Kurt Sethe read the name as Nebka , Gaston Maspero as Nefer-Ka , Jean-Philippe Lauer as Bikka or Hor-ka , Klaus Baer as Wehemka and Peter Kaplony as Schena-Ka .

The alleged gold name of the Bicheris is also mentioned in the grave shaft . However, the reading and affiliation of this name are just as controversial. Kaplony, for example, sees it as the possible Horus name of Huni .


The exact reign of Bicheris is unknown. The Turin Royal Papyrus , which was created in the New Kingdom and is an important document on Egyptian chronology , is badly damaged at the relevant point, so that neither the name nor the indication of the years of reign have been preserved. In the 3rd century BC Manetho , living Egyptian priest, attributes 22 years of reign to Bicheris. However, this is generally viewed as a typographical error in modern research and most researchers assume a much shorter term of reign due to the very small number of contemporary monuments. Jürgen von Beckerath , for example, assumes seven years, other researchers even less. Wolfgang Helck only accepts two years and Peter Jánosi also considers a term of office of less than a year to be possible.

Floor plan of the pyramid complex

Further evidence

The ancient chronicler Manetho does mention Bicheri's name in his historical work, but apparently doesn't know anything more precise about him.


The unfinished pyramid of Zaujet el-Arjan is assigned to Baka. Their area is 200 m × 200 m. In the foundation paved with granite blocks there is a 21 m deep shaft as a burial chamber with an embedded sarcophagus . Traces of a burial can be seen.


  • Jürgen von Beckerath : Handbook of the Egyptian king names . Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich / Berlin 1984, ISBN 3-422-00832-2 .
  • Jürgen von Beckerath : Chronology of the pharaonic Egypt. The timing of Egyptian history from prehistoric times to 332 BC BC (= Munich Egyptological Studies. 46). von Zabern, Mainz 1997, ISBN 3-8053-2310-7 .
  • Aidan Dodson : On the date of the unfinished pyramid of Zawyet el-Aryan . In: Discussion in Egyptology. No. 3, Oxford 1985.
  • Aidan Dodson, Dyan Hilton: The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt . The American University in Cairo Press, London 2004, ISBN 977-424-878-3 .
  • Zahi Hawass : The Treasures of the Pyramids . Weltbild, Augsburg 2003, ISBN 3-8289-0809-8 .
  • Thomas Schneider : Lexicon of the Pharaohs . Albatros, Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN 3-491-96053-3 .
  • Rainer Stadelmann : The Egyptian pyramids. From brick construction to the wonder of the world (= cultural history of the ancient world . Volume 30). Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 1985, ISBN 3-8053-0855-8 .
  • Rainer Stadelmann: The great pyramids of Giza . Academic printing and Publishing house, Graz 1990, ISBN 3-201-01480-X .
  • Nabil MA Swelim: Some Problems on the History of the Third Dynasty (= Archaeological and historical studies , vol. 7). Archaeological Society of Alexandria, Cairo 1983.
  • Miroslav Verner : The pyramids (= rororo non-fiction book. Volume 60890). Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-499-60890-1 .
  • Miroslav Verner: Archaeological Remarks on the 4th and 5th Dynasty Chronology . In: Archive Orientální , vol. 69, Prague 2001, pp. 363–418 ( PDF; 31 MB ).
  • Dietrich Wildung : The role of Egyptian kings in the consciousness of their posterity. Part I: Posthumous sources on the kings of the first four dynasties (= Munich Egyptological Studies, Vol. 17 ) Deutscher Kunstverlag, Munich / Berlin, 1969.

Web links


  1. ↑ Term of office 22 years.

Individual evidence

  1. see Alessandro Barsanti In: Annales du service des antiquités de lÉgypte - Súppleménts No. VII .. Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale, Cairo 1908, p. 266, Graffito No. 21.
  2. The first character is to be read in reverse.
  3. ^ Alan H. Gardiner: The royal canon of Turin. Griffith Institute, Oxford 1997, ISBN 0-900416-48-3 , illustration 2; The presentation of the entry in the Turin papyrus, which differs from the usual syntax for hieroboxes, is based on the fact that open cartridges were used in the hieratic . The alternating time-missing-time presence of certain name elements is due to material damage in the papyrus.
  4. ^ Alan B. Lloyd: Herodotus, book II. P. 77ff.
  5. see Verner: Archaeological Remarks.
  6. Beckerath: Chronology of the Pharaonic Egypt. P. 158.
  7. George Andrew Reisner: A History of the Giza Necropolis. Vol. I, Harvard University Press, Harvard 1942, p. 28 ( PDF; 249.8 MB ).
  8. Aidan Dodson: On the date of the unfinished pyramid of Zawyet el-Aryan. P. 22.
  9. ^ Dodson / Hilton: Complete Royal Families. P. 61.
  10. a b c Peter Jánosi: Giza in the 4th dynasty. The building history and occupancy of a necropolis in the Old Kingdom. Vol. I: The mastabas of the core cemeteries and the rock graves . Publishing house of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna 2005, pp. 64–65, ISBN 3-7001-3244-1 .
  11. Jaroslaw Černý: In: Communications of the German Archaeological Institute, Cairo Department. No. 16, 1958, p. 26.
  12. ^ Gaston Maspero: Fouilles de Zaouiét el-Aryan (1904-1905). In: Annales du Service des Antiquités. No. 7, 1906, p. 257 ( PDF; 20 MB ).
  13. ^ Jean-Philippe Lauer: Sur l'âge et l'attribution possible de l'excavation monumentale de Zaouiêt el-Aryân. In: Revue d'Égyptologie. No. 14, 1962, pp. 34f.
  14. cf. Nabil Swelim : Some Problems on the History of the Third Dynasty. 1983, p. 143.
  15. Peter Kaplony : The cylinder seals of the Old Kingdom. Vol. I, Fondation Egyptologique, Brussels 1981, pp. 146-155.
  16. Turin kinglist ( Memento from January 12, 2007 in the web archive )
  17. Beckerath: Chronology of the Pharaonic Egypt. Pp. 157, 159.
  18. Wolfgang Helck: Investigations into Manetho and the Egyptian king lists (= Investigations into the history and antiquity of Egypt. Vol. 18 ). Leipzig / Berlin 1956, p. 52f.
predecessor Office successor
Chephren King of Egypt
4th Dynasty