Khafre, "Chephren" Second Pyramid Builder

"It is evident that nature had long since learned how to make men"

Section targeting

Of his successor and rival Pyramid builder, Khafre, we know something almost at first hand; For the diorite portrait which is among the treasures of the Cairo Museum pictures him, if not as he looked, certainly as we might conceive this Pharaoh of the second pyramid


He ruled Egypt for fifty six years.

On his head is the falcon, symbol of the royal power; but even without that sign we should know that he was every inch a king.

Proud, direct, fearless, piercing eyes; a powerful nose and a frame of reserved and quiet strength;

It is evident that nature had long since learned how to make men, and art had long since learned how to represent them.

However, the pyramid of Khufu has lost twenty feet of its height, and all its ancient marble casing is gone; perhaps Time is only leisurely with it. Beside it stands Khafre's pyramid, a trifle smaller, but still capped with the granite casing that once covered it all.

Humbly beyond this squats the pyramid of Khafre's successor Menkaure, covered not with granite but with shamefaced brick, as if to announce that when men raised it the zenith of the Old Kingdom had passed.

The statues of Menkaure that have come down to us show him as a man more refined and less forceful than Khafre.

Civilization, like life, destroys what it has perfected.

Already, it may be, the growth of comforts and luxuries, the progress of manners and morals, had made men lovers of peace and haters of war.

Suddenly a new figure appeared, usurped Menkaure's throne, and put an end to the pyramid builder dynasty.

You may also be interested in...

From khafre Return to Pyramid Builders

Return Home