(This Character Belongs to Lenobia)
Anai, Hoh, and Gno II Anzai were born as triplets to Gno Anzai (I) and Isioer Anzai Nineteen years ago. Their daughter, Anai was born first, followed by her brother, and lastly Hoh. The new parents were over-joyed. But they’ve forgotten something. They lived in the United States of America, a state and town where most of the people were “Jesus-Freaks”. Despite being fully Egyptian, a small group of people from the large church in the town got together and made a human sacrifice to their god. Who was the sacrifice—Gno and Isioer. The reason the three children weren’t killed was because they were at their aunt’s house about fifty miles away. So when they returned, there was nothing left of their parents. So they ended up living with their grandparents in Egypt. But sadly, by their third birthday, Anai had died from SID. But even three years later, the small town’s church hadn’t forgotten about the “Devil Worshipers” that once lived among them. So, they sent five of their members to Egypt to finally bring them down. There, together, Gno and Hoh gave off so much magic energy that they destroyed the members of the church. They grew up fairly normally. Though they started to train their magic at the age of eight years old since every once in awhile, they—the church—would send people to kill them. Later on, around the age of fifteen, they went to the house of life and trained. Hoh is now the potions master and Gno is an elementalist, though not the best.
Ultimately, we know very little with any certainty about the last king of Egypt's 4th Dynasty. His birth name was Shepseskaf, meaning "His Soul is Noble", and like everything else about him, seems out of place. Most kings' of this (and most other) periods made some sort of reference to a god in their name, with all but his immediate successor, Userkaf, who founded the 5th Dynasty, giving that honor to the sun god Re.
We do believe with much certainty that his father was Menkaure (Mycerinus), the builder of the last great pyramid on the Giza Plateau. We also believe with considerable certainty that he was responsible for completing his father's pyramid. His mother is unknown, but was probably one of his father's minor queens. We also believe that he had at least one wife, named Bunefer. Egyptologists mostly seem in agreement that he ruled Egypt for a very short period, probably four years. Here, our knowledge of this king seems to end and speculation begins, for scholars appear to have many disagreements about the other aspects of his reign, which mostly hinge on the interpretation of his, and a few other tombs. Therefore, we must explore these prior to presenting other questions about Shepseskaf that beg for answers.
Unlike his immediate predecessors and his successors, Shepseskaf chose the form of a Mastaba rather than a pyramid for his tomb, and perhaps for various reasons, built it in South Saqqara rather than on the Giza Plateau. Called by the locals, Mastaba Fara'un, (Pharaoh's Bench), it has always been one of the most enigmatic tombs of the Old Kingdom and therefore it much investigated by archaeologists. Perring was the first to describe it and though the Lepsius expedition spent little time investigating the tomb, Lepsius did note that it reminded him of a large sarcophagus. Mariette was really the first to truly investigate the structure in 1858, examining its underground construction, but regrettably, only a few of his sketches survived. They were later published by Maspero.
However, through all the early years of Egyptology and up until the time that Gustave Jeuier carried out a systematic investigation of South Saqqara between 1924 and 1925, the tomb was ascribed to Unas, the last of the 5th Dynasty kings. Though Jeuier had a difficult time proving directly that the tomb belonged to Shepseskaf, there were several items evidencing its builder. First of all, a stela was found at the site that, while very fragmentary, contained a part of the sing for the last letter of the king's name. Independent of the site, he also discovered that the name of the king's tomb was "Shepseskaf is [ritually] purified", which concluded with a determinative (an explanatory sign) in the form of a mastaba, suggesting that Shepseskaf's tomb should take that form. Finally another stela dated to the Middle Kingdom showed that during that period, Shepseskaf's cult was still active on the site of Mastaba Fara'un.
The aberration of Shepseskaf's name, his tomb and the tomb of his possible daughter, consort or/and half sister all stand out like sore thumbs, awaiting the theories of Egyptologists that may perhaps never be proven. All we can do here is present the current speculation, and possibly add a little of our own.
Jequier offers an initial explanation that other Egyptologists, such as Jaromir Malek, who provided the Old Kingdom component of the Oxford History of Ancient Egypt, find tempting. He was rather convinced that Shepseskaf choose the mastaba style tomb as an intentional protest against the priesthood of the cult of Re, the sun god, which was gaining considerable influence. Jequier believed that the ancient Egyptians considered the pyramid a symbol of the sun, as do many modern Egyptologists. Certainly the rise of the pyramid coincided with the growing influence of Re's cult. He also believed that Shepseskaf's move away from the Giza Plateau and hence, the traditions of his immediate predecessors, supported his position, but perhaps even more important to his argument was Shepseskaf's abandonment of Re's reference within his name.
This theory, along with several of its components can be easily attacked, and have been from a number of different directions. One of the easiest elements to overcome in Jequier's theory is Shepseskaf's move away from the Giza Plateau. His father, Menkoaure was required, due to spatial restrictions, to place his pyramid far away from the Nile, and it is relatively clear from his valley temple placement, blocking the principal conduit for construction materials into the necropolis, that he intended no more major monuments to be built there. In fact, there was simply no more room for such a major construct on the Plateau. This undoubtedly prompted Shepseskaf to look for another location, and in doing so, he chose a place that not so very far from the pyramids of the dynasty's founders. In fact, the stone for his mastaba came from Dahshur, the location of Snefru's Bent and Red Pyramids. Saqqara was also a very ancient necropolis, that in fact relates somewhat to his use of a mastaba rather than a pyramid.
Regarding Shepseskaf's use of a mastaba rather than a pyramid as a protest against the priesthood of Re, Ricke believed that the obelisk, rather than the pyramid, was considered by the Egyptians to be the symbol of the sun. After all, the 5th Dynasty kings who we believe constructed the sun temples, mostly at Abu Ghurob, with a short obelisk as a focal point, did so in addition to their pyramid complexes mostly at Abusir. In his opinion, which seems to be mirrored by one of modern Egypt's great scholars, Mark Lehner, he was, rather than rejecting the cult of re, honoring his religious heritage in the form of the Lower Egyptian "Buto-type" tomb. It was really not very uncommon at all for Egyptian pharaohs to display such archaic tastes. Similarly, Hans-Wolfgang Muller (1907-1991) felt that Shepseskaf's mastaba was a huge version of a hut hung with matting. Indeed, Stadelmann, drawing on the arguments of Ricke and Muller, pointed out that Shepseskaf's use of niches in the courtyard of his mortuary temple, as well as in certain elements of his father's pyramid complex, was, an archaizing element from Egypt's earliest architecture.
In addition, it must also be noted that Shepseskaf faced the difficult task of completing his father's pyramid at Giza. This must have certainly created a considerable administrative and financial burden, at a time when the Egypt was apparently suffering some economic hardship. This may have led him to downsize his own tomb. Other possibilities exist. It is possible that the mastaba was initiated prior to his ascent to the throne, for example, or that it was a provisional tomb created with the possibility that if time permitted, another once could have been built.
We question whether many of the issues will ever be answered. This tomb has been considerably investigated, as has the Saqqara Necropolis in general, so perhaps there will be no new answers. But the possibility always exists that future discoveries may, at least, provide answers to at least some of the questions surrounding this mysterious man and his tomb.