April 25, 2013

DJOSER (2674-2647 BC)

Also spelled ZOSER, king of Egypt who erected the first stone pyramid group in a reign marked by great thechnological innovation.

Djoser, the second king of the 3rd dynasty (c. 2686-c. 2613 BC) succeeded his brother. Through his mother he was related to the last ruler of the 2nd dynasty.

Utilizing the brilliant talents of Imhotep, his chancellor, physician and architect, the King erected a fine tomb at Saqqarah, outside Memphis (southwest of modern Cairo). The structure was entirely built of stone, an innovation in tomb building. The greatest advance was a complete alteration of the shape of the monument, into a four-step pyramid and later, a six-step pyramid.

Surrounding this tomb was a large number of stone temples and buildings utilized in royal rituals. The buildings represented Upper and Lower Egypt in a symbolic display of union of the two lands. The style of architecture reproduced in minutes detail the wood, reed, and brick forms employed in utilitarian construction in Egypt. The forms show clearly that this was a first attempt to build so extensively in stone. Surrounding the remarkable group was a fine enclosure wall with numerous gates, which most scholars believe reproduced the walls of the royal capital, Memphis.

In response to the internal troubles of the 2nd dynasty, Djoser was the first king to make Memphis his exclusive residence and he is the king who probably set the city upon the course that made it the political and cultural centre of Old Kingdom Egypt.

Djoser became renowned as the king who brought Egypt to its first great cultural flowering. Together with his minister, Imhotep, who was himself deified, he was remembered into clasical times. Tradition assigned him a reign of 19 years.

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