|Red Pyramid of Sneferu at Dashur|
Apart from his amazing achievement of building the Great Pyramid of Giza as his tomb, it is believed that he led expeditions into Nubia, the Sinai and Libya. The relationships of the 4th dynasty royal family have been pieced together from ancient histories, inscriptions and monuments and some of them are by no means certain and many are still been disputed. Khufu is believed to have had several royal wives, including queens called Henutsen and Meritites I and two further queens whose names are not yet known. Meritites I and Henutsen were both half-sister’s of King Khufu and daughters of Sneferu.
Khufu had many brothers and sisters and the ones that we do know something about all held high office if they were men, or married powerful courtiers if they were women. Khufu was not, in fact, Sneferu’s eldest son, even though he succeeded him on the throne. According to inscriptions, the eldest son was Prince Nefermaat I. Nefermaat I’s mother is unknown, but he was the acknowledged Crown Prince as well as holding some other impressive titles such as Vizier, Seal Bearer and Prophet of Bast. Nefermaat I was married to a lady called Itet and they were both buried in a mastaba tomb at Meidum that is famous for being where the glorious tomb painting known as the ‘Meidum Geese’ was found. They had a very large family, but possibly their most famous son was Hemiunu who was credited with being the architect of his Uncle Khufu’s Great Pyramid at Giza.
Prince Ankhhaf was another younger half-bother of Khufu. We do not know who his mother was, but he married his half sister Hetepheres, who was a daughter of Hetepheres I. He served as Vizier under his nephew the pharaoh Khafre, who was a son of Khufu and Henutsen. He was buried in a large mastaba in the eastern cemetery at Giza and a particularly fine statue of him can be seen in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
There is also another known son of Sneferu called Iynefer, about whom almost nothing is known and, of course, in the future the sands of Egypt may give up evidence of the existence of further members of this talented, powerful family. There are also some other daughters of Sneferu who we know a little about, such as Nefertkau who may have been married to her half brother Khufu. She was the mother of Nefermaat II and was buried at Giza during the reign of the pharaoh Khafre. There was also a daughter called Nefertnesu whom very little is known about other than the fact that she had a son called Kaemqued.
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