Menkaura (Mycerinus) was the builder of the 3rd pyramid at Giza. He ruled during the 4th dynasty, 2532-2504 BCE. Historians report that he was a fair and kind man. Earlier pharaohs had closed the temples to the common people. Menkaura felt that the beauty and power of the temples should be enjoyed by all, not just the nobility. As a result, he promptly reopened them to the public. This made him well loved by the common people.

His parents were Khafra and Khamerenebty I. He had three queens, all of which he built small pyramids for. His chief queen was Khamerenebty II. He is known to have had at least three children. His oldest son, Khuenre, died before Menkaura left the throne. Thus his second son, Shepseskaf, became Pharaoh. He also had a daughter named Khentkawes.

There has been much debate over why Menkaura's pyramid is so much smaller than Khafra's and Khufu's. Some believe that the economy was declining and a small pyramid was all that could be afforded. While others disagree, saying there is no proof of this. Some assert that it was intentionally small. It was, along with other pyramids built during this time, meant to reflect the shape of the constellation of Orion. The three pyramids at Giza are said to be the earthly belt of Orion. This not only explains the size of Menkaura's pyramid, but also the odd alignment. For more information about this theory, please visit The Orion Mystery. This website is based on the ideas presented by Robert Bauval in his book by the same name.
 
     

 

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