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fl. during the Tenth Dynasty (2130–1980 b.c.e.)


Royal Teachings.

Merykare was king during the Tenth Dynasty, a period of which little is known. He is named in the tomb of Khety—a provincial governor—where it is clear that Merykare fought the Theban family that eventually united Egypt in the Middle Kingdom (2008–1630 b.c.e.). Merykare must have been quite prominent in his own time. He might have had a pyramid at Saqqara, the site of many important Old Kingdom pyramids. A text known only from New Kingdom copies claims to be a teaching written by Merykare's father, whose name is not preserved, when Merykare was a prince. If the text truly was composed in the Tenth Dynasty, it is the oldest royal teaching from ancient Egypt. Merykare's father gives him advice on being a king in the text. He also enumerates his own mistakes during his reign. Perhaps these mistakes are the reason that the text was still studied in the New Kingdom. The Theban kings of the Middle and the New Kingdom must have considered Merykare and his father hostile to them. Yet his teachings were preserved.


Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol. I (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973).

Jaromir Malek, "King Merykare and His Pyramid," in Hommages à Jean Leclant, Volume IV. Ed. C. Berger (Cairo, Egypt: Institut français d'archéologie orientale, 1994): 203–214.