Neferirkare (sometimes referred to as Neferirkare II because of Neferirkare Kakai) was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the Eighth Dynasty during the early First Intermediate Period (2181–2055 BC). According to the egyptologists Kim Ryholt, Jürgen von Beckerath and Darrell Baker he was the 17th and final king of the Eighth Dynasty. Many scholars consider Neferirkare to have been the last pharaoh of the Old Kingdom, which came to an end with the 8th Dynasty.
The cartouche of Neferirkare on the Abydos King List.
|Reign||1 year and 6 months, c. 2160 BC (Eighth Dynasty)|
|Successor||uncertain; possibly Meryibre Khety|
Neferirkare II's name is clearly attested on the 56th entry of the Abydos King List, a king list which was redacted some 900 years after the First Intermediate Period during the reign of Seti I. The latest reconstruction of the Turin canon, another king list compiled in the Ramesside era, indicates that Neferirkare II is also attested there on column 5, line 13.
Farouk Gomaà, William C. Hayes and Baker identify Neferirkare II with the horus name Demedjibtawy (Dmḏ-ib-t3wy, "He who unifies the heart of the two lands") appearing on a single decree, the Coptos Decree R, now in the Egyptian Museum, JE 41894. The decree concerns the temple of Min at Coptos, exempting it from dues and duties. This identification is rejected by Jürgen von Beckerath.
Another proposed identification concerns the prenomen Wadjkare (W3ḏ-k3-Rˁ, "Flourishing is the Ka of Ra"), which also appears on the Coptos Decree R. Kurt Heinrich Sethe, Gomaà, Hayes and Baker see Wadjkare as distinct from Demedjibtawy, but von Beckerath believes that Wadjkare may have been the prenomen of Neferkare II and the same person as Demedjibtawy. At the opposite, Gomaà and Hayes equate Wadjkare with an obscure ruler named Hor-Khabaw. Alternatively, Hans Goedicke proposed that Wadjkare is the predecessor of Demedjibtawy and places both rulers chronologically into the 9th Dynasty. Thomas Schneider leaves the problem open and relates Wadjkare equally to either Neferkare II or Neferirkare II without further reference to Demedjibtawy.
Finally, both Demedjibtawy and Wadjkare are not known from any other contemporary attestation than the decree and, unless they are to be identified with Neferirkare II or Neferkare II, they are also absent from both the Abydos king list and the Turin canon.
In 2014 Maha Farid Mostafa published an inscription, found in the tomb of Shemay. The inscription belongs most likely to Idy, a son of Shemay, albeit Idy's name is not preserved. The text is dated under a king with the name Pepy and with a throne name Nefer-ka [destroyed]-Ra. Maha Farid Mostafa reconstructed that throne name to Neferirkare. The inscription dates for sure to the 8th Dynasty. If this reconstruction is correct, Neferirkare is most likely identical with Demedjibtawy. Idy is mentioned on one of the Coptos decrees together with Demedjibtawy .
The Turin canon credits Neferirkare II with a year and half of reign. Both the Turin canon and the Abydos king list record Neferirkare II as the last ruler of the combined 7th/8th. Neferirkare was possibly overthrown by the first king of the succeeding Herakleopolitan 9th Dynasty, Meryibre Khety. Alternatively the Egyptian state may have completely collapsed with the onset of low Nile floods, mass famine and chaos which engulfed Egypt at the start of the First Intermediate Period.
- Kim Ryholt: "The Late Old Kingdom in the Turin King-list and the Identity of Nitocris", Zeitschrift für ägyptische, 127, 2000, p. 99
- Darrell D. Baker: The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I - Predynastic to the Twentieth Dynasty 3300–1069 BC, Stacey International, ISBN 978-1-905299-37-9, 2008, p. 260
- Jürgen von Beckerath: Handbuch der ägyptischen Königsnamen, Münchner ägyptologische Studien, Heft 49, Mainz : P. von Zabern, 1999, ISBN 3-8053-2591-6, available online see p. 68
- Renate Mueller-Wollermann: End of the Old Kingdom, UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology (2014), available online.
- Farouk Gomaà: Ägypten während der Ersten Zwischenzeit, Beihefte zum Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients. Reihe B: Geisteswissenschaften., vol. 27. Reichert, Wiesbaden 1980, ISBN 3-88226-041-6, p. 59.
- William C. Hayes: Royal Decrees from the Temple of Min at Coptus, JEA, vol. 32, 1946.
- Coptos decree R, translation available online, after M. A. Moret: "Chartes d'immunité dans l'Ancien Empire égyptien", in Journal Asiatique, 1917 (Sér. 11/T.10), Paris
- Nigel Strudwick: Texts from the Pyramid Age, Brill 2005, ISBN 9004130489
- William C. Hayes: The Scepter of Egypt: A Background for the Study of the Egyptian Antiquities in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1, From the Earliest Times to the End of the Middle Kingdom, p. 134, available online
- Jürgen von Beckerath: The Date of the End of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, JNES 21 (1962), p. 143
- Margaret Bunson: Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt. Infobase Publishing, 2009, ISBN 1438109970, p. 429, available online
- Hans Goedicke: Königliche Dokumente aus dem Alten Reich (= Ägyptologische Abhandlungen, Bd. 14). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1967, p. 215.
- Thomas Schneider: Lexikon der Pharaonen, Albatros, Düsseldorf 2002, ISBN 3-491-96053-3.
- Maha Farid Mostafa: The Mastaba of SmAj at Naga' Kom el-Koffar, Qift, Vol. I, Cairo 2014, ISBN 978-977642004-5, p. 157-161