Baufra in hieroglyphs

The seventh pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty, a.k.a. Baefra, Baufre, Baka, Bicheris, Bikka

According to Africanus, Manetho named Bicheres as the successor to Suphis (Khafra) but there is no archaeological evidence for a king by that name. Herodotus and Diodorus writes that after Khufu died, his brothersic Chephren (Khafra) took the throne, but Diodorus correctly adds that it was Khufu's son Chabryen (Radjedef) who ascended the throne. Khafra and Radjedef were in fact brothers, which shows that Herodotus and Diodorus simply misunderstood the relation told by the Egyptian priests, or that there were inconsistencies in the traditions about the fourth dynasty even in ancient Egypt. Maybe the earlier records (on papyrus) were corrupted and only partially readable.

After the reign of Radjedef, his son Setka was set to rule but something must have happened to him, and perhaps his younger brother Baka (Hellenised to Bicheris) was appointed as the new king. Somewhow the uncle Khafra managed to manouver himself to assume the throne.

The Turin papyrus and Manetho both list 8 Fourth Dynasty kings, the Abydos Canon names only six, but the Saqqara Canon lists nine. This source discrepancy is extremely difficult to reconcile or interpret. Following the cartouche of Khafra, the Saqqara list is ruined, leaving five unreadable names (numbers 35-39.) The Turin papyrus, by coincidence(?), is likewise damaged in the same area (4.13-16), leaving four unreadable names after Khafra.

Turin 4.14 and 4.15 can with good confidence be assigned to Menkaura and Shepseskaf respectively. That leaves 4.13 and 4.15 as possible placements for Baufra. Logically Baufra must have ruled before Menkaura, just like Ratoises (Radjedef,) his name was displaced in Manetho's dynasty, and should thus be in 4.13. This give the succession Baufra → Menkaura → Shepseskaf → Djedefhor. This might have been the tradition about the pyramid builders during the New Kingdom, and would solve the Turin problem.

The Saqqara list still have one more empty cartouche to account for, and there seems to be no solution to this problem.

Precedessor
Shepseskaf

Successor
Thamphthis

Reign of Baufra
AE Chronology2474–2473
v. Beckerath2521–2514
Allen2494–2490
Arnold2477–2472
Malek2493–2488
Turin King List... years
Manetho (Africanus)22 years

The Royal Titulary

From the hieroglyphic records

Golden Horus name

Golden Horus name

Horus perched on Gold, which was associated with eternity, but its meaning is disputed.

Golden Horus name
Neb hedjet nub
nb-ḥḏdt-nwb
nb-S1:nbw
ASAE , 7, 281, no. 55

Throne names

Prenomen or throne name

Announced at the coronation and always written in a cartouche. The “official” name of the pharaoh. Also known as the Prenomen.

Throne name
Ba ef Ra
bꜢ.f-rꜤ
His soul is that of Ra
ra-G29-f
Wadi Hammamat inscription
Drioton, Une Liste des Rois de la IV Dynastie dans l'Ouadi Hammamat. Bulletin de la Société Français d'Égyptologie 16, 41-49
Throne name variant
Bau ef Ra
bꜢw.f-rꜤ
His souls are those of Ra
ra-G30&W-Y1:Z2:f
Westcar papyrus 4.18
Throne name variant
Ba ka
bꜢ-kꜢ
Ba and Ka
G29-kA-Z1
ASAE , 7, 266-280
Throne name variant
Ba ka
bꜢ-kꜢ
Ba and Ka
E10-kA-Z1
ASAE , 7, 266-280
Throne name variant
Name missing
Turin King List 4.13
Gardiner, The Royal Canon of Turin (1959) III:13

The sources of antiquity

From the writings of the historians and scholars of antiquity

AuthorGreekTranscriptionReign
Africanus iv, 6 Bιχερης Bicheres 22 years
Eratosthenes 14 Βιυρης Biyres 10

Bibliography

  • Leprohon, R. J. The Great Name: Ancient Egyptian Royal Titulary (Atlanta, 2013): 36
  • Baker. D. D. The Encyclopedia of the Pharaohs: Volume I (London, 2008): 68–69
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