Khufu's names



Horus name:  Horus Medjedju (Hrw mDdw), G5 (Hrw) Aa24 (mDd) G43 (w)

Two Ladies:  medjed er nebty (mDd r nbty)

Golden Horus:  bikwy nbw (bikwy nebu)

Throne (short form):  xw.f wi (khu.ef wi)

Throne (full form):  Xnmw xw.f wi (khnum khu.ef wi)

prenomen: Khnum Khufu (Xnmw xwfw), W9 (Xnm) E10 (ideo.'ram') G43 (w) Aa1 (x) G43 (w) I9 (f) G43 (w)

Priests of Khufu's Horus, Prenomen (birth name), Two Ladies (Nebti), and the Double Golden Falcon names are attested for the cult of Khufu (Hawass 1987: 586):

Priest of Horus Mededju (Hm nTr Hrw mDdw)

Priest of Khnum Khufu (Hm nTr Xnmw xwfw)

Priest of Medjedju Nebti (Hm nTr mDd r nb.ti)

Priest of the Double Golden Falcon (Hm nTr bik.wi nbw)



Masons markings found in the 'relieving chambers' above Khufu's sarcophagus chamber.  The markings include Khufu's Horus name (Hrw mDdw), Khufu's full birth name (Xnm(w) x(w)fw and his birth name shortened to Khufu (xwfw) or Khnum (Xnmw):

A - Khnum (Xnmw);  B - Khnum Khufu (Xnm(w) x(w)fw);  C - Khufu (xwfw);  D - Horus Medjedju (Hrw mDdw)

(drawings from:   'The Pyramids of Gizeh, from actual survey and Admeasurement, by J.S. Perring, Esq. Civil Engineer.  Illustrated by Notes and References to the several plans, with sketches taken on the spot, by E.J. Andrews, Esq.  Part I, The Great Pyramid. 1839)

Still from a documentary featuring Dr. Zahi Hawass showing Khufu's name in the uppermost relieving space.

Some of the names are accompanied by the names of the work crews:

The crew 'the pure ones of Horus Medjedu'; 'Horus Medjedu is the one who purifies the two lands';  'the companions of Khufu';  'the pure ones of Khufu;  the white crown of Khnumkhufu is pure'.  (Strudwick 2005: 155)


Khufu's Horus and personal name were found in the tomb (G 7000 X) of his mother, Hetepheres, at Giza on a mud sealing inscribed with the name of Khufu's mortuary workshop:

('A History of the Giza Necropolis' Vol 2, Reisner / Smith 1955: 14; fig. 47, no. 1434)



Fragment of an alabaster vase with Khufu's name, xwfw, and a depiction of the king seated, holding the flail and wearing the 'white crown' of Upper Egypt:

'Scarabs and Cylinders with Names' Petrie 1915: 11; pl. VIII, 4.2.6


A cylinder seal (basalt) found at Giza reads:  "The Good God, Lord of the Two Lands, Khufu, the Great God, Horus of Gold, the pyramid town, Akhet Khufu."  (nTr nfr nb tAwi xwfw nTr aA Hrw n nbw Axt-xwfw)

'Scarabs and Cylinders with Names' Petrie 1915: 11; pl. VIII, 4.2.5


A complete 'opening the mouth' set was discovered in the valley temple of Menkaure.  The flint psS kf implement is inscribed: ‘Horus Medjedu, King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Khnum Khufu' ('A History of the Giza Necropolis' Vol 1, Reisner 1931: 233-4; pl. 65)


MFA, Boston  link



Khufu's name (xwfw) in cartouche - chapel of Kawab, son of Khufu, G7120 (GM3 1978: 3, fig 13)


The Dual King, Khufu.  Dyn 4, Mersyankh III, daughter of Kawab and Hetepheres II; G7530 Eastern Cemetery (GM1 1978: 10; fig 4):



An estate called, 'the mansion of Khufu (named) Khufu is appearing of ka' (Hwt xwfw xa-kA-xwfw) (GM3 1978: 17, fig 33)




Wadi Maghara inscriptions: Khnum khuf(u), the Great God.  Smiting the pillar-people, the Bedouin.  May [all] protection and life be behind [him]:





('Inscriptions of Sinai' Part I, Gardiner & Peet)

Voyage de l'Arabie Pétrée 1830: 71 (source)


Horus Medjedu, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, the Two Ladies Medjedu, the double golden Horus, Khufu.  Either side of a divine standard:  The Horus, stong of arm.  Given [dominion....for ever]. (Strudwick 2005: 135):




('Inscriptions of Sinai' Part I, Gardiner & Peet)



Khufu's Horus name, Horus Medjedu (Hrw mDdw), is also found in the Western desert south-west of Dakhla, inscribed on a rock face.  According to the rock inscriptions, in 'the year after the 13th time of counting the cattle' (regnal year 27 of Khufu), Khufu ordered two 'Overseers of Recruits' to lead an expedition of some 400 men into the desert district to collect 'mefat', probably a mineral powder used for paint.  The cartouche of Khufu's son and successor, Djedefre, is also inscribed on the rock face.  (EA no.23, 2003: 26):


The names of both Khufu and Djedefre were also "inscribed in the gneiss quarries deep in the Nubian Western Desert, 65 km to the north-west of Abu Simbel."  ('The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt', The Old Kingdom, Malek 2000: 107)


A large alabaster bowl discovered at Abu Rawash has Khufu's Horus name + prenomen: 'Horus Medjedju Khufu' (Hrw mDdw xwfw):

   photo: Jon Bodsworth


The Horus name of Khufu - red granite block from the Temple of Bubastis (Bubastis - cult city of Bastet in the eastern delta):

 British Museum EA 1097 (link)



The king's son, KhafKhufu (sa nswt xa.f xwfw) (GM3 1978: 16, fig 32):


Khufu's name - KhafKhufu chapel G7140 (GM 3 1978: pl. XXIV)



Middle kingdom graffito from the Wadi Hammamat.  The names in the cartouches are (from right to left):  Khufu, Djedefre, Khafre, Hardjedef (or Djedefhor), Bauefre. 


The theophorus element 'Ra', is part of the name of Hordjedef within the cartouche as with the other names, but this form is not attested elsewhere.

The 'base' of the cartouches of Hordjedef and Bauefre are slightly different than the others which may be significant.  Hordjedef and Bauefre are not mentioned as kings on contemporary lists.  The early Dynasty 5 tomb of Sekhemkare has the following inscription:  The imakhu ('(s)he who has been provided for') in the sight of his father the king, and in the sight of the Great God, and in the sight of the Dual King (nswt bit) Khafre, the Dual King Menkaure, the Dual King Shepseskaf, the Dual King Userkaf, the Dual King Sahure.  An early Dyn 5 tomb of Netjerpunesut also mentions Djedefre before Khafre, Menkaure, Shepseskaf, Userkaf and Sahure.  These contemporary 'lists' do not mention Hordjedef or Bauefre (both sons of Khufu).

A papyrus dating to Khufu's reign (the year after the 13th occasion of the cattle count), with Khufu's full birth name, Khnum-Khufu (Xnm(w) x(w)fw), and Horus name, Horus Medjedju (Hrw mDdw) - found at an ancient port in the Wadi al-Jarf area, on the western coast of the Red Sea:


Small ivory figurine inscribed with Khufu's Horus name, discovered in the temple of 'Foremost of Westerners' (xnti-imntiw) at Abydos, in an area dated to later than Dyn 4.  Hawass believes the figurine dates to Dyn 26 when a cult of Khufu flourished (Hawass 2006: 79):


A drawing of a fragment of a limestone block with the titulary of Khufu. Originally from Khufu's mortuary complex, it was re-used in the pyramid of Amenemhet I at Lisht . Horus Mededju (Hrw mDdw), 'King of Upper and Lower Egypt', the two Ladies the golden Horus, Khufu.

Line drawing of a fragment of a limestone block originally from Khufu's mortuary complex, re-used in the pyramid of Amenemhet I at Lisht. Inscription:  "building the sanctuaries of the gods"

Two line drawings of Khufu's names carved in raised relief on a rock face in the alabaster quarries of Hat-nub:

(source: Romer 2007: 160, fig. 68)

Khufu's cartouche is also found at Gebel el-Asr, a remote ridge south of Aswan where a dense and mottled greenish gneiss was quarried. It was "… hammered onto a curving 5 foot flake of slim black rock that had been set upright in the desert and supported by two long stones. Underneath the royal name, an elegant if brief inscription informed all travelers that they had come to 'The hunting ground of Khufu'; this presumably a geological hunting ground…." (Romer 2007: 161)

Fragment of fine white limestone found at Khufu's pyramid temple. Khufu is shown "enthroned within a booth and decked out in robes traditionally worn by kings at the ceremonial of their jubilee…"  (Romer 2007: 415, fig. 212):

Mentions of Khufu by ancient historians:

From Syncellus who used Africanus:  "The Forth Dynasty.  Of eight Memphite kings of a different race.  1. Soris reigned 23 years.  2. Suphis reigned 63 years.  He built the largest pyramid which Herodotus says was constructed by Cheops.  He was arrogant towards the gods, and wrote the sacred book;  which is regarded by the ancient Egyptians as a work of great importance."  ('Ancient Fragments', Manetho's Dynasties, Cory 1832: 102)

Africanus (using Manetho for his source):  "Forth Dynasty of eight kings of Memphis, from another line:  1. Soris, 29 years.  2. Souphis, 63 years.  He erected the Great Pyramid, which Herodotos says was built under Cheops.  He also became disdainful of the gods, and composed the Sacred Book. This I acquired when I was in Egypt, because it was a great treasure."

Eusebios (uses Africanus for his source):  "Forth Dynasty of seventeen kings of Memphis, from another royal line:  The third of them was Souphis, who erected the Great Pyramid, which Herodotos states was built under Cheops. He also became disdainful of the gods. And when he repented, he composed the Sacred Book, which the Egyptians esteem as a great treasure."  ('Extract of Chronography', George Syncellus)


Chris Tedder,  September 2007

updated 24.04.2013