Also known by his Greek name, Cheops, the Egyptian pharaoh Khufu was the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty, famous for building the Great Pyramid at Giza.
Khufu's full name was Khnum-Khufwy, which means '[the god] Khnum protect me'. He was the son of Sneferu and Queen Hetepheres I, and is believed to have had three wives. He is famous for building the Great Pyramid at Giza, one of the seven wonders of the world, but apart from this, we know very little about him. His only surviving statue is, ironically, the smallest piece of Egyptian royal sculpture ever discovered: a 7.5 cm (3 inch) high ivory statue found at Abydos.
Khufu came to the throne, probably during his twenties, and at once began work on his pyramid. The entire project took about 23 years to complete, during which time 2,300,000 building blocks, weighing an average of 2.5 tons each, were moved. His nephew Hemiunu was appointed head of construction for the Great Pyramid. Khufu was the first pharaoh to build a pyramid at Giza. The sheer scale of this monument stands as testament to his skills in commanding the material and human resources of his country. It is now believed the pyramids were built using conscripted labour rather than slaves. The idea that Khufu used slaves to build the pyramid comes from Greek historian Herodotus. He also describes Khufu as a cruel and wicked leader who prostituted his daughter when he ran short of money. But the Westcar Papyrus describes Khufu as a traditional oriental monarch: good-natured, amiable to his inferiors and interested in the nature of human existence and magic.
Despite not being remembered as fondly as his father, the funerary cult of Khufu was still followed in the 26th Dynasty, and he became increasingly popular during the Roman period.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.