August, 2008.

Khufu (Cheops) - name and family

Only two depictions of the king are known with names. An about 7.6 cm heigh ivory (elephant tusk)
statuette of the king on his throne and with the name carved in the front of the trone at his right leg
leg [Lehner,1997]. It was found by Petrie at Abydos in 1903. Now in Cairo Museum. Khufu is also
depicted on a rockwall in Sinai as a warrior. One or two more depictions without name are known.

The name Khufu is formed by the hieroglyphs Disk, Chicken, Snake, and Chicken. And put
into a cartridge-like figure, a “kartouche”. The word is french and means cartridge. A name
inside a kartouche (a rope with a knot) was (exclusively?) used for members of the royal
family in times of Old Kingdom.

Cheops (or Kheops) was the name given by the greeks. Manetho in 3rd century B.C.
called him Suphis 1. His nickname in the extinct Egyptian language was Khufu. The full
name was Khnum-Khufwy, which means "May Khnum Protect Me" or just "Protected
by Khnum" [Hawass' website]. The first letter K in Khufu is pronounced somewhat like
the J in the Spanish name Juan. Khnum was a God of fertility and represented as a ram.

The names of the king - Khufu and Khnum-Khufu - were discovered in 1837 by Howard Vyse
in the Relieving Chambers. It took 3 months to blast the tunnel from the northside of the
lowest chamber, discovered by Davidson or Meynard in 1765.

The name Khufu is found on the southern cieling at the western end [Lehner, 1997]. The
most right part (opposite the knot) of the kartouche seems to vanish between the cieling
beam and a wall block. To be seen on a photo in Lehner, 1997.

The name Khnum Khufu is found in the second chamber, and almost destroyed by Vyse,
when he entered the chamber [Petrie].

Vyse's discovery of the name (in red paint, today brown) ended the uncertainty about to
which king the Pyramid could be described. Many still denie the ownership of the Pyramid
to Khufu and claims that Vyse put the red painted hieroglyphs and conducted a fraud.


Khufu was the 2nd king of the 4th dynasty in Old Kingdom and son of Hetepheres and
Snefru, who founded the dynasty acc. to the List of Kings by Manetho. Khufu was married
to the queens Mereyites and Henutsen, perhaps both buried in two of the four and very
small pyramids along the eastside of the Pyramid. Remains of the fourth and tiny pyramid
was discovered close to the SE-corner (in 1992?).

Khufu got at least three sons. Especially two are known, Khafra (Chephren) and Menkau-
ra (Mycerinos). A lesser known son is Djedefre who erected a perhaps never finished
pyramid 8 km north of Giza at Abu Roash.