Pepi II had a short name but a long rule. In fact, he likely had the longest reign of any king in ancient Egypt -- as many as 94 years, according to National Geographic, although some experts dispute that figure and put the number of years at 64. What is not in dispute is that Pepi II was only around 6 years old when he came to power, which meant that his mother, Queen Ankhesenpepi II, acted as regent until he came of age.
Little Boy Pharoah
Pepi II ruled during the sixth dynasty of ancient Egypt, from approximately 2325 to 2150 B.C. Although his mother acted as regent, he quickly became involved in politics and began to make important decisions and issue orders on his own as early as age 8. Pepi II ruled from Memphis, which at the time was the capital city of Egypt.
Location, Location, Location
Memphis was located in what was called "lower Egypt," which included the area surrounding the Nile river delta. The city itself was just southwest of Cairo and Giza, which is where the great pyramids are located. Although Cairo and Giza are still major cities in Egypt, Memphis does not exist today.
Rise and Fall of Memphis
Memphis was established as the capital city during the early dynastic period. It was the seat of power at the beginning of Pepi II's rule. As his power weakened during his long reign, so did the influence of the city of Memphis. Pepi II was highly interested in trade and exploration, and sent expeditions south into Nubia, now northern Sudan, and east into Puta, which today is Somalia. This broadened but weakened his territory, which contributed to the end of the sixth dynasty, after which Egypt split into two territories.
Although Pepi II had a long reign, his pyramid is on the small side compared to that of other rulers. He is buried at Saqqara, which at the time was a necropolis, or cemetery, outside of Memphis. Today, Saqqara, located near Cairo, is sometimes called the "city of the dead" as it contains many pyramids dating back to the third dynasty.
- National Geographic: Pyramid of Pepi II
- National Geographic: Time Line of Ancient Egypt
- Ancient Egyptians: People of the Pyramids; Rosalie and Charles F. Baker
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Pepi II
- Tour Egypt: Pepi II, Last Ruler of the 6th Dynasty and Egypt's Old Kingdom
- Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University: Odyssey Online -- Egypt
- Tour Egypt: Sakkara (Saqqara), History of Ancient Egypt Near Cairo, Egypt
- Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images