Relief of King Sneferu in Sinai

This relief tells us of the victory of king Sneferu over the Bedouins, a military campaign that was also common since the times of king Sanakht and which secured the mines for turquoise and copper in Wadi Nash and Wadi Maghareh, West Sinai.

The relief which is made of sandstone shows Sneferu on a large scale, smiting an enemy who kneels, pleading for mercy, before him. The god Horus can be seen opposite Sneferu, wearing the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, and standing upon a serekh which contains the king’s Horus name – Nebmaat. Sneferu’s further names and titles surround his image.

Relief of King Sneferu in Sinai. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 38568
Relief of King Sneferu in Sinai. Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 38568

Sinai was an important source of turquoise and copper to the Egyptians. By smiting the enemies of the region Sneferu is performing one of the roles of the king – securing trade routes through the control of rebellious tribes, from Sinai (Wadi Maghareh).

Sneferu, well known under his Hellenized name Soris, was the founding king of the 4th Dynasty of Egypt during the Old Kingdom. He constructed some of the most magnificent pyramids in ancient Egyptian history. He built the famous Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid at Dahshur, and his son Khufu built the Great Pyramid at Giza.

The theme of the Egyptian kings smiting their enemies is an ancient one, it is known since the 1st Dynasty and can be seen, for example, in the Narmer Palette.

Old Kingdom, 4th Dynasty, ca. 2600 BC. Now in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo. JE 38568