Nyuserre Ini (also Niuserre Ini or Neuserre Ini; was an Ancient Egyptian pharaoh, the sixth ruler of the Fifth Dynasty during the Old Kingdom period. He is credited with a reign of 24 to 35 years depending on the scholar, and likely lived in the second half of the 25th century BCE. Nyuserre was the younger son of Neferirkare Kakai and queen Khentkaus II, and the brother of the short-lived king Neferefre. He may have succeeded his brother directly, as indicated by much later historical sources. Alternatively, Shepseskare may have reigned between the two as advocated by Miroslav Verner, albeit only for a few weeks or months at the most. The relation of Shepseskare with Neferefre and Nyuserre remains highly uncertain. Nyuserre was in turn succeeded by Menkauhor Kaiu, who could have been his nephew and a son of Neferefre.
Nyuserre was the most prolific builder of his dynasty, having built three pyramids for himself and his queens and a further three for his father, mother and brother, all in the necropolis of Abusir. He built the largest surviving temple to the sun god Ra constructed during the Old Kingdom, named Shesepibre or “Joy of the heart of Ra”. He also completed the Nekhenre, the Sun temple of Userkaf in Abu Gorab, and the valley temple of Menkaure in Giza. In doing so, he was the first king since Shepseskaf, last ruler of the Fourth Dynasty, to pay attention to the Giza necropolis, a move which may have been an attempt to legitimise his rule following the troubled times surrounding the unexpected death of his brother Neferefre.
There is little evidence for military action during Nyuserre’s reign; the Egyptian state continued to maintain trade relations with Byblos on the Levantine coast and to send mining and quarrying expeditions to Sinai and Lower Nubia. Nyuserre’s reign saw the growth of the administration, and the effective birth of the nomarchs, provincial governors who, for the first time, were sent to live in the provinces they administered rather than at the pharaoh’s court.
As with other Old Kingdom pharaohs, Nyuserre benefited from a funerary cult established at his death. In Nyuserre’s case, this official state-sponsored cult existed for centuries, surviving the chaotic First Intermediate Period and lasting until the Twelfth Dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. In parallel, a spontaneous popular cult appeared, with people venerating Nyuserre under his birth name “Iny”. In this cult, Nyuserre played a role similar to that of a saint, being invoked as an intercessor between the believer and the gods. It left little archaeological evidence and seems to have continued until the New Kingdom, nearly 1000 years after his death.