Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!
Djoser, also spelled Zoser, second king of the 3rd dynasty (c. 2650–c. 2575 bce) of ancient Egypt, who undertook the construction of the earliest important stone building in Egypt. His reign, which probably lasted 19 years, was marked by great technological innovation in the use of stone architecture. His minister, Imhotep, a talented architect and physician, was himself deified in later periods.
Djoser probably succeeded his brother to the throne. Through his mother, he was related to the last ruler of the 2nd dynasty (c. 2775–c. 2650). With the help of Imhotep, the king erected a funerary complex at ?aqqārah, outside the royal capital, Memphis (southwest of modern Cairo). Built entirely of stone, the innovative structure was a departure from the traditional use of mud bricks along with stone. The greatest advance, however, was a complete alteration of the shape of the monument from a flat-topped rectangular structure to a six-stepped pyramid. Surrounding the Step Pyramid were a large number of limestone buildings intended to represent shrines used for royal rituals. The style of architecture of those buildings reproduced in minutest detail the wood, reed, and brick forms employed in utilitarian construction in Egypt.
The pyramid complex was enclosed by a wall with a single entrance at the southeast corner of the precinct. In response to the internal troubles of the 2nd dynasty, Djoser was the first king to reside exclusively at Memphis, thereby helping to make it the political and cultural centre of Old Kingdom (c. 2575–c. 2130 bce) Egypt.
Learn More in these related Britannica articles:
ancient Egypt: The 3rd dynasty (c. 2650–c. 2575 bce)His successor, Djoser (Horus name Netjerykhet), was one of the outstanding kings of Egypt. His Step Pyramid at ?aqqārah is both the culmination of an epoch and—as the first large all-stone building, many times larger than anything attempted before—the precursor of later achievements. The pyramid is set…
Egyptian art and architecture: Emergence of types in the Old Kingdom…immensely impressive life-size statue of Djoser pointed the way to the magnificent royal sculptures from the 4th-dynasty pyramid complexes at Giza. For subtlety of carving and true regal dignity scarcely anything of later date surpasses the diorite statue of Khafre. Scarcely less fine are the sculptures of Menkaure (Mycerinus). The…
Middle Eastern religion: Nature: the framework of ideas and practices…years in the reign of Djoser (3rd dynasty;
i.e., c.2650– c.2575 bc). The pharaoh appealed to the gods, who responded by restoring an abundant flow of the Nile.…