Merneferre Ai
Merneferre Ay
Reign c. 1700 BC
Dynasty 13th Dynasty
Praenomen Merneferre
Nomen Ai
Golden Horus
Burial Place
Monuments Pyramid at Memphis?

Merneferre Ai or Ay was an Ancient Egyptian ruler of the Thirteenth Dynasty. He assumed the throne around 1700 BC. His reign length--as preserved in the damaged Turin King List--was disputed in the past with Jürgen von Beckerath reading the damaged figure on the papyrus fragment as only 13 years in his 1964 work Untersuchungen zur politischen Geschichte der zweiten Zwischenzeit in Ägypten, while both Alan Gardiner--in The Royal Canon of Turin (1959)--and Kenneth Kitchen in his 1987 Conference paper "High, Middle or Low" maintained that it was 23 Years. The latest examination of the damaged figure by Kim Ryholt confirms that it must be read as 23 Years. (Ryholt: p.192) Ryholt stresses in his 1997 book on the Second Intermediate Period that "the tick that distinguishes 20 and 30 from 10 is preserved and beyond dispute. Accordingly, 23 years or, less likely, 33 years must be read." (Ryholt: p.74). Therefore, Ai's reign length was 23 Years, 8 Months and 18 days (Ryholt: p.192). This marks him out as the longest serving Pharaoh of the 13th Dynasty--a time when numerous short-lived kings ruled Egypt.


He is mainly known from his many scarab seals. However, the pyramidion of his tomb--which is inscribed with his name--was discovered at Avaris which suggests that the Hyksos kings looted his pyramid tomb of its treasures. This can be assumed because the pyramidion was inscribed with dedications to the god Ptah whose cult was based at Memphis, not Avaris. He is the last significant Egyptian king of the 13th Dynasty known from objects found in Lower and Upper Egypt which indicates that Egypt was still united during his reign.

This Pharaoh is also known as Aya or Eje.

He is sometimes confused with Kheperkheprure Ai, a ruler at the end of the 18th Dynasty.


  • Kim Ryholt, The Political Situation in Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period c.1800-1550 B.C." (Museum Tuscalanum Press:1997), 463 pages (ISBN 87-7289-421-0)

Preceded by:
Wahibre Ibiau
Pharaoh of Egypt
13th Dynasty
Succeeded by:
Merhotepre Ini