Engaging Facts About Ancient Egypt
Egypt is the gift of the Nile as it was described by the Greek traveler Herodotus in the fifth century B.C. History of Egypt is one of the oldest and longest world civilizations. Egypt civilization passed through various stages from ancient Egypt to the present, from Kings to emperors to presidents.
History of Ancient Egypt is one of the most well-known civilizations all over the world. Historians divided the ancient civilization into different stages and different time periods. It starts from Pre-dynastic (ca. 4300-3000 B.C.E.) to the ROMAN and BYZANTINE EMPIRE (ca. 30 B.C.E. – 642 C.E.)
Egypt witnessed a completely new phase during the Republic (1953–70). This is considered the modern history of Egypt. It is a turning point in the history of Egypt. Then, the history from 73 to the present time with all the prominent milestones.
AS it is mentioned before how ancient is the history of Egypt, there are a lot of art works especially movies that have represented most of this civilization. There are Arab as well as European movies that reflect these stages with both political and social sides.
Various historians with different nationalities documented this fabulous mysterious civilization in their books. These books can be found all over the world in different languages. These books documented the various stages of Egyptian civilization.
What are The Features of The Pre-dynastic Period (ca. 4300-3000 B.C.E.)?
The Pre-dynastic period refers to the time before recorded history. There are no written records for this time however the excavations revealed some features about the development of culture in the Nile River Valley. People during that period of time lived along the banks of the Nile River.
People built villages and learnt to plant and grow crops. Finally, they established two kingdoms, Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt was in the South while Lower Egypt was in the North. In about 2900 B.C a king named Menes possibly united the two parts of Egypt. Menes built the capital city of Memphis. This is how the dynastic period started.
The first dynasty started with the unification of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt possibly by Menes. King Menes is the founder of the capital Mamphis. The records about this period of time are known through few monuments and objects bearing royal names. One of these monuments is the Narmer Palette.
The only record that has survived is the Palermo Stone. It has the lists of the kings’ names on it. The tombs of Pharaohs found in Naqada and Abydos were made of wood and mud bricks along with small stones for walls and floors. Stones were used for ornaments, vessels and statues.
Here is a list of the names of the rulers in the first dynasty:
|Name of the Ruler||Comment|
|Menes||Believed to be Narmer around 3100 BC|
|Hor-Aha||Led an expedition against the Nubians 3050 BC|
|Djer||His tomb was later thought to be the legendary tomb of Osiris.|
|Djet||Ruled for 10 years|
|Merneith||Around 2950 BC|
|Den||First pharaoh depicted wearing the double crown of Egypt|
|Anedjib||Ruled for 10 years|
|Semerkhet||His complete reign is preserved on the Cairo stone.|
|Qa’a||Ruled very long, his tomb is the last one with subsidiary tombs.|
|Sneferka||Very short reign|
|Horus Bird||Very short reign,|
The second dynasty witnessed the expansion of the cities and the development of the structure. They used jewelry of precious gems for the upper class. As the wealth and power of the cities grew, they attracted more and more people from rural areas.
Those who remained in rural communities were left with the burden of providing at least the same amount of grain to the cities. This caused a huge burden on the workers to the extent that they seem to have preferred the work in the city. Here is a list of the rulers’ names:
|Name of the Ruler||Comment|
|Hotepsekhemwy||Ruled for 25-29 years.|
|Nebra||Ruled for 10-14 years.|
|Nynetjer||Ruled for 40 years.|
|Weneg||Listed as the fourth king of the dynasty on the Turin, Saqqara and Abydos king lists.|
|Senedj||Listed as the fifth king of the dynasty on the Turin, Saqqara and Abydos king lists.|
|Neferkara I||May have only ruled Lower Egypt.|
|Neferkasokar||May have only ruled Lower Egypt.|
|Hudjefa I||May have only ruled Lower Egypt.|
|Seth-Peribsen||Only attested in Upper Egypt.|
|Sekhemib-Perenmaat||Maybe the same person as Seth-Peribsen.|
|Nubnefer||May be the birth name of Raneb.|
|Khasekhemwy||Ruled for 17-18 years.|
Old Kingdom (Dynasties III–VI), 2663–2195 BC
King Djoser (sometimes spelled Zoser), also known as Netjerikhet, ruled Egypt during the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom around 2650 BCE. He undertook the construction of the earliest important stone building in Egypt. Making Memphis his capital, Djoser probably extended Egypt’s southern and eastern borders.
His reign, which probably lasted 19 years, was marked by great technological innovation in the use of stone architecture. Djoser erected the Step Pyramid at Saqqara. Surrounding the Step Pyramid were a large number of limestone buildings intended to represent shrines used for royal rituals.
King Khufu is the second and most famous king of the 4th Dynasty.Following his father’s example, Kheops again built his funerary monument away from his predecessor’s. There he built the monument that has made him one of the most famous kings of Ancient Egyptian history: the great pyramid of Giza.
King Khafra is most famous as the builder of some of Egypt’s most impressive monuments. He is the builder of the second of the three Pyramids of Giza.He was the son of King Khufu. Although many of his relatives were hastily buried in cheap tombs, his own pyramid was almost as vast as the Great Pyramid of his father.
Middle Kingdom (2040–1540 BC) of Ancient Egypt
The Middle Kingdom was the second peak period of the Ancient Egyptian civilization. During this time all of Egypt was united under a single government and Pharaoh. Mentuhotep II became king of southern Egypt. He reunited Egypt under one rule. This began the period of the Middle Kingdom.
Mentuhotep made Thebas the capital of Egypt. Built his tomb and mortuary complex near the city of Thebes which was considered as a major religious and political center. The Middle Kingdom reached its peak under the rule of the Twelfth Dynasty. They built a powerful standing army that protected the country from outside invaders and maintained control of the government.
Pharaoh Senusret III was one of the most powerful leaders of the Middle Kingdom. He is sometimes called a “warrior-king” because he personally led his troops into battle..The Second Intermediate Period is most famous for the rule of foreign invaders called the Hyksos. The Hyksos ruled northern Egypt from the capital city of Avaris until around 1550 BC.
New Kingdom (Dynasties XVIII–?XX), 1550–1064 BC
Thutmose III is considered as the greatest of the rulers of ancient Egypt. He transformed Egypt from an inward-looking kingdom into a successful conquering nation. He also built a great number of temples and monuments to monumentalize his accomplishments.
During Thutmose III’s reign, art and craftsmanship received new impetus from his sponsorship. The last decade of his reign is marked by the building of a new temple at Dayr al-Baḥrī. During the last years of his life, Thutmose appointed his son Amenhotep II as cogent.
Hatshepsut was Queen of Egypt. She was the daughter of Thutmose I and wife of Thutmose II. She achieved an unprecedented power. She achieved military conquests. She also re-established important trading routes.
Hatshepsut was one of the most productive builders in Ancient Egypt, achieving hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Following the tradition of most pharaohs, Hatshepsut had monuments constructed at the Temple of Karnak.
Akhenaten was a pharaoh of Egypt who reigned over the country for about 17 years between roughly 1353 B.C. and 1335 B.C. He introduced the new sun-god Aten, to be the center of Egypt’s religious life. He erased the name of the previous god from monuments and documents throughout Egypt’s empire. He changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten.
He built the new capital city, which is now called Amarna, for the worship of Aten. Akhetaten was a planned city with the Great Temple of the Aten, Small Aten Temple, royal residences, records office, and government buildings in the city center. Was initially buried in a tomb in the Royal Wadi east of Akhetaten.
Tutankhamun ruled Egypt for 10 years until his death at the age of 19. He was the grandson of the great pharaoh Amenhotep III. He reversed the religious life back to worship of the god Amun. He restored Thebes as a religious center.
Tutankhamun unexpectedly died in his 19th year. In 2010 scientists found traces of malaria in his mummified remains and posited that malaria in combination with degenerative bone disease may have been the cause of death.
Seti I is the son of Ramesses I. He is considered as one of Egypt’s great warrior-pharaohs. He built a number of monumental buildings, including Karnak’s hypostyle hall, which is one of the most impressive monuments of Egyptian architecture.
He ruled for 11 or 15 years. He exerted much effort to promote the prosperity of Egypt. He fortified the frontier, opened mines and quarries, dug wells, and rebuilt temples and shrines that had fallen into decay or been damaged.
Rameses II is often considered as the greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom. He is famous for his extensive building programs and for the many colossal statues of him found all over Egypt. He is also famous as the great builder of many of Egypt’s most impressive monuments including the temples at Abu Simbel.
The early part of his reign was focused on building cities, temples, and monuments. He built for himself a full-scale residence city called Per Ramessu which was famous for its beautiful layout, with gardens, orchards, and pleasant waters. He had made Egypt rich from all the supplies and bounty he had collected from other empires.
The Most Famous Temples Built in Ancient Egypt
Luxor Temple is a large temple complex located in what was ancient Thebes. The Temples at Karnak, part of the great city of Thebes, were constructed as an ancient place of worship for the god Amun. Although pyramids were no longer built at this time, magnificent tombs were constructed for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom.
The Best Books on Ancient Egypt
One of the most recommended books about ancient Egypt is The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson. There is also the book of Ancient Egypt by Barry J. Kemp. We also have Tutankhamun’s Armies by John Coleman Darnell and Colleen Manassa.
Ancient Egypt has been ruled by many pharaohs, kings through different dynasts. It is divided into pre-dynasty, old kingdom, middle kingdom and new kingdom. Egypt witnessed great development in art and structure. Pharaohs kings built various temples and monuments. It is a fabulous civilization.