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Egypt Through Time The Dynasties

What is Ancient Egypt?

Why is Egypt divided into 30 Dynasties and different Periods of time?

The dates referred to below and throughout this website remain at the very least slightly fluid as the veil of time greatly inhibit even our modern attempts at a precise dateline. Furthermore, each period was not defined at the time as the ceasing of one “Period” and the commencing of another “Period” although they may well have been demarked by the changing of the ruling elite. These Periods are really used today for our own benefit to split up the massive length of Pharaonic history into smaller and more manageable sections for us to mentally digest.

In general, each Dynasty was ruled by a Family Group who would reign over all or a part of a united Egypt.

The Prehistory of Egypt begins from around 3150BC and the Pharaonic Era commences from roughly 3100BC and continues until the Roman conquest in 30BC.

To learn more about any of the Time Periods below, click on the relevant map

Prehistoric Egypt
pre–3150 BC

Nomadic Tribes and travellers settled into small communities which were mainly based along the Nile River

The Early Dynastic Period
3150–2686 BC

1st & 2nd Dynasties: Egypt was unified by Pharaoh Narmer

The Capital City was at Memphis and the Royal Tombs are established at Abydos and Saqqara

The Old Kingdom Period
2686–2181 BC

3rd to 6th Pharaonic Dynasties: Bronze Age, The Pyramid Age

Egypt was productive enough to move the workforce from solely trade and agriculture on to building projects

First Intermediate Period
2181–2125 BC

7th to 10th Pharaonic Dynasties
Famine scarred the country

The Pharaohs lost control of the country and each of the regional Nomarchs became de facto war chieftains

Middle Kingdom 2055–1650 BC

11th and 12th Pharaonic Dynasties: Middle Bronze Age

A time of literature and the strengthening of the middle classes

Pharaohs concentrated on reinforcing their borders, including the building of forts and equipping the army to deal with these threats

2nd Intermediate Period
1650–1550 BC

13th to 17th Pharaonic Dynasties

This period saw an easing of the previously strict borders in the South with the Nubians and in the North with the Hyksos

This led to a further mix of cultures which became assimilated into the Egyptian way of life

New Kingdom Period
1550–1069 BC

18th to 20th Pharaonic Dynasties: Bronze Age

The height of Ancient Egyptian power as the rulers took a proactive route to guarding Egypt’s borders, carving out an empire using their allies as buffers.

Many of today’s best-known Pharaohs ruled in this period

3rd Intermediate Period
1069–664 BC

21st to 25th Pharaonic Dynasties

Egypt was invaded by a number of foreign dominions

These were compacted by strikes, economic issues and internal revolts countrywide

The country split and was ruled by independent Pharaohs with North versus South

The best known projects of the New Kingdom Period are

  • The Mansions of Eternity at Abu Simbel
  • The Temple of Seti at Abydos
  • The new Capital City of Amarna
  • Amenhotep III’s Mortuary Temple
  • Hatshepsut’s Mortuary Temple
  • Thutmose III’s Mortuary Temple
  • Luxor Temple
  • The Valley of the Kings and Queens

Late Period 664–332 BC

26th to 31st Pharaonic Dynasties

Assyrians invaded, driving out the Nubians and then left to deal with home country issues

A Pharaoh of Libyan heritage ruled for a short period of time before the Persians invaded and occupied Egypt twice

Greco-Roman Egypt 332–30 BC

Argead and Ptolemaic Dynasties

Alexander the Great occupied Egypt and declared himself Pharaoh

His General, Ptolemy, followed after his death and established a Dynasty which lasted for nearly 300 years

Monuments erected during this time included

  • The Edfu Temple
  • Dendera Zodiac
  • Pharos of Alexandria
  • Temple of Isis at Philae
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