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Egypt Through Time The Dynasties

What is Ancient Egypt?

What are the Dynasties of Ancient Egypt about?

Why were there 30 Dynasties?

Egyptologists have divided the Pharaonic Rules in to 30 Dynasties. 

Each Dynasty was ruled by one Family Group who ruled all or part of a united Egypt.

The Prehistory of Egypt begins from around 3150BC and the Pharaonic Era begins around 3100BC and lasts until the Roman conquest.

Prehistoric Egypt pre–3150 BC

Nomadic Tribes and travellers settled into small communities based along the Nile

Early Dynastic 3150–2686 BC

1st & 2nd Pharaonic Dynasties: Egypt was unified by Pharaoh Narmer, also known as Pharaoh Menes

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

Old Kingdom 2686–2181 BC

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

Egypt was unified under its ruler and was productive enough to move the workforce from solely trade and agriculture on to building projects: 

  • The Step Pyramid at Saqqara and The Sphinx 
  • The Great Pyramid & the Pyramid of Khafre 
  • The Pyramid of Menkaure all on the Giza Plateau

1st Intermediate Period 2181–2125 BC

7th to 10th Pharaonic Dynasties

Famine scarred the country and the first Golden Age of Egypt was at an end

The Pharaoh lost control of the country and each of the regional Viziers 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 of the population

Pharaohs concentrated on reinforcing their borders against the Nubians to the South, the Libyans to the West and the Levant communities to the East; 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 1550–1069 BC

18th to 20th Pharaonic Dynasties:  Bronze Age – height of Ancient Egyptian power

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 Rulers of this period were Pharaohs Hatshepsut, Akhenaten, Seti I, Ramses II and III, Thutmose III, Amenhotep III and of course Tutankhamun.

This was also another golden time for building projects with the Architects Amenhotep and Senenmut being encouraged to work for the Royal Family

The best known projects 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

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

Northern Rulers clashed with the Nubians who were ruling from Southern Egypt at Thebes

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