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Ancient Egypt
The Kingdoms
Old Kingdom
2680-2180 BC
1st Intermediate
Middle Kingdom
2180-2050 BC
2050-1650 BC
New Kingdom
1570-1080 BC
2nd Intermediate
1650-1570 BC
Predynastic Egypt
Pre: Before
Dynastic: time of dynasties
Predynastic: time before dynasties
Began about 6000 BC
– People began farming and living in villages
– Villages eventually combined into small
kingdoms, which combined into 2 larger ones
• LOWER EGYPT: near the delta region in north
• UPPER EGYPT: area south of the delta region
Predynastic Egypt--Unification
 3100 BC—King Menes united Upper and Lower
 By 3000 BC—Characteristics of Egypt have
– Irrigation used
– Writing developed—hieroglyphics
– Basic religious beliefs have developed
• Believed in afterlife
• Wealthy are buried in houselike tombs called mastabas
• Polytheistic
Egyptian Religion
 Amon-Re/Re/Ra—God of the sun, the creator,
top god
– All pharaohs thought to be descendents of him
 Horus—represented by the falcon
– Pharaoh thought to actually be this god
 Osiris—god of eternal life and of the throne
– Thought to have been actual pharaoh in prehistoric
– Married to Isis (goddess)
 Isis—perfect wife and mother
– Prayed to for immortality
– Represented by wings on coffins
The Story of Osiris and Isis
 Osiris was pharaoh
 Evil god/brother Seth killed him
– Chopped Osiris’s body into little pieces and threw him
in the Nile
 Isis was heartbroken, so she transformed into a
– She rescued the pieces from the Nile and put them
back together
– Then, flapped her wings and breathed life back into
Osiris’s body
 Isis’s wings appear on mummies in hopes she
will breathe life back into them
The Old Kingdom
2680-2180 BC
Pharaohs were seen as gods
– Had absolute power
– Who can go against a god?!
This was the era of pyramid building
Only the pharaohs were thought to have an
– They were gods
– They were the only ones to be mummified
All were built during the Old Kingdom
1st was built for Pharaoh Zoser
– His was a step pyramid
The Great Pyramid at Giza
– One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient
• Only Wonder still standing today
The Step Pyramid
 Built for Zoser
 Described as a
stairway to the sky
 Designed by the
famous royal
architect Imhotep
 204 feet tall
The Great Pyramid of Giza
 Built for Khufu
– Also called Cheops
 Largest one ever
 Almost 500 feet tall
 Covers 13 acres at
 Over 2 million stone
blocks were used
– Average, weighed 25 tons
The Old Kingdom continued…
Papyrus was invented
– Egyptian paper
– Used to write and keep records on
– English word paper comes from Egyptian
word papyrus
Two classes of society
– Upper class: pharaoh, nobles, priests, scholars
– Lower class: peasants, farmers
And Even More Old Kingdom…
Kingdom was so big, that pharaoh had to
use governors to help him run it
– Called nomarchs
The Old Kingdom was brought to a close
by challenges to the pharaoh’s authority
– By nomarchs and nobles
Intermediate Period
2180-2050 BC
Nobles had much more authority and
– Pharaohs had gotten money for the pyramids
from the nobles
• In exchange for positions of power and authority
• Nobles developed kingdoms of their own
– People loyal to nobles, not pharaohs now
• Caused famine, social unrest, and civil war
Egypt broke into two separate kingdoms
again during this period
The Middle Kingdom
2050-1650 BC
Mentohotep II reunited Egypt
– Unification marked the beginning of the
Middle Kingdom
Pharaohs began to be buried in the Valley
of the Kings
– No more pyramids
– Pyramids made tombs to easy to find, rob, and
The Valley of the Kings
Notice the natural pyramid above the valley!!!
The Middle Kingdom continued…
Nobles remained powerful, but now gave
their loyalty to the pharaoh
This is the Classical Age of Egyptian
Religion changed
– Now anyone who could afford to be
mummified could achieve an afterlife
• Believed that body had to be preserved for an
– Still only the rich—being mummified was
very expensive
The End of the Middle Kingdom
 Hyksos began to attack Egypt
– This weakened the kingdom
– Were a nomadic tribe from the Middle East
 Hyksos conquered Egypt
– Ruled from 1720-1570 BC
– Brought the Middle Kingdom to an end
 The Hyksos were much more advanced at
warfare than the Egyptians
– Had metal weapons
• Egyptians only had wooden weapons
– Introduced the horse, war chariot, and body armor
Intermediate Period
1650-1570 BC
Egypt was ruled by the Hyksos
– Finally were driven out after 150 years
• This allowed the New Kingdom to start
The New Kingdom
 1570-1080 BC
 Powerful kings of Egypt drove the Hyksos out
– They restored very powerful pharaohs to the throne
• The pharaohs again held absolute power
 The Egyptians came to be empire builders
– Before this period, the Egyptians had only really been
concerned with Egypt
• Now they began to conquer lands beyond Egypt’s borders
– Used the warfare skills they learned from the Hyksos
The New Kingdom continued…
Third social class developed during this
• Usually were the people from groups the Egyptians
had conquered
• Had nothing to do with race
This was the era known for its great and
powerful pharaohs
– This is also the kingdom that King Tut ruled
• Didn’t rule long enough to be one of the greats
Pharaohs of the New Kingdom
During this period, the pharaohs held
Egypt together through their leadership
When Egypt had very strong rulers, the
kingdom was strong.
When Egypt’s rulers were weak, the
kingdom was weak too.
Some Famous Pharaohs of the
New Kingdom…
 Ahmose I
 Hatshepsut
 Thutmose III
 Amenhotep IV
 Ramses II
Ahmose I
 Drove the Hyksos out
 Established the New
 The only female pharaoh to
ever rule Egypt
 Was married to the pharaoh
Thutmose II
– When he died, she became
regent for her nephew/stepson,
Thutmose III
 Known as a temple builder,
not an empire builder
 First powerful and capable
female ruler in known
Thutmose III
 Brought Egypt to the
height of its power
 Became pharaoh at
very young age
– Hatshepsut was his
– Only came to power
after Hatshepsut died
Amenhotep IV
 Promoted
– Worship of Aten
 After he died,
Egypt went back to
 Father of King Tut
Ramses II
 Ramses II was the last
strong pharaoh
– Known as Ramses the
– Ruled for 67 years
 He is the pharaoh of
the Jewish/Christian
– The one Moses fled
 His mummy has been
The Post-Imperial Period
1080-300s BC
Priest gained power
– Got rid of the temple tax
• A tax paid to the pharaohs by each temple
• This ruined the economy
Egypt was conquered several times during
this period
– 525 BC—by the Persians
– 322BC—by the Romans
• Ancient Egypt is no more.