Egyptian Camel

The Predynastic Period

Time period : Before c. 3100 BC

Before the great dynasties of Ancient Egypt with their pharaohs and pyramids, the land that of Egypt (Misr in the native tongue) has long been the cradle of civilization.

Agriculture in Predynastic Egypt

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that humans have started to settle around the Nile Valley since before 8000 BC, living on agriculture. Evidence indicates that buildings and towns started to be built a few thousand years after that.

Since then, the Egyptian civilization has flourished, developing unique advances such as the hieroglyphs. However, this period is not considered part of the great Egyptian civilization since the people lived as scattered city-states rather than a unified nation.

 

The Early Dynastic Period

Time period : c. 3100 BC - c. 2575 BC

Dynasties : 1st Dynasty - 3rd Dynasty

The Step Pyramid at Saqqara

Sometime between 3100 BC and 2950 BC, a local king known as Menes succeeded in uniting the southern region (Upper Egypt) and the northern region (Lower Egypt) into one empire, and began the first of over dynasties of the Egyptian empire.

During this period, pharaohs started building elaborate mastabas (rectangular tombs of clay and stone). These eventually evolved into multi-level tombs. The most famous of these is the Step Pyramid at Saqqara.

One of the most famous people from this period was Imhotep, a Vizier of the 3rd Dynasty, also an architect, physician and priest. Imhotep was one of very few mortals to be elevated to the status of a god (in his case god of medicine).

 

The Old Kingdom Period

Time period : c. 2575 BC - c. 2150 BC

Dynasties : 4th Dynasty - 6th Dynasty

The Sphinx and Pyramid at Giza

The 4th Dynasty marked the golden age of ancient Egypt. During this period, construction and literature flourished. It is during this time when pharaohs started building bigger and grander pyramids. The most famous of these (and still standing) are the Great Pyramids at Giza. As such, this period is also known as the Age of Pyramids.

Some of the more famous pharaohs of ancient Egypt come from this period, including pharaoh Khufu and pharaoh Khafre of the 4th Dynasty who built the Giza pyramids. Also famous is pharaoh Pepi II of the 6th Dynasty, who ruled for 94 years, longer than any other ruler.

During this period, the pharaohs ruled Egypt from the capital of Memphis, located near modern-day Cairo.

 

The 1st Intermediate Period

Time period : c. 2150 BC - c. 1975 BC

Dynasties : 7th Dynasty - 11th Dynasty

Military presence in times of turbulence

During this period, the Egyptian empire collapsed, and the land came under the control of regional rulers. Archaeologists believe that this collapse could have been caused by mass famine as well as some of the weaker pharaohs of ancient Egypt.

Slowly, the two lands of Upper and Lower Egypt were each consolidated by different dynasties. The dynasty of Lower Egypt based in Heracleopolis, and the dynasty of Upper Egypt based in Thebes, each attempted to reunite Egypt under their rule.

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