Ancient Egypt

Between 3100 and 332 B.C was the rise and climax of one of the richest and oldest

ancient civilizations. It’s lifeline was the Nile river in the Nile valley. Here, Egyptian

dynasties ruled from the first cataract of the Nile to the Mediterranean Sea. At the it’s

height it ruled an empire that reached from Syria in the east to Nubia in the south.

In this report I will be covering the Archaic Period, the Old Kingdom, the Middle

Kingdom the New Kingdom and The Late Period or 3100-332 B.C.

Archaic Period: 3100 B.C to 2750 B.C

There long history began with there first King who began the first Egyptian dynasty. In

3100 B.C Pharaoh Menes united upper and lower Egypt. Making Egypt’s first empire. In

doing so, he made the Egyptian double crown. It was made by putting the red crown of

Lower Egypt on top of the white crown of upper Egypt.

Menes ruled from the ancient city of Thinis near Abydos. Under his reign the first

hieroglyphic writing was made. He is also credited with making his empire


Old Kingdom: 2750 B.C to 2181 B.C / First Intermediate Period: 2182-2260

Little is known about Menes successors until the reign of Zoser at the end of the 3rd

dynasty. His capital was located at Memphis on the Nile’s west bank. He built the

world’s first pyramid and the first building of that size to be entirely made of stone. Even

though it was a pyramid it wasn’t a true pyramid, but a step pyramid.

After the reign of the last king of the Sixth dynasty (the last dynasty in the old kingdom.)

Pepi II in 2181 B.C, there was a period of crisis and social upheaval known as the First

Intermediate Period. The reasons leading up to this dark time, was a series of low floods

and the result was famine during the Sixth dynasty. This undermined the stability of Egypt

and provoked rebellion.

What followed put Egypt in rapid decline. With no central power the provinces became

independent states the were often at war with each other. To make the situation worse

was a penetration of nomadic foreigners into the delta region of the Nile Valley.

Middle Kingdom: 2061-1784 B.C/Second Intermediate Period 1633-1570


The accession in 2060 B.C. of Mentuhotep II of Thebes the first pharaoh of the Middle

Kingdom, ended 90 years of conflict with a dynasty established a Herakleopolis, south of

Memphis. This strong Eleventh Dynasty ruler restored order in Egypt. He drove the

Asiatics from the delta and campaigned against the Libyans and nomadic tribes in the Sinai

and the eastern desert. Trade also expanded to Nubia, Syria and Palestine under his reign.

Mentuhotep II reigned for 50 years and was buried at Deir el-Bahri. Under the reign of

Sesostris II (1897-1878 B.C) huge irrigation works were built at the oasis at

Faiyum. Sesostris III (1878-1843) expanded Egypt’s southern border to the second


At such times of powerful rulers, Egypt was governed by an efficient administration.

Taxation provided much of the wealth and was carefully organized. A census of fields and

of all cattle was taken every two years. In addition to tax calculation and collection,

another important official function was the building up reserves of grain stocks to prevent

famine after a bad harvest. The state controlled all foreign trade and owned the mines and


After the end of the Thirteenth Dynasty in 1633 B.C Egypt fell into another period of

decline known as the second intermediate period. During this period Egypt was divided

into four areas: the southern area ruled by 17th dynasty Theban rulers, the central area

that owed allegiance to Thebes, the 15th and 16th dynasties or the Hyksos that ruled most

of the delta and the 14th dynasty that ruled a small are in the delta.

The Hyksos identity is not known and there was no evidence that they invaded Egypt.

This suggest that there takeover was peaceful as a result of their increased population in

the delta. During the middle kingdom the Hyksos were employed by the state of Egypt to

mine in the Sinai mines and in Egypt itself. Later their population in the delta was so large

that it was larger than the Egyptian population the delta, so this was the probable cause of

there takeover.

The Hyksos rule over Egypt was very unpopular with the people of Egypt and according

to tradition Hyksos were an anarchy, who were accused of burning temple and cities. But

evidence suggest that the Hyksos respected and even adapted to